ARLINGTON, Texas — Oklahoma State coach Mike Gundy described himself Thursday as a extra affected person particular person, modified partly by a tough summer time final 12 months.
There was the demise of his mom, a soft-spoken and easygoing soul who had all the time instructed her son to only calm down. He additionally bumped into issues final summer time along with his gamers who had been specializing in racial injustice, and had been upset with him being photographed sporting a shirt selling a far-right information channel. The coach had additionally criticized mainstream media protection of the pandemic.
“The one factor with all the stuff that’s gone on during the last 14 or 16 months that’s had an impact on me, our tradition in our program is just about the identical,” Gundy mentioned at Large 12 media days. “I believe it’s all of us being able, and I embody myself, to pay attention and be affected person and suppose issues by. Often I needed to decide now, we transfer this path, that is what we do, that’s the best way it’s.”
Gundy took a $1 million pay lower and had his contract shortened by a 12 months after an inner evaluate prompted by sharp criticism from former star operating again Chuba Hubbard, who’s Black. The administration mentioned the contract changes had been Gundy’s concept and that the evaluate discovered “no signal or indication of racism” within the soccer program.
“I believe what I discovered is to essentially hearken to what’s on the market and have compassion for endurance and sitting down and considering issues by,” Gundy mentioned. “So I believe a number of the transition that we went by, truthfully, as a rustic during the last 12 months, in my state of affairs, some endurance, extra of a capability to pay attention and make actually high quality selections and never transfer so quick.”
LONG TIME IN LEAGUE
Gundy, a former Oklahoma State quarterback, goes into his seventeenth season as head coach of the Cowboys.
Solely two present FBS coaches have been at their colleges longer: Iowa’s Kirk Ferentz and TCU’s Gary Patterson. Ferentz’s first season with the Hawkeyes was 1999, and Patterson was promoted from defensive coordinator to move coach of the Horned Frogs after the 2000 common season earlier than they performed in a bowl recreation.
Patterson goes into solely his tenth season within the Large 12, the league TCU moved to from Mountain West. The subsequent most-tenured Large 12 coach is Iowa State’s Matt Campbell, going into his seventh season.
Baylor linebacker Terrel Bernard was the Large 12’s main tackler, with 55 tackles by 5 video games, earlier than he suffered a season-ending shoulder harm. Now he’s again for one more season after deciding to not enter the NFL draft.
“I’m grateful for Terrel coming again. It was a selection that he made. And we’re all higher for it. I’m a greater coach due to it,” mentioned Dave Aranda, going into his second season as Baylor’s coach.
Aranda expects Bernard to be improved this season, with a greater understanding of the protection that Aranda initially put in primarily by Zoom and distant studying due to the pandemic that worn out spring apply simply weeks after his hiring.
“His understanding of the protection, whereas nice and possibly one of the best on our protection, was nonetheless at a degree a lot to be desired,” mentioned Aranda, the previous defensive coordinator at LSU. “His full understanding of what we’re doing and why we’re doing it and the place his assistance is, I believe the sky’s the restrict for him.”
Bernard mentioned he was cleared two months in the past for full exercise, and that further time along with coaches and gamers has been enormous in absolutely studying the system.
“Taking a step again and seeing the larger image, when you’re within the season type of going by the fireplace, it’s powerful to do this,” he mentioned.
All 4 Texas Tech wins final season had been by single scores, and so had been two of its losses in a 4-6 season. That was after the Pink Raiders went 0-4 in such video games in coach Matt Wells’ debut, with these 4 by a mixed 11 factors whereas ending 4-8 total.
“I believe the secret on this league is discovering a strategy to win shut video games,” Wells mentioned. “However we all know that. So as to get right into a bowl recreation and to get to the higher half of the Large 12, you’ll need to win shut video games.”
Wells hopes management and the expertise of being in these conditions a lot up to now two years could make a distinction this season.
“You must win a pair, particularly early, to present your guys confidence and momentum because the season lingers on,” he mentioned. “Since you’re going to be in these video games each Saturday on this league.”