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Gundy Sticking with Sanders despite Turnover Struggles

Gundy says to let him rip.



[Pool photo via Sarah Phipps-USA TODAY Sports]

Turnovers were a big part of the Cowboys’ first loss, and their second-year quarterback took a lot of grief for it.

Spencer Sanders lost two fumbles and threw an interception in Oklahoma State’s 41-34 overtime loss to Texas on Saturday. Sanders has six turnovers in three games this season (he only played two series in one of those games), and it has led a portion of the OSU fanbase calling for true freshman quarterback Shane Illingworth.

Illingworth played in three games for an injured Sanders, guiding OSU to three wins with only one interception. But on Monday, Gundy said he still backs Sanders to turnover his turnover problem, and it doesn’t seem like Gundy wants to cuff his gunslinger too much.

“You got to let him go, let him play,” Gundy said. “He’s aggressive. He’ll make some mistakes. He’s only played in nine games [14], I think, in his career. He’s still young. He’ll make some mistakes, but we don’t want to put a leash on him. We need to let him go. He makes a lot of plays. We don’t want to tone him down. We want to let him rip and play football.”

Gundy broke down Sanders’ three turnovers and said they weren’t the same issues Sanders dealt with last year, calling Saturday a “perfect storm.” Gundy said Sanders needed a tighter grip on the ball in the exchange fumble with Chuba Hubbard. He said Texas defensive back Jalen Green was in good position on the interception, and he added the strip sack at the end of the first half is something that happens every Sunday in the NFL.

Gundy said after reviewing film from Saturday’s loss, he wasn’t as concerned with Sanders’ mistakes as he was after the game.

Sanders is as competitive as they come. He was understandably somber after Saturday’s game, but Gundy’s confidence in Sanders should give the young gunslinger some confidence moving into the second half of the season.

“I guess my explanation would be anything that people on the outside that haven’t studied the tape would see, there’s not a concern,” Gundy said. “We gotta let him rip and keep playing football. Let him gain a little more experience every game.”

“Spencer gets a little better every game. His composure in this game was good. He’s highly competitive. He plays aggressive. We want him to play aggressive. He takes the game too seriously at times. He’s getting better in that area. The emotions you see in postgame is the emotions that we want.”

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