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Berry Tramel  

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OSU football: Is there pressure on Mike Gundy in Bedlam

by Berry Tramel Published: November 30, 2011

Thurman Thomas was in Tulsa awhile back and said what a lot of Oklahoma State Cowboys feels. That it is time to “beat OU.”

Mike Gundy has a ready answer for his old backfield mate. “You should have asked him how many times he beat ‘em,” Gundy said.

Then Gundy smiled, knowing he was damning himself, since he was the quarterback three of Thomas’ four seasons at OSU.

As a head coach, Gundy takes an 0-6 record into Bedlam. But he also was 0-4 as a player. Not that he hasn’t tasted Bedlam victory. Gundy was 3-6-1 as an assistant coach (0-4-1 with Pat Jones, 1-0 with Bob Simmons, 2-2 with Les Miles).

But he knows what Thomas said is true. It is time OSU won this game. Not that Gundy feels any pressure.

“I don’t feel any different pressure than I ever have,” Gundy said. “I may see things differently than other people do. Everybody has an opinion. I’m interested in developing these guys. I feel responsible that when they leave this program, we’ve helped them better their lives. We’ve instilled some values and principles in ‘em.

“Then we want to play good football, win a Big 12 championship.”

Gundy is paid about $50,000 to develop character and instill values. He’s paid $1.95 million to win big.

So don’t let him fool you. He knows it’s time to win Bedlam. Time to win the first outright conference title in OSU history.

But that doesn’t Gundy necessarily feels pressure. He’s got the world by the tail. He’s lifted OSU football higher than it’s ever been. If OSU loses this Bedlam, it’s great opportunity lost, but it’s still a landmark season in many ways. A No. 2 national ranking, are you kidding me?

Gundy can coach with the freedom that this isn’t a sour season, even with a Bedlam defeat, no matter what anyone says. I don’t know if that helps or hurts the OSU cause this week, but it’s true.

“The way I see Oklahoma State football, and the real supporters that care about Oklahoma State University, I don’t believe in saying anything that could distract or take away from a positive.”

So Gundy won’t say this is a do-or-die game. Won’t say the pressure mounts on him to beat OU. Maybe because it’s true.

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by Berry Tramel
Columnist
Berry Tramel, a lifelong Oklahoman, sports fan and newspaper reader, joined The Oklahoman in 1991 and has served as beat writer, assistant sports editor, sports editor and columnist. Tramel grew up reading four daily newspapers — The Oklahoman,...
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