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Gundy Realized a Few Years Ago: ‘Sh**, We’re Good, We Can Play’

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Mike Gundy has, somewhat strangely, been in the news more of late for what he hasn’t said (about Mike Holder’s recruiting comments) than what he has said. And to be fair, he hasn’t said much. That will change in three weeks at Big 12 Media Days (which are sure to be entertaining), but I think this particular Gundy quote from a recent article on The Athletic kind of slipped under the radar in the aftermath of CrootinGate 2018.

Gundy spoke with Jason Kersey of The Athletic about the state of the Oklahoma State program, and there were some eye-openers. Nothing he hasn’t necessarily said before, but it’s always amusing to read some of this stuff in print and then to imagine a man in a mullet saying it out loud.

Let’s start here.

“The people from the East Coast and the West Coast, now they know us as this big-time football operation, this new building, the new stadium,” Gundy said. “They don’t understand the rusted erector set where we came from. And Oklahoma State football just being punks.

“About two or three years ago, when I got out of calling plays and started looking more at the big picture and thinking of myself more as a CEO versus just grinding it out, I was kinda like, ‘Holy smokes. We’ve built this thing into something. Sh**, we’re good. We can play.'” [The Athletic]

I would like “sh** we’re good, we can play” to replace the 1945 national championship block letters, currently reside in the east end zone. I would actually like this to be posted in both end zones, in every suite in the stadium and for the pilot of a small aircraft to drag a banner behind his or her plane during every day home game with that phrase in bright orange letters, as well.

The funniest part about the quote, of course, is Gundy saying he got out of calling plays two or three years ago when, you know, Dana Holgorsen and Todd Monken had already come through as OCs and Mike Yurcich was like three years deep into his tenure in Stillwater.

Time is a social construct. Whatever.

Gundy is right, though. Oklahoma State is good. They can play. One of the keys is that they’re deeper on both sides of the ball than they’ve ever been, and they’re much better on defense than they were when Gundy was a few years into his tenure.

Carson and I talked recently about how good some of those early Gundy offenses were — the 2007 team had Zac Robinson, Keith Toston, Kendall Hunter, Dantrelle Savage, Dez Bryant, Brandon Pettigrew and Adarius Bowman! — but my daughter has made papier-mache dolls that were less porous than some of those early defenses.

Now, though? I keep trying to beat this into everyone’s brains at the risk of #content exhaustion, but OSU is a legit top 12 program over the last decade. A hundred and thirty teams in the country, and OSU is one of the 10-12 best over the last 10 years. A long way from that erector set stadium.

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Gundy seems as stunned as anyone, and the part that always makes me smile — because I’ve experienced 1/100th of what he’s talking about — is when he notes that it was almost a willful ignorance of the mountain he had to climb (and has climbed) that kept him going.

“For the first six or eight years, I wasn’t smart enough to realize how hard it was,” Gundy told The Athletic. “That helped me. Now, I look back at where we were and it scares me. I probably wouldn’t have done it, because I would’ve thought, ‘There’s no way you can do this at Oklahoma State.'”

And now he has.

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