Sunday Rewind: Has The Fun Just Started?

It took little time around noon on Sunday before the word started circulating. Oklahoma State was now in the top 10 of the college football polls, climbing an amazing nine spots in the Associated Press poll from 17th to 8th. In the USA Today Coaches Poll it was not as meteoric, climbing from 17th to 10th. In just three weeks in the polls the Cowboys jumped from 21st to 17th to top 10.

You've heard of the old advice to not worry about the destination, but to enjoy the journey. That would be the preaching of most college football head coaches, including Oklahoma State's Mike Gundy as the national media jumped on the Sunday conference call with Gundy and the Cowboys beat reporters.

Dennis Dodd of CBS Sportsline jumped in first asking about the first top 10 ranking for OSU since 1988 and the highest mark since being ranked seventh following a win at Missouri on Nov. 16, 1985.

"Nothing changes," said Gundy, who said he was not aware of the rankings having been at work since early Sunday morning and having just emerged from the offensive staff room. "We have our weekly plans and we need to stay the course and keep it the same with our coaches and players. There isn't any difference for us."

The Cowboys head coach added, as he did last week when his audience was more limited to the local media, that he is excited for the players seeing rewards for the hard work they put in. He is happy for the OSU people, both fans and administration that have invested heavily in the program with planning, money, heart, and soul.

"We have a lot of work ahead of us and I need to keep our staff and players ready to play and focus," added Gundy. "To keep enjoying the rewards we have to win the next game in order to do that."

The Cowboys did enjoy this win and that was evident on the field afterwards as they celebrated some, sang with the OSU fans who made the trips to Columbia, Mo., and enjoyed the walk to the visitor's locker room. Not even the cold showers after the game bothered anybody.

Before being dismissed there was plenty of celebration that even Boone Pickens was involved in as he helped break down the team when Gundy was finished addressing the players.

"Boone, he was there and he was excited," said Gundy. "He hadn't had a lot to be excited about lately."

Pickens, other important donors, and OSU President Burns Hargis were all in the locker room to salute the Cowboys on their win. Gundy was complimentary of several aspects of the game, most of all the defense overall. In fact it was a media statement from Bill Haisten of the Tulsa World, Gundy agreed with.

"Yes, I'll give into you on that one," said the head coach of Haisten's comment on the defense. "It was, I think, the best defensive plan I've seen in the 19 years I've been coaching. Bill Clay had some good defensive plans when he was here. I thought Tim Beckman and the defensive staff had a good plan and instilled it in the players, not too much but just enough. They were able to execute it and they got it done."

Of course, Gundy is prompted on these comments with questions, but he was pleased with his quarterback Zac Robinson who was 19-of-28 for 215 yards with two touchdowns (both in the second half) and one interception.

"I thought he handled himself really well," said Gundy of Robinson. "I thought he executed well except for that corner route in the third quarter that was a mistake. He has the poise and maturity to scramble around and make plays. That maturity and poise has made a difference."

Then there was 6-5, 195-pound sophomore wide receiver Damian Davis out of tiny Mart, Texas. Davis came alive in the win over Missouri with three catches for 76 yards and two touchdowns, including the game winner he hauled in while getting slammed by his own teammate and a Missouri defender.

"Damian is an interesting story and he has made a lot of adjustments recently as a person," started Gundy. "He has a lot of savvy and last month we started to see a different side of him. He was accepting coaching and attending the classroom. He has had two really good weeks and executed what he has been asked about."

Now as for the journey, the next step is home next Saturday at 2 p.m. to host a better Baylor team for homecoming at Boone Pickens Stadium. Gundy believes that despite the skepticism last week that Oklahoma State belongs in the conversation of all this destination stuff he has ignored.

"We are not good enough to look past anybody," said Gundy. "You have to push all of this stuff to side and get focused. Success like this continues on because our coaches are committed to working tirelessly and putting together a plan for our players to have success."

Gundy did thank the national media for jumping on board and now the Cowboys just have to keep the train going. There is plenty of momentum as the team looks to enjoy the journey with the hope the destination is still over a month and a half away.

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