Oklahoma State arrives in Morgantown, W.Va., this weekend still carrying the preseason optimism that resulted in the Cowboys being named the Big 12 favorites.
At 3-0 and ranked No. 11 nationally, OSU will be a three-touchdown favorite — on the road.
Did Cowboys coach Mike Gundy have the foresight to imagine such a status change for the program when he took over as head coach in 2005?
“I don't know that I ever thought that far ahead,” Gundy said. “When I got the job, I thought we had a huge task and we were going to have to work diligently day by day and never really put much thought into it until we started collecting some players that I felt like had the capability of playing in the NFL.
“And once we started to gather some of those guys on our team … in most cases, if you get good quarterback play and you have a few guys that are going to get picked in the draft, you have a chance to win your conference.”
WVU DEFENSE PREPARED FOR OSU?
The Mountaineers may be big underdogs against OSU, but chatter coming out of Morgantown suggests they feel like they're ready for anything the Cowboys bring on offense.
The similarities in their offenses — WVU coach Dana Holgorsen is the architect of both school's attacks — brings a certain familiarity. And the Mountaineers have faced dual-threat quarterbacks in Oklahoma's Blake Bell and Maryland's C.J. Brown, perhaps preparing them for OSU's J.W. Walsh.
“I think with the Oklahoma game, it is hard to find a quarterback who runs better than (Bell) did,” said Mountaineers defensive coordinator Keith Patterson, a Marlow native whose background includes coaching stops at several Oklahoma high schools and Tulsa University. “As for Walsh, I am very impressed with him. The kid has size. He runs well, but also throws the ball extremely well for a kid his size.
“They do a nice job with the option. I think the Oklahoma and Maryland games helped prepare us. You cannot have two better games to prepare you for Oklahoma State. We have a good tempo and vertical defense for the passing game.”
West Virginia linebacker Jared Barber on OSU's offense:
“They have good skill guys, even though I think Maryland was better up front. They do not have as many skill players as Maryland, I will say that.”
SCHMIDLY WEIGHS IN ON SI REPORT
David Schmidly recently retired as president at the University of New Mexico, a post he also held at OSU from 2002-07.
Retirement, however, isn't holding him down — or back.
In a conversation with the Albuquerque Journal, Schmidly weighed in on the Sports Illustrated investigation, which covered the time frame of his stint in Stillwater.
“It was grossly sensationalized,” Schmidly told the paper. “I'm not saying none of it was true, but those things were never reported to me. I left the field with the football team. I went into the locker room, and I stayed until the players left. I never saw any donors hand out money. I never saw any coaches handing out money.”
In addition, if needed, Schmidly said he has offered his support to current OSU president Burns Hargis.
“I pledged my support to assist them in any investigation,” Schmidly said.