No SI Jinx on the recruiting trailThe past week has delivered a flurry of positive recruiting news for Oklahoma State, with four key commitments coming in a wave, including two Wednesday. The Cowboys added pledges from Tulsa Washington defensive tackle Calvin Barnett and Derby, Kan., cornerback Devin Hedgepeth to push their commitment total to 19. Coincidence, or could OSU be benefiting from all the recent national attention, including a spot on the cover of Sports Illustrated and notice of the nation’s No. 1 offense from CollegeFootballNews.com? "You never know how much you get out of a Sports Illustrated cover, College Football News, whatever they say,” said Cowboys coach Mike Gundy. "I get text messages from friends all over the country, some involved in football and some not, saying, ‘Every time we turn the TV on, something about Oklahoma State is on. "I’m guessing that’s making a difference. That would be my guess.”
OSU now vs. KU then: No comparisonAfter taking over as defensive coordinator at Kansas in 2002, it took a few seasons for Bill Young to start seeing progress. Young doesn’t anticipate the same methodical improvement in his first year at OSU. "Oh my gosh,” Young said, "we’re so much more talented now than we were then. I don’t want to be negative, but we weren’t real talented. "I remember the first spring practice we had there, another coach and myself looked at each other and said, ‘Oh my God, what have we gotten ourselves into?’ It was a struggle.” Young said he’s been encouraged with the Cowboys, who draw high praise from Gundy almost daily. "Right now, they’re doing a nice job, with very few mental errors,” Young said.
What would Ward do?Gundy wasn’t initially sure what to make of the "Respect Weekend” initiative, a push by the NCAA and the American Football Coaches Association for teams to meet for a pre-game handshake before all season openers. "I don’t think Gary Ward would be real fired up about that,” Gundy quipped, referring to the former Cowboys baseball coach who refused to shake hands with opponents.
Cowboys creating campus stirThese are heady times for OSU football. With the SI cover and more positive pub about the offense and the team, excitement may be at an all-time high around campus. "When (Sports Illustrated) came out and with students coming back to school, school back in session, everyone talks about OSU football around campus,” Cowboys quarterback Zac Robinson said. "It’s a lot of fun to be in the position we’re in. We feel grateful to be in this situation. "Obviously, everybody’s excited. We can’t wait for Sept. 5.”
Kiper likes OSU over GeorgiaESPN analyst Mel Kiper gave an early take on the OSU-Georgia opener in his Wednesday blog. Answering a question about the Bulldogs possibly over-scheduling, Kiper wrote: "I don’t think they beat Oklahoma State. I think OSU is versatile and talented. They have a great OL. I think OSU’s defense is better than advertised. Overscheduled? Well, you have to play in the SEC. If you’re a quality team, you have to beat OSU. This will be a team that’s on the improve over the course of the season. They have Tennessee Nov. 7. And you always have to play Georgia Tech at the end of the year. Arizona State is at home. I think OSU will be ranked in the top 3-5 early on, especially if they beat Georgia, so losing to OSU is not that bad. Georgia went 10-3 last year; this year I say they go 8-4 in the regular season.” By John Helsley