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Top 5 Quotes from Mike Gundy’s Thursday News Conference

On the rush of being onstage, Dez Bryant and more.



[Devin Wilber/PFB]

STILLWATER — After meeting with reporters Thursday morning, Mike Gundy has just one more scheduled news conference before it’s football time.

Gundy spoke with reporters after the Cowboys’ Thursday practice at the Sherman E. Smith Training Center. He touched on the quarterback competition, which we wrote about here. But here are his five other best quotes from Thursday.

1. The Rockstar Rush

In case you missed it, Gundy spent his birthday by going onstage with Zach Bryan at the BOK Center in Tulsa.

Gundy has spent many a Saturday in his life in front of about 60,000 people, but he said the type of energy he felt onstage was different.

“The concert was awesome,” Gundy said. “I will say this: I’ve been very lucky to do a lot of things in my life. That was the biggest rush I’ve ever had. Being on a stage where 17,000 people are screaming at him and you think they’re screaming for you. And nobody else is screaming at you and they’re upset. Like out here [at Boone Pickens Stadium], most of the time over half of the people are mad at me and they’re screaming at me. Sometimes they’re cheering. Everybody there was cheering and was excited.

“That was a great deal. I’ve never been through anything like that. Honestly, I didn’t want to get off the stage. I kinda wanted to stay up there a while. I could see why those guys get addicted to that.”

2. Comparing Dez to Harbaugh

Three games into the 2009 college football season, Dez Bryant already had 323 receiving yards, four receiving touchdowns and a punt return touchdown. He didn’t play in an OSU uniform again, though.

Bryant was ruled ineligible for the remainder of the season after a meeting he had with Deion Sanders. That harsh punishment has been compared to Jim Harbaugh’s ongoing situation in which he was suspended four games stemming from what the NCAA deemed to be false statements Harbaugh made to investigators. It looks like Harbaugh’s potential suspension could get kicked into next season however.

It’s more fuel to the fire for an OSU fanbase that often feels overpunished by the NCAA. Bryant’s college career ended. Harbaugh might get four games.

“Until you walked in a man’s shoes, you don’t know anything, but Dez failed to tell the truth on one question on a $14.38 Applebee charge,” Gundy said. “And he was 19, and he went in with them and was scared like we all would have been. He said, ‘No, I didn’t do it.’ And they suspended him for that. He never played again.

“I’m not a big fan of that because — he’s a great player, but that was a poor judgment based on here’s a 19-year-old that’s in a room with people in coats and ties and is scared. Of course he’s not gonna admit it, but it was $14.”

3. Tight Ends and Fullbacks

A lot has been made this offseason of the dissolvement of the Cowboy back position. Tight ends and fullbacks are back in Oklahoma State’s offense.

We’ll have to wait until at least Sept. 2 (OSU’s season opener) to see how that changes OSU’s offense, but Gundy is hopeful it has an impact in the Cowboys’ rushing attack that ranked second to last in the Big 12 last season.

“It has to have helped our running game,” Gundy said. “I’m hanging my hat on it has to have helped our running game. If not, then it’s just not gonna be as fun.”

4. Most Improved Xavier Benson

In his first year with the Cowboys last season, Xavier Benson was one of only four OSU defenders to start all 13 games.

He finished the year as the Cowboys’ third-leading tackler with 76 tackles, and Gundy said Benson should be better in 2023.

“He’s made the most improvement of anybody on our team from the bowl game until now,” Gundy said. “He’s really comfortable with himself. He’s comfortable with our environment. He has a great relationship with Coach Nardo. I’m very pleased with him. I’m very happy for him.”

5. ‘Our Defense Can Run’

Don’t say Speed D too loud, you’ll send an OU fan into a fit. (On second thought, say Speed D if you want).

That’s not a moniker the Cowboys’ defense is after, but Gundy does seem impressed with how well his defense moves.

“I think our defense can run,” Gundy said. “We’ve recruited speed when we’ve had that luxury. We didn’t want to make speed more important than being productive in high school, but if we had the comparison of two guys that were just as productive, we tried to go with the speed the last four or five years. And we’ve been fast on defense, and I feel like we’re gonna be fast on defense this year.”

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