Of all the things that Oklahoma State head coach Mike Gundy could have talked about on Wednesday he ended up talking about The Carpenters.
Gundy’s riff on the music group, fronted by the late Karen Carpenter, came late in his time with the media in the morning session at Big 12 Media Days.
Carpenter and her brother, Richard, had a string of hits in the 1970s as The Carpenters, before Karen passed away in 1983.
Gundy ended up quoting one of The Carpenters’ biggest hits as he was talking about, of all things, conference realignment.
“We’ve only just begun,” Gundy said, referring to The Carpenters’ hit.
At that point, the moderator of the press conference told Gundy that in his 40 years of working press conferences that he was the first coach to ever quote the Carpenters.
That led to Gundy’s riff on The Carpenters and, by extension, Karen.
“I liked the Carpenters, and I heard that song the other day, and the first thing I thought about was conference realignment,” Gundy said. “I think she cut that record on the first take.”
Oklahoma State went 12-2 and came up less than a foot short of being crowned Big 12 Champions, losing to Baylor, 21-16. The Cowboys ended up in the Fiesta Bowl where they defeated Notre Dame, 37-35.
The Cowboys look a little different on both sides of the ball, but the offense returns seven starters, including Preseason All-Big 12 quarterback Spencer Sanders. The Oklahoma State wide receiving corps should be a position to lean on, as Brennan Presley and Braydon Johnson bring back valuable experience. The running back room will be the biggest question in 2022, as junior Dominic Richardson is the most experienced of the bunch. But he has logged just 123 carries in his college career.
Defensively, Oklahoma State lost experience and depth. Five starters return, with All-Big 12 defensive ends Tyler Lacy and Brock Martin anchoring things up front. Jason Taylor II returns for his redshirt senior year in the defensive backfield, but the secondary and linebacker corps have openings. New defensive coordinator Derek Mason, the former head coach at Vanderbilt, will need to find contributors in the back seven if he hopes to recapture the magic that Jim Knowles’s unit did a season ago. Knowles is now at Ohio State.
Oklahoma State opens up the 2022 season with Central Michigan on Sept. 1 and then hosts Arizona State on Sept. 10.
You can find Matthew Postins on Twitter @PostinsPostcard.