PFB - The Rundown: Gundy Talks Coaching Against Miles, Transfer Portal and More

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OP News

Feb 17, 2018
STILLWATER — Mike Gundy walked into the Boone Pickens Stadium press box Monday donning a new hoodie that goes with the Cowboys’ new military appreciation threads for the weekend.

At his weekly media luncheon, Gundy talked those uniforms, a new hire, coaching against a coach he used to coach under and class sizes. Here is a breakdown of what he said.

On Saturday’s uniforms: “Nike had gave us the choice to be one of the schools to represent Folds of Honor and our military, which certainly is a no-brainer for me. You guys know how I feel about people who are willing to put their life on the line and fight on a daily basis for the freedom in this country. I think it’s pretty cool for us to be able to represent them and show them our support.

“Doesn’t make a difference if you come from the city, the country, if you’re white, black, democrat, republican, I think everybody has an obligation to support the people that are willing to go fight for our freedom every day. I’m a big, big proponent and strong supporter of our military. It’s an honor for us to be able to wear these uniforms and represent the organizations and the people that are willing to do whatever it takes for the greatest country on earth.”

• OSU hired Todd Bradford as director of recruiting. Bradford had been a defensive assistant at OSU in the past. He has since been a defensive coordinator at Southern Mississippi.

• Kansas’ offense has played well in the past few weeks. The Jayhawks’ defense is getting better each week.

• New Kansas offensive coordinator Brent Dearmon provides a tempo difference and more of a vertical passing game than the Jayhawks had at the beginning of the season. Dearmon took over offensive playcalling on Oct. 6.

• Gundy and Les Miles have spent a lot of hours in meeting rooms together, particularly when Miles was a coordinator and Gundy was the quarterbacks’ coach.

“I have really good memories of offensive football with him. He and I butted heads a lot, but in the end we agreed. We came out on the same page. We supported each other. We were good at it, we were good at moving the football together.”

• Gundy said it was unusual seeing Miles at the Big 12 meetings in May.

• Gundy’s offensive style is different from what Miles had when he was here. Gundy said it was even that way when Miles was the head coach and Gundy was the coordinator.

• On memorable games as an assistant under Miles: “The first year was tough until we went to Norman and we found a way to win that game, which was awesome. From that point on, we started to get a little better every year. The second year here (in Bedlam), we had a fantastic gameplan, and we had really good players that could execute it. We were able to move the ball pretty much at will in that game. It was a fun game. We beat Nebraska (in 2002), and that was a big win for us because wasn’t that the first time in a long time? I remember that game as being a special game for Oklahoma State, the fans, the team, and then Coach and I. That was a lot of fun.”

• On the program Miles left for Gundy in 2005: “We changed our style of play so much. We changed defensively. We changed offensively. So, it’s really hard to compare. Personnel was not what I wanted in certain areas based on the style of play, so there was a lot of adjustments. But we had had some success. I think we had went to two bowls in a row maybe. We had had some success, guys started to believe in winning, which made it an easier transition.”

• Kansas has played “considerably better” during the past month.

• Miles’ Kansas team is “more of a different flavor” than the Les Miles football Gundy is accustomed to, especially with Miles not using tight ends as much.

• On Kansas’ offense: “They’ve been very effective with the vertical passing game, and you have to wrap that back (Pooka Williams) up and get him down. If you bounce off of him and hit him, he’s kinda like one of those bouncy balls. He just bounces around and keeps going. You’re gonna have to wrap him up and get him on the ground.”

• “There’s more parity in this league than there ever has been.”

• On Kevin Henry receiving a sixth year of eligibility: “He’s awesome for us. He loves Oklahoma State. He’s graduated. He’s come in. He’s worked hard. He’s tough. He’s overcome injuries. He’s been awesome for us. He’s a true success story.”

• “People talk about wins and losses, and those are important. I don’t want to discredit the importance of a win and a loss because we try to win every game. We work our butt off, but I’ve done this a long time now. The success I see with young men that we have played a role in helping them graduate from college and giving them the opportunity to better themselves is awesome for me.”

• On adding Todd Bradford as director of recruiting: “Obviously recruiting is important. I felt like we needed somebody that had been on the road and recruited and coached. It’s so important to try to evaluate the very best we can. There’s millions and millions and millions of dollars invested in NFL scouting for the draft, and they still make mistakes. So, you can imagine what it’s like at our level in trying to evaluate a 17, 18-year-old young men that you’re trying to get information on, not just football-wise but all the other things that are important, particularly here in our culture.

“Todd’s been on the road recruiting. He’s been in a number of organizations. He’s been successful. He’s been reliable. He’s a good evaluator. He knows almost every coach in the Dallas-Fort Worth Metroplex area and east Texas during his time when he was recruiting here. I think he’s a good addition for us. He’s a tireless worker. He’s very organized, and he’s very structured.”

• On his familiarity with Bradford: “Back in those days, we could go out spring recruiting. The head coach, that was me, you’d go and they’d pick you up at the airport, take you to the hotel. And they’d say, ‘We’ll meet down stairs at this time.’ And you just kinda show up and go.

“From day one, (Bradford) would say, ‘OK, we’re gonna meet at 6:45 because we gotta be at whatever school at 7:15, and here’s your paperwork on every school we’re going to tomorrow, every prospect, head coach, names, numbers, all the details on everything.’ Because believe it or not, I don’t know everything about every school. I don’t have just an area, I’ve gotta go everywhere. He gives you the answers to the test the night before, you meet at that time, and you go, and then you don’t stop. He doesn’t eat lunch. I don’t know if he does that just because the head coach is with him or not, but I’m like, ‘Dude, we gotta get some beef jerky or something. I can’t roll all day. I’m starting to bob and weave a little bit here.’ Then we stop at 6 o’clock that night. You hit like six or seven schools, and it’s just one to the other. In recruiting, he was able to sign all different types of players from all different backgrounds and different environments and have success during his time here.

