With eyes on the Big 12 Championship game Saturday, OSU's head coach shared what he saw on film from the Longhorns, a team the Cowboys haven’t played this season.
Predictably, the Texas Longhorns dominated the theme of Mike Gundy’s weekly press conference on Monday.
With the Big 12 Championship between OSU and Texas on Saturday (11 a.m. ABC), Gundy shared what he saw on film from the Longhorns, a team OSU hasn’t played this season. He also discussed how, ironically, OSU did well in the transfer portal.
Texas won’t have to sell out to stop Ollie Gordon
Most Big 12 opponents have positioned extra defenders near the line of scrimmage to stop OSU running back Ollie Gordon, the nation’s leading rusher. Because the Longhorns stop the run so well, they won’t be forced into doing the same.
Texas has the No. 4 rushing defense in the nation, allowing just 85 yards a game.
“(The Longhorns) don’t necessarily have to overload the box to stop the run, that’s not what they do,” Gundy said. “They could, but that’s not traditionally what they do. Most people have struggled in a big way blocking their down guys and their linebackers so they don’t have to overload the box for their rush.”
Gundy sees an improved Ewers from last season
In a meeting last season at Boone Pickens Stadium, Texas quarterback Quinn Ewers struggled. Ewers completed a season-low 38.8% of his passes and threw three interceptions in a 41-34 Cowboy win.
Now a sophomore, Ewers is no longer the same caliber player Cowboy fans remember from that game. He has completed nearly 70% of his passes for 17 touchdowns and five interceptions.
“He’s playing better with reps,” Gundy said. “He’s like most young guys you watch in this conference. You watch them early in their career and you’re like ‘(Ehh)’ and then two years later you’re like, ‘Guy is pretty good.’”
Big name portal losses may have helped Cowboys
There were 22 Cowboys who entered the transfer portal last season. Starting quarterback Spencer Sanders, linebacker Mason Cobb and corner Jabbar Muhammad were among the departures.
OSU replaced those players with 16 transfers. Receiver Leon Johnson III came from George Fox University, a Division III school. Defensive tackle Justin Kirkland came from Utah Tech, a Western Athletic Conference representative.
“We still lost some good players but we benefited from some young men that really, really wanted to be at Oklahoma State and really, really wanted to play at this level and are having a blast,” Gundy said. “And that has helped the chemistry of this team. Ironically, it might have helped us more than if those guys wouldn’t have left.”
Gundy expects Justin Wright back next season
OSU linebacker Justin Wright transferred in from Tulsa. He got hurt in the first game against Central Arkansas and returned to play against Iowa State, before a season-ending knee injury closed his season.
Gundy said, because Wright played in only two games this season, he expects him to be eligible to return next season.
“He’s been very good to us and I’m very thankful he gets another year,” Gundy said. “He’s been great and it’s been difficult when you’re his age, mature, and you get hurt. That’s a setback. You got to really bow up, you got to look for the best side of life in his situation and he’s been great.”
OSU’s 40-34 double-overtime win over BYU in pictures