STILLWATER — Monday was the first day the Cowboys tied this spring.
A week into Oklahoma State’s spring camp, Mike Gundy met with reporters ahead of Monday’s practice to discuss how things are going with the team, his new contract and renovations at come from the stadium.
“So we had a good first week. Obviously we weren’t in pads, we will be from now on. So we’re excited to see our guys progressing and playing a bit more of a football-related game than what we did last week. So we’ve accomplished a lot, more setup last week, so now we can line up and play and compete, and try to get the guys ready to play in Game 1 next year. So we’re excited to know where we are, looking forward to training now with pads from now on.
On the balance between the “raw” tackle and the full shot
“Well, we’re in the buzz. We don’t really practice full-go anymore. We are not attacking the ground. So many of these rules have changed over the last two or three years and it has never really affected us. We haven’t tackled the floor in years. We are therefore a shock team. We play at full speed, but we don’t go to the ground. And we think it helps us to see the big picture and try to do our best to simulate a game.
On if there’s anything unique that stands out with Derek Mason on the training ground
“I like his enthusiasm. I mean, you can see him right now, and he’s very vocal and I think players are migrating to him. They love it. I hoped that his experience as a head coach and as a long-time coordinator would be to our advantage. I think it is happening. Am I sure? No, but it’s been three days. But I like his encouraging style of coaching.
On whether young players stood out early
“Oh crap. You know it’s so hard without pads. It’s just hard without pads, because we tell them most of the time not to do anything. We’ll know a lot more in two weeks, give them a lucky this week to play a bit and then next week we might start to see some guys progressing that we think can help us in the opener next year.”
On managing a limited number of offensive linemen and practicing in the pads
“Well, let’s practice. We’ll hold our breath and practice. I don’t believe in practicing half speed or three quarter speed. I don’t think it’s directly related to the game. It’s a risk, but a risk I’m willing to take, because I think it’s important in the progress of our team.
On Gabe Brown and Other New High School Players
“So the high school players who came in early are in good shape. Since they are in good condition, it gives them a chance when we start practicing in the pads. He’s at a position where it’s almost hard to say anything about his progress without being in the pads.
On Garret Rangel
“Well, he seems to be fine. Again, the next two weeks for these young guys, how they develop when we start moving at full speed and playing real football a bit more, that will give us a better any idea where these guys are at.
On the next step for young receivers
“Well, we will take advantage of it. It was scary last year as you all know but we will take advantage of it as they had live reps. Nothing replaces live reps and experience, and that’s what they’ve earned. So now they should play faster in practice and the game should slow down for them. Last year they scrambled to line up and work.
On the biggest difference in the wide receiver room
“Well, I hope we won’t be so thin. We had a few problems before the season, which is scary. Hopefully we won’t have that problem and we’ll have more depth and we won’t have to face young players who aren’t ready to step onto the pitch.
On Jason Taylor
“Well, Jason has experience. He played a lot. So now he has to grab it by the reins and give himself a chance to really perform at a high level and lead for the other high school guys.
What the Cowboy Back Stance Looks Like This Spring
“Well, you know, Cassidy is back, [Blaine Green] is back. So we have to find quality representatives among these guys who have experience, and we have to stay healthy. This is the starting point, and then we progress from this point. At some point in August, we’ll have to decide how much of an 11-man squad versus a 10-man squad we might end up being as the season progresses.
If he plans to use Blaine Green more in that Cowboy Back role this season
“Some, yes. It has limitations in some areas, and there are some areas it doesn’t.
On his updated contract
“Well, that was months ago from President (Kayse) Shrum and Chad Weiberg. As I mentioned last week, they took care of everyone in our building, that’s just the last you heard of. So like I said a week ago, I’m very pleased with how they handled the situation and diagnosed it to a point that will last for years to come.
On how stadium updates play into the Athletic Department’s level of commitment to football
“I don’t know much about it [the updates]. I only know what the cosmetic side of it would be. It’s more from Chad [Weiberg] and Kyle Waters. They went through all the developments, the changes to our facilities and the stadium. The aesthetic side of some exterior exteriors and the area that I’m involved in, we’re not there yet. But I know they’ve had a lot of meetings, and I know they’re doing a lot of different things. I really don’t know what it is.
“There are structural issues that they are updating in there. We’re in an arms race for facilities, aren’t we? We have excellent facilities. They work really well, but it’s not enough because everyone is building something new. So we have to build new things. This is the direction we are taking right now.
On if the reduction in the number of seats concerns it
“I think they made a great decision keeping our capacity at 60 or 58. [thousand], whatever it is. I don’t know who looked into the future, but one of the problems we could all face is live streaming, right? It’s too easy to watch a game. You can watch a game on your phone. You can stay home. You can tailgate. You can put a 80 inch big screen in your tent. You get free food. You get free drinks. You don’t have to go to the stadium. Eventually, I think we’ll all have to fight fewer people going to games. If we can fill this place, sell these suites, financially, it will keep our athletic department very stable, and it looks good on Saturday.
On who he is trying to follow in an ‘arms race’ of facilities
“You try to keep up with everybody, but you’re going to have limits, just depending on the budgets and the direction a sporting department and ADs can go. I guess my best response to that would be the teams we’re playing against. We are recruiting are mainly in this area. You would like to be ahead of them. Can someone build something new somewhere else and be better than you? Sure. You can build a new facility here and in two years, someone another will build a better one than yours anyway.I think there is a middle ground in staying involved in the race and not straying too far from your league that you waste your support department’s money. sports like crazy.
About Jaden Bray
“He just has more experience. He feels more comfortable. It’s easier for him to train and endure the durability of training and playing at a high level, which is very important because you have to train at full speed to be able to function.
On if this team is having fun in training like last season’s team
“Yeah, they’re fine. They train hard. We were very lucky. We have no problems. Our guys love to play. They practice well. Their team chemistry seems to be good at this point. We will know more in August. It’s too early, but they’re training hard. Hopefully we can keep everyone healthy and get some good quality reps over the next four weeks.
On Spencer Sander
“Spencer had a really good year last year. He continues to do well in training. His leadership is growing every day and every year. We’re happy he’s here. We think it’s great to “to have for a few more years. He understands our system now. He’s had a lot of reps, so he just needs to keep growing and leading for the team to rally around him.”
On the depth behind Dominic Richardson
“Well, the guys we have here. We have the two young freshmen [Ollie Gordon and CJ Brown]. [Jaden Nixon] is here. We just have to see how it plays out over the next two weeks. Without being in the pads, this position is difficult to assess. We’re just going to watch them during Spring Ball and make a decision. I don’t think there will be anyone at the spring ball, just jumping up and taking someone else’s place. We will see how they evolve. If we change position, it should happen, it would be around mid-August.