STILLWATER - Back on OSU's media day and even before that, during Big 12 media days, head coach Mike Gundy talked about needing his team to become more disciplined. He blamed some of the Cowboys struggles last season on undisciplined play at times resulting in silly penalties and busted assignments.
The offensive line was an area of particular concern where holding calls, false start flags and blown assignments led to poor field position and in some cases lost games.
This season things have turned around, at least after one game, prompting Gundy to warn everyone about "being on the Kool-Aid early." Even so, basically the same group of guys who struggled so mightily at times last season managed "the highest grade we've ever had as an offensive line since I've been a head coach."
Think about that for a moment.
Since Gundy has been the Cowboys head man his teams have had some outstanding offensive line groups over the years. As to what has made a big difference with this group so far?
"Guys are playing harder downfield and I guess Coach (Charlie) Dickey is demanding they play that way," Gundy said.
He also praised the play of quarterback Spencer Sanders, "I didn't think that he got flustered at any time, which is important for a quarterback at any level or any school. I thought he had enough energy to bring a lot to our team, but not so much that he got out of control." He was not as happy with what happened on defense, especially on third downs.
"We couldn’t get off the field on third downs. We had 88 plays on defense, if we could have gotten off the field on 50% of those third downs, we could have been in the low 70s and probably held them to 25 points or less."
One of the problems on defense was that four guys who would have played a lot were held out because of injuries. Linebacker Calvin Bundage and defensive lineman Israel Antwine didn't even make the trip.
“Calvin had a setback about 10 days ago, so we held him out," Gundy said of Bundage. "Sometime this week we'll get an update. We might hold him out again this week, just depends on how he's feeling. He's got a back issue and they’re hard to determine.”
He seemed a little more positive about Antwine playing against McNeese State on Saturday. "We'll know here in a couple days. He's practicing with the ones and the twos. We have him setting on ‘G’ and waiting on ‘O’.”
You can see Mike Gundy's entire news conference in the block below.
Some good stuff here from our pal Robert Allen and 247Sports.com
If you couldn't stay up all the way through the game on Friday night and have some how missed the highlights...here you go...
The Cowboys home opener is set for Saturday night against McNeese State, an FCS school. The Cowboys won their opener and play in the Southland Conference.
“They won last week by a touchdown. They’re based on defense up to this point. They want to get lined up, play hard and run to the ball is what it looks like. They are trying to be balanced on offense. We will get a game plan in for them in all three phases of the game. We need to get better at what we do. That will make me feel a lot better if we can continue to improve in the basic fundamentals and the discipline of us being a smart football team, that would do a lot for me this Saturday.”
Interesting side note: Last week it was OSU vs. OSU this week it's Cowboys vs. Cowboys.
Another side note: OSU is 5-0 against teams from the Southland Conference and Mike Gundy is 11-0 against FCS teams.
Kickoff is set for 6 o'clock Saturday evening. The game will not be on regular television but it will stream on ESPN+. You can hear the game across Oklahoma on the Cowboy Radio Network including Oklahoma City's 96.1 KXY "The Home of the Cowboys" pregame begins at 4 o'clock.