“So, that made me think he would be really good as a director of recruiting for Oklahoma State Football.”

• On Mike Groce, who is listed as the director of recruiting on OSU’s roster: “Oh yeah, Mike’s still doing what he’s doing, yeah. There’s some of these teams across the country that have 15, 20, 30 people working in a recruiting office. We have six, seven. You can put a guy to work and just break it up, and they could still have lots to do in order to try to give us the best chance to bring quality young men into the organization.”

• Here comes a rant about the transfer portal. I’ll start by giving some background. College football teams are allowed to sign 25 players a year and can have up to 85 scholarship players at a time. With the transfer portal making it easier for players to move schools, teams can sometimes lose more than 25 scholarship players in a year, but can still just bring in 25. So, if 30 players (through graduation, transfers, medical retirement) leave, you can still just bring in 25, meaning you’re working with a loss of five. Gundy doesn’t enjoy this.

Gundy was asked about the possibility of being able to sign 30 guys in one year then 20 guys the next to make up for lost numbers to the portal.

“With no disrespect, but you guys know how I am. It won’t work. They’re gonna have to go 25, 25. So, if you have five guys leave on the portal, graduate 22 seniors, you have two guys that say, ‘My shoulder’s hurt, I don’t wanna play anymore,’ and it adds up to 33, you gotta be able to bring 33 in. How much movement’s on the portal now compared to last year at this time? I know ya’ll stole codes to get in the portal, right? You watch the portal. It’s a lot, correct? The more players that move on the portal, you’re gonna have to be able to replace them. The NCAA is gonna have to get it together. Or here’s what’s gonna happen: 85 scholarship limit, teams are gonna be playing with 75, 76, 77. So what does that mean? Means more players are gonna get injured. Don’t have enough guys. We’re trying to be injury preventive, which we should, but we’re not fulfilling the needs based on instigating a portal, which is fine. I have no issues with the portal, but we have to be able to balance numbers. I appreciate what they’re trying to accomplish. It’s not gonna work. You’re gonna take 30, and the next year you get what? Twenty. OK, well what if you have 21 seniors, three guys go on the portal, and two guys get medically redshirted, and you take one guy and dismiss him from the team because he won’t stop smoking weed? How am I going to make those numbers up.

“It’s not gonna work we need to quit BSing ourselves. I know (associate AD) Gavin (Lang) is probably worried I’m gonna go off on a rant. I’m not going to, but I’m just calling it like it is. It’s not gonna work. What they’re doing, I appreciate because something needs to happen. Here’s what needs to happen: how ever many go out, based on we said we can have the portal, I’m good, we need to bring that many more in. And I need somebody to tell me why that won’t work.

“That’s just the way it is, and I’m not gonna get into it because I’ve filed waiver after waiver after waiver after waiver. I’m not asking to have any more than 85. You told me I can have 85, right? I just need 85 when August roles around. That’s all I’m asking for.

“If signing days are in December and February, we go through spring ball. On average right now in most Power Five schools, you’re averaging 2.5 to three players that are leaving and going in the portal. You guys would say without doing the numbers, it’s probably a fair guesstimate, right? I did some in my brain, and I can count to five, OK? If I have my numbers after signing day at 83 or 84, which is pretty good, then I have three guys go on the portal after spring ball, now I’m at 80. I’m supposed to be at 85. How am I gonna get that 85 if I’ve already used my 25? I didn’t know these guys were gonna go on the portal. They don’t tell you. They come in, they wanna go on the portal. I support them. How am I gonna get back to 85? It’s gonna have to be in the summer with other portal transfers correct? Gotta have a way to do it. It’s not making any sense right now.

“Somebody’s gonna have to have a meeting and say, ‘Look we put this in place. We really didn’t understand the ramifications.’ Just like players with the four-game redshirt rule, how many people in this room think that that was intended for seniors? Be honest, come on now. Anybody? So, if it’s not then we have to have a way to make up for that. Particularly even if a guy says, ‘Hey, I wanna take my redshirt and transfer.’ That’s good, right? We’ve already agreed that we can let them go where we want. I don’t get to replace them if they’re in good academic standing or even graduated and I can’t replace them? I don’t agree with that. It’s gonna cause problems. It’s gonna turn college football into the NBA. Just a matter of time. That’s my spiel on that.

“They better come to grips with if we have 28 going out based on graduation, we’re supposed to graduate players, right? Based on graduation, the portal, a medical or discipline, we need to bring 28 in by August. I’m not even saying it has to be on signing day. It needs to be by August, so when we start camp, I got 85 out there and I have my walk-ons. That’s what should happen in my opinion.

“What else? You guys wanna know anything about Syria? Anything on China? On Tariffs? What do you want to know?”

• Gundy then got asked about the trade war with China: “I say stick to your guns. I think it won’t be long, and they’ll be coming to grips. China will come to the table.”

• OSU’s defense is getting better in terms of technique, schemes and experience. Israel Antwine is playing well, as is Tyler Lacy.

• On the possibility of playing Miles in the national championship game after the 2011 season: “At that time, that wasn’t what I was thinking. I thought we had the best team in college football. I wanted to be able to play for a national championship because I thought we could win. Well, I’d wanna play for it even if we couldn’t win, but I thought we had the best team in the country based on who we had, we were healthy, we were running on full cylinders. All the things were hitting. That was moreso than who the coach was.”

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