July 27, 2009

Cowboys take part in Big 12 Media Days

The 2009 college football season is officially underway.

Sort of.

While the season opener against Georgia is still casting a shadow over the next few weeks, Oklahoma State got its media schedule underway on Monday at the Big 12 media days in Irving, Texas.

This go-around was likely a bit different for fifth-year head coach Mike Gundy. He leads the Cowboys into the season as one of the top teams in the nation, if pre-season magazines and rankings are to be believed. Many national outlets have pegged OSU as a top 10 team going into the fall. Is that hype justified or is it just that - hype?

Gundy spoke to the media about a bevy of topics related to his program, several which are focused on below.

The Cowboys' defense has taken PR beatings worse than the Octo-mom over the years. Time and again, the unit was blamed for OSU not having a better season when all is said and done. Things have gotten progressively better, but not enough to keep up in the Big 12. Enter Bill Young to turn things around.

"Coach Young came in with a lot of experience, a lot of maturity," Gundy said. "I know that our players were excited about his attitude and the way he approached our team. The confidence that he exemplifies when he talks to the players, the way he carries himself in the staff room amongst the coaches has been very good for me.

"I know sitting in the room, the staff room, at times there can be a lot of egos involved in coaching, and he certainly doesn't have one. I think that's really been a plus for our program."

Last season, OSU proved it could hang with Texas and Oklahoma. Even still, both games got away from the Cowboys. But this is a new year and OSU brings back a lot of experience and a defense that is expected to be better. If that's the case, is this the year the Pokes really compete with the big boys? Is a conference championship possible?

"I think since I've come back, the first few years with Coach (Les) Miles and then the head coach, I would say that because of our experience that the Big 12 went through in big games and having a number of those players back, I would only hope that our experience would benefit us this year playing in big games," he said.

"We have a terrific home schedule of eight home games. But we also have a very difficult schedule. We have teams on there that people would consider sleepers, and they certainly are sleepers.

"It's a great year for us, but I would say with the returning players, the experience, we stay healthy. The continuity and structure of the program and where we're at would give us the best chance since I've been back here with Coach Miles and myself as head coach."

When the head coach was part of the famous "Triplets" at OSU in the 1980s, it's inevitable that questions will crop up concerning that group and the new trio of Cowboy superstars at quarterback, tailback and wide receiver.

So, just how do Zac Robinson, Kendall Hunter and Dez Bryant compare to Gundy, Barry Sanders and Hart Lee Dykes?

"It's hard to compare anybody to Barry Sanders, to be honest with you," Gundy said. "Kendall Hunter is very good. It's hard to get anybody in the country like him. But a hall of famer is difficult to compare to.

"Hart Lee Dykes, shortened NFL career. I don't know if I've ever seen anyone like him at this level. Dez Bryant is special, tremendous strength, great hands, great leaping ability. Fearless. Great competitor.

"The quarterback spot, I'm not sure there's much of a comparison. If I could go back and recruit, I'd recruit Zac Robinson, and I wouldn't recruit Mike Gundy, to be honest with you. His ability to make a play running the football is tremendous. His durability, much bigger and stronger."

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