STILLWATER – Mike Gundy wants his players to vote.
About two months ago, the Oklahoma State football coach made all of his players register to vote. Although he can’t control whether they exercise that right, he wants them to know the importance of voting and what it means for their future.
That was one of the highlights of Gundy’s weekly news conference. The Cowboys travel to Norman for a matchup with Oklahoma at 2:30 p.m. Saturday. Here are some takeaways from what Gundy had to say on Monday.
Spying Kyler Murray
Kyler Murray had the task of replacing a Heisman Trophy Winner. With his play thus far, he may just snag himself a Heisman.
Murray has been one of the country’s most electrifying players this season, terrorizing offenses with his blistering speed while beating them deep with his talented arm and tantalizing accuracy. The Cowboys have struggled defending mobile quarterbacks this season. At times against Texas, they spied Sam Ehlinger. When Charlie Brewer came into the game for Baylor on Saturday, he found running lanes when the pocket collapsed.
Murray has been excellent at finding defensive weaknesses this season, whether it’s a designed running scheme or a scramble. This season, he has 574 yards and seven scores on 82 attempts.
Gundy said teams can be effective using a QB spy, but there are cons associated with focusing so much on one player.
“If you were to spy him, it would have to be with somebody who is really fast,” Gundy said. “He runs really good. But if you spy him, you’re giving up something somewhere else, so you’ve got to have a really good plan and a good reason for it.”
Lack of discipline
Gundy gets frustrated when his kids don’t take out the trash that is sitting by the door. He shares that same frustration with his team when they commit penalties week after week … after week.
OSU ranks 121st in penalty yards after nine games, averaging 77.67 yards per contest. After a 12 penalty, 133-yard performance against Baylor exposed said weakness, Gundy said he continues to look for a solution.
“We’re not a good enough team to get away with (penalties),” Gundy said. “It has been talked about, it has been preached.
“If I lose a game and I get beat, I’m good. That’s a part of life. If I give a game away, in my opinion, that I don’t play the way I should or don’t play smart football, I’ve got a problem with that.”
Gundy continued on the subject, saying there are mistakes in the game the coaches make that aren’t on the players. He said there are scheme mistakes, like the punt Baylor blocked in the second quarter, that falls on the coaches. But the bad penalties that continue happening because of lack of discipline can’t fall on the coaches.
Gundy said if he had a solution to the problem, he would have implemented one.
“There’s no easy answer, but we will come up with one.”
Looking for leadership
It’s hard to get OSU’s star players to say more than a few words when asking them a question.
Justice Hill and Taylor Cornelius are two of OSU’s biggest faces on the football field. Yet on the field and off, it’s hard to get either one to talk.
Gundy mentioned how OSU is lacking a vocal leader. Last season, OSU had no shortage with Mason Rudolph, Tre Flowers and others always voicing concerns and helping.
This season, the Cowboys continue to look for someone to step up.
“The peers are more powerful than the coaches,” Gundy said.
Gundy talked about how the coaches can only say so much, pointing out how sometimes it has to be the players stepping up to help fix mistakes. He talked about Brandon Pettigrew, a former OSU tight end who Gundy said helped start the program, and how Pettigrew was the best leader OSU has ever had.
This OSU team doesn’t have a leader like that, but Gundy said Tyron Johnson and J.D. King are two guys who have made an effort to step up with their voices. Injured defensive tackle Darrion Daniels traveled with the team to Waco, Texas, and Gundy said his leadership ability is paramount. Yet otherwise, OSU is lacking in vocal powers from within.
When Gundy was discussing leadership, his dog, Kenzie, began barking at something in the room next to where Gundy was speaking in the Boone Pickens Stadium press box. Ironic the dog will speak up and not a player.
– Oklahoma State’s Senior Day game against West Virginia will be in the six-day selection for a kick time. Kickoff will be announced Saturday night or Sunday.
DETAILS TO KNOW
What: Oklahoma State (5-4, 2-4) at No. 6 Oklahoma (8-1, 5-1)
Where: Oklahoma Memorial Stadium (Norman, Oklahoma)
When: 2:30 p.m. CT Saturday
TV: ABC (Steve Levy, Brian Griese and Todd McShay)
Radio: OSU broadcast: 96.1 KXY, Cowboy Radio Network (Dave Hunziker, John Holcomb and Robert Allen); OU broadcast: 107.7 KRXO, Sooner Radio Network (Toby Rowland, Teddy Lehman, Gabe Ikard, Chris Plank and Merv Johnson)