Media Day Notebook: Oklahoma State


SPENCER SANDERS’ IMPORTANCE

Mike Gundy is very impressed with Spencer Sanders’ progression. He feels the stunted offseason last year affected his preparation, and as a result, impacted his performance under center.

He’s made more of a leap this offseason than at any other point in his career since arriving in Stillwater.

Like every other coach in the Big 12, he has very high expectations for his quarterback and their success will be dependent upon his ability to make the correct decisions and translate his offseason improvements to the football field in the Fall.

LOSS OF WALLACE AND HUBBARD

Brennan Presley is one of the receivers that Gundy mentioned. Tay Martin is another. They’ll be asked to pick up some of the slack and production that will be necessary to find with Tylan Wallace no longer walking through that locker room.

Chuba Hubbard is also now in the NFL.

The Oklahoma State head coach believes they have up to four or five guys that can contribute and replace Hubbard’s numbers. They’ll all grab quality reps in August. It is possible four different backs log 10-12 carries a game rather than one guy toting it 40 times.

He mentioned LD Brown’s name and he’ll be expected to be the lead back, though as part of a committee approach.

Spencer Sanders (USA Today)

DEFENSE

Gundy is excited to see what his defense can accomplish in 2021. Their experience is a large part of the reason why. With lethal offenses in the Big 12, having an experienced defense likely means broader success in a given season.

One of the leaders on that side of the ball is defensive back Kolby Harvell-Peel. He likely would have been chosen in the NFL Draft had he not decided to return and help push the Cowboy program forward.

It makes sense for Gundy to hold confidence in that unit. It’s for good reason. They were one of the best a year ago and a lot of the components are back in Stillwater. In fact, the Oklahoma State boss is hopeful that this year’s group will be the fastest he’s assembled ever as a head coach.

OFFENSIVE LINE

Despite losing offensive linemen Tevin Jenkins to the Chicago Bears with the first pick in the second round of the NFL Draft, Mike Gundy believes that the offensive line will consist of more depth this season than the prior one.

They were beat up for much of the 2020 campaign, according to the Cowboy head coach. Taking those punches and responding will make them better for it and Gundy is excited to see the product.

Sanders’ protectors have completed the work necessary in the offseason to make him confident in what they will provide and their effectiveness. The depth could be a difference-maker for them.

NIL

Many coaches have been asked about and discussed the new world of college athletics that includes athletes being able to profit off of their own name, image and likeness. Gundy admitted that he doesn’t know a ton about it and believes that not many do.

Fortunately for Gundy, it isn’t necessarily in his wheelhouse nor his responsibility. University compliance will handle most of the issues associated with athletes and their name, image and likeness and help them maneuver through it.

He just wants to ensure they are educated on all aspects of it and that their partnerships are with businesses that are accredited.

All of the coaches are aware of it. Even Kansas State head coach Chris Klieman has had to explain to his team what is permitted and what isn’t, and how to handle yourself in a professional manner in regard to it all.



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