Gundy Celebrates No. 42

STILLWATER - Since that rather interesting postgame news conference two years ago following Oklahoma State's 49-45 win over Texas Tech at Boone Pickens Stadium, Oklahoma State head coach Mike Gundy's birthday has been a noteworthy event.

It was again Wednesday (Aug. 12) and Kristen Gundy and the boys -- Gavin, Gunnar, and Gage -- were at Boone Pickens Stadium to spend time and celebrate with their dad after practice. They were also there to hear the team sing "Happy Birthday" to the head coach on his 42nd birthday.

"Actually I feel a younger," said Gundy after practice. "I went further on my run today to make me feel better. We had a good day. It was a good practice for the guys and they competed.

"Really, the weather was perfect because it was 98 degrees down there on the turf and so that is really what we want. It could be that way when we play here on the fifth (against Georgia). It was a good day for the defense. They got some turnovers and were running to the ball well.

"We've had more (see-saw) in practice than we've had in the past. I like our philosophy on defense. I think we need to tackle better. I think we are in really good position in the throwing game. It was an opportunity to continue to work our young players and let them make some plays early in camp.

"verything is going well. We just have to continue to work and we have a double (two-a-days) tomorrow and it is important we have two good practices."

For the fourth day in a row starting quarterback Zac Robinson, while dressed out in full pads, was limited in his participation by the pulled hamstring he is dealing with. In conjunction with Robinson being out we asked Gundy if he found any gray hairs.

"No, I do not look for gray hairs yet," said Gundy. "I do not have that issue yet. I think I may have had a few, but not that many.

"Zac is doing better. We probably won't work him out until after the scrimmage (Saturday). Personally, I'd like to see these two guys (Alex Cate and Brandon Weeden) continue to work the rest of the week and then scrimmage. One reason is to make sure he is up and running when he comes back. Two, this is good teaching and learning experience for these two guys. Usually about two weeks out is when we start working on the other team (Georgia)."

Gundy said along with not being concerned about Robinson, and knowing he'll be ready at full speed in plenty of time to prepare for the opener against Georgia, he is really enjoying seeing the competition for the still not named backup quarterback role.

Junior Alex Cate and professional baseball refugee and sophomore Brandon Weeden have been battling for the backup role for close to two years with Gundy holding off naming who is behind Robinson on the depth chart. Gundy said he would like to make that announcement a couple of weeks before the season opener, but he said that last year.

"It's frustrating but we understand," said Cate, who has played in five games in his career and completed 4 of 5 passes for 56 yards. "I think we both understand that we need to separate from each other and we really haven't done that. We understand that one of us needs to get better and show it."

The two are really getting a chance now. They split the reps with the first two units meaning they get close to 100 plays a day counting seven-on-seven and group work.

"It helps us a bunch, a big teaching tool for sure especially in meetings," said Cate. "We're getting most of the one reps with the number one guys on offense and against the number one defense. It is a big help, a huge help."

"There is no question, there is nothing better for me and Cate than to get reps," said Weeden, who played in his only game last season against Missouri State and completed one of his three passes. "That is the only way we are going to learn.

"I know we made some mistakes, but we're to the point now that we know we make a mistake before the coaches say anything. Our offense is fairly complicated, but with us getting so many reps we are going to be ready in case something happens to Zac unfortunately."

The two players get along, but there is a major difference. Cate just turned 21 this spring, Weeden, the former MLB Draft pick of the New York Yankees, will turn 26 this October and got married this summer. Usually newly married guys gain a few pounds eating their wives cooking whether it is good or bad. Weeden has lost weight and for the first time can see some abs.

"Once camp is over, I'm sure I'll be eating a lot of home cooked meals," added the newlywed. "I got up to about 230 pounds and I felt heavy and I just said I need to get to 210 or 215 pounds. I'm down to around 220 and I feel so much better waking up every day.

"My body is not carrying that extra 10 pounds and as far as in the pocket I feel like I can get out of there and make plays. In our offense the quarterback has to move around a little bit and move his feet."

Cate has always been the faster of the two quarterbacks, but Weeden has a cannon of an arm. Cate would love to be the number two, but he has never rocked the boat, a cardinal sin of a college second team quarterback. It's simple, Cate really likes it at OSU and being a part of the program.

"Oh yeah, when I committed here I really didn't think about playing right away," said Cate. "It was more about the atmosphere, the players, teammates, and the coaches, everything else. I couldn't be happier."

Extra happiness for both would be to hear Gundy call their name as the number two quarterback and heir apparent to the job in the 2010 season. Not only are they both patient but Weeden says after pro baseball no more games except for the one on the field.

"At one point, yes I was (concerned about number two), but honestly in camp, I'm just trying to get better," said Weeden. "When I left baseball I quit trying to figure out what the people above or ahead were thinking or trying to figure out. I can just control what happens between these white lines. If I take care of business then whatever happens, happens."

Gundy and his staff will really find out which players are most physically and mentally sharp Thursday as the Cowboys wrap up their most testing portion of camp with the second and final day of two-a-day workouts. The closed practices begin at 9:00 a.m. and 5:15 p.m.

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