More Monday Gundy on Illingworth and Some Injuries on the Offensive Line

Robert Allen

STILLWATER -- Monday is a day off and it is Mike Gundy's morning to answer questions from the media on his weekly Zoom call. After the 16-7 survival win over Tulsa last Saturday, some questions were fun and some not so fun. Some were easy to answer and other harder. 

As you might expect, there were plenty of questions about how the staff landed on the second quarterback and finally, the third in freshman Shane Illingworth, the four-star quarterback from Norco, Calf. with a family that stretches into Oklahoma, who came in late in the third quarter and was 4-for-5 passing for 74-yards and led the Cowboys to their final 13 points in the game. 

My vantage on the sideline showed a 6-5, 220-pound quarterback that was more than up for the assignment. It was clearly not too big a moment for him and back on the sidelines had a comfortable smile that showed he was just having a good time. 

"I thought he was composed and executed very well," Gundy said. "I thought he had good demeanor to handle the situation. I don't know that we could have asked him to do more than he did, so we were pleased with his play."

Illingworth's only incompletion was also a big play. Most young quarterbacks thrown in a situation like that in a game like that might press. The lone incompletion came in the fourth quarter on a drive to the field goal that made the score 13-7. He saw there was nothing there and threw the ball away.

"It's okay to throw it away and play another down, obviously instead of taking a loss or forcing it into coverage," Gundy said of a lesson some quarterbacks learn the hard way. So, for the most part for the situation that he was in, he played well."

Gundy, as Zach Lancaster reported earlier, said that starting quarterback Spencer Sanders is in a boot and will be evaluated Tuesday before practice. Gundy was not as optimistic about redshirt freshman right guard Cole Birmingham, who limped to the locker room in the second quarter to be X-rayed and never returned. Another offensive lineman was missing the second half as starting right tackle Hunter Anthony got caught in the pile late in the first half and was limping when he went to the locker room at halftime. He did not come back either. 

Teven Jenkins (73) and Josh Sills (72) are survivors on the offensive line as they played the entire game.© Rob Ferguson-USA TODAY Sports

"Well, we'll find out on him (Birmingham). His was a little more serious," Gundy said and never being asked about Anthony. "We'll know about all of them, because they all get put in boots, but his (Birmingham) was more than what the quarterback's (injury) was."

The offensive line the second half was, from left to right, tackle Jake Springfield, guard Josh Sills, center Ry Schneider, guard Hunter Woodard, and tackle Teven Jenkins. They got better as the half wore on. There were no sacks after the 10-minute mark of the third quarter and the running game with a switch to more gap scheme runs improved dramatically in the fourth quarter. 

"We were just below average based on musical chairs. It's extremely difficult, you know, you can call it like you want, but when you move people around that much the continuity is difficult," explained Gundy. "Hopefully, we can get set in what we need, and guys can get quality reps this week and we can have them where we want them based on where we think it gives us the best chance for success. When you have six different people moving multiple spots in a game, you're not going to have as much continuity and consistency as you want."

Offensive line coach Charlie Dickey has a lot to deal with this week. It's a good thing that many folks up in Manhattan, Kansas where he coached offensive line at K-State believe he is a magician. This situation may call for one. Certainly, a doctor is involved.

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Comments (3)
No. 1-3

"More on Monday" should be a weekly piece..... excellent.

I thought all along that we could overcome some adversity and still win the game, but my goodness... starting QB and 2 OLinemen (the key concerns on the season) all go out in the first half, plus the TO and 6 sacks.... and we still pull it out!!

Love those Cowboy


Lineman shuffling and continuity (or Reps) is sometimes offered as an excuse and other times it is portrayed as a masterpiece of coaching genius.

High Def  Poke
High Def Poke

I like Illingworth, he reminds me some of Rudolph in that he looks to take care of the ball and limit mistakes. You can see why he had the four star accolades coming out of high school.