Gundy Addresses Behavior of Players

While members of the media played golf with members of his football staff, Oklahoma State head football coach Mike Gundy was back at his office evaluating situations from the past week to 10 days involving standout safety Victor Johnson and, more recently, defensive end Jamie Blatnick,a two-time Academic All-Big 12 honoree who had never been in trouble.

With the squad reporting later this week on Thursday, Gundy has decisions to make in the near future on whether those two can practice and where and how they will or will not be able to contribute this season.

Johnson was pulled over and arrested on a DUI charge on June 11. Then on July 24, Johnson was charged with obstructing a campus police officer who had been called to his dorm apartment because a resident assistant had noticed a funny smell. The officer found marijuana and Johnson was charged with possession. A source informed Go Pokes that Johnson took a drug test the next day voluntarily and passed.

Then last weekend Blatnick, just several days after representing the program at Big 12 Media Days in Irving , Texas, used a beer bottle to injure former Oklahoma State offensive guard Steve Denning in a bar fight on Washington Street in Stillwater.

Blatnick was charged with felony assault and battery with a dangerous weapon. Denning, who refused to let it go and tried to go at Blatnick outside the bar, had to be tasered and was charged with misdemeanor obstruction. Since the incident, a source told Go Pokes the two former teammates have reconciled their differences and are embarrassed and want the charges to go away. However, now law enforcement and the justice system are involved.

"We're gathering information on both and we're close to Victor because we've been gathering information for about seven days," said Gundy. "My goal is to have enough information when we start practice to give us some guidance on what direction we are going.

"With Jamie it is so early and there will be an enormous amount of information that will come in the next few days. He has to satisfy everything outside of Oklahoma State and Oklahoma State football way before we get involved in it.

"(Both are) serious issues but anything that is labeled a felony, in my opinion, is much different than something that is labeled a misdemeanor. Ultimately, we have to make desicions on what is going on. Once we get all the information then I will visit with the athletic director, and the President's office gets involved," Gundy continued.

"We are going to make the right decision based on the information that we receive, and it is an unfortunate situation in that guy's make a very poor decision."

As previously mentioned, Gundy did speak with Blatnick on Tuesday morning, and when he met with the media after the golf day event he revealed some of the exchange.

"I visited with Jamie some this morning and got up to date with everything we know at this point," added the sixth-year head coach of the Cowboys on a topic he'd rather not have to discuss. "I think he has incredible remorse, but I'm not going to speak for him.

"You asked me to evaluate him and I think he has incredible remorse and I think he is sick to his stomach about making a poor decision like that. He understands that he embarrassed himself, embarrassed the University, and embarrassed the football program and that there will be repercussions for it."

Gundy also revealed that even in the summer when the NCAA limits exposure from coaches to the team, he is not ashamed to reveal that he does convey messages on conduct to his players.

"We say that all the time and it is just like raising your own child," said Gundy. "I'm not afraid to mention that about every two weeks in the summer while they are running on Friday morning at six o'clock I go up and talk to the team for about six or seven minutes and half that conversation is be aware of your surroundings and don't make bad decisions.

"We would like to think that it works and we still have a couple of incidents this summer. Maybe, if we didn't have those conversations then we might have six incidents. It is unfortunate because in most of these situations we deal with they are not bad guys but they make dumb decisions.

"We are willing to do what it takes to do the best thing for Oklahoma State University and this football program and then those individuals because of the decisions that were made they have put themselves at the bottom of the totem pole and that is just the way it works."

Sources have told Go Pokes that the Blatnick charge could be downgraded to a misdemeanor with cooperation from Denning. Blatnick has never been in trouble with the law before. He is a promising student that has plans to go to medical school.

As for the Johnson charges, those two could be ammeded but as they stand right now all charges are misdemeanors.

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