November 12, 2007

Collins gone, Bowman out

STILLWATER - At today's media luncheon, Oklahoma State head coach Mike Gundy was asked about the status of linebacker Chris Collins.

At that time, Gundy did not provide any new details to the situation. Later in the afternoon, there was an update, but not from Gundy.

"Those releases are coming out of the president's office," Gundy said. "We will have some sort of conclusion as soon as possible. The only thing I can say is, once we gather all the information, we're going to make a decision and let you guys know as soon as possible. There's not anything that we're hiding, we just need to get all the information."

Given the recent news surrounding Collins, is Gundy comfortable with the research the school and program did on Collins before signing him?

"Me personally, yes," Gundy said. "But I'm trying to do the best I can without really going back to that now. There's just some things we can talk about, some things we can't. Mainly because of Chris. Once we get all the information, we're going to try and release as thorough as a release as we can and be as informative as we can as soon as we come to a decision."

Later Monday afternoon, Oklahoma State University interim president Marlene Strathe released a statement on the Collins situation:

"Oklahoma State University's head football coach, Mike Gundy, met today with Chris Collins to discuss his situation. Chris has been a model student-athlete since he arrived at OSU last year and coach Gundy felt that he had earned the privilege of hearing the decision face-to-face from his head coach.

"During the meeting, Coach Gundy informed Chris that he would no longer be a member of the football team and the University supports Coach Gundy's decision.

"Because of the way Chris has conducted himself since coming to OSU, we will honor his athletic scholarship so that he can continue his education at OSU, if he is so inclined. If he decides to transfer to another school, we will assist him in doing so. We feel deeply sad for everyone involved."

Also at the luncheon, Gundy confirmed what some around Orange Country were already speculating about: that star wide receiver Adarius Bowman is out for the rest of the regular season.

"Adarius Bowman is out for the year," Gundy said. "I would prefer to not talk about his injury, just for the fact that I'm sure he would not appreciate that. But it is a knee injury and it is not severe, but he is out for the year."

When asked to clarify if his "out for the year" comment included any possible bowl game Oklahoma State might play in, he elaborated, saying he expects him back for the postseason.

"I think he's got a three-week injury," he said. "And again, I'm guessing on that. It may be earlier than that."

What about Bowman needing surgery?

"Well I don't know that," he said. "I just know what they told me, that it was probably a three-week injury and it was not a severe injury."

If that timeline turns out to be correct, it would likely mean Bowman would be able to join the team for bowl practices around the week of Dec. 3 or Dec. 10. Since all of the Big 12 bowls are after Christmas, it sounds as if the star wideout will play at least one more game for the Pokes.

"Obviously, he's been a huge lift for us," Gundy said. "We checked again this morning and even as much of a player, he's going to graduate this fall. He's on track to graduate. He's keeping up in the classroom and all that. So he's going to leave here and have an opportunity to play at the next level and have a degree. Which makes me feel really good, because at some point it'll all be over and he'll have to go out there and earn a living and get a real job.

"He's been an awesome lift for us. Bowman is a guy that had some difficult situations when we brought him in here, and he's done well since then. To be able to earn a degree and have the kind of career he's had on the field gives you a good feeling as a coach, because that's really what we're in the business to do."

The loss of Bowman for the last two games of the 2007 season is tough, but Gundy likes how the offense is set up with solid skill players all over the field.

"One thing about our offense that I like personally is, is we can do some things to move the ball around," Gundy said. "Run the ball, we can throw it down the field, we can throw it out in the flat. We don't really have to tie into one guy, but obviously we'd prefer to have Bowman in the offense. He gives us some flexibility in some things that we can do with big plays that, when you lose him, it's a fact, you're going to lose some big-play capability. But we do have some other players who can step up and that's what you do in football. I mean, you're going to have some injuries. I hate it for Adarius. But unfortunately, things like that happen and you have to move on."

In his absence, Gundy said the offense will see more of the likes of Damiam Davis, Seth Newton, Tommy Devereaux and Jeremy Broadway the rest of the way.

What about budding all-star Dez Bryant, who had 155 yards and a touchdown against Kansas? Can he be moved into Bowman's spot? Gundy said he can't be moved around much yet, presumably because of his youth and relative lack of experience. Even so, Gundy feels he's doing well this season.

"Dez has come a long way," he said. "His learning curve has gotten so much better. He played better the other night. He had some mistakes, but he cut those down like 50 percent. Earlier in the year, probably about 75 percent of his plays were grab-bag. Now, his busts are down to 10-15 percent a game, which is good."

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