August 31, 2008

Gundy is confident in Cowboys

The 2008 season is off to a good start for Oklahoma State after its 39-13 win on Saturday.

Speaking to the media in his weekly Sunday teleconference, head coach Mike Gundy said he was pretty happy with his team's performance in Seattle.

"We thought that we played pretty well on offense and there was a lot of uncertainty because we didn't have a clue what they were going to do on defense," Gundy said. "So we wanted to be pretty base and we did. We based a lot of decisions on how our defense was playing and we were pleased with how they were playing, so we just tried to be sound in all phases and play well on the road and try to come away with a victory and it turned out well for us."

One of the high points for the Cowboys on the offense was Kendall Hunter. In his first game as the main tailback, Hunter didn't disappoint. He rushed 23 times for 107 yards and two touchdowns.

"After watching the tape, I thought he played well," Gundy said. "I thought his physical longevity throughout the game was good. There were times last year where he got really fatigued and some of that may be misleading because it was 68 degrees or 70 or however warm it was. But we thought he did a nice job, made some good cuts and made some people miss in space."

On the other side of the ball, the defense turned in a very solid day. The unit only allowed 196 yards of total offense and 13 points - pitching a shutout in the first half.

"I thought we tackled better," he said. "I thought we were in proximity in coverage better than we have been in the last couple of years. We played either 26 or 28 players on defense. I'm not for sure what the exact number is. That's a plus for us because we've talked about depth and fatigue with the defensive players because we didn't have guys that had any maturity. And to be able to get our players reps like that keeps the defensive players fresh and also gets guys some experience was good for us. So we were pleased that we could get that many defensive players on the field."

When asked who looked good on that side of the ball, Gundy didn't hesitate to throw out some names, including Jacob Lacey, Patrick Lavine, Jeray Chatham, Jeremy Burton, Ugo Chinasa and Swanson Miller.

"There was a number of guys that played pretty well," Gundy said. "And when you have as much success as they did through the first two and a half quarters, then you're going to have some names to throw out there."

Not to be forgotten, the special teams turned in a nice performance, highlighted by a 42-yard punt return by Dez Bryant and a kickoff returned for a touchdown by Perrish Cox.

"I can't remember when, but we had another game where we had a really big game like that, but it'd be hard to say that yesterday wasn't as good as we've had in the past," Gundy said. "It was really, really good. We tried to be sound in special teams early in the season. It determines a lot of the losses and the wins just being sound on special teams early in the year. So our coaches and players both committed to it and they did a nice job."

Now the Pokes come back to Orange Country for their home opener on Saturday against Houston. And while it's just one game and it's still very early in the season, Gundy seems pleased with what he's seen so far.

"I have a lot of confidence in our team," he said. "I enjoy how they practice and I think the chemistry on this team is good and I think they care about each other. I think that they don't play selfish; they play for the team. I don't think there's any concern with who gets the statistics and who doesn't. So as a coach when you see that you feel pretty good about it. You feel pretty good about their ability to go out and play."

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