Bedlam week is here.
Saturday’s game between No. 10 Oklahoma and Oklahoma State (2:30 p.m. ABC) is the last scheduled matchup in the storied series as Oklahoma departs for the SEC. The game dominated the discussion in Mike Gundy’s Monday press conference. Here are the highlights:
Gundy isn’t outwardly getting swept up with Bedlam fever
Gundy wasn’t getting swept up in the swell of what the “last Bedlam” means, or willing to admit how special it would be to go out on top.
“I would like to build it up as something, I just don’t know how much any of that plays a role,” Gundy said. “People say it’s a big game, I mean, and I’ve said this for years, every game is a big game or the end of the year doesn’t become a big game.”
Gundy said the extra narratives that come along with playing OU for the last scheduled time matter more to fans and media than to him.
He called OSU’s game earlier this season against K-State a “much bigger game,” considering the Cowboys were reeling, coming off losses to South Alabama and Iowa State.
Bedlam is a ‘love fest’ nowadays
Gundy said, as a player, he used to get much more caught up in Bedlam and all the surrounding noise the game provided. He said the rivalry used to be much different because the players didn’t like each other, and said that the game is now a “love fest.”
“You ever watch a pro game before the game and all the players are out there hugging each other, the Bears and the Packers are hugging each other talking about who your agent is and your commercials and how much money you make,” Gundy said. “Think Dick Butkus did that? No.”
He said former Oklahoma linebacker Brian Bosworth spit in his face. He returned the favor. Before cellphones and social media, players didn’t know each other, so there were no friendships.
Just take this story Gundy shared from his playing days:
“Like the summer before my sophomore year, you know, I would go to parties in Oklahoma City and they would say Bosworth and (Paul) Migliazzo and some of those guys were here. And so I had to make a decision whether we were going to have a confrontation there and who was with me, because I mean, those guys, I can kick them in the shin and run like hell, but I’m not dumb. So we had to make those decisions because, I mean, what kind of a frame of mind was Brian going to be in at that point? I don’t know, had he taken a ‘vitamin C’ and had a few drinks? Well, he might not be a guy you want to talk to at that point. You know, he’d get real red across his face. So it was a rivalry then. Now it’s not as much anymore, unfortunately, because of the way it is. But it’s a very important game. I don’t want to push past that.”
Gundy thinks a bowl will bring Bedlam back
Eventually, Gundy thinks OSU will play OU in football. It just might take a bowl game to make it happen.
“The SEC and Big 12 have a lot of bowl matchups, and I think that’ll probably be the next time (Bedlam is played),” Gundy said. “Regular season (games) are, in my opinion, history. You would think that whoever has a bowl game, because they can finagle bowls now like they don’t have a pecking order like certain leagues do, that they would love to instigate that through a bowl — that’d be my guess that’d be the next time it’ll happen.”
Barry Sanders stories
Gundy was on a roll, and having already talked about Bosworth it made perfect sense to share some stories about another 1980s college football star.
He was asked about the way OSU running back Ollie Gordon is handling his burgeoning stardom and talked about growing up alongside OSU tailback and College Football Hall of Famer Barry Sanders, who Gundy called “in college the greatest running back ever.”
“The nutritionists that we have that feed our team and all the stuff we have now could not have worked with (Sanders) because he lived on Snickers and cookies, and he ate a little bit of food, not much,” Gundy said. “But you never found him because he roomed right across the hall from me, and of course we’d walk back and forth all the time and he was always eating candy.
“And then he lifted more than anybody else, he trained more because he liked to do it and then in games he would get tired because he had run for a bunch of yards and he would tell them to take him out. He did that pretty much every game except for the game against Oklahoma or Nebraska, where we had to play pretty much right to the end. The other games, we were blowing people out so he didn’t get to play much. But he likes to come out of the games and watch his friends play.”
Gundy reiterated how content Sanders was to remain in the shadows, even as he ascended on the national stage.
“The story about him not wanting to accept the Heisman (Trophy) is the truth. He was fine sleeping. But he liked to sleep a lot. You know, he literally slept in the locker room at halftime. He fell asleep in the Holiday Bowl on the bench in the second quarter.”
Josiah Johnson producing through pain
UMass transfer tight end Josiah Johnson caught his first touchdown as a Cowboy against Cincinnati last week on a 29-yard play-action pass. Johnson crossed the field to make a wide-open catch at the 10-yard line and trotted in for a score.
Johnson looked graceful, impressive, considering the injuries he’s fighting through. Gundy revealed Johnson has a broken toe, a “major thigh bruise” and other aches he can’t remember.
“It’s been going on for about a month and I was razzing him a little bit, basically wanting to make sure he was still going to practice over the last few weeks because he’s beat up,” Gundy said. “And Johnson goes, ‘Yeah, coach, guys at this level hit a little bit harder than when I was at UMass.’”
The Cowboys were without receivers Jaden Bray and Talyn Shettron last week against Cincinnati. Shettron took a hit to the shoulder against West Virginia and didn’t return to the game. Bray picked up an undisclosed injury in practice before the game against the Bearcats.
“Well, hopefully we’ll get some of the injured players (back for Bedlam),” Gundy said when asked about the receivers. “We had multiple injured players from (the) West Virginia (game) back practicing in the middle this week.”