If it were up to Gundy, he wouldn't have to field a single question regarding the football program. I'm sure MANY coaches wouldn't mind that.
Unfortunately it doesn't work that way. Fans and boosters spend fair amounts of money supporting the program, and they want to know what's going on. There's an entire media industry that survives off the addiction we have to college football.
How are the position battles going?
How are high profile recruits performing?
Are there any "surprise" standouts?
Who's looking good at QB?
These types of questions, and the responses, generate excitement around the program. That excitement has value.
I get that Gundy wants to shield the players from what he feels are unnecessary distractions, but I think this is WAY more about Gundy trying to avoid being questioned. I mean, why not have a "spring" game? All the major programs do it. It's a very exciting culmination to spring practice, and gives some fans a chance to see the players in action. Media get to opine about something they saw that actually looked somewhat like a football game. The "additional" risk of injury is nominal.
So now we have the "Orange Blitz" and a bunch of "interview" series. An "open" practice where fans will be allowed to mingle with the players afterwards, and some extremely well controlled Q&A's with various players.
"Loyal & True"
"How I Got Here"
For good measure, let's throw in "Coaches Chalk Talk," where members of the coaching staff detail particular plays and formations.
Somebody behind the scenes is at least thinking, and this all sounds nice and warm and fuzzy. Don't get me wrong, I loved reading about the son of my high school classmate who made the team as a walk-on, and the play diagrams are intriguing.
But it doesn't tell us a damn thing about what is really going on inside the program. You gotta share something.
Who's emerging for several vacated positions on defense? Anyone taking over at WR?
Tell us something. You don't have to give away government secrets, but share a little bit on how guys are doing. Who's looking good. Any surprises. Anything.
Because at some point cheezy interviews and dry erase boards won't get it done when we want to know what's really happening.
And even if you clamp down on the info, stuff gets out. If it doesn't the conversations end up resorting to rumor. We are a blog, and we love to talk about OSU sports, in particular football. Last August we KNEW that the Cowboys had worked on a "5 wide" formation. We KNEW that Blake Jackson was having a hard time holding on to the ball. We KNEW that Chelf was having a poor fall camp. We reported on none of this because we didn't think it appropriate at the time, but the bottom line is that information will get out no matter what.
I'll go back to my earlier comment. If I thought that Gundy was genuinely trying to protect players from something awful then I would go with it. But I'm way more inclined to believe that Coach doesn't like to be "questioned." He doesn't like to be second-guessed.
Now I'm sure there aren't many coaches that enjoy that. Probably none. But it comes with the territory. You are the head coach of a high profile program with lots of money and a generous, well known booster, and you are trying to become a perennial power on both the conference and national stage.
That means spotlight. Attention.
Some of them not so easy.
We love you Coach Gundy. You have led the resurgence of OSU football, brought us our first outright conference title in modern history. Had us one win from a national championship game. Hell, last season the Cowboys were a Bedlam victory away from a second Big 12 title in 3 years.
But you can't hate us for wanting to know. You've created the monster. You've brought in higher profile recruits. You've helped put the program in position to win championships.
If you're going to do that, and we are going to get excited each season about the possibilities, then you don't get to run and hide when things don't work out.
Don't forget that our addiction to sports is what makes your big salary possible.
Give us a little love Coach. All it takes is a little.