STILLWATER, Okla. -- Oklahoma State's roster looks different today than it did in August 2014.
The Cowboys are now in a position of strength instead of searching for bodies to help fulfill wide open roles on offense, defense or special teams. As a result, Mike Gundy's program could end up resetting the clock in some ways by redshirting true sophomores who didn't get the opportunity to redshirt as freshman.
"We've talked about that," Gundy said during OSU's media day on Saturday. "Until we get to that last week (of preseason camp) we won't plan on that, but if we get to the last week and we have a young man we used as a freshman and he's behind a couple of veteran guys and his numbers could be limited, we wouldn't burn him on special teams and he may be able to get that year back."
A full season to dedicate to the weight room could be valuable for several OSU sophomores who were forced into action as freshman because the Pokes didn't have any other option. Gundy feels a redshirt year can be a must for some players, who simply need the extra time in a college strength and conditioning program.
"He loses that extra time in the weight room because during the season he's getting ready to play in a game. His physical workload is limited based on getting ready to play on Saturday, and there's a point where that can almost become a necessity for a college football player to get that extra workload during their time. It doesn't always happen that way, but it's beneficial," Gundy said. "[Redshirting as a sophomore] would help him, from a maturity standpoint, and help us."
Gundy didn't single out any specific names but several sophomores, including cornerback Chris Hardeman, safety Dylan Harding and linebacker Kirk Tucker, played special teams roles without making a major impact on offense or defense in 2014. A redshirt season could do wonders for players like that, particularly if they don't force their way into the lineup during preseason camp.
If it comes to that, those conversations can be hard, as sitting down a player who played as a true freshman and asking them to redshirt is never easy. But Gundy plans to take the honest approach and hope any player who is asked to redshirt will see it as a positive instead of a setback.
"It's us being honest with them," Gundy said of how those conversations play out. "If a player just says, ‘Hey I want to play' we're going to play them, because ultimately, it's their career."