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

Gundy talks Ollie, QBs and more.



[Devin Wilber/PFB]

STILLWATER — Spring has sprung at the Sherman E. Smith Training Center, evident by the sounds of JUGS machines and pads popping.

Oklahoma State started its spring practice schedule on Tuesday, where Mike Gundy met with the media. Here are five things he said that stood out with a video of his full news conference below. 

1. Ollie ‘Not a Secret Anymore’

It’s hard to imagine there is a better single player in the Big 12 entering the year than OSU running back Ollie Gordon.

The nation’s leading rusher from 2023, Gordon ran for 1,732 yards and 29 touchdowns en route to winning the Doak Walker. Entering Year 2 in the spotlight, Gordon needs to continue to keep his head down and work, his coach said.

“Ollie needs to practice harder than he did last year,” Gundy said. “He practiced good last year, but he needs to practice better. He’s not a secret anymore. He needs to stay humble and work hard. He’s been very good at that to this point.

“We’re in a challenging time now. You take Ollie, who is 20 years old maybe, and guys that make a lot of money, and then you tell them to stay level-headed. Not the easiest thing to do with your 20-year-olds. So the challenge with him, in my opinion, is to practice as hard as he did last year, be humble, understand that the teams we play next year don’t care what he accomplished last year. And he’s not a secret anymore, so he has to continue to raise the bar.”

2. Bowman Year 7

OSU quarterback Alan Bowman has apparently trimmed down entering his second year in the program.

Gundy said Bowman has lost six or eight pounds this offseason with Rob Glass. Another year in the system should mark improvements for OSU’s passer, who threw for 3,460 yards, 15 touchdowns and 14 interceptions last season. But even past being in the system another year, seven years of college football experience should also be a big plus for the Cowboys.

“AARP, social security potentially — before it runs out,” Gundy said. “Lot of experience. He’s been really good from Day 1, but even more settled in over the last few months, more comfortable. I’ve always said, in my opinion, there’s not really any substitute for experience and maturity. We had a lot of success with (Brandon) Weeden, he was 28ish, 27, 29 — somewhere in that area. Same thing. These guys bring a lot to the table from an experience standpoint.”

3. QB2

But Bowman can’t play forever (probably).

After this 2024 season, the Cowboys will have to turn the reigns over to a new quarterback, and OSU has three talented youngsters behind Bowman.

The one getting the most hype this offseason is redshirt freshman Zane Flores. Listed at 6-foot-4, 205 pounds, Flores didn’t play last season but is oozing potential.

Redshirt sophomore Garret Rangel returns after being a part of the Cowboys’ three-quarterback rotation at the beginning of last season. He completed 53% of his 32 attempts last season for 172 yards, two touchdowns and an interception after being thrown into the fire as a true freshman in 2022 and gaining some experience. 

“We didn’t really see Zane last year — he was on our scout team,” Gundy said. “He practiced with our young guys at the end of practice, and everyday they got 10 reps. Much different than the setting he’ll be in now. This will be a time for us to evaluate and watch him grow.

“Lot of reps for him and Rangel to get out there. We’ll work those guys, and we’ll rotate them all through. And we’ll see who comes out of spring and earns the job.”

Then there is also true freshman Maealiuaki (officially pronounced MY-uh-LEE-oo-AH-key) Smith, who joins the program as a three-star recruit from Junipero Serra High School in California.

“Versatile, can do different things, moves well, mature, gonna have good size,” Gundy said. “We’re a ways away, but we like the tool set and what potential he brings.”

4. Enter, Paul Randolph 

Gundy made one primary staff change entering 2024: out is Greg Richmond and in is Paul Randolph.

An OSU alum, Richmond had coached the Cowboys’ defensive line since 2018, initially sharing duties with Joe Bob Clements before Clements moved to linebackers. 

“We just needed a change there,” Gundy said. “I’ve said this a lot, I don’t know what the number is, but in my 20th year now as a head coach I haven’t had to change jobs or coaches very much. I feel like I’m responsible for coaching the guys that I hire here and then they’re responsible for coaching the players. Every once in a while, it doesn’t mean that there’s a coach that’s not good enough to coach or doesn’t mean that I’m correct, it just means that we need a change — for a variety of reasons.

“But Greg Richmond is a good football coach, and he’s a great human being. We needed a change for a couple of reasons. It’s one of the most difficult things to do in my position, but I haven’t done it a lot because I feel I’m responsible for them. But just we needed a change of pace and some new blood at that position.”

Randolph joins OSU’s staff after spending the past two seasons at Indiana. He was in the Big 12 at Texas Tech for three seasons before the move to IU, and in total he brings 26 years of college coaching experience to OSU’s defensive line room, having also spent time at Memphis, Arizona State, Pittsburgh, Tulsa, Rice, Alabama, West Virginia, Toledo, Illinois State, Valdosta State and UT-Martin.

“I’m really excited about Coach Randolph and what he’s bringing to the table,” Gundy said. “A lot of experience. When I went out searching and listening and having conversations with coaches across the country, his name would come up in most of those conversations with coaches all over the country. We were fortunate that he was available and we could get get him here.”

5. Young Depth at WR

 In terms of starters, Oklahoma State’s receiving corps. looks to be outstanding with the likes of Brennan Presley, Rashod Owens and De’Zhaun Stribling, but that position room will almost definitely need a new face to play a role in 2024.

Talyn Shettron and Cale Cabbiness add some experience to the room, but outside of that, expect at least one redshirt freshman to get some run. Kasey Dunn keeps the cupboard full there. It just feels like a matter of whom will step up among that class of Tyke Andrews, Cameron Heard and Jalen Pope.

“All the young guys — Tykie and Heard and all those guys — they’re gonna get all the work in the spring,” Gundy said.

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