by Michael Doutey
Mike Gundy met with the media this afternoon to brief the media before Oklahoma State’s home opener against McNeese.
One of the bigger things that came from today’s press conference was an update on Senior linebacker, Calvin Bundage. Bundage had a back injury that kept him out most of fall camp. But since he returned he’s had a “setback about 10 days ago,” Gundy said. “We might hold him out again this week. It just depends on how he is feeling. He has a back issue and they are hard to determine. Sometimes guys come back quick sometimes they don’t. It doesn’t require surgery. It is a pain tolerance mode and those things are hard to measure.”
There was a much more positive prognosis for Isreal Antwine, the Colorado defensive tackle that has everyone excited. He misses the opener with an injury. “He should be,” Gundy said. “We’ll know here in a couple of days. He’s practicing with the ones and twos and we have him sitting on G waiting on O.”
One thing he was concerned with on defense was that Oregon State converted too many third-down conversions. The Beavers were 13-20 on third down, which is way too high. This is something to watch going forward but OSU might not be stressed in this area over the next two games. Gundy said they didn’t do a good enough job of getting to the quarterback. He said that was the main reason.
Gundy surprised us when asked about if he’d had a conversation with Spencer Sanders about jumping over defenders or taking on extra hits. “He’s got to play,” Gundy said. “There was three occasions where he initiated contacted that he didn’t need. He’s played that way throughout his career, so to a certain extent you just have to let him play.”
Gundy was signing the offensive lines praise after the first one, joking to not “being on the kool-aid,” after their performance Friday night. “It was the highest grade that we ever had as an offensive line group since I’ve been the head coach.”
Gundy was very happy with some of the young guys on defense. “Trace (Ford) is really fast,” Gundy said. “(He) moves around like Brailford does. We feel like he is athletic enough to move around and do some things we did with Jordan. He’s not near the player Jordan was at this point. But his athleticism resembles his (Brailford’s) ability. He (Ford) is faster.”
Chuba Hubbard had an excellent game, joining five other Cowboys to rush for over 200 yards in a season opener. Hubbard had 26 carries for 221 yards and three touchdowns. Vernand Morency rushed for 261 yards at UCLA in 2004. Kendall Hunter rushed for 257 yards against Washington State in 2010. Bob Fenimore rushed for 241 yards in 1945 against Arkansas. Thurman Thomas rushed for 237 yards in 1985 against Washington. Hubbard surpassed Ernest Anderson’s 220 yards in 1982 against North Texas.
26 carries are quite a bit and might not be sustainable for Hubbard all season. “That’s a lot of carries,” Gundy said. “You’re looking at potentially 300 carries on the year like that. I don’t know if that’s real smart but we have to ride it right now depending on how we flow as an offense.”
Gundy did say that LD Brown, Micah Cooper, and Dez Jackson should be in line for some carries. But Gundy doesn’t rule out that Hubbard has 25 carries again this week. Jackson has been dealing with some small injuries through fall camp and was held out last week. Jahmyl Jeter has had a small ankle injury and is just getting back to himself.
Micah Cooper a name we might want to learn. Gundy gushed about Cooper and his work ethic. He’s a transfer from NEO and is from Madill, Oklahoma. “He’s by far the most improved player that we have,” Gundy said. “He shows up and he’s out in practice running like crazy, he’s got the ability, he can make you miss, he’s tough, he’s physical. He’s learning the offense and it is a great example. It is obviously important to him because he was out in the weight room to own his own all winter. It is pretty evident that he wants to be a college football player.”
To close, Gundy had some really interesting things to say about his team and what he wants the program to get back to.
“My early years here, once we got past the first year and we kind of figure out what we were doing in ’06, ’07, ’08 and ’09. People didn’t really want to play us based on our physicality upfront and our ability to hit you in the mouth and rush the football. Now we weren’t as flamboyant as we have been in the last six or eight years. But we, maybe me more than anybody, wants to get back to that, the way that we built this program in the early days. That’s kind of what my goal is with our team. And then to integrate what we’ve been doing throwing the ball down the field and find a happy medium based on our talent, based on what our abilities are.”
That might be one of the most honest and introspective comments Mike Gundy had made in the number of years. Anyways, OSU plays McNeese at home at 6 p.m. on ESPN+.