When some unexpected hoots and hollers broke out in the background of Oklahoma State coach Mike Gundy's press conference on Tuesday at Big 12 media days, Gundy didn't miss a beat.
"I handled that pretty well," he said. "That was a pressure situation right there. I hope Wes Lunt handles it that well."
Lunt is Gundy's 18-year-old freshman quarterback who will be handed the keys to the Cowboys' high-powered offense.
A little noise in his ear? That's the least of Lunt's worries. The expectation is that he continues what 28-year-old quarterback Brandon Weeden started.
"He can't put a lot of pressure on himself," Gundy said. "You can't perform well in any sport playing under pressure."
Gundy talked about heightened expectations at Oklahoma State, his receiving core (minus Justin Blackmon) and an improved defense during Tuesday's media session. Here is a quick recap.
Gundy reclassifies Cowboys in the established category
Gundy said five or six years ago he started the talk of Oklahoma State winning a Big 12 championship and eventually playing for a national championship.
"There was just a small percentage of people that believed that were at these meetings and probably 99 percent of those people were in orange," Gundy said.
Going 23-3 the last two seasons has changed a lot of beliefs. Oklahoma State, even with an offense that's starting over with a freshman QB, was picked to finish fourth in the preseason poll.
"We've established ourselves as being a quality program," Gundy said.
Replacing Blackmon a group effort
When Dez Bryant left school early, the Cowboys had Justin Blackmon. Now that Blackmon is gone, Gundy does not see a star in waiting.
"I'm not sure that I'm ready to commit to one of these guys being a first-round pick," Gundy said. "They're so few and far between."
So how do the Cowboys replace 122 catches, 1,522 receiving yards and 18 touchdowns?
"We want three or four of our receivers this year to give us what a Justin Blackmon gave us this last year," Gundy said. "And so that will be our goal is for Wes to be able to develop and delegate the ball to the guys that can make the plays. But it is very difficult to replace a Justin Blackmon."
Randle returns as a proven back
Gundy fielded several questions on junior running back Joseph Randle, who in many ways faced what the OSU receivers face this year as he had to follow in the footsteps of Kendall Hunter last season.
Randle responded with 1,216 yards and 24 touchdowns in 2011, earning him preseason All-Big 12 honors this year.
"Joseph has kind of established himself as a dominant back in this league," Gundy said.
Gundy likes his defense
Oklahoma State's offense got most the headlines last season but Gundy was impressed with his defense, which forced an NCAA-best 44 takeaways.
"We were able to put players in there that are young," he said. "And we didn't have as much drop-off as we would have had three, four years ago. And we have recruited toward some depth on defense and speed.
"I feel better now than I have about our defense since I've been the head coach."
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