DALLAS – Oklahoma State’s rebuilding football team will enter as a significant underdog in the opener against defending national champion Florida State.
What does that mean for the Cowboys? Motivation.
Monday at Big 12 Media Days in Dallas, OSU coach Mike Gundy confirmed the challenge in taking on the Seminoles down the road in Arlington on Aug. 30. Welcomed it, too, even with the task of replacing 28 seniors and more.
“It's going to be a big challenge for our team, but they're very excited,” Gundy said. “One advantage to an opener against a very good football team, much less the national champion and returning Heisman Trophy winner, is motivation is there.
“They've worked hard this summer. I can't imagine we'll have any issues motivating them in practice in the month of August when it gets really hot and they get fatigued they'll be able to push through it.
“They're obviously a great football team,” Gundy said of the Seminoles. “They've got a number of players other than the quarterback that are some going to be playing on Sundays. But our responsibility as coaches is to come up with a great plan. Players, to learn that plan and execute and play with effort. So we're looking forward to the challenge, and as I said we've got a lot of work ahead of us, but we'll show up on Saturday and be ready to play.”
Gundy touched on the Seminoles and other pressing topics during his time on stage:
On the status of running back Devon Thomas, who is facing five felonies in Tulsa, and who has recently been removed from the roster:
“The roster that we handed out today are the players that will report next week. And if there's a player that's not on that roster, then he's not a part of our team.”
On how he’ll approach the NCAA-imposed loss of practice time, due to the program’s lacking APR:
“We didn't use the total allotted time. We haven't used the 20 hours in a number of years. And when you put it down on paper, we end up being about 45 minutes short. And so we'll come up with a plan for that.
“We'll incorporate a few new things in two-a-days prior to school starting, when we don't have any limitations, and we'll move forward. I've challenged the players with accepting responsibility to make up for that time during the week, and I have a lot of faith in the leadership in our team and that they'll be able to execute and come up with a way to manage the amount of time that we're not available to use during the week.”
On the move of Ryan Simmons from the outside to middle linebacker:
"Ryan is an experienced player. He's one of the few players we have at that position that brings a lot to the table from an experience standpoint. And he's very intelligent. He understands several positions.
“We feel like he's a really good fit in our defense, in our style of play at that position. And he'll do really well. Ryan is very committed and puts a lot of time and effort into the game, and we expect him to play very well this fall.”
On the possibility of the blueprint for using Tyreek Hill resembling what West Virginia did with Tavon Austin and with what the Cowboys did with Joseph Randle at times:
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