As talented coaching wise as a man such as Mike Gundy is, he will not be remember for his triumphs on the collegiate gridiron, but rather his antics in the media room – those antics, which could have arguably greatly benefited his Oklahoma State Cowboys.
On September 22nd, 2007, following a shootout victory of Big XII South rival, the then 6-1 Red Raiders of Texas Tech, Mike Gundy sent the Stillwater nation in shock, and left many college football fans in awe with a now legendary 3:20 explosion on local reporter Jenni Carlson – all in defense of Bobby Reid, who hadn’t done a lot in terms of contribution in his career with the Cowboys.
A 6’3″, 225 lb. highly touted recruit out of Houston, Texas, many compared Bobby Reid to the likes of Vince Young. With the ability to run and throw, many considered Reid to be an instant success with the Cowboys offense, and, at times he was, but injuries ruined Reid’s Cowboys career. (He is now with the Texas Southern Tigers)
Those same injuries caused a new star to glimmer in the Oklahoma dunes, a kid by the name of Zach Robinson. Robinson, who took over at times for Reid when he had been injured. Statistically, Robinson has been the better quarterback, but the position isn’t played on paper.
With the swagger that Reid possessed towards the end of his Oklahoma State career, it’s almost impossible to agree on the performances he was capable of producing if given the opportunity. He faced some deep emotional issues, and felt as though he wasn’t a part of this team anymore, but what if he was?
Certainly we’d see a brighter side to the kid, for sure someone that would actually want to put on his helmet with a sense of pride, passion and dignity. Someone in the huddle that would lead the team. And in the final few games of his career, no emotion was there. Football is a game of emotion, and Bobby Reid wasn’t playing the emotions game.
Although Coach Mike Gundy was attempting to help and defend his player amidst all the numerous controversies and criticisms, Bobby Reid didn’t feel it was necessary. Said Reid on the rant and the situation involving him and his Oklahoma State career, “It basically ended my life”.
In his 2007 campaign, Reid would go down several times with some nagging injuries, something he simply couldn’t avoid in his Oklahoma State career. Had he been healthy and all things flowing smoothly, he would have obviously been a productive value to the state of this football team as it currently is.
Overall, Reid liked Gundy as a head coach. He loved his attitude and child-like enthusiasm for the sport, and how Gundy found humor in every bit of the sport of football. Bobby Reid felt like Coach Mike Gundy was a great guy, and in a sense he had been to Reid, giving him more than a couple chances to redeem himself and make things right with his Cowboy offense.
But when there’s a will, there’s a won’t, as some like to say. It seemed as though everyone on campus realized what Reid was capable of, as did the coaching staff and even the man at the helm in Mike Gundy, too, he just didn’t shine as though expected too, he knew it, the fans knew it and so did Coach Gundy.
With a situation as sticky as this one had been over the days of Bobby Reid in Oklahoma black and orange, a coming of something such as the “kicking of someone when they are down” as Coach Gundy put it, was something that was unnecessary and really disrupted what charisma was still left at the time between Gundy and Reid.
That’s what brought forth Mike Gundy’s verbal assault on The Oklahoman’s Jenni Carlson, and while many fans, reporters, analysts and players agreed with what Mike Gundy was trying to do, one man didn’t.
That was the same man Gundy was trying to testify against, Bobby Reid. Reid didn’t understand Gundy’s principle of benching him throughout the year, then going to war for him when someone said something wrong about him. As Reid put it, “it was almost as though the rant was a fake”.
If it was a fake to anybody, it certainly hasn’t been a fake the Oklahoma State Cowboys and their football program.
Since Gundy’s tirade, the Cowboys have went an impressive 12-4 overall, including an amazing 7-0 start to the 2008 season. Zach Robinson, former backup to Bobby Reid, has scored 19 touchdowns on the season (14 through the air, 5 on the ground) and orchestrated and amazing victory of the Missouri Tigers when they were in the title discussion and the top five, at that.
In a negative sort of way, the rant helped the program by replacing a kid like Reid, who was inconsistent and bitter to a point that was pushed beyond capacity with a kid in Zach Robinson, who’s almost the perfect mold for the Oklahoma State offense. The numbers indicate that this transition has greatly benefited the team’s offense, so I guess in ways you could indicate that the rant has benefited the program.
For example, the points per game production is up by about 12 points per game compared to last season. The Cowboys are also fueled after the half, as they’ve scored 103 points in the 3rd quarter, which is already a higher mark than last season’s total and we’re about midway through this season.
Defensively, the team is playing more disciplined, fundamental football, as they’re on pace to break last season’s interception total and have already tied last year’s fumbles recovered number. With a new attitude to this team, the Cowboys are truly the “man of this town”.
The numbers, rankings and statistics point that this rant has the Oklahoma State Cowboys with a new swagger and attitude to them, one that has them in serious conference championship talks and even gaining some national attention.
This new Cowboys team has gotten the energy on-field that Gundy had off of it, and that’s ultimately, and unfortunately in some ways, been the success of the Cowboys in 2008. It will truly be interesting to see how the Cowboys and Mike Gundy finish this season, and if the rant truly is what is fueling them, or if it’s just ingenious coaching that is being overlooked.
In case you were wondering, Bobby Reid is now starting quarterback for the Texas Southern Tigers. He’s tied with Robinson in terms of touchdowns scored with 19, and holds a slim margin over Robinson in terms of passing yardage. Obviously Robinson faces stiffer competition, but it is a great thing to see that Bobby Reid is doing well and getting the opportunity that he truly deserves.
For the sake of this article, I’m ending it in a fashion relevant to that of Coach Gundy’s with this comment: “That’s all I got to say”.