Everything you need to know from Mike Gundy’s Monday press conference

Everything you need to know from Mike Gundy’s Monday press conference

Is it Gunnar Gundy's turn to start? How good is South Alabama? OSU's coach has some answers.

Ben Hutchens

By Ben Hutchens

| Sep 11, 2023, 2:53pm CDT

Ben Hutchens

By Ben Hutchens

Sep 11, 2023, 2:53pm CDT

STILLWATER — Mike Gundy spent 32 minutes with reporters ahead of Oklahoma State’s Saturday home clash against South Alabama (6 p.m. ESPN+). Here’s what you need to know:

Quarterback rotation not decided: Gundy isn’t just following a pattern with his three-man quarterback rotation. In OSU’s first game against Central Arkansas, freshman Garret Rangel started and was followed by senior Alan Bowman while sophomore Gunnar Gundy closed. In week two against Arizona State, Bowman started, followed by Gunnar Gundy and Rangel.

So does that mean it’s Gunnar Gundy’s turn to start against South Alabama? Not necessarily.

“Well, we got to practice this week,” Mike Gundy said. “We watch them practice and if we don’t feel good about somebody, then that’s different. But if they all practice well and we think they’re prepared then we’ll play them and then we’ll make that decision (the order of who plays) in the latter part of the week.”

On South Alabama: Mike Gundy spoke highly of the Jaguars, who were picked second in the Sun Belt’s west division in the preseason coaches’ poll. South Alabama is 1-1 this season, losing the season-opener 37-17 at Tulane, at the time the No. 24 team in the AP Poll. Last week, South Alabama returned home and beat Southeastern Louisiana, 35-17.

“This is the most physical team we’ve played,” Gundy said. “This is the best team we’ll play up to this point. They’re physical. They’ve done a nice job. They’re a very aggressive defense. They want to hit you in the mouth.”

The Cowboys will continue to tackle in practice this week: Just like he did last week in his press conference, Gundy brought up his concerns with OSU’s tackling. His observation today was OSU needs to be more consistent.

According to Pro Football Focus, OSU missed 16 tackles in week one and 22 in week two.

“We didn’t tackle very good out there in Tempe early in the game and then we did tackle better later,” Gundy said. “We have a plan for that. We’re going to tackle in practice this week again, and hopefully we get a little better each week. And I said that last week. I thought we got a little better out there tackling but we still need to get better.”

Gundy said the only way he knows how to fix tackling in games is to do it in practice. Last week, the Cowboys ditched the “tag off” tackling system they’d used in preseason camp and are sticking with the more physical alternative. But there will still be precautions taken to reduce injury risk.

“Well, we’re not going to go all the way to the ground,” Gundy said. “But we can get into a thud mode. And we want to avoid sideways tackling where you start leg-whipping people and all that, but we need to be more physical.” 

Something fun: Say what you want about Gundy, but his press conferences are usually entertaining. He was asked about which coaches he leaned on in 2019 when deciding to start then-freshman quarterback Spencer Sanders over senior Dru Brown. Gundy said then-offensive coordinator Sean Gleeson was the guy he consulted with to make the decision…kind of.

“So you go in there, act like you’re listening to (Gleeson), walk out, and do what the hell you want to do,” Gundy said.

The clip is worth a watch:

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Ben Hutchens and his twin brother Sam cover Oklahoma State for the Sellout Crowd. After a decade of living in the state, Ben finally feels justified in calling himself an Oklahoman. You can reach him at [email protected] and continue the dialogue @Ben_ Hutchens_ on social media.

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