football Edit

Gundy's mug a Twitter hit, but the class is the star of the show

OSU coach Mike Gundy has a knack for flair.

From dancing, to the Mullet to "I'm a man, I'm 40," Gundy knows how to get people talking about his program.

It happened again Wednesday. On National Signing Day, nonetheless.

Gundy came to his annual signing day news conference with the mullet still intact, although it had to be trimmed a bit.

What caught Twitter on fire was Gundy's coffee mug for the 9 a.m. news conference.

With the logo clearly showing for the cameras, Gundy took several sips from a cup labeled as "Big Daddy."

Good for a few laughs, but Wednesday was about the future of the program.

“As always, I’m very excited about these guys,” Gundy said. “We will know a lot more about them in two years. Over the last couple of years we’ve sometimes had young men visit here and find out what it takes to be a part of our teams and they end up not coming here because of that. That’s good for everybody. You want young men to be here and understand the role that they play and the commitment they have to coaches and the university.”

The need for speed..of thought

Gundy gave a little insight into his recruiting philosophy.

Given the nature of the game today, the Cowboys need more than just big and fast football players.

“Teams are playing with three and four people split out of the backfield,” Gundy said, “they’re moving across, they're faking a handoff, they’re faking a toss, they’re throwing a pass... Maybe more so on defense than any, you have to be able to think very fast.”

They need smart football players.

“We started it last year and we liked where it was so we pushed harder on this class than we have before to bring in guys who fit the prototype of a cerebral player,” Gundy said. “If the prototype at a certain position is 6-2 and you’re only 6-foot-and-a-half, you need to be 225 and you’re only 215 or you need to run a 4.7 and you run a 4.85, if we think you’re a cerebral player, we’re probably going to take you instead of the other guy.”

Determining a cerebral player is harder to do. The measurables aren't concrete like a 40-yard dash time.

“We try to reach as deep as possible into that,” Gundy said. “Trying to grade them 1-10 on being a very savvy, cerebral football player, and not just an athletic player that had so-called had potential.

“Each year we evaluate what we think we’ve done positive and things we need to improve in all areas. Over the past couple of years, and this year in particular, we feel like players that are able to think really fast and react, football savvy, could be more beneficial to our program than ever before.”

Diverse

Gundy never saw James Washington play football in person before Washington came to Stillwater.

He did, however, watch one of Washington's high school basketball games and came away impressed enough to solidly a scholarship offer.

That is one example of Gundy and his coaching staff loving kids who play multiple sports.

“I think high school kids ought a play as many sports as they want to play,” Gundy said. “I think that we’re getting overwhelmed with travel baseball in the summer through young kids, travel softball, travel volleyball, AAU basketball, 7-on-7 for football. It’s discouraging some high school athletes from playing multi sports. For us, we think it’s best for them to play multi sports and compete year around.

“Whenever we evaluate a young man, one of the first things I ask is does he play any other sports?”

Home schooled

OSU had four Oklahoma kids sign LOI's on Wednesday (Bixby’s Brendon Evers, Wynnewood’s Baron Odom, Oologah’s Brock Martin and Malcolm Rodriguez of Wagoner).

Martin is the highest rated in-state recruit for the Pokes.

“I’m excited about the class from Oklahoma,” Gundy said. “I’ve said this for the last couple of years, and I’ll say it again this year, the talent in the state of Oklahoma is getting better and better each year. With the budget cuts and the education cuts that we have in this state, I’m not sure how that’s happening, because there’s been cuts all across the board.”

World class

For the second straight year, OSU grabbed an athlete from up north.

This year's addition comes in the form of Chuba Hubbard, a 6-foot-1, 190-pound running back.

Hubbard rushed for more than 2,000 yards his senior year, for a very obvious reason.

“Chuba has world-class speed,” Gundy said. “Some people have said that maybe in four years he could be running in the Olympics. Whether that’s right or wrong, I kind of go back to what Coach (Pat) Jones used to say that you get to a certain point and you’re really fast. He’s really fast.”

Poking fun

Gundy knows his recruiting classes aren't typically highly ranked, but OSU is consistently winning games. What gives?

“Either we’re damn good evaluators and the recruiting services don’t know what they’re talking about or we’re damn good coaches,” Gundy said. “One or the other, I don’t know which one or the other. I’m trying to figure it out.”