Sunday Rewind with Mike Gundy

Mike Gundy was still excited Sunday afternoon when he visited with a limited number of media members (most of the beat writers, including GoPokes.com's Robert Allen, were traveling home from Seattle following the season-opening victory over Washington State). The Oklahoma State head coach had plenty of praise, especially for his defense and special teams, after reviewing tape of the 39-13 victory.

The Cowboy defense of coordinator Tim Beckman limited Washington State to 59 plays, allowed just 3.3 yards per snap, and the Cougars were just 2-of-13 on third-down conversion attempts. Linebackers Orie Lemon and Andre Sexton led the defense with 10 and nine tackles, respectively. The Cowboys had seven tackles for losses, including Jeray Chatham's tackle of Dwight Tardy for a safety in the second quarter.

What pleased Gundy the most with how the defense played at Qwest Field?

"I thought we tackled better. I thought we had proximity in coverage better than we have been in the past couple of years," he said. "We played either 26 or 28 players on defense ... and that's a plus for us because we've talked about depth and fatigue with the defensive players because we didn't have guys that we could put in that had any maturity.

"To be able to get our players reps like that and keep the defensive players fresh, and also get some guys some experience was good for us. We were pleased we were able to get that many defensive players on the field."

Gundy named several players when asked to identify those Cowboy defenders who played well.

"I think that (Jacob) Lacey played well. I think that Pat Lavine played well again. I think Jeray (Chatham) held his own. I thought (Derek) Burton and Ugo (Chinasa) held up well on the ends. Swanson (Miller) got in there and made a few plays. Ricky Price played well," Gundy said.

"There were a number of guys that played pretty well. When you're having as much success as they did in the first two and a half quarters, you're always going to have some names to throw out there."

OSU's outstanding special teams played included Perrish Cox's 90-yard touchdown return of a kickoff, Price's 67-yard punt return to set up one of Dan Bailey's three field goals, and Dez Bryant's 42-yard punt return that gave the Cowboy offense possession at the Washington State 26-yard line the first time it touched the ball in the 2008 season.

Gundy was asked if he could ever remember a better all-around effort in special teams. "I thought overall we played very well. We had a game ... I can't remember when it was, that we had another really big day like that, but it would be hard to say yesterday was as good as what we've had in the past. It was really, really good," Gundy said. "We try to be sound in special teams early in the season. I think it determines a lot of the losses, and wins, just being sound on special teams early in the year. Our coaches and players both committed to it, and have done a nice job."

Kendall Hunter got the first start of his career and didn't disappoint with 107 rushing yards and two touchdowns. That effort pleased Gundy, especially after looking at tape of the game.

"After watching the tape I thought he played well. I thought his physical longevity throughout the game was good. There were times last year where he got really fatigued, and some of that (Saturday) may have been misleading because it was 68 degrees ... We thought he did a nice job," Gundy said. "He made some nice cuts and made some people miss in space. They had a couple of linebackers who could run and were good players, (and) their safety was a good player; he tackled us in space a couple of times. For the most part, Kendall had a good game."

The Cowboys now begin preparing for Saturday's home opener against Houston, which defeated Southern 55-3 in new head coach Kevin Sumlin's first game leading the Cougars.

"We're excited about playing at home... Houston has had success the last two years and obviously they've done a nice job of coaching up to this point. They played well in their first game. It's hard for us to say we're good enough to look much beyond the next opponent," Gundy said.

Kickoff against Houston at Boone Pickens Stadium is scheduled for 6:05 p.m.

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