Oklahoma State Football coach Mike Gundy joined a sports talk show in Atlanta last week to discuss the upcoming season for the Oklahoma State Cowboys.
Among things discussed were how the preseason went for the Cowboys, dealing with high expectations, the return of Blackmon, the loss of Orie Lemon, coruption in college football and why coaches should be punished more harshly when their programs are guilty of major rules infractions.
You can listen to the interview here, or click the jump below to read the transcript.
After a strong season a year ago, are the expectations raised for this program?
"We’ve been very fortunate the last few years and obviously won 29 games over the last three seasons. We have a number of returning starters and, more importantly, a good number of returning players that have won or lost football games here in the last few years. … The practices have gone very well up to this point. The team chemistry is in place."
On the return of Justin Blackmon..
"He’s got a chance to finish here with some big time numbers and maybe the best that’s ever played here. We’ve had some really good ones … but he’s got a chance this year. What’s most impressive about Justin was in spring ball he worked extremely hard and then had a great summer. And then up through the number of practices that we’ve had … he’s been the best practice player that we’ve had on the field. When your best player is your best practice player, it sure makes for great team chemistry."
How has your program adjusted to getting more national attention?
"Our approach early in the spring, when there was a lot of talk about us being a preseason top-10 team, I think what’s out there with communication and social networks … I don’t think you can deny that to the players and keep that from them. Our approach has been, ‘Look, people think you’re a good football team. Now you need to live up to the expectations.’ … Expectations are really high around here, which is the way we want it."
On corruption in college football..
"It’s been a tough offseason for all of us. It’s been unfortunate for whatever reason. There’s so much going on out there right now it’s hard to keep up with it. It disappoints me for college football that we have so many things going on out there. I’m sure there’s different people to blame in different areas. At some point, we have to get it cleaned up. Everybody’s got to start playing by the rules. The penalties have to be so severe for coaches who break the rules that they’re not willing to take that chance. … Hopefully we can get this thing cleaned up to where it’ll make it better for who it’s supposed to be good for which is the players. I think at times we’re losing perspective."
His thoughts on the nine-game Big 12 schedule?
"Several years ago I had mentioned that I thought, in order to strengthen the Big 12 Conference, that we should do away with the divisions. I felt like we were losing some inter-team rivals, for example Oklahoma State against Missouri or Oklahoma State against Kansas State or Oklahoma State against Nebraska. … I didn’t think the fans were as interested in the game. And, I think at the end of the season, the team with the best record should be the conference champion. There were a number of years where we had a championship game and we didn’t have the two teams with the best record playing in the championship game, so I felt like that may weaken our league. I understand the disadvantage of playing nine league games, but I think, ultimately, for the fans … they’re going to like it."
On playing Arizona on five days rest in game two of the season...
We had scheduled Arizona in a home and home and obviously we didn't know about (the 9 game schedule) and then there's so much familiarity with us with Mike (Stoops) being out there...But ultimately, you've gotta play them all anyway. You're not gonna win this thing if you don't play good teams and so you just have to compete at a high level and get a few breaks and hope you can win some games.