LAWRENCE, Kan. – Mike Gundy just wanted to talk about the game.
The same coach who brings his dog to his weekly news conferences, the same person who couldn’t finish answering questions following his team’s win against South Alabama because he was preoccupied with a smoothie, the same actor who has some of college football’s most well-known hair, wanted to talk about the game.
Oklahoma State’s coach had plenty to say following his team’s 48-28 victory against Kansas on Saturday at David Booth Kansas Memorial Stadium, but talking about his ultimatum he presented media members five days earlier was something he couldn’t fathom.
“Can’t we just beat Kansas,” Gundy pleaded to the scrum of reporters in his postgame news conference. “Let’s get off of the stuff that drives this country and is taking it in the ground, which is garbage. Let’s talk about football. We don’t want to chase ambulances, man.
“Let’s have some fun.”
Possibly Gundy wanted to have fun because his team beat Kansas. Yes, the same Jayhawk team that lost to Nicholls State this season and has been at the doormat of the FBS for a decade. For Gundy and his team, the victory likely was fun after a deplorable week.
In case you missed it, let’s recap.
On Monday at his weekly news conference, Gundy announced Jalen McCleskey, a senior receiver who is sixth in career receptions as a Cowboy, would redshirt and transfer, using the NCAA’s new rule that allows players to play in up to four games while maintaining redshirt status.
On Tuesday, before members of the media got to gather and meet with players, a member of OSU’s communications staff gathered the media and gave them an ultimatum: don’t ask players about McCleskey, and if you do, you will losing player availability for the rest of the season. Those were Gundy’s rules: break them and reporters risked losing a cog that’s vital to our performance and ability to work.
Because of a series of tweets from an OSU journalism professor, what happened after is pretty well documented. You can read more about that here in a John Hoover column.
Here’s a full transcript of Gundy’s interaction with media following the victory in Kansas:
Media: Can you talk us through the decision to pass that down to us on Tuesday?
Gundy: I gave you guys all the information you needed, and I didn’t feel comfortable with you guys talking to the players, based on, that’s not something they should have to comment on. That’s a decision I make, and that’s their buddy, so I just wasn’t comfortable with it. You guys could’ve asked, if you wanted to. I didn’t keep you from asking.
Well, the word was if we did…
Well, I know, but I’m not that powerful. You still could’ve asked. But anyway, I didn’t feel comfortable with those guys. I just didn’t want to put them on the spot. It’s almost like being in school, and you have a kid get in trouble, and then they ask the other kid what he did, and then if he rats him out, then he’s a snitch to his buddies, and if he doesn’t rat him out, the teacher gets mad at him.
If you had to do it over again, would you get them together and say, “Look, they’re gonna ask you about it. Let’s have a message that’s on the same page, no comment, talk about guys who are here, move forward”?
What I’d really like to do is talk about the football game and get off the stuff that really doesn’t matter.
It affected the reporters who were there trying to do their job. It mattered Tuesday, and this is our first chance to ask you about it, so that’s why we’re asking.
Again, you could’ve asked the question.
I don’t know if that’s the impression they got.
There’s freedom of press still going on in the country. You can ask any question you want.
We were told we could ask the question, but if we did, then we wouldn’t be able to talk to players for…
Are we really gonna talk about this? We’re still having a good time. Can’t we just beat Kansas? Let’s get off of the stuff that drives this country and is taking it in the ground, which is garbage. Let’s talk about football. We don’t want to chase ambulances, man. Let’s have some fun.
Injuries continue to pile up
As if the Cowboys didn’t have enough injuries, more were hurt on Saturday and some are going to be out for the season.
Before the game, news came out that defensive tackle Darrion Daniels didn’t travel and that he injured his finger and it would require surgery, the Tulsa World’s Mark Cooper reported.
Gundy confirmed the news after the game and said the senior would miss the remainder of the season. He is eligible to redshirt and return to OSU, if he should choose.
Left tackle Arlington Hambright went out of the game in the first half with an undisclosed injury, though he was wearing a boot on his left foot after the game. Right tackle Tevin Jenkins slid to left tackle while Shane Richards slotted into Jenkins’ spot.
Calvin Bundage and Dillon Stoner didn’t play after suffering injuries against Texas Tech. Their status is unknown.
Hill ties Big 12 record
Junior running back Justice Hill is making his mark on OSU and Big 12 history.
On Saturday, Hill became the ninth OSU running back to eclipse the 3,000-yard rushing mark for his career. With a touchdown in the third quarter, he also tied the Big 12 record for rushing touchdowns in consecutive games by a running back. Hill has scored in 11 straight games, dating to last season’s victory against West Virginia.
Hill finished with 31 carries for 189 yards and the score. He had 46 carries total in OSU’s first four games.
-When Justin Phillips recovered a fumble he forced, it marked the 32nd consecutive game OSU’s defense has forced a turnover.
-Receiver Tyron Johnson’s 64-yard touchdown catch was the longest of his career.
-Tylan Wallace finished with 104 receiving yards, which is the fourth straight game for him to achieve the feat. Wallace joins Justin Blackmon as the only OSU underclassmen to achieve the feat.
-Cornelius has thrown touchdowns to eight different receivers this season. Johnson and Wolf caught their first touchdowns of the season on Saturday.