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Gundy brothers battle for recruits

STILLWATER, Okla. -- Oklahoma State head coach Mike Gundy was the starting quarterback at Oklahoma State for four seasons, from 1986 to 1989. His younger brother, Cale, started at quarterback for four seasons at Oklahoma, from 1990 to 1993.

And though they never played against each other in Bedlam, they've been coaching against each other since 2001, when Mike returned to his alma mater to be Les Miles' offensive coordinator.

For Mike, it hasn't been easy.

"If he was at Notre Dame and I was at Wisconsin, it wouldn't be such a big deal," Mike Gundy said of coaching against Cale, the running backs coach for the Sooners. "But since it's such a big game, since it's Bedlam, it always gets stirred up."

Yet, for Mike, emotions stirred up by coaching against his brother have changed in the past decade.

"It's actually gotten a little easier, because he's been there so long and I've been here so long," Mike said. "To be honest, I forget he's over there. When I get into the game ... I think, 'What's he doing over there?' "

As Mike approaches another meeting with his younger brother, two things have made it a much easier proposition: Time and the job security both brothers enjoy, with the Sooners and Cowboys proving to be two of college football's winningest programs in the past four seasons.

Neither Gundy brother enters the Bedlam matchup with the concern that a win by his team could cost his brother his job.

Just as important, the duo rarely has to worry about intense recruiting battles against each other.

"It's changed in the last four or five years, because recruiting is finished now," Mike said of most recruiting classes being nearly completed before the season's over. "So much recruiting goes on in the summer, (that) there's not a lot of recruiting battles going on in January, going on in the home visits and putting the sales pitch up."

Before recruiting changed and prospects started committing earlier to schools, the bulk of a school's recruiting class was finalized in January during the final month of recruiting. And the Gundys often ran into each other at a prospect's home while making their final push to land the recruit.

"It used to be that you'd follow him into the house or he'd follow you into the house," Mike said. "You'd start your sales pitch and they'd be like, 'Well, your brother was just in here.' And it would throw you off.

"We don't see as many recruiting battles that we used to."

Cale Gundy did not attend OU's media availability on Monday and was not available to comment.

While coaching and recruiting against Cale has gotten easier in the past 10 years, Mike is holding out hope the dynamic will continue to change. He wishes he could communicate with Cale more often, particularly during the fall, as the two rarely talk football during the season.

And Mike continues to hold out hope that he could coach alongside his brother some day.

"Those are the two things I think about," Mike said. "When he was at UAB and I was at Maryland, we communicated more. And at that point I think we had a goal of getting somewhere where we could coach against each other, but he didn't know he would ever get back to Oklahoma, and there was no guarantee I would ever be back here.

"I think in the back of our minds we thought at some point we could be on the same staff together."

Both former quarterbacks have become superb coaches at their alma maters with no reason or desire to leave two highly-sought after coaching positions. With Mike entrenched at OSU and Cale thriving at OU, it's tough to imagine a scenario where the dream of coaching together becomes reality.

"He played there and that's his background, I played here and that's my background," Mike said. "When he was fortunate enough to get back to Oklahoma, and the same thing for me at Oklahoma State, obviously it makes it more difficult [to coach together someday]."

Brandon Chatmon covers University of Oklahoma sports and recruiting for SoonerNation. He can be reached at bchatmonespn@gmail.com.

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