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Looking back, Gundy said Miles had the right approach at the right time for Oklahoma State.

“He was smart enough to realize that’s some of the guys that we had here may not be as good as what we think we need but if we are tougher than them, we can pound this thing out, win enough games and kind of get it rolling,” Gundy said. “That was his philosophy when he took over here.”

Miles molded the Cowboys into a smashmouth running team with long practices, running counter and power plays “until nobody could stand up any more,” Gundy said.

Gundy employs a far different approach now, using fast-paced practices that are much shorter and aimed at keeping players fresh for game days. The former quarterback’s offense throws the ball on about 60 percent of its plays and is one of only two that averages more than 50 points per game.

“My philosophy on offense is different than his but the basic principles of what I believe in are the same as him. This is who we are, this is how we’re going to do it and don’t look back no matter what. So, there’s a lot that I was able to take.” Gundy said. “Even though the cover of the book may be different, the inside of it’s very similar.”

Gundy described both he and Miles as “bullheaded” and said they’re also similar in that they have no hobbies outside of football.

“He has taken that team to a whole different level. Combined with the contributions that Boone Pickens has made to the institution, that is not a program that has done anything but continue to climb for some time,” Miles said. “I am proud to have been a part, but again, they’ve continued and taken that school to a strong competitive level.”

“Basically he’s put his school, his team, in position to play for the national championship,” he added.

Divvying up the credit for Oklahoma State’s rise is hard even for someone like Monken, who has worked for both coaches. He said some of the foundation dates to Simmons, who brought in NFL-bound talent such as Rashaun Woods, Tatum Bell and Kevin Williams to give Miles and Gundy a head start.

Miles then instilled a culture of winning that Gundy has been able to take to the highest level in the program’s history.

“I think that’s hard to say because I think then what it does is it takes away from what Mike’s done, and I think that’s unfair,” Monken said.

“I think that it’s unfair to say that the reason Les is successful at LSU is because of what Nick Saban did at LSU. I think that’s unfair to him, although I think both had their place in in having their own success there.”

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AP Sports Writer Brett Martel contributed to this report from Baton Rouge, La.