One-on-One With Mike Gundy: Part Two

Earlier this week we had a chance to talk with Oklahoma State head football coach Mike Gundy as he was on his way to watch his middle son, Gunnar, play baseball in Edmond. The Gundy family is getting in a few more days of time with dad before Gundy brings his coaching staff back together on Friday for the push toward the opening of fall camp, and what OSU fans hope will be a spectacular season.

In part one we learned that Gundy is heading to Bristol, Conn., and ESPN next week to appear on a vast number of the radio and television shows on the worldwide sports leader. In fact, Gundy and Kevin Klintworth, the associate athletic director for media relations, will head to Bristol on Monday (July 20).

We also learned that there has been a lot of baseball with the Gundys this summer and more about the football coaches move this week into the new offices. Here's more with Mike Gundy.

GP: I know that one day last week some of the players, older players on the team, stopped a summer workout and got on the team for not being on time and working hard. That has to make you feel good, doesn't it?
Gundy: It's their team, Robert. Each year we have seniors, starters, or two- or three-year players that have to take control of the team. As coaches we have to work hard and come up with good schemes and have discipline and structure, but they have to take it and run from there.

When we started this thing I thought if we could get it running in the right direction for a couple of years and then recruit the right people, players and student-athletes, to be in our program then they would run it from there. That is what they do.

What has happened is that we've been fortunate in that we've had some players that have taken it on themselves to be good leaders. The ones that move up to that level the next season, they don't want it to fall off and they would be the group that couldn't pass the torch or carry it on.

I think that (Andre) Sexton, Russell (Okung), and I'm sure Zac (Robinson) that they are going to do a great job of being leaders. That really helps because we can't do it. We can't be around them all the time and in the summer.

Rob Glass, I've said this before, that I think he is the best there is out there, it is him and his staff, six or eight guys, but you also have 115 guys that are out there working out. It's not like you can watch every one of them every single day. They have to be willing to pay the price and they have to be willing to do it on their own.

GP: One of the players that Rob Glass has labeled as a leader this summer is a guy that has really developed and matured in your program. I'm talking about Perrish Cox.
Gundy: That is what we are in the business for. We are supposed to take these young men places that they can't take themselves. Some of them are prepared and willing to do it on their own. The majority have to be pushed extremely hard and they aren't willing to do it on their own.

It's not easy to get up early in the morning and lift weights and strain while Coach Glass is chewing on you. You go to class, study hall, go to practice, work hard and pay the price when it is hot and it is 100 degrees and you are getting hit in the head. Even though they love it they have to be pushed in all areas.

One of the advantages that we have in our football program is that we are trying to develop well-rounded young men. We are trying to win and play championship football. We are trying to develop them on and off the field. We are working to graduate them and give them a chance to have success in life.

Perrish Cox has been on about a three-year plan. It took a little bit longer, but Perrish has a tremendous amount of ability. Perrish can play 10 more years (in the NFL) if he is willing to pay the price, if he is willing to work like he has the last six months.

He has the ability to do things most people can't do, to do things that we can't coach. It is great that we can reach out to a young man like that because when he got here he wasn't in that situation. If he leaves better than he arrives then that means we've done our job as coaches.

GP: It's been a relatively quiet summer with just a few issues (Bowling pre-trial, Mosley and Pratt arrest).
Gundy: We've had a few issues that we'll handle inside the program. As I've said, I've traveled around to a number of baseball parks this summer and almost all of these parents of the baseball players are fans and they stay up to date on what is going on. I've had a couple of them ask me about the off-the-field issues we've had this summer.

At no time or any place do we ever accept anything other than what is best for Oklahoma State and our football program, but when you have 120 guys between the ages of 18 and 23 there is a chance there are going to be some issues. I think as a coach, as a staff, and as a team in general, it is our responsibility to gather all of the information and see what is involved and make the best decision for the young man, and the team, and Oklahoma State University. We've done that, we know what is going on.

Our players are in class and graduating. we have a responsibility to try and correct them and make them better. We give second chances and we want young men to develop. If they continue to go down the wrong path then they won't be here and that is the way it has always been. Unfortunately, these guys are in the public eye and we are aware of that.

One thing we talk to them about is that when they make mistakes they are going to smear their names in the newspaper and that is worse than anything they'll go through themselves. Now in the age of the Internet and Web sites and instant news some of the punishment they will receive, without anything coming from our coaching staff, is worse than anything they could ever receive.

You can get these guys up and run them forever. They can do that because they are good athletes, but what they have to live through with people saying you are a young man that made this mistake and where are you going to go from this point has been great punishment for them. You don't ever have to worry about Oklahoma State football not having discipline or structure.

GP: You have a short period of time with camp starting on August 4 when the players report. Practice starts the next day, school starts on August 17, and then Georgia will be here on September 5. That is a quick camp and start.
MG: It is really interesting that we come into preseason camp and we have less than two weeks when we start practice before our players start school. It is so different from what it has been in the past in that we will have three weeks in school before our first game.

We altered our preseason camp just a little bit. You still get 29 opportunities to practice (before the first game), so from that standpoint it doesn't change much. You have to take into account that you don't get much time during the day because the players are in school, but on the flipside they get into a routine more quickly, so it is not as much of an adjustment before you play the first game.

Ultimately, what it comes down to is that we are moving into a new facility and it is better than it has ever been. It is just beautiful. Our players have to stay focused and work hard. We have to do our best to stay focused and work hard. We need to worry about us and getting better as a team. Then when it is time for us to get ready for Georgia we will pay more attention to them as a team. we are really excited about where we are at. Our coaches have another day of vacation and then we are back at work for the next six months straight.

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