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Big 12 Media Days: Mike Gundy talks QB situation, Sean Gleeson and more

The OSU coach doesn’t name a starter and says both could play to open the season.

NCAA Football: Big 12 Media Days Kevin Jairaj-USA TODAY Sports

ARLINGTON, Texas — Day one of Big 12 Media Days is underway, and Monday morning was Mike Gundy’s time at the podium at AT&T Stadium.

Let’s take a look at what all the Oklahoma State head coach had say:

Gundy started off by stating this is the most excited he’s been for a season to start. After a disappointing 7-6 season last year following three consecutive 10-win seasons, his excitement is no surprise.

“I’m excited about our football team, and I’m excited about getting back out there and working the young men and getting ready to play a game,” Gundy said. “We’re not far away. Our staff has been tremendous with the addition of a few new coaches.

“I’m excited about what they have brought to the table, the cohesiveness and chemistry we have with them and our recruiting office and the hard work they have put in over the last three or four months. I’m more excited and looking forward to a season than I ever have been before in a long, long time. So can’t wait to get started.”

In the least surprising news of the day, Gundy didn’t name a starting quarterback. He left it at when they know we’ll know which makes sense given Gundy doesn’t tend to name starters this early and the ongoing competition between Spencer Sanders and Dru Brown.

“Whenever we’re ready to name a starter based on him earning the job we’ll do that,” Gundy said. “... If at any time one becomes our starter based on us feeling like they give us the best chance to win a football game we will name a starter. I would like to tell you that but I would be reaching. I do know this: Our team is confident in both young men. If neither one of them gives us any indication that they’ve taken the job prior to the first game, we will play both guys. I think that’s fair.

So at this particular time, we don’t have anybody in place for that position, but we’ll certainly be looking in August.”

If a starter isn’t named they’ll play both.

The prospect of both Brown and Sanders playing is intriguing, and new offensive coordinator Sean Gleeson could make it work with both. However, knowing which one is the starter would bring a sense of ease going into the Cowboys’ season opener Aug. 30 at Oregon State.

Knowles knows now

Gundy also touched on the defensive side of the ball and defensive coordinator Jim Knowles, who enters his second season with the Cowboys.

“We need to be a more disciplined defensive football team,” Gundy said. “Coach (Jim) Knowles’ second year will give him a better feel for this league. It’s different in our conference, the willingness of head coaches and offensive coordinators trying to score every play, and I think coach Knowles understands that maybe more so than last year.

“You kind of get into a groove in this league and figure it out, but we’re going to run the same plays, hopefully we will be better at executing those plays.”

Knowles had a rude awakening on how tough it is to keep teams from scoring in the Big 12. The Cowboys gave up 338 points against conference opponents, including 48 points to both Iowa State and Oklahoma.

Rivalry talk

Gundy was also asked about rival OU having back-to-back Heisman Trophy winners lead the Sooners to College Football Playoff appearances in head coach Lincoln Reily’s first two seasons.

“The last couple of years they’ve had average quarterback play and they’ve overcome it,” Gundy said. “So they’ve been very successful and somebody’s got to take it from them.”

The Sooners have won fourth consecutive Big 12 titles, but have only won one postseason game in that span with a 35-19 victory over Auburn in the 2016 Sugar Bowl.

Mullet update

And of course, it wouldn’t be Big 12 Media Days without someone asking Gundy about his beloved mullet. Gundy, who turns 51 in August, said until someone tells him the mullet makes him look old he’s keeping it.

Closing thoughts

Gundy’s appearance was what I was expecting. The QB race is still ongoing and the his staff knows what went wrong last year and are going to work to make sure those same thing don’t happen again. Now, we’ll have to wait to see if that comes true.