Mike Gundy: ‘Rudolph’s Getting Better Each Week’

Most college football teams would rather face a team’s backup quarterback as opposed to the starter. Except when that backup is Kody Cook, a walk-on wide receiver who basically ran a single-wing offense.

Cook threw for 122 yards, ran for 87 and had three touchdowns (two pass, one rush), almost leading Kansas State to a win over Oklahoma State this past weekend. Instead, the Cowboys hung on, 36-34, in Stillwater, winning on a last-second field goal for the second straight week.

Just how much prep did Oklahoma State do for Cook?

“Really zero,” Cowboys head coach Mike Gundy said on CBS Sports Radio’s The Doug Gottlieb Show. “It’s one of those situations that they’ve had so many injuries at the quarterback spot that we had prepared for No. 8 (Joe Hubener) – and he’s like an average runner, but has been throwing the ball pretty well. But (he was) relatively new, so we didn’t know a lot about him. And then we knocked him out and they brought the other guy (Cook) in, we knew that he had taken some reps at quarterback but we didn’t know anything about him. Looking back, I think it actually kind of worked against us because as he played in a game, he looked more like the traditional Kansas State quarterback that they’d used over the last five years where he was running the football like a tailback and using some play-action pass. So we didn’t have a plan for him being in the game.”

Luckily for the Cowboys, their defense, kicker (Ben Grogan) and quarterback (Mason Rudolph) made plays when they had to. Rudolph, in fact, was 34-of-55 for 437 yards, three touchdowns and an interception.

“He’s getting a little better each week and you can see some of the progress he’s making from an experience standpoint,” Gundy said. “You just can’t underestimate experience and plays and how valuable that is in college athletes. He’s made a few errant throws, but his temperament, his demeanor, his leadership has been really good. I think he’s a year ahead in those categories. He just continues to get a little better each week. We’re still a year away up front on the offensive line. We’re better than we were last year, but we still have a ways to go and we played this game with essentially two running backs that have really never played running back at this level. So there were some deficiencies there and he had to kind of carry the load. He is working with a really good and skilled wide receiver group, which helps our team.”

Gundy was also asked for his take on former Oklahoma State quarterback Brandon Weeden, who has been thrust into the starting job for the Dallas Cowboys following an injury to Tony Romo (broken clavicle). Weeden is 0-2 as a starter, but the Cowboys had a chance to win both games.

“I thought he played well last week and the parts that I watched last night, I thought he was effective in shotgun and reading the defense,” Gundy said. “And if they blitzed him, he gets it out of his hands quick. So to me, he’s playing good. I don’t watch a lot of NFL and obviously I’m not an NFL coach, but it is fun to watch him.”

It’s also fun to watch other former (Oklahoma State) Cowboys play for the (Dallas) Cowboys, including Dez Bryant, Joseph Randle and Dan Bailey.

“We’re proud of all those guys,” Gundy said, “Brandon Weeden is better than what people are giving him credit for. It’s going to continue. He’s just now getting experience. I thought that he played pretty well in Cleveland. He got pounded in Cleveland. I felt sorry for him. But he’s going to play better than people think.”

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