Over the last ten years the Oklahoma State program has reached new heights under Mike Gundy. The head coach spent some time reflecting on the last decade in Stillwater with the Tulsa World, and it’s a pretty candid and incredible interview. We’ll highlight some of his comments below, but it’s definitely worth the read.
His smartest coaching move?
Gundy has gone through some big time coordinators at Oklahoma State, but he attributes hiring Dana Holgorsen as the “the smartest coaching move” he’s made.
“For me, it was a big move. We took a big chance,” Gundy recalled. “[With Brandon Weeden] at quarterback, it would be nothing like what we’d done in the past. I would think, ‘What can we do here? Who could get us going as fast as possible?’ That’s where I came up with Dana.”
Holgorsen is credited with developing the full throttle offense Oklahoma State is now known for. Even through two new coordinators, Todd Monken and Mike Yurcich, Holgorsen’s fingerprints are all over the playbook.
Would OSU have beat LSU had they played for the National Title in 2011?
“I don’t think there’s any question that we would have won by three touchdowns. …We could score with anybody.” Gundy said.
He’s not wrong, although I doubt LSU, or even SEC, fans would agree. LSU laid an egg against Alabama in the National Title game. Oklahoma State struggled early against Stanford, but the Cardinal had one of the best defenses in the country. Even if we pretend LSU showed up and was able to accomplish the same disruption, no one was stopping that offense for long, and the Tigers didn’t have Andrew Luck to build the lead Stanford did before surrendering to the Pokes in overtime.
Bedlam wins aren’t even in Gundy’s top three.
Gundy talked with Bill Haisten about his top three milestone victories, and surprisingly Bedlam wins didn’t even make the list.
No. 17 OSU 28, No. 3 Missouri 23 (Oct. 11, 2008, Columbia, Missouri): Gundy’s first significant road win. After this game, the Cowboys jumped from 17th in the AP poll to No. 8. “Saturday night, 7 o’clock, on the road, big stage,” Gundy said. “(The Missouri offense) hadn’t had a three-and-out all year, and on the first (possession), we three-and-outed them.”
No. 12 OSU 33, Texas 16 (Nov. 13, 2010, Austin, Texas): The Cowboys rolled to a 26-3 halftime lead and Brandon Weeden finished with 409 passing yards. Before this game, OSU was 2-22 against Texas and hadn’t won in Austin since 1944. “When we beat Texas down there, it was big for this program,” Gundy said. “We finally did it. That was huge.”
No. 3 OSU 41, No. 4 Stanford 38, OT (Jan. 2, 2012, Fiesta Bowl):“We won a BCS game and we beat the No. 1 player in the NFL draft (Stanford quarterback Andrew Luck),” Gundy said. “That’s hard to do.”
Gundy credits Brandon Pettigrew as “the one who changed this program”
“The one player who changed this program was Brandon Pettigrew,” Gundy said. “People know Dez (Bryant), (Justin) Blackmon, (Brandon) Weeden and Kendall (Hunter), but Pettigrew (was important) because of his temperament and attitude and willingness to work. He never said it, but he wanted to lead.”
In 2009 Pettigrew was the first tight end taken in the NFL Draft, and was the 20th overall pick. At OSU he was a force to be reckoned with on the field, but it was his leadership that sticks in Gundy’s mind.
It’s a fantastic interview. Be sure to check it out for more on the last ten years, and to find out what the below quote is all about.
“You’ll never [bleeping] break me. I’m the toughest [bleep] out here.”