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Oklahoma State Coach Mike Gundy Preparing For Option BYU Team

Nov 22, 2023, 12:26 PM

PROVO, Utah – Oklahoma State head coach Mike Gundy is one of the top coaches in college football.

As the Big 12 gets set to move into a new era without Texas and Oklahoma, Gundy will be one of the voices of the conference from now on.

Gundy is in his 19th season with the Pokes and is putting together one of his best coaching jobs this season. That’s due to a wild offseason with personnel changes, new defensive staff put into place, and changes to their run-blocking schemes. Yet, Oklahoma State has found a way to get on the doorstep of another Big 12 Championship game appearance.

If Texas beats Texas Tech on Friday, Oklahoma State will be in a win, and you’re in game against BYU.

Mike Gundy on what he sees from BYU football

Gundy shared his thoughts on BYU heading into Saturday’s matchup. He views BYU in a different light than most people view the 5-6 Cougars, who have struggled to form an identity this season.

“We’re facing another option team; they’re going to run triple option and they do it in different ways. They run speed option; they run read zone triple option,” said Gundy.

BYU rolled out some new looks in their 31-24 loss last week against Oklahoma. The starting quarterback in that game was Jake Retzlaff, who has shown a willingness to take off and run. BYU is coming off its best rushing performance of the season against the Sooners. They ran for 217 yards. Retzlaff accounted for 29 of those yards when you include the 30 yards lost to sacks.

Entering last week’s matchup, BYU was averaging less than 100 yards per game on the ground. It was a significant change from how they’ve performed in the past as they continue to push forward through a four-game losing streak.

Retzlaff is in the middle of a quarterback competition this week with Kedon Slovis. Unlike Retzlaff, Slovis is not going to be a quarterback that is taking off. He’s more of a traditional dropback passer.

So the outlook on BYU’s offense could drastically change depending on who BYU trots out as the starter in Stillwater.

Gundy shared some other observations about this BYU team.

“They like to use the tight end; I think he’s 83 (Isaac Rex). They split him out to a single, they use him as the number three receiver and they put him at the front of a bunch set. They like him. They’re going to run the traditional running game they’ve always had.

“Defensively, they base out of a four down (linemen), they’ll play some three down. They’re going to bring their linebackers a lot. What we saw Saturday (against Houston), in my opinion, we’ll see the same thing that they like to crossfire their inside linebackers over and over and over and over. So I’m sure they’ll do that. They’re going to play man coverage against us. They’ll play a little three deep to mix it up but they’re going to get up and press us and play man; cross linebackers and insert an extra safety to stop the run.”

Oklahoma State headman respects the Big 12 bringing in BYU

This is the first regular season meeting between the two programs. It’s happening because BYU is now a member of the Big 12 Conference. Since BYU received an invitation to the Big 12, Gundy has been supportive of the addition of the Cougars. He stayed true to that commentary in his weekly press conference in the leadup to Saturday’s game.

“They’re a good addition to the league, we’ve mentioned that. I think that from coast to coast, their logo would trigger in most people’s minds a Power Five school forever. I thought they were,” said Gundy. “I didn’t know what Power Five was or different conferences or levels when I was, you know, Junior High and High School and college. I always thought they were what people consider a big conference school.”

BYU vs. No. 21 Oklahoma State

Date: Saturday, November 25, 2023

Location: Boone Pickens Stadium

Kickoff: 1:30 p.m. (MT)

TV: ABC

Radio: KSL NewsRadio (102.7 FM, 1160 AM) — Extended pregame coverage begins at 10 a.m.

Mitch Harper is a BYU Insider for KSLsports.com and host of the Cougar Tracks Podcast (SUBSCRIBE) and Cougar Sports Saturday (Saturday from 12–3 p.m.) on KSL Newsradio. Follow Mitch’s coverage of BYU in the Big 12 Conference on X and Threads: @Mitch_Harper.

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Oklahoma State Coach Mike Gundy Preparing For Option BYU Team