Gundy Thinks Cowboys Were Bullied

Monday, September 3rd 2007, 4:44 pm
By: News On 6

STILLWATER, Okla. (AP) _ As much as he hates to lose, coach Mike Gundy might be able to accept Oklahoma State's disappointing loss at No. 13 Georgia if he believed his team had played its best and still came up short.

But that's far from how he feels after the Cowboys (0-1) suffered a 35-14 loss on a national stage in what could've been a huge win for his program.

``I'd like to play them again next week,'' Gundy said Monday. ``It's like going down the street and the guy takes your lunch money in the neighborhood, he fights you and you don't get a good punch in. I have a hard time dealing with that.

``Even if he whips me and takes my money, I still want to get a good punch in.''

Gundy felt like his team's ability to fight back was hampered by poor blocking that allowed quarterback Bobby Reid little time to operate and by a score of bad tackles that let Georgia pile up the points.

``For the most part, our effort as a football team in that game was good. We just weren't tough enough,'' Gundy said. ``We didn't have a lot of guys that weren't giving us good effort. But we have to become a much tougher football team.''

Gundy said the Cowboys had 22 missed tackles. Compare that to the 72 total tackles made by the team, and Oklahoma State defenders were missing about 30 percent of the time.

``It's basically like walking. You get taught to walk, but then you go out and you're not able to do it. That's just kind of what I felt like,'' linebacker Jeremy Nethon said. ``We do tackling drills every day, and then you go out on the big stage and you don't perform. It's kind of frustrating for you.''

Defensive coordinator Tim Beckman said the Cowboys would work to correct the problems by adding extra scrimmage time with live tackling against scout team players instead of simply running drills against inanimate objects.

But Gundy said the issues with toughness weren't isolated only to the defense.

``Being a physical football team is not always defense and tackling,'' Gundy said. ``A lot of it has to do with offense. ... I didn't think our running backs ran the ball physically. That hasn't been an issue for us. Last year we were a physical running team.''

Oklahoma State was held to 70 yards rushing _ its lowest total since the final game of the 2005 season _ and yielded five sacks for the first time since a 38-31 loss to Missouri on Oct. 8, 2005. Gundy said an evaluation of Reid's 191-yard passing performance had to take into account that he was ``running for his life a lot.''

``We didn't protect for him. We busted on easy twisting and stunts and things we pick up all the time,'' Gundy said.

The common thread for the Cowboys was an emphasis on becoming tougher starting this week against Florida Atlantic. The problem lies in making that happen after two-a-days are over and the season has started.

One thing Oklahoma State has in its control is its mentality after a make-or-break opportunity to make waves nationally instead ended in a letdown.

``The important thing for us as a staff is to get our team together, get our attitude cleaned up, smiles on our faces, get ready to go practice tonight and move on,'' Gundy said. ``That's the good thing about life in college football. You get 12 of them. We just wasted one in a big-time atmosphere, but we've got to get ready for this week.''