ARLINGTON, Texas — Imagine a world where Mike Gundy was embedded in Oklahoma football lore as one of its quarterback greats.
It nearly happened.
At the opening of Big 12 media days in Arlington, Texas, Gundy recalled committing to Oklahoma and Barry Switzer as a blue-chip QB out of Midwest City.
Switzer, who won 157 games and three national titles at OU, was as iconic then as he is now. Was he difficult to say no to?
“Mm, hmm,” Gundy said. “I said yes. I committed to him, then decommitted a week later, maybe 10 days. They probably wrote one article on that back then. We didn’t have all the coverage like we do now. The hardest part was calling him and telling him I wasn’t gonna come there, just based on him being everybody’s hero.”
Gundy, who graduated from Midwest City in 1986, wound up going to rival Oklahoma State where he broke passing records and eventually became head coach. His brother, Cale, starred at OU from 1990-93 under Gary Gibbs and is entering his 21st season as an assistant coach with the program.
Mike Gundy and Switzer don’t see much of each other these days.
“I’ve probably seen him once, twice in 20 years at some function or whatever,” Gundy said. “I know he’s really involved in a lot of charities and things like that, but I don’t ever see him.”
Big laugh about it
Gundy unofficially won the award for the best joke when he referred to OU’s quarterback situation recently.
“The last couple of years they’ve had average quarterback play and they’ve overcome it,” Gundy said, in reference to the Sooners’ grip on the Big 12. “So they’ve been very successful and somebody’s got to take it from them.”
The Sooners are deep at the position again, but coach Lincoln Riley didn’t drop a news bomb with a decision on a starting quarterback.
Far from it, in fact. Alabama graduate-transfer Jalen Hurts hasn’t come any closer to securing a starting role as much expect.
“He’s gotta win the job first,” Riley said. “If he wins the job then we’ll talk about that.”
Riley admitted it would have made sense to bring Hurts to Big 12 media days from a leadership standpoint.
“I just felt like, for one, Jalen is in a quarterback battle,” Riley said. “He’s done a phenomenal job becomin a leader on this team in as short amont of time. I respect what he’s done in his career. But I just felt like guys who’ve played for us and been with us for a little while, it was more appropriate.”
Per NCAA rules, Riley is allowed spend one hour a week meeting with quarterbacks Hurts, Tanner Mordecai, Spencer Rattler and Tanner Schafer.
“I think they are all doing well,” Riley said. “The competition will be raised certainly in August. You have a month there which gives you two-to-three weeks realistically to work through it and have a guy named and move forward from there.”
Other matters remained status quo, such as Jalen Redmond’s health. The redshirt freshman defensive end is progressing OK but still not cleared for contact.
Redshirt sophomore center Creed Humphrey said he remains on track for fall camp after missing the spring with an injury.
Riley didn’t have much to add to the status of running back Kennedy Brooks, who was recently reinstated after being cleared of allegations of violence against a female student in a Title IX hearing.
Riley said he tried to stay detached from the proceedings.
“Kennedy was reinstated back to the team late last week. He’s back full-go with our guys,” Riley said. “During the process I was not involved at all. Not updated at all. That’s a process that our school takes very seriously and we leave that to the people that their job is to handle that and when they do we take it from there.”
Tracin Wallace’s time at Oklahoma State has been riddled with injuries.
So much so, that in early June he announced on Twitter that he was retiring from football, having made just one catch for one yard last season after making the shift from quarterback to wide receiver. He had suffered his third torn ACL during a practice after the second game of the season.
Throughout his rehab in the latter part of last season, he was constantly on Twitter trying to keep his twin brother Tylan Wallace on level ground as his star was rising – culminating as a finalist for the Biletnikoff Award for the top college receiver.
Tylan, who was excited at the start of last season to have his brother in the receivers’ room, is adjusting to life without his brother as a football player.
“It’s a little different,” Wallace said on the Fox Sports set. “Him being there my whole life, it’s always been a blessing having him by my side the whole time. It’s going to be a little different trying to adjust without him being there, but he’ll be there in spirit, definitely.”
Kansas is again expected to be on the other end of the conference standings, even with the return to the Big 12 of Les Miles — the only head coach in the league with a national championship at college football’s highest level.
“I’m looking at the next game we get to play. I’m not really ready to define my success over time,” Miles said Monday at the start of Big 12 media days. “I’m not looking way down the road, and I enjoy where I’m at.”
The 65-year-old Miles had been out of coaching since being fired by LSU four games into the 2016 season when he got hired last November by Kansas, which finished last in the Big 12 for the fourth year in a row. The Jayhawks won only two conference games in that span that coincides with Oklahoma’s record streak of consecutive Big 12 titles.
TCU’s QB depth
It will be another month or so before TCU football coach Gary Patterson announces his starting quarterback for the upcoming season among no less than a half-dozen, but it’s fair to say Alex Delton is well positioned to win the job.
Delton, a senior graduate transfer from Kansas State, has turned plenty of heads since he arrived on campus after four injury plagued years at KSU. And he made his presence felt while leading the offense during spring practice.
“To be honest with you,” Patterson said Monday at Big 12 media days, “he saved us.”
Freshman Max Duggan was the No. 3 ranked dual-threat quarterback in his recruiting class, Mike Collins started four games last season, Justin Rogers is a former four-star recruit, Matt Downing transferred from Georgia and Matthew Baldwin transferred from Ohio State.
New Texas Tech head coach Matt Wells comes into a job on the heels of a run of national success in men’s basketball, baseball and track and field. Men’s basketball and men’s track and field were national champions last season and baseball made its fourth College World Series in six years.
“I think more than anything it’s inspired me to see that it’s done and done the right way,” the Sallisaw native who coached last year at Utah State. “Chris Beard (men’s basketball) coaches those guys like a bunch of football players. They’re tough. The emphasis on strength and conditioning and nutrition is similar to what we do.
I think it’s inspired me. It confirms to me the culture that we have at Texas Tech that Kirby Hocutt has created and the whole athletic department I think is inspirational.
—Tyler Palmateer, CNHI
— Jason Elmquist, CNHI
— Online reports