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Oklahoma State Football

Gunnar Gundy is Legit and Don't Be Surprised By His Development

June 13, 2021
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STILLWATER – Okay, I think we’ve waited long enough. Pokes Report has yet to do a story on the fact that Mike Gundy is no longer the only Gundy out there on the field everyday with the Oklahoma State Cowboys football program. Honestly, that’s not exactly true. His three sons have spent varied amounts of time on the field at practices and on the sidelines during games. It’s just none of the boys has been an official member of the program until this January when Gunnar enrolled and took a place in the locker room as a preferred walk-on.

If we want to set history straight then we have to go back to his days wearing blue and gold as a Stillwater Pioneer where Gunnar Gundy was 32-5 as a starter in Class 6A-2 and took his team to the State Championship Game two years in a row as a junior and senior. He threw for 7,689-yards in his prep career and that included 90 touchdown passes and just 12 interceptions. He had scholarship offers to several Division I FBS schools including Eastern Michigan and Toledo.

Texas Tech defensive coordinator Keith Patterson was evaluating in the spring before Gundy’s senior season and told me, “He’s the best quarterback I’ve seen this spring.” Patterson took that back to Red Raiders head coach Matt Wells, who called Mike Gundy and asked about Gunnar. Ultimately, Tech decided not to recruit the son of another Big 12 head coach.

Twitter/Oklahoma State Football
Gunnar stands with the other program newcomers in January.

There is no doubt that being Mike Gundy’s son helped Gunnar a lot in his development and knowledge of the game, but it hurt in advancing his opportunities in being recruited. In the end that didn’t matter.

“I want to go to Oklahoma State,” Gunnar told me during his senior season at Stillwater. “It is the school that I’ve always wanted to plat for, and I want to play for my dad.”

During the first media availability this spring in spring football, right after the first practice, Stillwater News-Press sports editor Jason Elmquist asked the head coach what it was like to have his son on the practice field as a player.

“I actually forget he’s there,” Mike Gundy said and I’m pretty sure it’s more like he tries to forget Gunnar is out there. “I have so many things going on in practice that I’m trying to watch and then when I scan to certain things I’ll see him, when I talk to the team, which all through the offseason, and then I’ll look over there and see him and then I’ll remember he’s there.

Oklahoma State Athletics
Gundy out there the first day of spring football.

“So, it’s a little unusual, but I kind of prepared myself for that, Gundy continued. “The good thing is I have so many other things going (during practice) that I get zeroed in on certain things and then I’ll forget and then I’ll see him and I’ll have to do a little double take.”

Of course, the question had to be asked about the number. At Oklahoma State 12 is not a retired number. On defense, safety Kanion Williams is currently wearing it. For a quarterback to wear it, that has to be special or not. Recent quarterbacks to wear 12, the number Mike Gundy wore as the four-year starting quarterback from 1986-89, include walk-on Ryan Sherry and Daxx Garman.

“He’s always had (No. 12) so it’s pretty cool,” Mike Gundy said of Gunnar wearing the family number (Cale was number 12 at Oklahoma). “I wasn’t sure what number he was going to be honestly, but I guess it worked out for him that he was able to get that so that was pretty cool.”

During the winter off season work with Rob Glass and staff, Gunnar progressed and by the end of the work he has put on a few more pounds, got his 40-time down to the 4.7 range, was stronger, and fired off a 32-inch vertical jump.

“He’s got a good arm and he works really hard,” starting quarterback Spencer Sanders said during spring. He can spin it and he’s a lefty, that’s cool. He’s one of us.”

“Gunnar, he’s a cool guy,” back-up quarterback Shane Illingworth said after the spring game. “He’s a good dude. A humble dude. He works his tail off, too. He’s not a guy who thinks things are going to be handed to him.  

“He goes and grinds. He’s a grinder. That’s what he is. He’s super athletic. Can throw a good ball. As time goes on, people are going to see that he’s just a football player. He can go out there and make some plays. Kid’s the real deal.”

The real deal, that he is, but because of his last name he is going to live in that world where people are going to doubt him. Gundy has a strong arm and an advanced knowledge of the game. His biggest challenge this spring adapting to the faster tempo of the college level. 

Fans are going to think he’s being handed opportunity because his dad is the head coach. Teammates are going to wonder if he can be trusted or if he’s like a CIA operative planted in the locker room and on the practice field filling his father full of the things players say and the feelings they have.

