Oklahoma State head coach Mike Gundy knows a few things about how talent leads to success. He’s placed numerous players in the NFL and has a conference title under his belt. That said, Tulsa head coach Philip Montgomery thinks the 2017 version of the Cowboys may be the best yet under Gundy.
Montgomery was an assistant at Baylor from 2008 – 2014 so he’s seen Gundy’s Cowboys first hand. However, this group seems different than even that 2011 Pokes team that took home the Big 12 championship.
That 2011 OSU team was led by an experienced and mature leader at quarterback in Brandon Weeden but Montgomery says the Pokes have something even more special in Mason Rudolph. “He’s an NFL guy,” Montgomery said, “he could have come out last year, with the QB class like it was.” He didn’t stop there in his praise for the Thursday night opponent either.
“I’ve had the opportunity to go against in on a couple different occasions,” Montgomery said about Gundy. “The one thing I’ll say about them this year is that I think it’s the most talented one I’ve ever faced with him (Gundy) as the head coach there. They’ve got a ton of weapons offensively, they’ve got a ton of experience offensively. You look at them defensively, both ends are back, most of their linebacking corps are back. They’ve made some changes in the secondary with Flowers, moving him over to what we call the down safety here. I think it’s going to be a tremendous move for them and we have our hands full”
Montgomery is an offensive minded coach and in so he looks for spots to pick on an opposing defense. He’s got to figure out who is starting quarterback is first though, as Chad President and Luke Skipper are in a quarterback battle that could go all the way until kickoff.
“You can read whatever you want to in it,” Montgomery said about the possibility of playing both quarterbacks on Thursday night. “We haven’t made a decision yet. Both of those guys, I think, are talented players that can bring some things similar to the table. They also have some differences between them. So we feel good about it. We’ve got a lot of things that are going on on the football field besides just that position…we have confidence in both of these young men and well see how it plays out when it comes to game time.
While saying that he has faith in his passing game, despite not naming a starting quarterback, Montgomery says that balance is the ultimate goal.
“We have faith in our passing game. We’ve got young receivers and we’ve got guys that have been through some wars, when you talk about Keenan, and Hobbs, and Nigel, and a few others.”
“I’ve said since day one here that I want to be a balanced football team from an offensive standpoint, We’ll continue to have that same type of philosophy. Obviously we’ve got to play our quarterbacks strengths and we’ve got to play what our strength is as a football team right now. So whatever they decide to do we’ve got to take what they give us and execute at a good level.”
You can read into that last comment that Montgomery wants to run the ball behind a veteran offensive line and an established running back in D’Angelo Brewer but he knows that Oklahoma State is going to play to stop the run first. That means there will be a ton of pressure on whichever inexperienced quarterback Montgomery plays.