MORGANTOWN — Mike Gundy may need to prepare for a snowstorm this Saturday — albeit not in a literal sense.
Though it did snow in Stillwater, Okla., on Monday, atmospheric conditions weren’t on Gundy’s mind as he railed against college football’s culture of increasing player transfers. Gundy has lost two players this season to announced transfers – receiver Jalen McCleskey and safety Thabo Mwaniki.
Gundy painted players who transfer as being part of a “snowflake” culture.
“I think we live in a world where people are non-committal,” Gundy told reporters at his weekly press conference. “We allow liberalism to say, ‘Hey, I can just do what I want and I don’t have to really be tough and fight through it.’ You see that with young people because it’s an option they’re given. We weren’t given that option when we were growing up. We were told what to do, we did it the right way, or you go figure it out on your own.
“In the world today, there’s a lot of entitlement. I’m a firm believer in the snowflake… I’m talking about every millennial young person. Generation Z, I think is what they call ’em.
“It’s the world we live in because if they say, ‘Well, it’s a little bit hard,’ we say, ‘OK, well, let’s go try something else.’ vs. ‘Hey, let’s bear down and let’s fight and do this.’ So you see a lot of that nowadays, and that doesn’t have anything to do with Thabo or (Jalen) McCleskey or anybody that’s been on the portal here.”
Few major programs have benefited more from Gundy’s vision of the transferring snowflake than West Virginia, which has potential to dump a blizzard of points on him this week. Quarterback Will Grier is at the top of the list, though it’s important to note he did not leave Florida by choice.
Regardless of the circumstances behind Grier’s arrival, West Virginia coach Dana Holgorsen stands as a virtual Statue of Liberty to transfers. Holgorsen took in the likes of defensive linemen Kenny Bigelow and Jabril Robinson, tight end Jovani Haskins, cornerback Keith Washington, receiver T.J. Simmons and backup quarterback Jack Allison from other Power 5 programs.
Rather than choosing to decry the culture like Gundy, Holgorsen embraces transfers as a way to make his program better. He also tries to make sure the Mountaineers don’t take just anybody.
“I think we do a good job of identifying guys that will fit what we want inside the walls of our program as far as how we do things and understanding the culture of West Virginia,” Holgorsen said of his success integrating transfers with established players. “Identifying why guys want to come here as transfers. I give our coaches a lot of credit identifying who will fit and who will not.”
Sills picks up a pair of honors
West Virginia wide receiver David Sills was named a semifinalist for the Biletnikoff Award as the nation’s top pass-catcher. But that’s nothing new for Sills, who was one of the three finalists for last year’s award.
More unexpected is his victory as West Virginia’s special teams player of the week. Sills nearly downed a pair of punts at the 1-yard line against TCU, though one of them was overturned on a replay review.
“He wants to [play special teams], is step one. He works hard at it is step two,” Holgorsen said. “That was a tricky game because the wind was swirling unlike I’ve ever seen in Morgantown. He’s just a football player, so he can track the ball and catch the thing. He effectively downed the ball inside the 5 twice. He can track it. His hand-eye coordination and his football player ability is really, really good.”
Cyclones missing Montgomery
Iowa State will be without running back David Montgomery for the first half of this week’s crucial game at Texas.
Montgomery was ejected for fighting Baylor defensive end Greg Roberts in the second half of Iowa State’s 28-14 win over the Bears. Things had gotten chippy a few plays earlier when Montgomery took an extremely late hit that forced him into a Gatorade cart near the bench.
“I’m certainly disappointed because that’s not football,” said Iowa State coach Matt Campbell. “We’ve worked really hard to pride ourselves on doing things the right way. Who started it and who didn’t is irrelevant at this point. There was some unfortunate times where cooler heads didn’t prevail. There’s a lot of dignity to this sport, but for a quarter there wasn’t a lot of dignity to football.”
Campbell thinks his team can manage a half without Montgomery. The Cyclones beat Oklahoma State 48-42 in a game Montgomery missed due to injury.
“We’ve had to play a whole bunch of football without David, including a whole game,” Campbell said.
Beaty’s bold prediction
Kansas coach David Beaty has a good idea of what will determine the Big 12 race, which is down to Oklahoma, West Virginia, Texas and Iowa State.
“Between those four teams, whoever figures it out defensively may have the edge on everyone else,” said Beaty, whose Jayhawks close with Oklahoma and Texas.
In conference play, West Virginia (22.4 ppg) and Iowa State (22.6 ppg) currently have the two best scoring defenses in the Big 12.