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OSU football: Michael Bowie's dismissal aside, Mike Gundy optimistic about 2012

People ask coach if the Cowboys can repeat as Big 12 champions.
by John Helsley Published: August 1, 2012

Do you notice changes in perception, whether around the country or even in the state?

“In recruiting, there's a big group of schools, say 40 of them, then above them there's 10 or 12 schools, then above them there's five or six schools who would be just national, tradition-rich schools who can throw their hat in and get involved with a young man at any point in time. We used to be in that group of 40. In my opinion, we've moved up into the next echelon. We're not in that top five or six schools yet; we don't have the same name as some school who's been out there and doing well for 40 or 50 years. But I think people see Oklahoma State differently, not only in this state, but in the regional area. You can wear a shirt or hat with our logo on the east or west coast now and people recognize who it is. And it's based on the success that we've had as a team over the past two or three years.”

It looks like, again, you're going to be dealing with extreme heat in camp. Any special plans?

“It's hot, no question. And it's been hot for 20 or so days now, so everything feels hotter. So we'll take ultimate precautions. We'll cut things back. We don't practice for an extended time already. But for the next few days, with temperatures as hot as they are, we'll even cut it back more. And we'll take every precaution to keep everyone healthy, players and coaches. And we'll need to make sure to not exhaust them to where they're no good in October and November.”

What happens when you get the question, “Are you going to repeat as Big 12 champions this year?”

“Well, we're sure going to try. It's been interesting, up until last year, the question has been, ‘Are you ever going to be able to beat Oklahoma and Texas and win the Big 12?' My answer to that was, ‘Yes, but I don't know when.' Well, fortunately that worked out. At least they believe half of what I say. But for the most part, we believe in preparation. We believe in the overall continuity of our organization. I think we've evolved. Our coaches aren't going to settle for second best and our players feel the same way. I've seen older players pass that down to the freshmen. You've got a chance to win 14 games here in a couple of years. You may lose some games. But we're certainly going to try and put ourselves in position to win them all. We want our fans and the tailgaters and the 60,000 people who show up to watch us play to know that we have a chance to win. And I think that's the direction we keep going to build tradition and win at a high level.”