STILLWATER — Mike Gundy has been trying to stave off the questions, but they just keep coming — typically with subtle differences in the iterations.
But as was the case when camp opened two days earlier, Gundy didn’t have any breaking starting quarterback news during the annual Cowboy football media day — following Fan Appreciation Day. That didn’t prevent him from spending the first third of his nearly hour-long press conference fielding questions about the players that will touch the ball for Oklahoma State the most this season.
Even when asked if there was a timeline for naming a starting quarterback, Gundy balked at putting himself in a corner.
“We might not. We might play two,” Gundy said. “If you were at practice today, you would say play two. They're both pretty good.
“I know people say sometimes, 'If you can't name one, you don't have any,' and I don't see that as the situation here.”
Gundy said the two quarterbacks have similar styles, which has made this even more competitive of a race for the starting role. And he said age will not play a factor in deciding the starter – such as playing a young Spencer Sanders for the sake of getting him experience for the future.
But Gundy has seen a difference in a year from Sanders, even though he still has no college playing experience. Last fall, Gundy spoke of the maturity of the true freshman quarterback holding him back a year ago.
“His ability to function in our system is better than it was a year ago,” Gundy said. “We still haven't done enough in pads, but just executing our offense and running a system at such a high speed like we do at our tempo, he's already better. He's got a long way to go in areas that we all know that quarterbacks need to adjust and, unfortunately, a lot of times at that position you really only learn from mistakes.
“He's better at just the structure and organizing our system and getting everybody up there and if they're lined up wrong, making sure that the clock isn't going to expire on him for the delay of game and functioning in a really fast pace. That's where he's improved to this point.”
Just down the hallway from Gundy’s presser in Gallagher-Iba Arena, the two quarterbacks vying for that starting role held their first official court with the media since arriving in Stillwater.
With roughly 20 Cowboy players spread throughout the auxiliary gym to field questions from the media, the focus was on the two quarterbacks. There was typically five to 10 people in front of either Sanders or Dru Brown at any one moment — while most of the remaining Cowboys dealt with one or two at a time — in a clear sign of what the story is for Oklahoma State this season.
Brown, who started two years at Hawaii after playing a year at College of San Mateo, certainly had the right words for a student-athlete who has been in college since 2015.
“I like to think I show up and give my best effort every day,” Brown said. “I prepare a lot — physically, mentally — and at the end of the day, the coaches are going to pick someone and I’ll accept whatever happens.
“Like I’ve said many times, we’re both here to win, so whatever happens, we’re going to support each other because that’s what we came here to do – to win.”
Sanders, who is considered a favorite among the fans between being a former Texas High School Football Gatorade Player of the Year and a four-star recruit with four years of college eligibility ahead of him, shared the same sentiment as Brown about how both are approaching the battle for the starting spot.
“When we come off the field, we’ll coach each other up and maybe point out something the other missed and try to help him for the next rep,” Sanders said. “We both want to see each other do great, so the competition comes when we’re out there playing to the best of our abilities, but when we come off the field, we know that I’ve got his back and he’s got my back.”