On Monday, the Sooners got the bad news that star running back Adrian Peterson had not healed enough from a broken collarbone to play against Bedlam Rival Oklahoma State. That put all eyes on his talented back-up, Allen Patrick, who is trying to get back into the line-up after suffering a sprained ankle. In the meantime, freshman Chris Brown has established himself as a quality tailback after rushing for 169 yards against Baylor.
Former OU quarterback Cale Gundy has the luxury of coaching all this running back talent, and there are three other running backs that we haven't even mentioned yet in junior Jacob Gutierrez and freshmen Mossis Madu and DeMarco Murray. So even if AD and AP can't go, the Sooners will still have a running back threat when they travel to Stillwater to take on OSU.
One sideline to the OU/OSU battle in recent years has been the fact that the brothers Gundy have been on opposite sidelines. Mike Gundy is quite possibly the greatest quarterback in OSU history and the current head coach of the Cowboys, while Cale is one of the best quarterbacks in OU history and the current running back coach at OU.
It is a unique situation to say the least, but one that doesn't draw much of a comment from the Sooners' Gundy on the OUInsider Two Minute Drill.
JH: You lose your top two running backs and you come back with two more, including a freshman, and still have an outstanding running back. How are you doing it?
CG: "I don't know, I don't want to sit here and pat myself on the back. We have a lot of players on this team who are good players. That is your job as a coach — to go out and recruit players who are capable of playing here and capable of performing at a high level and a championship level. Those are the kind of players that we want to bring in here. Then is it also our jobs as coaches to make sure that those guys are ready to play on Saturday in case things happen. Chris has done a good job of preparing himself throughout the season and he has stepped up to the challenge."
JH: Nobody would argue that you are doing a great job of coaching your players well through the transition of high school to the D-1 level. But there is a process isn't there?
CG: "Yeah, but skill guys have a better chance to come in and play early out of high school. For bigger guys and offensive linemen, it is a little bit harder in my opinion. You can come in out of high school if you weigh 190, 195 or 205 pounds at running back and if you run a 4.4, whether you are running in high school or college, you are going to be able to do the same thing. You are going to be able to run the same speed, it is just can you handle the mental part of it. They also have to make sure they are physical out there. Some of them can and some of them can't. I have been fortunate to have some good running backs."
JH: How did Allen Patrick look today at practice? Do you think he can play on Saturday?
CG: "I hope so, I hope so. He practiced all practice. Every day is going to go by and he is going to practice every practice. Then he is going to get rehab that night and the next morning and see how he feels after a full practice. If he doesn't, then he doesn't because I am comfortable with the guys that I have in my backfield right now."
JH: Have you talked to Mike this week or heard what he said about your coaching at his press conference today?
CG: "No, I haven't talked to him. But I heard what he said. I like that. That was pretty good (chuckle). No, I am having fun with it."
JH: I know you two have great love for each other, but both of you are very competitive with each other aren't you? It is a rivalry, right?
CG: "We have always competed against each other in everything that we have always done. I was always fortunate that he allowed me to be on the same basketball court with his buddies that were four years older than me, or the baseball fields or whatever we were doing. Football games across the street, I was able to grow up and play and compete against guys who were four and five years older than me. He allowed me to do that, but we always competed in our own way.
"If we were playing a game of football across the street, I was the quarterback of one team and he was the quarterback of the other. This game is different because this game is not about us, and it never has been. This game is about two programs, Oklahoma and Oklahoma State, and it has nothing to do with him or me. Maybe Mike a little bit more because he is their head coach, but we don't look at it that way."
JH: So you don't think about the fact that your brother is on the other sideline? He is just an OSU Cowboy to you?
CG: "No, I don't. After I go out there and say hi to him before the game, I probably don't even think about it or even know that he is over there until after the game. Maybe between a timeout I look over there and I see him over there. Again, this game is not about us."
JH: Are you disappointed in the news today that AD will not play against OSU?
CG: "I would have liked to have seen him play. He is going to play sooner or later. It has been a while since he has played and I have to get ready who I have to get ready to play. I know for him he would have liked to have played, but we will be alright."
JH: What are your thoughts on OSU and what they do defensively in trying to stop the run?
CG: "OSU is getting better talent-wise. They fly around to the ball. They are very athletic, but not as big up front overall. A couple of guys are, but they are a faster team with bigger guys in the secondary. They have younger guys in their linebacker crew.
"They are going to try to swarm to the ball and we know that. We know that Stillwater is a very challenging place to go and play and we are looking forward to playing a great game and competing against those guys."
Two Minute Drill: Cale Gundy
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