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Notes On Mike Gundy’s Bedlam Press Conference



Man – this one was long and it was packed. I would highly recommend taking the time to listen for yourself. But, if you can’t, here’s Coach talking Bedlam, Carson, The CFP, Legos, takes a shot at little brother and shares a little on The Mullet.

Opening Comments

• Has the off week been good? “They’re always good. It gives us a chance to have a couple of work out, but really rehabilitate the players mentally and physically. This group is a fun group to be around. We enjoyed them. We turned them loose Wednesday morning and brought them back Saturday night.”

All About Bedlam

As an Oklahoma native, what does this game mean to you? “What’s encouraging for the state of Oklahoma is for a considerable number of times over the last five or six years, these two schools have gotten together to decide a conference Championship. And Tulsa, Tulsa’s having a great year. You have three schools that are having fantastic seasons, have very exciting players and give the state a lot to think about. It’s a big game.”

• “As you watched over the last week and a half when they put up the college football playoff standings, and you have Oklahoma and Oklahoma State and their top 10, that’s a tremendous financial advantage for marketing for both universities.”

• What kind of difference can Mason make this year? “It’s obviously an advantage for our team. They overwhelmed us rushing the football and made a lot of plays on offense. We didn’t play very good defensively in that game. We’re a healthier football team now. I feel like our mental approach with our team, and really their mental approach, is different this year than what it was last year. We were a little beat up at this time last season.”

• Do you think this might be your freshest in most physical defense you’ve taken into a Bedlam game? “I would tend to agree with that, yes. We look at our numbers from last year and they were considerably different. We went into, counting the Oklahoma game and then obviously the Baylor game last year, and we were over 215 plays. So, we are healthier now — not only physically, but I think mentally. It’s allowed us to practice. Last year at this time we were so delicate that we really couldn’t practice at a pace we needed to to perform. I don’t feel like we’re in position this season.”

• Circumstances are much different coming into Bedlam than they were last year: “These guys, hopefully we’ve instilled in them the understanding, whether you have a tough loss or a big win, you guys have heard me say it a number of times, that you have to continue to move forward. I think the biggest factor is that we’re healthy and we’re in a position to practice at the pace we think we need to practice in order to play at a high level. Hopefully when we come down that ramp on Saturday, our guys will be fresh and be able to play at the highest level and play the very best game we’ve played this season.”

• Do you say anything to the guys to keep them from getting too amped up too early in the week? “Each player and each coach has their own natural process that they do, that they go through mentally to prepare for a game. My job is to oversee everything and get it to where it’s at its best Saturday at 11:30. I’m not a micro-manager and I try not to disrupt what would be a normal rhythm for a coach or a player. Chris Lacy’s attitude is to play today and play tomorrow, play the next day and play every day – he’s like the Energizer Bunny, he’s like JW was. Some guys bring themselves along at a different pace. The most important aspect is that…they stay focused, in our opinion, in our program outweighs every other aspect in preparation.”

• Is this the highest level Bedlam game you can remember? “There’s tremendous skill on both sides. The good news is we’re in a position to play for a conference championship. Both teams are healthy. It should be a really fun week and a fun game to watch.”

Chris Carson’s renaissance

• What’s changed with Carson helping him play so well right now? “A lot of times young men that play the game, when they have something taken away from them, they realize how much they really love it. Carson falls in that category. He was playing well before he injured his hand, but I think the three or four weeks off really took effect with him mentally how much he really liked the game.”

• “I couldn’t be any more pleased for him. I thought even a few weeks before that he would actually have an opportunity to get into a camp and play at the next level. I’m somewhat convinced that’s going to happen now. I know that’s always been a dream for him. It just proves if you continue to push and work at it, you have the right support system – Marcus Arroyo has done a tremendous job with him, not only as a player, but bringing him along mentally. It’s going to give him an opportunity to have a great game. He’s excited about football. We’re putting him back on special teams. He’s giving us great effort. He wants to be on special teams. That’s a good indicator of the commitment a player has to our team.”

