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The Top 5 Quotes from Mike Gundy’s Pre-BYU News Conference

Gundy talks traveling fans, Ollie, Thanksgiving and more.



[Devin Wilber/PFB]

STILLWATER — By the end of the week, Mike Gundy’s Cowboys will know whether they’re headed back to Arlington for the second time in the past three seasons.

Oklahoma State has a must-win game against BYU at 2:30 p.m. Saturday in Boone Pickens Stadium. A win there would make it highly likely the Cowboys return to AT&T Stadium. Gundy met with the media Monday for his weekly luncheon. Here are five things Gundy said with a video of his full news conference below.

OSU Fans Travel

Whether it be in Tempe, Arizona or Orlando, Florida, the orange wave of Cowboy fans has travelled all over the country this season.

But as good as the traveling support against Arizona State or UCF was, Houston was on an entirely different level. With tickets as cheap as $5 and a strong alumni base in Texas, there might’ve been more OSU fans than Houston fans at TDECU Stadium on Saturday.

“They’ve done a great job,” Gundy said. “I’ve complimented them throughout the year. I think they were really excited about the new conference and new teams. I know they wanted to go to Arizona. They wanted to go to Florida. We have a huge alumni base in Houston. I think out of Oklahoma, it might be the largest. I’m not for sure, but I know it’s one of the largest with all your oil and gas and engineers and such down in that area.

“I thought we had more fans there than the other team, which is a compliment to our people, and certainly helps us. Our crowd supported the team, and the guys felt it, I’m sure. Contributes to a better season for us.”

‘Ollie Needs to Practice Hard’

Ollie Gordon is no doubt banged up.

He hobbled off to the sideline a few times during his 164-yard, three-touchdown performance against Houston. He did his postgame media scrum while wearing a boot (for what it’s worth, a lot of players wear boots during the week).

Gordon is now tied with North Carolina’s Omarion Hampton for the nation’s lead in rushing with 1,414 yards (Gordon has done so on 14 fewer carries). Despite all the work Gordon does on the field, Gundy said it’s important for Gordon to continue to practice despite being banged up.

“Ollie needs to practice hard,” Gundy said. “He needs to be in practice. He needs to get banged around. He needs to practice hard. The guys that I’ve been around that were at that position, all the way up through my coaching career, that played for a long time, practiced hard all the time at that position. The reason why is because you take a lot of hits and stuff in games, and if you protect a guy where he doesn’t get banged around any in practice, then he’s susceptible in the game. He needs to practice hard.”

Players ‘Really, Really’ Like Nardo

Bryan Nardo is a game away from finishing his first regular season as OSU’s defensive coordinator.

All things considered (implementing a new scheme, having a young secondary, etc.) things have been solid. OSU does rank last in the Big 12 in total defense, allowing 431.9 yards a game, but the Cowboys rank ninth in the league in points allowed at 26.7.

Where the group has been excelling is on fourth down and by turning teams over. In conference games, OSU has 10 INTs, which ranks fourth in the league. On the season, teams are just 3-for-22 against OSU on fourth-down tries. That 13.6 percentage is far and away tops in the Big 12 with TCU ranking second at 34.5%.

Nardo has also done well in the locker room in more ways than one, it sounds. Teams are averaging 15.9 points against OSU in the first halves of games this season but just 10.8 points against the Pokes in the second half. Only Central Arkansas and Kansas State have scored more points in the second half than the first against OSU.

Here is Gundy on the other reason it appears Nardo has been good in the locker room.

“I think the players really, really like him,” Gundy said. “One of the things that he does is he has a really calm, kind of a magnetic personality. He’s a very humble, down-to-earth person, and I think the players like that. He goes out of his way to acknowledge them all the time and develop relationships with them.

“He’s the opposite of me. I don’t have any friends. Not very many people like me, but I don’t go out of my way because that’s just not who I am. I work, I do my job and I go home. He’s got that relationship with these guys, in my opinion.”

‘Senior’ Day

There are 28 seniors on OSU’s roster ahead of Saturday’s Senior Day, but some of those guys could still be on OSU’s roster next season.

In this world of COVID redshirts, the transfer portal, injury waivers and about 47 other types of waivers, eligibility is a fluid concept.

Take Alan Bowman, for example. He is in his sixth season. He’s a redshirt super senior. But, there have been talks of him filing for another year for one of his injury-shortened season. Nothing has been confirmed on that one way or the other, but that’s an example of how confusing it is trying to figure out whether someone’s clock is running out or not.

“We used to have a really cool senior banquet where you honor the seniors and spend a lot of time with them after the season,” Gundy said. “We don’t do that anymore for them because we don’t know who the seniors are, and you can plan it. Like, you have to plan things like that. Some players that are on our team now might not know if they’re gonna play again next year or not. Right or wrong, they just might not have decided. We lose that, and then Senior Day, I asked them and I’m fairly certain we had three or four guys that went through Senior Day last year that are playing now.

“So for that reason, we try to do the best we can with getting guys that are somewhat seniors, but you got waivers filed, you got COVID years, you have a number of things that are still going on. So we do the best we can, but we don’t have that conversation with them because now is not the time or place.”

What Gundy Is Thankful For

Gundy’s Thanksgiving week news conferences are always entertaining — usually because he delves into his favorite sides of Thanksgiving dinner.

But this year provided a bit of a changeup. Sellout Crowd’s Guerin Emig asked Gundy what he was thankful for.

“As you get older, the one thing for me is your health,” Gundy said. “People talk about it. When I was growing up and somebody said, ‘Well, I’m thankful for myself.’ I’m like, ‘What do you need health for?’ But for me to be 56 years old and to have my health and the energy to still do this job and have fun doing it, I’m very thankful for. I have a beautiful family and all those different things, but just to kinda put one thing into perspective, I think about that a lot and I’m very appreciative of that. To still be able to do this at a high level.”

The follow-up was what football-related thing Gundy was thankful for. Gundy’s answer to that was probably less heartfelt, but also perhaps more entertaining.

“That we figured out how to run block — honestly,” Gundy said. “That’s made it a much funner year.”

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