DALLAS — Mike Gundy sat on the stage, answering a question about his Oklahoma State football program's stability, Tuesday at Big 12 Media Days.
Suddenly, loud chanting began seeping in from the next room.
Gundy was unfazed; he looked straight ahead and answered the question without so much as a pause during the ruckus.
After he was done, Gundy said, “I handled that pretty well; that was a pressure situation.
“I hope Wes Lunt handles it that well.”
Lunt, the true freshman Gundy has anointed as his next quarterback, will be under plenty of pressure as he begins his college career.
After enrolling early, Lunt won a three-way battle during the spring for the unenviable task of replacing Brandon Weeden, a first-round NFL Draft choice last April.
Coaches are unable to work with players through the summer, so Gundy hasn't been able to closely monitor his progress over the last several weeks.
“I haven't seen him in six weeks, eight weeks,” Gundy said. “I'm in and out of the office, and those guys are down on the bottom level training and throwing and going through strength and conditioning. I know he's been in the room studying tape.”
Gundy's Cowboys won their first-ever Big 12 Championship last season and were a double-overtime loss at Iowa State away from playing for the national championship.
Gone are Weeden and Justin Blackmon, both first-round NFL picks, but several key players are back.
Those veterans are the guys Gundy said will be important from a leadership standpoint.
“Wes Lunt is put in a situation where he has to structure and organize how things go during those workouts, but the veteran players have to be the ones that say, ‘You have to be on time; this is what we want to accomplish; this is how it's been done the last few years.'”
When asked who will be the go-to receiver now that Blackmon is gone, Gundy said it will take more than one player to make up for the two-time Biletnikoff Award winner.
“We want three or four of our receivers to give us this year what Justin Blackmon gave us last year,” Gundy said.
“It's an exciting time. There's always a lot of talk about losing players that have done well at Oklahoma State, but one thing we look forward to as coaches is the opportunity to watch young people grow.”
Gundy also spoke on other topics during his 20-minute session with Big 12 media.
On the defense, which led the nation in turnovers a year ago, and how that could help Lunt's development:
“There's no question the success we've had over the last few years is due to our success in the turnover margin. We've done a decent job of taking care of the ball on offense. We have to continue with it.
“Wes has to understand his role. He can't put a lot of pressure on himself. Our defense has to pick up where they left off last year. There's a number of those guys who are back and understand the importance of forcing turnovers.
“I feel better now about our defense than since I've been head coach.”
On how he's built the OSU program:
“Our facilities gave us a chance a number of years ago. We've had tremendous continuity with our coaching staff. We had a plan and were able to stick with it, particularly with recruiting and how we wanted to approach it. We try to be very detailed in how they fit into our style of play and what kind of character they have. In sustaining it, it comes down to recruiting and having quality people in our program.”
On former OSU receiver Dez Bryant and his recent legal problems:
“Dez, we all know is an unbeliveable talent. He's making strides to do the right thing. I only know what I saw on the news.
“It saddens me to hear negative things come out about Dez. Hopefully he can get it together.
“When he was at Oklahoma State, we were with him all the time and never had any issues with him. It worked out well for us. Hopefully he can get back to that trend in the NFL.”
On accepting transfers in the aftermath of the Penn State situation:
“There's a lot to digest. So much information has come out in the last 24 hours.
“We have not had a lot of success with players that have transferred. The majority of our success has come from guys that have developed in our program.
“My comment would be that I think we have to take a look at everything that's going on. It's a long ways over there. It's not like they're a four-hour car drive from where we are.
“It's not a priority for us right now. But if there were some interest out there, I would think, just like any other business or football team, you would look at it.”
On running back Joseph Randle:
“Joseph has established himself as a dominant back in this league.
“He's been involved with Oklahoma State now for three years. We have a certain way we like to carry ourselves. We talk about team being first. I'm confident Joe will handle (his success) the right way. If not, things can go the other direction.”
On how far OSU football has come:
“Five, six years ago, when I was at these meetings saying our goal was to win a Big 12 Championship and play for a national champion, there was a small percentage of people who believed that, and those people were probably wearing orange.”