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

On Bowman, Cooper’s health and his handstand.



[Devin Wilber/PFB]

STILLWATER — Mike Gundy’s Cowboys have clawed their way back into national ranking discussions after a slow start to the year.

Oklahoma State travels to West Virginia this weekend for a 2:30 p.m. (central) kick against the Mountaineers. The Pokes have won back-to-back games against Kansas State and Kansas. Here are the top five quotes from Gundy’s Monday luncheon ahead of a trip to Morgantown. You can watch his full news conference below.

Bowman Played Well, But Needs to Set His Feet

Alan Bowman on Saturday became the first quarterback to guide the Cowboys to a 30-point game since Spencer Sanders put 41 on Texas last October.

Bowman completed 68% of his passes for 336 yards, two touchdowns and no interceptions in OSU’s 39-32 win. That’s the most yards OSU has thrown for in a game since Sanders threw for 381 against OU last season.

Gundy was complimentary of Bowman’s performance, but the former quarterback said he would like to see Bowman set his feet more and not bail out of the pocket as much. Gundy did say that some of that has to do with the fact that Bowman didn’t have the greatest of pockets in the opening two weeks.

“Played pretty good,” Gundy said. “I’d like for him to set his feet more, which I’ve talked with y’all about that a few weeks. The protection in the last few weeks, the pass protection has been considerably better that it was in the first three games. That should allow him to set in the pocket more and not float back because when he floats back, at times, he’s getting himself into a little bit of a jam. But for the most part, he played pretty good.”

Cooper ‘Seems to Be Fine,’ Springfield Having ‘Best Year by Far’

One thing that would certainly help Bowman feel more comfortable in the pocket is Dalton Cooper protecting his blind side.

Cooper left OSU’s win against the Jayhawks with an apparent injury, playing just 18 snaps, according to PFF. A transfer from Texas State, Cooper’s season PFF grade of 71.3 ranks tops among OSU offensive linemen.

It sounds like he should be good to go when the Pokes hit the country roads to West Virginia this weekend.

“I think he’ll practice and play,” Gundy said. “Seems to be fine.”

Cooper’s early exit forced Cole Birmingham back to a tackle spot after he had been rotating at left guard. OSU swung starting right tackle Jake Springfield over to left tackle and had Birmingham fill the open spot at right tackle.

Springfield finished Saturday’s game with a 72.4 PFF grade — good for second among OSU’s offensive linemen behind center Joe Michalski’s 85.6. A former walk-on, Springfield has a season grade of 69.8 — behind only Cooper and Michalski.

“[Springfield] played pretty good on both sides,” Gundy said. “This is his best year by far. He’s been an effective player for us. His maturity is showing. It’s not easy going from [right tackle] to [left tackle], but he has done it before. So that helped him, but he’s playing pretty good for our team at this time.”

Bowman was sacked just once Saturday and hurried two other times.

Cowboys Tackling in Practice Now More than Ever

Tackling has been a storyline throughout the first half of Oklahoma State’s 2023 season.

OSU entered that game with Kansas missing 13.6 tackles a game, according to PFF.

In the nonconference, the Pokes averaged 17.3 missed tackles a game. Thus far in Big 12 play, they’ve cut that number down to 6.3 — that includes a season-low three missed tackles against the Jayhawks.

“We’ve worked really hard the last four weeks, five weeks, particularly four weeks, on tackling,” Gundy said. “The first few games, I told the staff it was my fault because I didn’t force them tackle and be as physical in practice as they needed to. I leaned toward health, and it didn’t work. We weren’t very good tacklers.

“The last four weeks we’ve tackled more than we’ve tackled ever since I’ve been a head coach, and we’re seeing good results.”

Different Things Motivate Different People

It’s been a weird year, no doubt.

The Cowboys are 4-2 but are 2-0 against teams that beat them last season, with a chance to make that 3-0 this week.

OSU lost to the Kansas schools a combined 85-16 last season before knocking off the Sunflower State in back-to-back weekends. The Cowboys fell to West Virginia 24-19 in Stillwater last year and have a chance to right that wrong Saturday.

“I believe in Monday through Friday,” Gundy said. “I don’t know if anything last year — but if there’s something from last year that can motivate them to play good football with enthusiasm and effort, I’m all for it. Most of us are all different. Different things motivate us. Those aren’t things that I talk about, but if those are things that help them, I’m all for it.”

Gundy Adds Handstand to Dance Repertoire

The past two Saturdays have ended with Gundy doing a familiar dance in the Oklahoma State locker room — but he has changed it up a little bit.

Gundy sways and contorts his knees in a way that makes you question biology. That’s the familiar.

But this season he has finished his boogie session with a handstand, where the players grab him by the ankles and pull him up and down like a human plunger. It’s … something.

“It’s been The Gundy for a while,” Gundy said. “I’d hate to change the name. I have gone to a handstand just recently to change it up a little bit, ya know, to put a new spice to it. I wouldn’t change the name. It’s been good. Hopefully I get to do it a lot more.

“Ultimately what I was gonna do was walk on my hands across the locker room, but everybody was in the way. So I just went to the handstand.”

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