Mike Gundy took the podium at Big 12 media days today. He fielded questions about who will be starting under center in the fall, the offensive line depth and how they might use new redshirt rules to their advantage. Lets dive in to some thoughts.
Taylor Cornelius will likely be the starter against Missouri State
Gundy was asked who will be the starter come fall and he claimed that Corn Dog was “the guy” after a great spring. Obviously things can change in fall practices before kickoff against Missouri State comes, but it (unsurprisingly) sounds like Corn Dog will get the first crack at holding down the quarterback spot.
Cornelius has spent three full years in the system compared to none for both Spencer Sanders and Dru Brown. Gundy announcing that he’s going with Corn Dog is big news because we’re talking about replacing a school record passer, but this announcement feels more like a formality when looking at the other options. Sanders has no college experience and Brown hasn’t been in the system.
This was always Corn Dog’s job to lose. Not to say that Sanders and Brown won’t get opportunities this year, but if either wins the job, it’ll likely be during non-conference play. I would think that in the case of Sanders, he would really have to blow coaches away to win the job, granted that, due to new redshirt rules, Sanders will be able to play in four games this year and still be eligible for a redshirt. Which brings me to my next thought...
Gundy says he hasn’t thought about how OSU will utilize the new redshirt rules
You’ve got to think he’ll be thinking about it before August 30 hits. The new rule states that players can appear in up to four games without losing a year of eligibility. That means guys like Spencer Sanders and CJ Moore could get some good experience this year and still be eligible to play for four more years.
The biggest question here is with Sanders. If he plays in his allotted four games and is clearly the best guy in the room, maybe Gundy will forego his redshirt in favor of making him the full time guy. But if the Pokes are well out of the Big 12 title race by that time, maybe they redshirt him even if he is the best guy in the room. This is where the majority of the thinking should be done. Do you get Sanders reps against the uninspiring non-conference schedule, or do you throw him into the fire in the 3rd quarter against OU on the road and see how he handles it? Obviously that depends on how the year goes, but I would think Gundy would want to get Sanders some decent possessions in all four of his given games this year.
Gundy euro-steps Mike Holder question
Everyone heard about Mike Holder’s comments on Gundy’s recruiting philosophy on the Pistols Firing Podcast. So naturally Kyle Porter followed that up with a question to Gundy about said comments, and Gundy essentially said lets stick to football. If you missed it, here is what Holder had to say (via Pistols Firing).
“You’ve got to give credit to Mike Gundy. He’s really matured into a difference maker as a coach. I would approach recruiting a little differently than he does. I’d want to finish higher in those recruiting rankings than we consistently do. I think that ultimately puts a ceiling on what you’re able to achieve. We do a great job of overcoming that with Rob Glass down in the weight room, and I think our coaches do a great job of disciplining and motivating and channeling what talent we have in the right direction.I just think we would be better served with a few more James Washington’s coming in the front door – you know, he came in as a two-star, three-star, left a five-star – we need to take some of those five-stars and turn them into seven-stars, which I think Rob Glass could do, and I think Mike Gundy could as well.“I’m patting them on the back at the same time I’m challenging them to get out there and do a little bit more recruiting … Recruiting’s the most important thing we do, and you’re only as good as your athletes.”
Personally I don’t think what Holder said was wrong, but I don’t know if it was right to say it to the media, especially given his less-than-warm relationship with Gundy. Holder said exactly what everyone thinks in regards to Gundy as a coach. He’s an elite talent as a coach and talent developer, but rankings show that he’s a less than stellar recruiter. I like that Gundy didn’t engage the question and give the national media more to feed off of. It was a very on-brand answer for him.
Gundy thinks offensive line depth will be better next year
Despite losing two four-year starters and Aaron Cochran (!!), Gundy thinks the offensive line depth next year will be... better? Gundy mentioned that it is important to have seven solid guys for a healthy line rotation, and he thinks OSU will have that this season and that the size and strength of the line will be better as well. It sounds like OSU will be deeper at o-line this year, with less experience to lean on, but more guys to go around as well. I honestly didn’t know what to think of the comment, but thought it was an interesting nugget that Gundy thinks the offensive line will be better despite losing three starters from a year ago.