STILLWATER — Oklahoma State coach Mike Gundy has been preaching the same message to his football team the entire offseason, and the entire coaching staff doubled down on that message Thursday during practice without saying a word.
The first 20 minutes was open to the media, and the coaching attire left no doubt about what the focus is this season. Every member of the OSU coaching staff sported an orange, gray or white shirt that said “Win with discipline.”
Gundy has taken responsibility for last year’s lack of discipline on many occasions this summer, but it is obvious he is committed to creating better habits for this year’s group.
“It’s an important part of what we do,” Gundy said after practice. “That’s where I felt like I was deficient, which circles down to the coaches and the players, and then we become an undisciplined football team. That’s simply not controlling what we can control.”
Wearing shirts with those types of visual representations is just another way of helping his players take back some of that control. Defensive coordinator Jim Knowles understands that simply speaking to players about discipline is only part of the battle.
“You can talk about it all you want, but we have to do something for them visually to remind them, and that’s showing them on our shirts,” Knowles said. “But also, if they jump offsides or if their locker is messy, that’s when you have to sometimes get punitive. That’s really just as a reminder that, ‘Hey, this is important to us.’ ”
Offensive coordinator Sean Gleeson is getting ready for his first season with the staff. He said he is lucky to be coaching alongside Gundy and his message because teaching discipline and toughness is a part of his DNA.
He also said everybody likes banners and T-shirts, so Thursday’s coaching attire was just another healthy reminder.
“Coach Gundy is great about all of us speaking with the same voice,” Gleeson said. “He’s been doing this a lot longer than I have and he’s got the temperature of our entire program and all the personalities in our building. If he thinks that this is a recipe for success, just get me in line.”
The players have been receiving the message well, especially veteran receiver Tylan Wallace. Wallace is an offensive weapon whom the Cowboys are going to be relying on a lot this season. Team leaders must understand the importance of every message that comes from the coaching staff. They are the ones who help spread the message throughout the locker room.
Wallace gets the big picture.
“I’m happy that they have those shirts out there,” Wallace said. “That will remind us that’s what we need to do this year if we want to go big.”