Barry Sanders made the rounds in Stillwater on Saturday, greeting fans at the ESPN Heisman House, addressing the Oklahoma State players following their big win against Kansas and reminiscing with the other former players who came back for the reunion of the 1988 squad.
Before kickoff, he addressed the media about the 25th anniversary of his magical Heisman season, his favorite memories from that 1988 campaign and what it's like to see his quarterback now coaching the Cowboys.
What's the one thing you remember about the 1988 team that comes to mind the quickest?
“I remember the good fortune of having five fifth-year senior offensive linemen and a fifth-year senior fullback. Of course, Mike Gundy at quarterback, Hart Lee Dykes at receiver. It was just a fortunate set of circumstances going into that season. Of course, I remember thinking, ‘Gosh, we don't have Thurman (Thomas) anymore. What are we gonna do?'”
What does it mean to have your quarterback now the coach of the team and doing a great job?
“It means a lot. I know he cares deeply about Oklahoma State, even long before he was the coach here, and certainly as the head coach. Mike, he knows the game in and out and he has a great relationship with the kids and he cares about them and he certainly cares about this place. It's remarkable to see what he's been able to do. I just think that even with the success we've enjoyed here that the future is as bright with him leading the team.”
When people still say that they still regard your Heisman season as the best ever in college football, what does that mean to you?
“To me, it's quite remarkable. Because I'm that guy that at 9, 10 years old was sitting there watching Tony Dorsett and his success that he enjoyed at the University of Pittsburgh or watching Billy Sims or watching Marcus Allen and then going out in my neighborhood trying to duplicate what I saw those guys do. So to think that I would become one of those guys is still sometimes hard to believe. All the right things came together that year for me, honestly, and so many people were involved in that. It was just kind of one of those situations where the right circumstances met with the right time and the right person, and it was just a memorable year and landmark year for me. I'm just glad I was a part of it.”