Sunday Rewind: No Time To Mourn

Oklahoma State head coach Mike Gundy seemed like he was in a zone Sunday when he spoke with the media. Gundy almost apologized for not having watched much of his defense yet. Gundy is trusting coordinator Bill Young to dissect and fix those problems. The head coach of the 16th-ranked (Associated Press) and 17th-ranked (USA Today/Coaches) Cowboys is working on the overall pysche of his squad.

"In our profession you have to keep your head up, work hard and try to make your team better," said Gundy, evoking a slightly different version of the same message delivered in the postgame news conference on Saturday following the 45-35 loss to the Houston Cougars.

"I'm sorry that I don't have more on the defense, but I will lead with that tomorrow (Monday) at the news conference and I will have more on Kendall (Hunter) by then," added Gundy. "Part of the defensive issues was us not playing very well on offense early.

"It's hard to gauge that (how hard to get the team back up)," he continued. "The team will get together tomorrow and the guys that are going to play, it is there job to gather the team up and practice hard and prepare. It is our job (as coaches) to prepare them and put them in the right spots.

"Like I said, it is hard to win 14, 13, 12, 11 games. If we put everything in it and we don't win then you can accept that. We need to eliminate our mistakes, penalties, minimize penalties, and go from there."

The Cowboys who saw Houston outplay them in many points in the game also helped the Cougars some with four turnovers that included an interception at the end returned for a clinching score and two fumbles that led to scores.

The Cowboys had eight penalties, including two that helped Cougar scoring drives, one that helped kill a potential Cowboy scoring drive, and another that negated a huge punt by Quinn Sharp that went for a net of 56 yards. The next punt was returned 31 yards into OSU territory and led to a Houston score.

"We have to play more disciplined," said Gundy "I'm not sure how to handle the penalty for leading with the helmet. Watching games I saw more penalties called for big yardage on the helmet to helmet play. We had that called, I think, three times, we had a chop block on the offense, and then the procedure on the punt team that I talked about in postgame and an offside on defense. We just have to coach our guys better not to lead with the helmet."

Asked about a call on the helmet lead penalty that went in the Cowboys favor in the second half when Carson Blackmon was called for a hit on Zac Robinson, Gundy elaborated some. "That is a tough play to call for officials," he said. "It is really difficult. It just happens so fast."

There were no excuses, but on a question from the Tulsa World's Bill Haisten, Gundy could not help but reflect on some of the strange bounces that seemed to all go in the Cougars favor.

"There were a few bad breaks and, unfortunately, that is football," theorized Gundy. "Soko (Taylor Sokolosky) gets drilled on the kickoff, and then the tip ball by (Donald) Booker they catch in the end zone, and then the tip ball at the end on the interception. We just have to keep our priorities in mind. You can't hang your hat on it too long and you have to move on."

Gundy was also asked about the last slant pattern by Dez Bryant that was off the mark by Zac Robinson. It had been open in the first quarter of the game off a Houston blitz call and the pass was off the mark then too. Had it been completed it might have led to a different winning score.

"It's hard to comment on that and I'm not going to lay the blame on any one player," explained the head coach who called the play. "It was not executed like it was supposed to and should have been executed better, and should have been a big play for us because they blitzed on it."

As for plaudits, Gundy said that Josh Cooper played a good game at wide receiver. He caught five passes for 64 yards and his first touchdown (22 yards). He also had some good blocks on the perimeter.

Gundy said the offensive line played "okay, not great." Special teams made plays that kept the Cowboys in the game. He also felt that Keith Toston and Beau Johnson performed well at running back after Hunter was out of the game.

As mentioned earlier, Gundy said he would know more on Hunter's status at the Monday news conference but added this on the Sunday teleconference.

"Kendall, we'll know more on him tonight at training table, but I have to believe it is a significant injury -- a week, two weeks, a month -- because he didn't return to the game and he is a tough guy. I can't say that until I meet with people (medical staff) that have the opportunities to treat our players."

You can bet the lights in the offices on the lower club level of the west end zone will burn late Sunday night. That is a sure thing.

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