Tag:Mike Gundy
Posted on: December 7, 2010 10:52 am
Edited on: December 7, 2010 10:53 am

Justin Blackmon not thinking about the NFL yet

Posted by Chip Patterson

Oklahoma State wide receiver Justin Blackmon has had quite the impressive season.  The redshirt sophomore entered the Cowboys football program as one of the most heralded receivers in the the class, but it took a few seasons before he really made his mark on the Big 12.

The way things have gone for Blackmon, that mark looks like it will be pretty close to permanent.  Blackmon leads the nation in touchdown receptions, yards per game, and was recently named the Big 12 Offensive Player of the Year.  With such a fast arrival on the scene, Blackmon has seen his name fly up draft boards as the season has progressed.  While eligible for early entry to the 2011 NFL Draft, Blackmon does have potentially two years of eligibility left with the Cowboys.

But if you ask him, Blackmon will tell you the  NFL Draft is the farthest thing from his mind.

“I haven’t thought about it at all,” Blackmon said to Tulsa World. “That’s something I have to look forward to. Right now I’m just focusing on the Alamo Bowl and getting ready for the game.”

Blackmon's season has brought his name into the discussion for the first round, but there are many people that believe Blackmon has a lot of development left that could turn him into a top pick with guaranteed money.  One of the people who think Blackmon can benefit from another year at Oklahoma State is his head coach, Mike Gundy.

“My recommendation to him would be to come back and to prepare himself to be even a more highly regarded player when it comes to the NFL draft, and to be a part of the team,” Gundy said. “He’s got a long way to go. You can do that for the rest of your life. He’s still young. He can still mature and help himself, in my opinion.”

Blackmon is currently considered by many to be the third best receiver available, but he may also want to consider the possible work stoppage as a reason to return.  While he may not be able to get the "Sam Bradford money" he mentioned back in October, the money could be much more when the draft comes back around 2012.
Posted on: November 23, 2010 12:39 pm
Edited on: November 23, 2010 12:40 pm

Robinson Coach of the Year finalists announced

Posted by Jerry Hinnen

The eight announced finalists for the 2010 Eddie Robinson Coach of the Year award (as given out by the Football Writers Association of America) didn't offer much in the way of surprise; six of the nominees come from the current top seven teams in the BCS standings and all eight coach for teams in the BCS top ten. They are, from highest-ranked to lowest:

Chip Kelly, Oregon
Gene Chizik, Auburn
Gary Patterson, TCU
Chris Peterson, Boise State
Jim Harbaugh, Stanford
Bret Bielema, Wisconsin
Mark Dantonio, Michigan State
Mike Gundy, Oklahoma State

A victory over Alabama (and the lack of further allegations against Cam Newton ) would probably make Chizik the front-runner by a nose over Kelly, since his team entered this season with lower expectations and a far worse record in 2009. But Kelly's mastery of his light-speed spread-option offense and dominating season would make him a fine choice, as would any of the finalists. The FWAA can't go wrong.

If there's anything to complain about here, it's that all eight choices follow the "good or great team becomes or stays great" model. But there's something to be said about taking a mediocre or even bad program to (or back to) respectability. Here's three coaches who also deserve some recognition for their work in 2010:

Mario Cristobal, FIU. It's easy to forget just how miserable the Golden Panthers' program was when Cristobal arrived in 2007, with FIIU fresh off an 0-12 season, the infamous Orange Bowl brawl with Miami , and NCAA sanctions. Three seasons later FIU, picked to finish eighth in their conference, will win the Sun Belt and play in their first-ever bowl game if they can hold serve at home against Arkansas State and Middle Tennessee State to end the season.

Ralph Friedgen, Maryland . The only reason the Fridge is even still employed by the Terps is because the school couldn't afford his buyout at the end of 2009, and it was no surprise when Friedgen's team was pegged for dead last in the ACC Atlantic this offseason. Instead of tuning out their supposedly lame-duck coach, though, the Terps have surged back to a 7-4 season with a big win vs. rivals Navy and road victories at Virginia and bowl-bound Boston College , putting them in contention for the division title as recently as last week.

Mike Haywood, Miami (Ohio) . It's hard to believe that the 7-4 Redhawks could win the MAC East when you consider how supremely hopeless they were in 2009, when they failed to score a single point until their third game and finished 1-11. In the MAC. But Miami served notice in a valiant season-opening effort against Florida that Haywood had made the absolute most of the offseason, and if they can claim an eighth win they'll have their most victories since 2004.

Posted on: September 30, 2010 9:27 am
Edited on: September 30, 2010 9:47 am

Oklahoma State using candy to inspire turnovers

Posted by Chip Patterson

When Oklahoma State kicks off on conference play on Thursday night against Texas A&M, you may notice some extra effort from the Cowboys defenders when they are engaging their opponent.  Stripping the ball loose, and creating turnovers in general, has been a major focus of the Oklahoma State defense in the 2010 season.  So far, it's paid off.

In three games, the 3-0 Cowboys have forced eight fumbles and recovered six of them, while also picking off three passes.  Their average of forcing three turnovers a game ranks them near the top of the Big 12, and the new focus on turnovers can be credited to second-year defensive coordinator Bill Young.  
Defensive coordinator Bill Young believes takeaways are so important to the Cowboys (3-0) that he'll hand out rewards to those who create turnovers in games and in practice.

"We're all about turnovers," said Andrew McGee, who earned his T-shirt with a pick in Oklahoma State's 65-28 rout of Tulsa. "We want to get turnovers. It's a good thing. If you ever see one of us with this shirt on, it means we did something good."

McGee has also earned Butterfinger and Snickers bars for coming up with the ball in practice, as part of the bonus system put in place by Young after he took charge of OSU's defense before last season.
The T-shirts awarded for turnovers in a game say "Ball Hawk" on the front, and on the back read "RIP.STRIP.PICK.SCORE!" on the back.  The new buzz has even motivated the offensive-minded head coach Mike Gundy to spend a little more time with his defensive unit.  He has now turned the full-time offensive duties to first-year coordinator Dana Holgorson.  Now that he can spend more time with the defense, the players seem to be appreciating the attention. 
"Last year, we're used to him being down there on offense and not really dealing with us," defensive tackle Nigel Nicholas said. "But now, he's really involved with us and he's doing a good job."

"It's paid off on our intensity in practice," he added. "He's down there hyping everything up, hyping practice up. When the head coach hypes practice up, you've got to get hyped."
The gimmick seems to be working, especially with the turnovers leading to a 3-0 start.  But those opponents were Washington State, Troy, and Tulsa.  Thursday night the defense will be tested by mobile quarterback Jerrod Johnson and far more talented Aggie offense than what they have seen this year.  If the focus can continue to pay off, Oklahoma State may find some success in what was supposed to be a rebuilding year for the Cowboys.

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