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Players disappointed but not surprised by news

STILLWATER, Okla. (AP) _ Oklahoma State players said they were disappointed but not all that surprised by coach Bob Simmons' announcement that he was stepping down at the end of the season.

Simmons spoke with his team Monday afternoon, shortly before a news conference where the forced resignation was made formal following weeks of speculation about his future.

``The last two or three weeks, since the Missouri loss, we've been dealing with it a lot,'' said Zac Akin, senior defensive tackle. ``It's been a pressure, it's been something that's been there, either media-wise or the rumor mill, the typical things you hear around campus from other students.''

Oklahoma State is 2-6 and has lost six in a row. The Cowboys are assured of their third straight losing season and their fifth in Simmons' six years.

``I don't think we let him down,'' said sophomore defensive back Chris Massey, one of Simmons' most highly touted recruits. ``There's things we could have done better, maybe. We've got talent here. It's just one of those seasons where things just haven't gone our way.

``We've lost six straight. When things went bad, they went really bad. It's really like we've got a jinx on us or something.''

Another top recruit, junior tailback Reggie White, said not all the blame should fall on Simmons or the assistant coaches.

``They don't go out there and play the game,'' he said. ``We go out there and play the game. We make the mistakes and we get those penalties.''

Senior quarterback Tony Lindsay said he would encourage any teammates who may be considering transferring to remain at Oklahoma State instead.

He also said he wasn't surprised by Simmons' announcement, and that it's an unfortunate part of the coaching profession.

``It comes down to wins and losses,'' Lindsay said. ``We can go in and talk about the coaching and the players and the mistakes we made, but it comes down to winning games. Coach Simmons knows that. He knew that before he took on the role of the head coaching job here.''

Akin, stressing that he was not trying to be critical of his coach, said he felt Simmons had been given a fair shake.

``The thing about it is, you don't produce wins and somebody's got to take the fall, and usually the head man is the guy who has to take the fall,'' Akin said. ``It's a little disheartening.''
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