Did Gundy Make The Right Call?

If Charlie Weis of Notre Dame couldn't do it, and Georgia head coach Mark Richt decided it was too much for him to handle, just what was Mike Gundy thinking when he made the decision before the season to call the offensive plays for the Oklahoma State Cowboys in 2008?

The fourth-year head coach of the Cowboys made the decision that he would call the plays for Oklahoma State's no-huddle, spread offense this season, replacing offensive coordinator Larry Fedora after he left to become head coach at Southern Mississippi. It's not like Gundy was entering unchartered waters. After all, he was the Cowboys' offensive coordinator for four seasons before he was tabbed to become OSU's head coach when Les Miles left following the 2004 season.

But is Gundy taking on more than he can handle? Is Gundy more qualified to handle the juggling of two jobs (of head coach and offensive coordinator) than Weis or Richt?

Well, the 41-year-old Gundy has shown he is more than up to the challenge, if the first four games of the 2008 season are any indication. The OSU offense is ranked among the nation's best, including No. 1 in rushing offense (averaging 340.25 yards per game), No. 3 in scoring offense (51.75 points per game), and No. 4 in total offense (562.5 yards). Of course, those numbers were rolled up against four teams who are a combined 5-12 thus far this season, and we'll find out just how good the Cowboy offense is as OSU now enters Big 12 Conference play.

But don't be surprised to see the Cowboy offense continue rolling with weapons like quarterback Zac Robinson, running backs Kendall Hunter and Keith Toston, wide receiver Dez Bryant, and tight end Brandon Pettigrew.

The major question that OSU fans may have is: Can Gundy handle the time management issues of being a head coach while also sitting in on daily offensive staff meetings?

"I know that I'm having more fun now as a coach than I've had in the last four years," Gundy said during Monday's weekly news conference, just one day after the 21st-ranked Cowboys entered the Associated Press poll for the first time since 2004.

"I enjoy this part of it. I give a lot of credit to the guys in the offensive staff room (co-offensive coordinators Gunter Brewer and Trooper Taylor, running backs coach Curtis Luper, offensive line coach Joe Wickline and tight ends coach Doug Meacham). It's fun for me to be in there with them, and be involved with that more so than just sitting behind a desk. The last couple of years I got back in there and learned a style of offense, and really enjoyed it."

Gundy said the biggest sacrifice in learning the offense and becoming the Cowboys' play-caller this season has been from his wife, Kristen, and three sons, Gavin, Gunnar and Gage.

"My family gets cheated because I get up very early Sunday morning and come to work now. That's really where it's changed for me. We still work late at night, to 10:30 or 11 o'clock, but Sunday morning is where most of my change has taken place.," said Gundy.

Gundy was asked how many hours a day he now spends in the offensive meeting room that he devoted in the past to running the program? "I'm going to guess ... well, 6 (a.m.) to 2 (p.m.) is eight hours, and then after practice, from 6 or 7 to 10ish, so that's three more, so that's 11 hours in there," he answered.

"It takes away from other things. You have to find more time to allocate toward recruiting and other times, which for me is a lot of paperwork and recruiting that is done on Sunday mornings and late at night," Gundy added.

But the Oklahoma State head coach insists that again being involved in the offensive meetings, and making the play-calling decisions on game day, are worth the extra few hours in the office.

"The guys in that room do a good job. They work at it. They take pride in it," he said. "It's not always the most pleasant room to be in. There's times it's pretty rough in there. We'll call timeout for a little while, and come back 10 minutes later and start over. But that means you have several guys in there that have a strong opinion of what they think we should do in order to move the ball and score points, and ultimately we have to come up with the best idea.

"It's fun to be in there. It's enjoyable and I'll try to keep them together as long as we can."

That's music to the ears of Cowboy fans, especially when their team is averaging nearly 52 points, more than 560 total yards, and have the nation's No. 1-ranked rushing offense.

Maybe Gundy knows something Weis and Richt don't.

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