• Is there any way to foresee what happened this season with Carson? “Not really. There were times early in his first year that he was really running good. Then, he just didn’t run as well. There’s also things that contributed to that issue. But, I don’t want to get into all that. You guys have heard me say that for two years. His physical approach has really bought in; or, the team has really bought into his physical approach. He’s enjoying that part of the game as much as any player we’ve had here since Keith

• “In the big picture, it goes back to the chemistry that I mentioned to you guys about a month ago. This group has come farther in six weeks than any team I’ve ever had in developing team chemistry and the ‘want’ to be successful for each other. Chris has been a huge part of that success.”

Offensive Line Improvement

• What do you chalk the improvement in the offensive line up to? “They worked together. We lost Larry (Williams), and Mike (Wilson) jumped in. They have developed their strength. The combination of their commitment and their improvement tied in with running backs improving has gotten this to a point where we’re a decent running team now.

“We’re not a great running team, but we are good enough running team that it allows us to be balanced. We gave them a plan. We asked them to commit to it and to work as a group; don’t worry about outside people say; and if you commit and improve then people will see it. On a scale of 1 to 100 we’re about a 75 percent there. We’ve still got a ways to go but, we were floating around 10 percent the last two years.”

• Is Larry back? “Larry is full speed. Mike Wilson will play, but Larry is full speed and practicing and will be there. I’ll have meetings tomorrow with both staffs so I’m not sure if he’ll be in a rotation or not, but he’s back and feeling pretty good at this time.”

• “Larry’s very physical. He was going through a developmental stage like most two-year players do, where, at times, he wasn’t as productive as we wanted him to be in the big picture. But, he was certainly showing signs of getting to a point where we felt like he could be a really quality lineman at this level.”

Incredible Random Notes

• Talk about the receiver corps even without Ateman: “They’ve performed very well. Kasey Dunn’s been tremendous with them. We knew James Washington was going to make a considerable number of plays – he has. But, the emergence of what Jhajuan Seales and Chris Lacy have brought, not only as receivers, but as downfield blockers and the attitude they bring to our team.

“Ateman was a big part of our plan this year with what he brings to the table. You’re going to be defended differently in the red zone when he’s in the game. So we had to make a few adjustments.”

• Talk about Baker Mayfield: “He was good last year. He’s a fantastic player. You’re not going to stop them from making some plays. As a coach, you have to respect the way these two quarterbacks play. You have to love the way Baker likes to play the game, and you have to love the way Mason likes to play the game.”

• What about him and Mason being so friendly off the field? “You know, it’s so different than it ever used to be. Social media and their ability to communicate – we didn’t have that. We didn’t know players from other teams. It’s a sign of the times. It’s just a different world we live in now. They’re buddies – I guess that’s good.”

• This is SO good! Between you (26) and Cale (23), you’re two of the three most involved people ever in Bedlam… “Who’s the other guy?” Gary Gibbs, with 23. “So I’m the all-time leading Bedlam guy? That’s awesome!”

• How proud are you that the Gundy brothers are synonymous with Bedlam ? “You know, people ask me about Dede Westbrook – I had a couple calls this morning on the Big 12 call, and I think Cale coaches him – or does somebody else coach him?” Cale does. “Well he’s overcome coaching. Mixon and Perine had overcome coaching their year and Dede has done a good job of overcoming coaching.

“He’s (Cale) been very successful there with Bob, and obviously, this is the place I’ve always wanted to be. He’s been tremendously loyal to Bob and he’s exactly where he wants to be. We got together for dinner on Thursday and we talked a little bit about it – we usually don’t talk much about football – but the Cowboys were on and we got into Dak Prescott and how he relates to college football and so on and so forth. But, I’m very proud of him and what he’s been able to accomplish.”

• Has the Big 12 expressed any appreciation for setting them up with a championship game? “I haven’t heard from them. They’re not big fans of me. Good guys though.”

• Has the growth of The Mullet caused people to treat you differently? “Not really. I thought about it yesterday. I had Thanksgiving, then went deer hunting and I hadn’t washed it in about three days. But, I went ahead and washed it this morning because I knew I was going to meet with you all. It’s not really curly, but it’s definitely hit the mullet stage!”

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