Head Coach for the Oklahoma State Cowboys Mike Gundy sat down with media today to talk about the upcoming football season, the Big 12 sticking to football, and where his team stands despite headlining controversy during the offseason.
This was the first time Gundy has talked to media in 131 days.
The defining word for the Cowboys moving forward: DIRECTION
The Big Ten Conference announced on Aug. 11 the cancellation of all Fall sports followed by the Pac-12 postponing Fall sports as well. The Big 12, however, came forward shortly after to announce teams would continue on with football as planned adopting the 9+1 scheduling format.
“The lack of direction has been the most difficult for the players,” Gundy said. “We have to play the hand that we’ve been dealt. Once the Big 12 said we’re playing football, it changed the program. Everyone is in a great frame of mind now.”
With the Big 12 giving the green light to play the 2020 season, Gundy had high accolades for his team’s mentality during all the uncertainty and said Fall camp showed great success for his guys’ health and energy approaching a revised season.
The Cowboys wrapped up week two of practice on Saturday, Aug. 15, and Gundy said his defense was something he took great pride in as a lot of practice shifted focus to that end of the ball.
“I’m really excited about our defense,” Gundy said. “I like our schemes and the attitude of our players. There have been plenty of guys getting snaps on that end of the ball in practice, which is how it should be.”
With today being the first day of classes on OSU’s campus, Gundy spoke on the players’ plans for attending in-person classes as OSU has opted to remain an on-campus setup for students to attend school despite the pandemic remaining at large.
“We’ve highlighted all the different areas in protecting these guys from the virus,” Gundy said. “75 percent of our guys will be 9-12 or 12-15 hours online.”
Gundy noted that there will still be guys on campus taking classes, but not nearly as many guys as there have been in previous years and that virtual classes are being set into place for his team to take advantage of.
Gundy also said new protocols for masks, different meeting rooms, living arrangements for the players, and the way they eat meals together have been put into place to better prevent the virus from circulating throughout the football program.
“Our medical team with doctors, trainers and staff have been fantastic,” Gundy said. “They’ve put us in a position that’s somewhat unbelievable with where we’re at right now.”
As students flock back into Stillwater, videos have surfaced online of places like Washington Street and the Stillwater bars overcrowded with people, and the videos have created quite the uproar from football players, as well as other students.
Yup.. I’ve decided.. I’m not going to class monday.. https://t.co/bPh9UWGk70
— Tre Sterling (@sterling__trey) August 16, 2020
“We want a season” yeah ight….. https://t.co/SDqiRRsvWB
— Collin Clay (@collinclay_) August 16, 2020
Live from Stillwater, Oklahoma tonight ladies and gentleman.
— Ryan Novozinsky (@ryannovo62) August 16, 2020
Gundy declined to comment on the videos surfaced and requested to just stick to talking football.
Things are looking up for the Cowboys despite offseason tension involving Gundy’s OAN shirt and players like Chuba Hubbard taking to social media to address problems within the program, and when asked about the encounter, Gundy kept it short saying he’s continuing to listen to his players and strives to push forward making the atmosphere of his program better by the day.
“We’re getting back into a routine,” Gundy said. “I listened to what the players had to say, took everything into account, made adjustments and moved forward. It’s been awesome here in the last six weeks since that time.”
The Cowboys are back in full swing as the team prepares for its first game in Stillwater on Sept. 12.
OSU will host the Tulsa Golden Hurricane as its only non-conference game of the season before starting Big 12 play against the West Virginia Mountaineers on Sept. 26.