Gunnar ‘Earned Some Stripes,’ But Quarterback Competition Continuing Heading into Arizona State

STILLWATER — After a game’s worth of public data, it appears the quarterback trio of Garret Rangel, Alan Bowman and Gunnar Gundy are still in competition heading into the Cowboys’ game against the Sun Devils.

At his media luncheon Monday, Oklahoma State coach Mike Gundy said all three will practice and reps will be distributed from there. OSU travels to Arizona State for a game against the Sun Devils at 9:30 p.m. (Central) on Saturday.

“I’m not sure how we’ll distribute those reps in the game,” Gundy said. “We need to watch this week’s practice. Guys need to practice well. They need to be attentive. They need to be watching video. They need to have a good feel for Arizona State. They need to put time and effort in. One thing we get out of this is competition always raises the level of practice.”

Gundy said he was pleased with his quarterbacks and that there weren’t many missed assignments from the position group in the Cowboys’ 27-13 Week 1 win against Central Arkansas. OSU’s quarterbacks combined to go 30-for-48 (63%) for 304 yards, one touchdown and one interception.

Gunnar led the Cowboys’ final four series, putting up 14 points to Rangel’s 7 and Bowman’s 6. Gunnar was 7-for-9 with 106 passing yards, and he ran for 20 yards on two carries. A caveat to Gunnar’s day was that he had run support that the other two didn’t have. OSU tailbacks ran for 83 yards while Gunnar was in the game; OSU tailbacks ran for a combined 29 yards when Rangel and Bowman were in.

“I would say that [Gunnar] earned some stripes,” Gundy said. “What advantage that that gives him, the other guys played good also. I’m being honest with you, yes, I think he earned stripes with people involved. The quarterback is a high-profile position, as you know, so everybody has an opinion on it moreso than the other positions that people don’t really notice.

“… When he got in the game, I think he earned some stripes with the team because you have to play in a game and do well to earn stripes with the team and compete. That’s just a fact. I don’t care what the sport is.”

Rangel was responsible for the Pokes’ only touchdown pass, a throw to Brennan Presley in the first quarter. Rangel also threw the groups interception, coming on a fourth down on OSU’s opening drive. He finished 10-for-15 with 118 yards and also had 18 rushing yards.

The wide receivers got a case of the drops when Bowman was in during the middle stretch of the game. Bowman finished 13-for-24 with 80 passing yards. His numbers would have looked a lot better had drops from Ollie Gordon, Jaden Bray and Blaine Green not happened in Bowman’s stint.

Gundy said what he is looking for out of the quarterback position are the same things he has looked for when the Cowboys are using only one quarterback: production, efficiency, an understanding of the offense and an ability to distribute the ball to the Cowboys’ playmakers.

With the presence of the transfer portal, these types of position battles are happening all over the field for the Cowboys — it’s just most noticeable at a position (QB) where usually only one guy plays.

Gundy said he doesn’t know when he’d like to have the position battle sorted but that the plan is to continue to distribute reps in practice and let their play decide what direction the team goes in.

“I just kind of look at it as myself, as a dad of a player, how would I justify that to somebody’s mom or dad that your son came here and he never actually got a chance to get on the field and play even though in practice he deserved it,” Gundy said. “That’s when I told the guys a month ago, ‘Look, anybody that practices well enough to give us a chance to win, they’re gonna play in the games.’ Then at that point we’ll decide what direction we have to go from there. We just happen to have three guys that practiced well enough, in my opinion, that gave us a chance to play well enough to win the game.

“The division of the thirds didn’t come in my mind until about last Thursday because I didn’t know what to do. This is new to me, so I put it off. You know things we don’t like to do — like you don’t want to mow the yard, you just keep putting it off. Well, I didn’t want to do it because that’s not something I was comfortable with. We really didn’t make that decision until last Thursday.”

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