Connect with us


The Top 5 Quotes from Mike Gundy’s First News Conference of Spring Ball

Takeaways from OSU’s head coach as the Cowboys kick off spring practice.



[Devin Wilber/PFB]

STILLWATER — The Cowboys had their first practice of the spring Tuesday, and Mike Gundy met with reporters before it to get everyone up to speed with the goings on with his team.

Here are Gundy’s five best quotes from Oklahoma State’s first spring practice.

1. On Finding Bryan Nardo

This is the first time Mike Gundy has spoken publicly about his new defensive coordinator Bryan Nardo.

Nardo comes to Stillwater from Gannon University in the PSAC, the same conference Gundy nabbed Mike Yurcich from at one point. Gundy discussed how he found Nardo, as he searched for guys fluent in the 3-3-5 defense.

“I started watching video all across the country for what I thought we needed,” Gundy said. “… There’s only [a few coaches] that actually understand that system. I went and interviewed all of them. You could count them on one hand. I went everywhere. I looked everywhere.

“I looked in high school. I had no problem hiring a high school guy. There was a couple of good guys, high school coaches, that were qualified for this job. I didn’t get to that point. Once I found Bryan, and he was not the first person I interviewed, he was down the line. And I didn’t even know Gannon was in [the PSAC]. I didn’t know where Gannon was. I didn’t know Gannon existed. Nothing against Gannon. I just didn’t know. So it was a coincidence.

“He was down the line, by the time I got to him. Was planning on grabbing him for a couple of hours. Wasn’t sure. I thought it would be just an informative interview. Ended up being six and a half hours long. Afterwards, I thought, ‘He’s the guy. Best guy. Doesn’t make a difference where he came from. He’s the best guy.’ So then I did my research, calling all the people he worked for. He either paid everybody off or whatever, but nobody could say anything bad about the guy as a person and a football coach. So that’s how we got to that point where we hired him.”

2. On Alan Bowman and the Quarterback Battle Being Open

There will be a new face heading OSU’s offense in 2023 with Spencer Sanders transferring to Ole Miss after spending four seasons as the Cowboys’ starter. But who the new starter will be is up for competition.

Oklahoma State grabbed Alan Bowman out of the transfer portal. With one season of eligibility left, Bowman spent the past two seasons at Michigan, and he also started for Texas Tech before that.

Then there are returners Garret Rangel and Gunnar Gundy, who each played in Sanders’ absence last season, and the Cowboys have highly touted freshman Zane Flores in as an early enrollee.

“[Bowman] brings maturity,” Gundy said. “He’s had a lot of reps, been in a lot of games. Been around good coaching, in my opinion. And when he came in and we spent time with him and really liked his appearance with the way he carried himself, very humble. So we’re excited about bringing him in and giving him a chance to be out here and compete with the other quarterbacks.

“… Yeah, [quarterback] is [an open battle]. And one of the more difficult things that we have to work through now is we have I said I think it’s around 28 new players. So, there’s really not enough reps for everybody in the spring to really make final decisions, and I told the team that’s why it’s important. We’re gonna get as much work as we can. But this will be a very unusual spring in that it’s different from that standpoint. So, everybody’s going to have a chance to compete. And we’re going to try to spread the reps around at all positions the best we can. I know that’s not feasible, but we’re going to do the best we can, until we get to the very latter part of spring and then we might try to solidify some spots.”

3. Intriguing Division-III Transfer

Among the myriad new faces on Oklahoma State’s roster, one’s story is a bit different than the others.

Leon Johnson III joins the Cowboys after a stellar career at George Fox, a Division-III university in Oregon. Johnson played football and baseball at George Fox. Listed at 6-foot-5, 207 pounds on OSU’s roster, Johnson had 55 receptions for 1,156 yards and 14 touchdowns last season.

“Did anybody know there was a George Fox?” Gundy said. “You gotta be honest. … And I’m good with schools and stuff. Honestly, I had no idea there was a George Fox. And it’ll be interesting to watch him. He’s 6-foot-6 or something like that. He’s already gained 15 pounds. And I think he vertical (jumped) 36 inches.

“… Already has a math degree from George Fox. And he’s 6-6, has big hands. He’s athletic. He’s a three-sport guy, and he vertical jumped 35 inches. So, how is he at George Fox? We’ll find out. That’s what’s intriguing about him.”

4. Portal Not Going to Surprise Gundy Anymore

If the transfer portal was something one could measure, it would have overflowed in December.

The new window system opened up Dec. 5 and closed Jan. 18, which saw players leave their current teams on mass, including at Oklahoma State. Gundy and Co. grabbed a lot of guys from the portal to try to make up for the Cowboys’ losses. Gundy said there were some surprises in that first wave. With the portal set to open again on May 1, Gundy said it won’t surprise him again.

“I was just as surprised on some guys as other people,” Gundy said. “But it’s not going to surprise me anymore. I’ve talked with staff about it. The portal opens back up in about a month, I think, or something like that, I’m not sure. There will be guys go in that will be a surprise. I think that’s the wave of the future. It’s driven by a lot of different reasons.

“There’s three reasons in most cases that players transfer, one, a majority of the guys that came in and talked to me said, ‘Coach, I’m not really going to get a chance to be a starter here. I want to go somewhere where I can supposedly be a starter or play more. Two, it can be money, whether we like it or not. It’s not supposed to be money driven, but it is. And then three, a guy says, ‘I want to go somewhere else. I don’t feel like I’ve gotten my best opportunity here. I’m not comfortable in this environment. I just want to go somewhere else.’ With the exception of the long-term guys that just want to do something new. Like Spencer (Sanders), been here five years, played a bunch of games. I want to go play somewhere new. So that’s what transpires with kids, most of them. And I would say that’s probably over 90% of them.”

5. The Portal Moves Quickly

Another crazy aspect of the portal is how quickly everything can move.

Gundy said doing your due diligence on portal players is tough because if you wait too long, they’re already gone. And it doesn’t help that most schools are on break during that initial portal window.

“It would take me two hours to sit down with you, more than that, five hours, to sit down with you guys and go over all the stuff that happens in the portal,” Gundy said. “You don’t do due diligence. I’ll give you one example. So when we bring players in on visits, we do all grade checks and transcripts, they get cleared through the clearinghouse, all that stuff. OK. Well, when the portal’s taking place, college is not in session. Students are out, right? During bowl practice, students are out. Well, the professors, they’re not around. The universities are closed. So you have young men coming in on visits that we’re seeing on the portal, we say we want them, we go after them, we make contact, bring them in on visit, we don’t even know what their academic records are. How are we going to know that?

“We can’t wait. If we wait, we lose. We had a few kids came in, had a visit, it was great, they left, we found out they weren’t even eligible. They just took a free visit. That’s the truth. But how are you going to know? I mean, next year Jan. 3, call down any campus in the country and ask for the engineering department college, for the counseling office, to get a transcript, see if anybody answers the phone. Nobody. So it was very entertaining, for lack of a better word, during that time.”

Most Read