OSU football: After review, Mike Gundy was less bothered by Spencer Sanders' turnovers vs. Texas
STILLWATER — After reviewing the game tape, Oklahoma State coach Mike Gundy was not as bothered by quarterback Spencer Sanders’ three turnovers as he was immediately following Saturday’s 41-34 loss to Texas.
Sanders fumbled twice and threw an interception, all of which led to Texas points in the overtime defeat.
“The interception, he threw the ball behind the receiver and the Texas guy was in good position,” Gundy said Monday in his weekly Zoom teleconference. “The ball exchange issue, he needs to have a better grip on the ball. That’s his responsibility on the one we dropped in the first quarter. That’s reps.
“The strip right before halftime, he was in the pocket for almost five seconds and the guy came from behind. Little better feel for the game. Nobody’s open, pull it down, take off and run.”
Sanders has turned the ball over five times in the last two games, reigniting the feel of his freshman season last fall, when turnover issues plagued the young quarterback through the middle of the season.
But Gundy isn’t as concerned about this year’s issues.
“It was almost like a perfect storm,” Gundy said. “We had some issues to correct with Spencer last year. What happened Saturday was not what we dealt with with him last year. Just had a little bit of a perfect storm. Hopefully, we can get some of that corrected before the next game. I’m not as concerned about it as what I was after the game, just based on seeing what transpired.”
The next game comes Saturday, when the Cowboys visit Kansas State for a 3 p.m. kickoff, televised by Fox. Each with one loss in Big 12 play, the game holds significant implications on the race for the conference title game.
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Last season, Sanders had a four-game stretch in which he turned the ball over 12 times, and the Cowboys lost three of those games — their only losses last season with Sanders as the starter prior to a thumb injury that took him out for the final three games.
This time around, the Cowboys can’t afford such struggles to continue. One more loss could end their hopes of a spot in the Big 12 title game.
Sanders is both a perfectionist and highly competitive, which are qualities that can work against a player at times.
“He plays aggressive. We want him to play aggressive,” Gundy said. “He takes the game too seriously at times. He’s getting better in that area.
“We gotta let him go, let him play. He’s gonna make some mistakes. He’s still young. But we don’t want to put a leash on him. We need to let him go. He makes a lot of plays. We don’t want to tone him down. We want to let him rip and play football.”
First-year Cowboy quarterback coach Tim Rattay will play a crucial role in getting Sanders back on track, and Gundy has no plan to make a change.
“Tim Rattay, I think, is a really good counselor for (Sanders),” Gundy said. “Spencer knows that I’m here. He knows how I feel about it, but he’s going to be closer to his position coach. I think Tim has done a really good job of understanding his personality and dealing with him and helping keep his emotions in check.”