Gundy on Moving On, He Has To Do It or His Team and Staff Won't
STILLWATER -- Well somethings will never change and Oklahoma State fans, a high percentage of them, the ones that really care and invest in the football program from an emotional standpoint are p***** off. Heck, they should be. I can tell you the players and coaches leaving the field were frustrated. You pout so much of your time and energy into something then it fails, if you aren't frustrated and disappointed then you need to get involved in something else.
I was frustrated and disappointed. The talking about it on my radio show was therapeutic for me. Just like I think it was for Mike Gundy when he hopped on the Zoom call with the beat media on Monday morning and I promptly asked him how Sunday night practice went?
"Well first off, practice would be about like you'd expect it to be," the head coach answered. "The only guy that was in a good mood was me and that's because I'm the head coach and that's my job. Players are down, coaches are down. Coaches are worse than the players. Things will get better in the morning, which is now. Guys are going back to work. That's kind of like life, you pick yourself up and keep going."
Later, Bill Haisten from the Tulsa World revisited the topic. If Gundy is the head coach and has to put on the happy face when deep down even he is frustrated. He was in the office before sun up Sunday morning reviewing every play of every phase of the 41-13 loss to Oklahoma. Who is it that picks him up?
"You guys," Gundy said surprising most of the people on the Zoom call, all media. "You're all I've got. It's lonely at the top, man. Kids at the house, they won't talk to me. The old lady (wife Kristen) won't talk to me. Family won't talk to me. I probably don't even get to go to Thanksgiving. I'll tell you this right now, yaw'll think I'm joking, but it's lonely at the top, man. I've done this a long time. I'm in year 16 and I don't know why anybody would keep me this many years. I've said this a lot, and I'll say it again, my job is to look at the effort and the game plans that we have put together and how I feel about our football team. If effort becomes a problem and attitude ever becomes a problem, we have an issue that has to be fixed."
Gundy said the effort was good and even on the last series of the game he watched the video and felt effort was not a problem. He did say on Saturday and even more emphatic on Monday that game plans were a problem. He started with the finger pointed at him because as he has said many times, he is responsible for approving the plans.
The defense may have been too far gone in aiming to stop the counter. The counter OT is an Oklahoma favorite and it hurt the Cowboys in 2019. A good example of Saturday was they stopped counter on the first play for no gain, but that screen on the second play went for 45-yards. Of course, that also included three missed tackles on Rhamondre Stevenson.
Special teams didn't have a bad mark throughout the evening.
Offense, you get the sense that Gundy may have wanted a plan that compensated more for the Pokes biggest issue, the offensive line. It got worse with Oklahoma's ferocious play on the defensive line and right tackle and top-rated offensive lineman Teven Jenkins going out with a back injury. Gundy said that Jenkins has had lower back issues previously and along with kicker Alex Hale (knee and ACL) was going to have an MRI done Monday.
"We're playing with a young offensive line. Guys that don't have a lot of experience and reps. You can call it how you want," Gundy said absolving the quarterbacks for their combined 15-of-40 passing performance for 168-yards and the total offense of 246-yards. "Charlie Dickey (offensive line coach) is doing a good job and guys are playing hard and competing. We're trying to piece some things together and get those guys up and going."
One of the major fan complaints that I've heard since Saturday has been why did Gundy punt on fourth and eight at the Oklahoma 39-yard-line down 34-13? Gundy answered that Monday with kind of preservation for his quarterbacks.
"I think at that point they (Oklahoma) were pretty much in rush the quarterback mode," Gundy explained. "We had a young offensive line and we were struggling to protect the quarterback even with a three-man pressure. They were dropping eight a lot and there wasn't really a lot of places to go. We punted down — is that where we punted them down to the 1-yard line? I can't remember. Just a call on my part based on the flow of the game."
They did punt it to the one where receiver Dillon Stoner downed it. Unfortunately, the Oklahoma offense went 99-yards in nine plays to make it 41-13.
"I didn't think we did a very good job of coaching, more so now than what I thought after the game on Saturday night," Gundy concluded. "I thought the players played hard and competed, I thought we could have done a better job of coaching."
Is Gundy ready to give up, ready to quit? He says absolutely not.
"Sometimes I'm not a very popular guy," he said in reference to the corrections he has to make. He does correct and blame himself. "It is what it is, but that's not going to worry me I don't care. can't stay at home, I can't retire and I can't not do anything. I don't know if I'm any good at being a coach, but I'm probably not good at doing anything else. I'm not good at farming. I lose money farming. So the point being is, that this is what I do, this is how I do it, this is what I enjoy doing, and I'll be honest with you I like having my back against the wall. I enjoy that. I woke up this morning at 5:17 (this morning) and I was at work by 6:10. If we would have won, I probably wouldn't have got up until 6:10 (this morning) and I'd have been at work at eight.
"I like what I do, I like the young people, I like the coaches, I like our staff. At some point maybe the people around here will think, 'Hey, somebody can do a helluva better job at Oklahoma State than coach Gundy.' They'll probably can me and then I'll go off and coach junior high football or something. As far as me saying that it's burned me out, I'm really a long ways away from being burned out."
The attitude is good and it has to be. Texas Tech and Matt Wells in his second season are having a tough go at it this year at 3-5, 2-5 in the Big 12 and they'd love to come to Stillwater and win one on Saturday.