Mike Gundy to Cowboys after 2-2 start: If you pout ‘stay home or go in the portal’

Mike Gundy to Cowboys after 2-2 start: If you pout ‘stay home or go in the portal’

Mike Gundy challenged his players with tough coaching during the bye, and OSU beat Kansas State. Now, OSU’s attention needs to shift from keeping faith to keeping focus against No. 23 Kansas.

Sam Hutchens

By Sam Hutchens

| Oct 13, 2023, 11:40am CDT

Sam Hutchens

By Sam Hutchens

Oct 13, 2023, 11:40am CDT

STILLWATER — Two years ago, Oklahoma State beat Kansas 55-3 to notch its 12th consecutive win against the Jayhawks.

Streaks like that may be entering endangerment, if not extinction. 

No. 23 KU has improved mightily. The Cowboys have come down from their lofty 2021 peak. OSU’s 37-16 loss in Lawrence last year marked a new era with principles that OSU coach Mike Gundy has worked hard to drill into his assistants and players. 

“There’s no freebies during the season anymore,” Gundy said. “I don’t think there’s going to be freebies from now on, with NIL, the portal and the parity that’s been created. This is the NFL now. You can win by 30 one week and turn around and lose by 30 the next.”

After losses to South Alabama and Iowa State, Gundy aimed to summon intensity in his team. 

“I told the team this,” Gundy said. “I don’t give a damn that we lost a game. If you want to pout about it then don’t come to practice. Just stay home. Or go in the portal. I don’t care.”

Nose tackle Justin Kirkland said the tough coaching worked.

“He was like, ‘We’ve got to come out and play with more energy’,” Kirkland said. “I think as a team we decided we’re going to have some pride in this program, our team. We went out on Friday and got it done.”

After OSU beat Kansas State 29-21 on Friday, the Cowboys’ jubilation was apparent. The Cowboys’ season was back on track, and Gundy was back to dancing in the locker room.

Defensive end Anthony Goodlow, who rated Gundy’s dancing an eight-out-of-ten, said the win could be a big turning point in OSU’s season, but not if it distracts from preparing for Kansas. He didn’t give up or pout after the loss to ISU, so he didn’t plan on letting an exciting win derail the team’s focus, either.

“It’s very hard to ramp down when you’re at that level of excitement,” Goodlow said.

Gundy said he has been persistent in reminding his team that, whatever they accomplished against Kansas State, they will have to improve on to beat KU.

“This team that’s coming in and playing is every bit as good as the team we just played,” Gundy said.

 

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Sam Hutchens covers Oklahoma State sport for Sellout Crowd. He interned for The Stillwater News Press in 2021 and The Guthrie News Leader in 2022, where he won a first-place OPA award for in-depth reporting. He has also covered sports in southwest Oklahoma for The Lawton Constitution. He strives to tell you the OSU sports stories that you want to tell your friends about. You can email him at [email protected] and connect on Twitter (X) @Sam_Hutchens_

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