“That’s a tough situation for him,” Gundy said as head coach but also father. “His dad’s the coach. It’s not easy. Call it like you want. Get the elephant out of the room. It’s not easy to be in his position. Maybe I chewed someone out during practice, and Gunnar has to be in the locker room, listening to someone who’s not very happy with coach Gundy at that moment.”  

Gunnar can handle that. He’s quiet and he’s smart. He knows better than to jump out and defend his father in the locker room. That kind of stuff has to play out and usually it doesn’t mean much and it rarely lasts very long.

“Someone might not be very happy with Gunnar’s dad, and I have prepped him on how to handle that. Kids are kids,” Mike Gundy added. “Sometimes, they get mad at coach Gundy or one of the assistant coaches.”

The situation that may be hard will be when Gunnar goes into a game for the first time, not the spring game, but a real football game in Boone Pickens Stadium in the fall. I was there to hear then head coach Bob Simmons’ son, Nathan, booed off the field at old Lewis Field.

Mike Gundy is a polarizing personality, and he has his detractors as well as his supporters. I can see when Gunnar goes in those detractors will be heard.

I’ve talked with Gunnar several times about what to expect then. Is that a far way off? A couple of years except for maybe in a blowout non conference game, barring an unusual rash of injuries to quarterbacks. Gunnar could be as high as third on the depth chart this fall. More likely fourth.

Gundy was asked about his progress.

Pat Kinnison - Chief Photographer
Gundy showed his arm quality int he spring game.

“That’s pretty much all I watch on an offensive set, because that’s just my life,” Gundy said after the spring game about watching the quarterbacks live in practice and in games. “And I admit that. I don’t watch the big guys up front. I watch them on tape, but I don’t watch them during the games, because that's not my life.  So, I watch everything Shane does. I watch everything Spencer does, and Gunnar and Peyton and Bullock.”  

After the spring game when Bill Haisten of the Tulsa World asked if he had seen Gunner’s underhand forward pass?

“I saw that,” head coach and dad said. “He’s been watching too much of (Patrick) Mahomes’ cut-ups. I wouldn’t give him too much credit, early, right now,” Gundy said. 

I will. He’s got guts and despite knowing how harshly he may be judged, Gunnar Gundy keeps plugging along. He told me recently one of the things he’s learned about being in college football is that it is not all forced on you. It is still up to you on how much you want to work and advance. That will play to Gunnar Gundy’s advantage because he wants to work and he will.

Discussion from...

Gunnar Gundy is Legit and Don't Be Surprised By His Development

4,464 Views | 26 Replies | Last: 27 days ago by CaliforniaCowboy
CanadianCowboy
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I have to admit that I am quietly rooting for Gunnar to get the opportunity to show he's the real deal, and hope that he takes full positive advantage of the opportunity when the time comes. Go Pokes!
TeaTownCowboy
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Count me as a skeptic but he seems like a great kid so I wish him the best of luck. I would probably put him above Bullock, but then again I'd put anybody above that dude.
GumbyFromPokeyLand
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FWIW, Gunnar appeared to me to see the field better than the other QBs in the Spring game. If his accuracy and arm strength are above average, he has a chance to be elite.
Zach Lancaster
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Staff
I'm with y'all, I hope he gets his shot. I watched him progress and improve greatly through three years of high school football and hope he gets his chance to prove and show what he's got. I also hope that group of Gundy detractor fans give Gunnar a chance as well.
GreyGhost
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Solid article Robert. I am also quietly pulling for Gunnar. He strikes me as that kid that is just a gamer. Maybe not the most athletically gifted, but just knows how to win. Would be really cool to see him lead us to a Bedlam win. #rainbowsandunicorns
NJAggie
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I just hear the talk about the QB depth chart and wonder if we can find enough playing time to keep them happy. With Illingworth most likely being 2 years away from getting a shot at being starter, then Gunnar two years after that. Not to mention we signed a good one this year and looks like another good one next year.

I get it we have to sign yearly to make sure we have enough depth. It's just amazing to have good QB's lined up when you remember the many years when QB was always a huge question mark, and we were only looking for someone that could take a snap from center and hand it off to our tailback.

But just going to enjoy it for now as our cup is literally running over at QB today.
CaliforniaCowboy
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he could be a great fill in when Shane graduates.

