By Michael Doutey
Mike Gundy had his first media luncheon of the season as the Oklahoma State Cowboys prepare for their season opener against Oregon State. Gundy was pretty laid back for the most part. He was in a good mood and joked around some. But there was one topic that he wasn’t willing to discuss in depth. You can probably guess what he was asked about.
As you can imagine, there has been no change with Dru Brown and Spencer Sanders.
“Nothing has changed,” Gundy said. “We have a really good plan in place. It’s not something that I am going to discuss publicly at this time.”
Brown and Sanders have the famous “OR” between their names on the depth chart. Brown is listed above Sanders. That could be because of the alphabet. You could also try and read into that as to who could take the field first on Friday night. I’ll let you decide.
But Gundy said that he feels they have a good plan of how to handle the quarterback rotation in the opener. He mentioned it a few times but wouldn’t get into specifics. It looks like the mystery continues at quarterback into the first game.
One of the surprises, when the depth chart was released before Gundy took the podium on Friday, was that redshirt freshman, Bryce Bray, was listed as the starting right guard. Bray had been competing with Dylan Galloway (who has is listed as the LT starter) for the left tackle spot.
“Coach is moving guys around some and I’m not sure that it will start that way,” Gundy said. “It could depending on how Dylan’s doing at left. As I’ve said, we are always looking for three guards, three tackles and two centers. But he’s [Bray] both positions.”
Right now Galloway, Marcus Keyes, Johnny Wilson, Bray, and Tevin Jenkins are listed as starters for the offensive line.
Gundy is very confident in this offensive line group, saying that this group is further ahead of previous teams offensive lines as they enter September.,
The other surprise is at linebacker, where the Cowboys are probably the thinnest depth-wise. Devin Harper has been sidelined with a foot injury since the spring and Calvin Bundage was just released this week due to a back strain. Amen Ogbongbemiga is listed as one starter with Kevin Henry behind him and Malcolm Rodriguez is listed as the other starter with Bundage as his backup.
“Well that is the one area where we have limitations right now,” Gundy said. We’ve had a few guys getting dinged up and we needed depth there.” “His [Rodriguez] body is bigger now and he was able to move down.”
With Rodriguez’s move to linebacker, that leaves a spot open at safety. Jarrick Bernard and Kolby Harvell-Peel are joined by Tre Sterling as the three starting safeties. Bernard and Harvell-Peel took over as starters a season ago as true freshman. Sterling now enters his redshirt sophomore season as a starter after playing in every game last season mostly as a special teamer.
As expected, Rodarius Williams and AJ Green are the starting corners.
Mike Gundy expects at least five true freshman to play and contribute this season. Tom Hutton is the punter. You can also expect Thomas Harper to play some at corner, Na’drian Dizadare at linebacker, Jayden Jernigan at defensive end and Trace Ford also at defensive end.
When Gundy was asked how Ford had been in his first fall camp he had a great answer. “Good, good. He likes football.”
Gundy did brag that he was a key recruiter for him. He said he saw Ford steal two bases and outrun a bunt in the same game when he watched Stillwater take on Edmond Santa Fe back in Ford’s junior year.
Last season Gundy wanted to watch the numbers of touches Hill had, especially at the beginning of the season. Now that Chuba Hubbard has taken over as RB1, I asked Mike if he has a similar plan for Chuba.
“It is a little different,” Gundy said. “Chuba hopefully got a little more meat on him and might be able to get a few more carries during the game. But if we play teams that we are way ahead, I am going to take our starting running back out. I don’t want him to get hit. I’m not changing that. That’s my opinion and that’s the way I think. Plus the other guys need to play.”
That is a changeup some from last season with Hill. Hubbard is also listed as the teams kick returner with LD Brown, OSU’s second string running back.
Those are the highlights from Gundy’s first media luncheon. The Cowboys have a less than a week away from flying out to Corvallis next Thursday for their season opener at Oregon State. That is when we will get a real feel for the big quarterback questions we’ve had since the end of last season. I think we are all ready to kick off next Thursday at 9:30 p.m. on Fox Sports 1.