OSU football: Mike Gundy, Larry Fedora meet again in Waco, 24 years after working on Baylor staff
WACO, Texas — Mike Gundy and Larry Fedora first met at Baylor in 1996.
Fedora had been on the Bears’ offensive staff for five years when Gundy was brought in to be the passing game coordinator and quarterback coach.
“We got fired,” Gundy said of his one season at Baylor. “Then we all scattered across the country.”
Fedora went west, where he spent a couple seasons at Air Force. Gundy went east, becoming the passing game coordinator at Maryland.
In 2001, Gundy was hired as the offensive coordinator at Oklahoma State, and he became the head coach in 2005. That’s when he brought Fedora — who had been climbing the ladder at Florida — to be the Cowboys offensive coordinator.
After three years in Stillwater, Fedora moved on to become a head coach, first at Southern Miss, then at North Carolina, but now, he’s back in the Big 12 at Baylor as offensive coordinator under first-year coach Dave Aranda.
On Saturday, Gundy’s Cowboys will face the Fedora-coached offense of Baylor at 2:30 p.m. at McLane Stadium, televised by ESPN.
“We have a really good relationship,” Gundy said. “His family, his wife, is really close to my family.
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“I don’t waste time on the phone texting people and calling people and all that, but Larry and I have a great relationship.”
Baylor has had difficulties with COVID-19 this season, canceling or postponing three games. The school announced Thursday that it had temporarily shut down football activities, adding, though, that it remains committed to playing the Cowboys on Saturday.
Throughout the season, those issues could have had some impact on what Fedora has tried to do in building his offense for the 2-6 Bears.
“They had a couple backs that were out, so they threw the ball nearly every snap, I think 56 times against Oklahoma,” Gundy said of Baylor’s Dec. 5 performance. “I don’t know if that’s the direction (Fedora) wants to go, or if they felt they needed to do that with their backs.
“They’ve done some different things, maybe based on where they were at with COVID and injuries and things like that.”
Baylor assistant coaches are not made available to the media, but Aranda raved about what Fedora has meant to the development of the program.
“Larry has been a great resource for me, from his experience,” Aranda said. “Larry’s got a real humble heart. He is someone that pours into his players and someone that empowers others. When he works with the staff, he really works to get everyone involved, and I think the coaches have grown from it.
“As we’ve gone throughout the season, we’ve worked to feature players and not plays, and I think there’s still a work in progress there. But I think that’s something that he recognizes and sees and values.
“His ability to put guys in position to be successful, I think, is the right way. We have to execute a little bit better, but I feel like that’s the way we’re thinking.”
Baylor’s two-win record might be a bit misleading. The Bears have played several close games and Fedora has a veteran quarterback leading his offense.
“The quarterback (Charlie Brewer) is a savvy player," Gundy said. "He gets the ball out. He’s a tough runner. If you don’t watch your lanes when you’re rushing him, he’ll pull the ball down, take off and run. He’s good at that.”
Scott Wright covers OSU athletics, especially football. You can send your story ideas to him at firstname.lastname@example.org or on Twitter at @ScottWrightOK. Support his work and that of other Oklahoman journalists by purchasing a digital subscription today.