DjSmith23
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Assuming Spencer stays another 2 years, I think it's reasonable to expect Shane might leave. And if he does you'll see Gunnar when Spencer is done. So we need to find a future starter in '23 or '24 that can RS a year and come be a multi year starter like Spencer did.
CaliforniaCowboy
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DjSmith23 said:

Assuming Spencer stays another 2 years, I think it's reasonable to expect Shane might leave. And if he does you'll see Gunnar when Spencer is done. So we need to find a future starter in '23 or '24 that can RS a year and come be a multi year starter like Spencer did.
that seems to be the popular position regarding the QB spot... but I'm of the opinion that either 1) Sanders will be injured again and Shane comes in (and stays in), or 2) Sanders will flat get beat out after his string of TO's continues.

I guess we'll see.

We need a passing QB, and Sanders is not that.

DjSmith23
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I respectfully disagree. Sanders can spin it as well or better than any QB OSU has ever had on campus. Whether the playcalling benefits him this season or not is yet to be seen.
CaliforniaCowboy
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I don't know how well he can "spin it" (I've seen him miss a ton), but one thing is certain, and it not really debatable, it is not the play calling that has been holding him back.

pick anything else, but it's not play calling. I'm not even sure what that means.... they call plays that he can't execute? They call plays that the other players can't execute, so it messes up his rhythm? We call plays that give him "happy feet"? We call RPO's and that messes him up?

Seriously, I don't know what it is you were trying to say with that statement.
GumbyFromPokeyLand
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DjSmith23 said:

I respectfully disagree. Sanders can spin it as well or better than any QB OSU has ever had on campus. Whether the playcalling benefits him this season or not is yet to be seen.


Spin it? Maybe.

Accurately, timely, and to the correct target?

November - Foxtrot - Whiskey
DjSmith23
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Well look at the play calling in the Miami and Baylor game vs others. They spread it out and were in 12 personnel less and he shredded it. He just now got a full season of actual games under his belt at the end of last year. Spencer is the real deal. I love Shane but the OU game showed that he has some improvements to make before he's ready. Spencer is finally past that 15 game barrier. He has all the tools and more to be a top QB in the country. No reason to write him off with the progression and everything he showed at the end of last season.
DjSmith23
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That's your opinion. I just call it how I see it. And also this is his first offseason with the same QB Coach/ OC. So let's see how he does.
CaliforniaCowboy
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I'm not against Sanders, don't get me wrong, I just don't place as much emphasis on those 2 throw-away games as you are (BU was COVID infected and way short handed, and key Miami defensive pass rushers opted out of the bowl and their star QB got injured)

and..... true-freshman Illingworth, with very little time under center was put into the OU game because Sanders wasn't getting it done (or our OLine wasn't getting it done). So there is that.



DjSmith23
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Spencer got a concussion that game on a sack where he was slammed on his head. That's why Shane came in. Just so we have the details right. And I'm not sure what Miami QB not playing with how well Spencer did in the Miami game. The Baylor Covid stuff didn't really matter either. Spencer still had to make the throws and right decisions (which he did). He's shown he can make 60+ yard throws in the air, he can throw screens and now routes as good as anyone in the country which is a real skill that a lot of passers don't have. He's also got the ability to keep the play alive with his legs and not just that but actually add another dimension to the offense. I don't think it's coincidence that Spencer's most efficient games came when he broke the 15 game barrier that Gundy said he would need. Either way. I can poke holes in your theory all day long, but it doesn't matter because I've found people that don't support Spencer don't want a reason to. He's going to do great this year, and another reason is that for the first time in his college career he's going into a season with the same OC and QB coach as the prior year.
CaliforniaCowboy
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no more excuses....

I said the OLine might have been the problem in the OU game (which you said knocked Sanders out of the game), but apparently the same damned porus line is not a valid point in Shane's performance.

1st OSU drive down 0-7 ---- 3 plays punt
2nd OSU drive down 0-14 --- intercepted
3rd OSU drive down 0-21 --- brown, brown, sanders for 5, sanders sacked for -2 knocked out.
Shane takes over down 21 points, 2nd and 12 - drives the team for a TD.
Sanders came back in the 4th, apparently his "concussion" miracualsy went away.

