SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. — One spring a few years ago, Chris Petersen made a visit to tour Oklahoma State’s facilities and watch how the Cowboys’ practice. OSU coach Mike Gundy on Wednesday recalled chatting with Petersen for about 45 minutes that day, and realized then that there was a kinship between what Gundy was doing and Petersen was doing at Boise State.
“I don’t want to put myself in a category with certain coaches. But there’s a number of similarities between (Petersen), myself, his staff, our staff, in kind of the way we’ve progressed over the last five, six years of his career and my career,” Gundy said during the Cactus Bowl media day event. “I don’t ever look at bowl records, but he’s 5-3, I’m 5-3. He has won a Fiesta Bowl. I won a Fiesta Bowl. Their offense, defense, special teams, when you look at them and look at us, there’s a lot of similarities.”
Petersen won his 100th game — in 117 games — as a head coach in the Huskies’ regular-season finale at Washington State, and Gundy said Petersen has overachieved in his career, based in large part on the resources (or lack of) at Boise State.
“In our profession there are coaches who have comparisons based onto schools and programs they’ve been with, and he’s been able, in my opinion, to overachieve at places he’s been,” Gundy said. “There’s a number of schools in this country — eight, 10, 12 schools — who have an advantage of a budget that’s through the roof and tradition and are going to always have good players, for the most part and should compete at a high level based on where they’re at. And then there are some guys at schools who have done that without having as much, for lack of a better term. And he’s had players over the last six or eight years that, when it comes to (NFL) draft day, they don’t show up. They’ve had some guys go (get drafted), and he’s going to have some guys at Washington go, but not like what some schools have, eight guys get drafted. And that’s what I notice as a coach, when I try and study and learn and become a better head coach.
“If I’m learning baseball, I may not really care what they’re doing with the Yankees, scheme-wise. I want to know what they’re doing with the Royals. I have all the respect in the world for the Yankees, but I’m just giving you a comparison to the difference in what we’re looking for, and it’s the same way in college football.”