STILLWATER — Cowboys football coach Mike Gundy didn't partake of the fun in the sun – the intense sun – at Karsten Creek on Monday, although he did make the rounds from playing group to group in his annual media golf event.
Gundy did, however, gain confirmation on the talents of new wide receivers coach Kasey Dunn.
“I will say this, I have not seen him play, but the guys in our office – and there's two or three who play a lot – they've really gone downhill,” Gundy said, “because when we brought him on staff, they no longer win. He wins all the golf matches.”
Dunn won again Monday, carrying his team to a one-stroke win with a 13-under-par 59 in the scramble format.
There was football talk, too, with the Cowboys due to report for fall camp Thursday, followed by their initial practice Friday.
Practices are getting close, are you getting antsy to begin?
“It's an exciting time of year for everybody. I've always said, in the state of Oklahoma, without us having a professional football team, people look forward to this time of year. I think it's great. It gives people to look forward to each day.
“It's the same for coaches. We're excited to get the players back. They've been gone since a week ago this Tuesday. I'm excited about our expectations. And I'm looking forward to getting back out there and preparing for the (opener).”
How anxious are you to see how size your players up after offseason workouts?
“Very anxious. We've had a great summer. I know we've had over 100 guys who have been in and out for the most part. They're free to come and go as they please, but when you have a commitment from so many guys for most of the summer, it's been really good for us.
“I think that kind of shows where we're at. I think there's some responsibility on some of the upperclassmen in our program to continue with what we started here a number of years ago. I've always felt that when the older players can coach the younger players in those areas, we've come a long way in our football organization.”
Now that the new uniforms have been unveiled, what are your thoughts?
“There was a lot that went into that. It's been going on for a year and a half, two years; some of it some of us knew about, some of us didn't.
“At first, I'm a very traditional guy, and I really didn't know how to take the new uniforms. We haven't had much consistency over the last 20 years with uniforms anyway, so we felt like it gave us an opportunity to attract young student athletes. And that's really what we thrive on here, bringing in good young people who want to graduate and play some good football here.
“And it's an opportunity for us to be different. So I thought it would be great for us. I think it'll be great for us in recruiting. I know the young people like it, they're excited about it. The recruits bring it up and talk about it. I think it's a really good move. And I'm glad Nike chose us. I think it's another statement of where we're going, that they would pick us to be the Oregon of the Midwest.”
Do you have the final say on what combination you'll wear?
“I hope not. I don't want that pressure. I'm not sure with that many combinations you'd really (know) what to put together.”
As you start camp, are there specific groups that you want to see how they've progressed?
“I always keep a close eye on our defensive tackles and our linebackers. We've got some athletic guys in there who don't have as much experience.
“They're really the two spots where I feel we need improvement quicker than the other areas. Obviously, we've got a lot of guys back on offense. And our secondary is mature, and our ends are mature. So those will be the two spots that I watch.”
Is the first season you've gone into and thought, “If we don't reach 10 wins and a BCS bowl, it's been a disappointment?”
“Well, I don't know really how you would describe disappointment. It's funny, you hear so many things about our football team and where we're at. We don't ever want a setback here. But being productive and graduating kids and getting them to play hard and all that, and we hope the ball bounces our way in those key games.
“But if you bring a product to the table that has a chance to win, then sometimes good things are going to happen for you. If our guys really give us great effort, and I feel we're coaching hard and doing the right things, then I wouldn't ever be disappointed in the players.”
Is the best secondary you've had since becoming head coach?
“From a maturity and experience standpoint, it's by far the best since we've been here. I think we're two deep at safety and two deep at corner, and I'm not sure we've ever had that. I'm not sure we've been two deep at any position for a very long time.”
Earlier in your tenure, you used to say, “We're two recruiting classes away…,” things like that. Is it a good sign that you're not saying that anymore?
“I think we've gained some depth for the first time. Very seldom would I go out there and say that we've got everything that we need. There's other good teams in our league, and we all know that.
“In preseason polls and in certain people's attention, there's 10 or 12 teams that could win (a national championship). I think with us being in that group now, we've taken that step.
“I'd still like to have more depth at the defensive tackle spot. But if you look across the country, not anybody has the perfect case scenario anymore. Even your teams that are in the top five in the country right now, you'll see where they're at a position where they're lacking or would want more.
“We're just about in the same boat as anybody else. If we stay healthy and guys play hard, we'll have a shot at it.”