OU beat our dang butts... we had no answer for Stephenson, like RA said would happen.

stop with the excuse making.

everything that I said was SPOT ON, including the BU covid discussion. (Because of injuries and COVID-19, either positive tests or contact tracing, Baylor (2-7, 2-7) had 47 people players, coaches and support personnel that were unavailable for the game.) Their 3 prior games were all close including OU and KSU... but apparently we blow them off the turf because Sanders got religion, and not because the whole damned BU team was out sick. Good lord.

moving on....
DjSmith23
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You said Shane was forced in because Spencer wasn't getting it done. Which wasn't the reason he was pulled. True same "excuses" you're claiming are the same thing you're doing for why Spencer had any success. Spencer got monumentally better towards the end of the year. Bottom line. So continue to whine and convince yourself how bad he is. That way when he keeps improving and having more success you'll be that much more upset when he has improved success. So buckle in because Sanders is the starter for the foreseeable future. Sorry.
CaliforniaCowboy
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actually, I said this:

" Illingworth, with very little time under center was put into the OU game because Sanders wasn't getting it done (or our OLine wasn't getting it done). So there is that."

and as I reflected, who among us would not have been "discombobulated", as the goofy reported stated, when the Oline is so bad (against their front) that they already discombobulated the starter (as I pointed out) AND also knocked him completely out of the game - as he is most famous for.

Sanders was no stellar QB in the game, completed around 50%, less than 100 yards no TDs and a pick.

The media wanted to blame Shane for the poor Oline play, but if I mention Sanders similarly, then you come unhinged. It's not worth further discussion.

OU kicked our butts, and neither QB was worth a damn in that game. The guy with 3 years in the program did slightly better than the guy with 3 months of training. Stop the presses!!!
betwixted
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What worked in high school does not necessarily work in college. Which is one of the biggest challenges you have with freshman in particular. They've had success doing things a certain way for a long time and don't quickly enough understand that it takes time for it transition to the college level. Believe Sanders will take a few happy steps forward, since he'll get to work with his same OC and QB coach to continue to build chemistry. He's had 3 different OC's in his first 3 years, and knows Shane is right there in door way. Speaking of Shane, if he has that killer instinct, and with all due respect, if he wants the starting job he needs to go and take it from Spence.
GumbyFromPokeyLand
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Sanders is who he is.

Waiting to see who Illingworth is.
CaliforniaCowboy
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GumbyFromPokeyLand said:

Sanders is who he is.

Waiting to see who Illingworth is.
Ditto.....

hopefully both have improved from last year... I'm hoping that the QB coach has made a huge difference.

betwixted
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CaliforniaCowboy said:

GumbyFromPokeyLand said:

Sanders is who he is.

Waiting to see who Illingworth is.
Ditto.....

hopefully both have improved from last year... I'm hoping that the QB coach has made a huge difference.




Tom Brady is one of the greatest of all-time and I'll put all my marbles on the line that even last season at 40+ he was still growing and finding ways to get better. Spencer Sanders is coming [period].
CaliforniaCowboy
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Tom Brady is not on our team.... just saying.

that was such a strange analogy.... Brady wasn't even a running QB.

just checking here to make sure that you're aware of how many season (HS and OSU) that Sanders has been injured and had to be replaced..... hopefully that does not happen once again, but the long history is there.

Go Pokes - let's win some games!!
GumbyFromPokeyLand
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betwixted said:

CaliforniaCowboy said:

GumbyFromPokeyLand said:

Sanders is who he is.

Waiting to see who Illingworth is.
Ditto.....

hopefully both have improved from last year... I'm hoping that the QB coach has made a huge difference.




Tom Brady is one of the greatest of all-time and I'll put all my marbles on the line that even last season at 40+ he was still growing and finding ways to get better. Spencer Sanders is coming [period].


I suppose Daxx Garmin could have found ways to get better and we could have waited another year for Rudolph.

Just sayin
CaliforniaCowboy
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GumbyFromPokeyLand said:




I suppose Daxx Garmin could have found ways to get better and we could have waited another year for Rudolph.

Just sayin
but Rudolph got better every game his freshman season, and set OSU records from there.... unfortunately we're still waiting on Sanders after 3 years in the program.

listen to Gundy and Robinson, et. al. rave about Rudolph
https://www.sportingnews.com/us/ncaa-football/news/mason-rudolph-best-quarterback-oklahoma-state-history-bedlam-oklahoma-baker-mayfield/sduleuhvdbth11cq5fvfe3p0z

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