When he’s not ranting about being a 40-year-old man and the mean, old press picking on his players, Mike Gundy is actually a pretty nice and accommodating guy.
I spoke with the Oklahoma State head coach Friday as he entertained questions on a teleconference with reporters a little after lunch. Of course, my queries were all about recruiting while colleague Tim Tucker grilled him on the Cowboys’ high-octane offense and low-octane defense and other such things.
In case you haven’t noticed, Oklahoma State has started to draw some interest from Georgia players, as it is with other prospects out of other regions. Despite being located way off in Stillwater, Okla., where they’ll open the season against the Bulldogs next Saturday, the Cowboys feature seven players on their roster from our fair state.
Two other them — senior defensive back Maurice Gray of Warner Robins and running back Beau Johnson of Lawrenceville — got there via Butler Community College. The others include redshirt freshman defensive end Nigel Nicholas of Rossville, sophomore running back Michael Roberts of Albany and three true freshmen that were members of the 2009 signing class: linebacker LaRon Furr of Carver-Columbus, fullback David Paulsen of Marietta and defensive lineman Ryan Robinson of Buford-Mill Creek.
Here’s the raw Q&A of my brief exchange with Gundy Friday (I did, after all, have to share phone time with numerous other scribes):
Q: Do you think this series with Georgia and that game in Athens two years ago helped you guys make recruiting in-roads in this state?
A: “The game a couple of years ago very well could have helped us out even though we didn’t play very well. I think that these young men that are position to be recruited are well aware watching the games of the trelevision coverage we received from that game. And then Glenn Spencer (former Tech player and assistant coach) and Robert Mathhews (Georgia grad and one-time Shiloh High head coach), who are on our staff, those guys have a deep background in Georgia. Ao those guys were able to go in make some recruiting roads for us. The interesting thing about recruiting in Georgia is there are so many players that, even though you’re deep in SEC country and really ACC country, there are so many players down there that it’s very similar to the state of Texas.”
Q: How are the freshmen from Georgia you just signed doing?
A: “David Paulsen is playing very well for us. LeRon Furr will probably redshirt but Paulsen has done very well and actually may play here. We’re very excited about all the players we have from Georgia.”
Q: Obviously Boone Pickens has poured a lot of money into your program in recent years. How has that affected recruiting?
A: “Our facilities have given us a chance to continue what we started here going on five years ago and take it to another level. Oklahoma State has a lot of history in football but most of it has had to do with individual players. Conference championships haven’t come. But we’ve had a number of players that have been All-Americans and [Barry Sanders] obviously won the Heisman Trophy and we have a lot of guys that are still playing in the the NFL. So we’ve had a lot of individual success but this facility we have unbelievable. It’s hard to explain. You spend $186 million on a building you’ve got a chance to make it pretty nice. We’re very fortunate that Mr. Pickens started the ball rolling and a number of people helped since then. We’ve just moved in and we’re still working out the kinks right now. It’s definitely gotten our foot in the door with a lot of prospects in a larger regional area than we’ve normally had in the pass.”
That’s all from me for now. I’m off to the doctor, then heading over to Clarkston for the MLK-SWD tilt. Gotta get a first-hand look at Mack Brown and Kendrun Malcome.
Like I said, Tucker will have a lot more on Gundy in our UGA coverage so be sure to check back. I may have a chance to talk to Gundy again next week so let me know if there’s anything else you’d like to know from him.