Bryant has learned, but return unknown
STILLWATER, Okla. -- Being without All-America receiver Dez Bryant hasn't stopped Oklahoma State (No. 15 BCS, No. 14 AP) from starting Big 12 play on the right foot.
To hear coach Mike Gundy tell it, the situation hasn't been so easy for Bryant.
"I would hate to speak for him, but I would say he's not doing very good," Gundy said Monday. "You take any of us in here and the one thing that you really love to do and you take it away and you can't do it, then you're not going to feel very good, and I think that's what's happened to him."
Oklahoma State (5-1, 2-0 Big 12) has held Bryant out of the last three games after discovering that he lied to the NCAA about an offseason meeting with NFL player Deion Sanders.
The Cowboys have defeated Grambling, then beat Texas A&M and Missouri to start conference play with back-to-back wins for only the fourth time in the 14 years the Big 12 has been in existence. A win Saturday at Baylor (3-3, 0-2) would give OSU only its third 3-0 start in Big 12 play.
Keith Toston surpassed 200 yards of total offense against A&M, and receiver Hubert Anyiam set new career highs with 10 catches for 119 yards and a touchdown in a breakout game against Missouri on Saturday.
Gundy said his team could benefit if it weathers the storm until Bryant comes back. And even that isn't a sure thing. Bryant has asked the NCAA to reinstate him.
"I would say that if we're fortunate enough to get Dez back, then we have a number of receivers that have gained some experience and it should allow us to be more balanced and versatile in our passing game would be the football side of it," Gundy said.
"I think the Dez Bryant side of it, and again I hate to speak for him, is I think there's no question that he's learned his lesson and that should help him down the road, later in life."
Gundy said he isn't any closer to knowing whether Bryant will be able to play again this season. He said he checked with the compliance office Monday.
"I wish I could give you guys an answer," Gundy said. "I don't have an answer."
The Cowboys have also been without Kendall Hunter, the Big 12's leading rusher last season, for the last four games because of a sprained right ankle. Gundy said Hunter has practiced the last two weeks, and should do so again this week.
"His workload has been increased each week," Gundy said. "Medically, I think he's OK. I think they've said, 'You can play.' He has to feel like he can go out there and handle the workload. I think that's what it's come down to right now."
If Hunter is healthy, Gundy said, he would not be held out against Baylor just because No. 3 Texas comes to Stillwater a week later.
Both players watched Saturday's game from the sideline in hooded sweat shirts.
Bryant has not spoken to reporters since he was ruled ineligible, although he sent the NCAA a letter apologizing and asking that he be able to play again this season.
"The penalty has certainly ... worked," Gundy said. "He understands he made a mistake and wishes he didn't now, but he certainly is looking forward to having the opportunity to play again."
Copyright 2009 by The Associated Press