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Notes On Mike Gundy’s Colorado Press Conference

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Coach Gundy spoke Thursday on prepping for Colorado. He talked mock drafts, a little recruiting, next season’s schedule, Vincent Taylor (and Lawrence Taylor) and his legacy.

Preparing for Colorado in the Alamo Bowl

• Do you think losing D-coordinator Jim Leavitt is going to be a problem for them? “Not a lot. I would guess that they are so far into it somebody else could take over with their calls. That’s what’s happened to us when we’ve lost coordinators prior to a bowl.”

• Does CU head coach Mike MacIntyre hanging up on Clay Travis the other day matter to the team? “I don’t think so. I know Coach MacIntyre a little bit, I’ve followed him from afar. I have a lot of respect for the way he runs his organization. I would say his players could probably care less.”

• What about Colorado’s defense? “I mentioned this a week ago, they’re very good…old school: quarters, zero coverage, pressure, they just added a little bit of 3-down here recently. Very stingy – I think 20.8 points a game. The nose guard is a 340-pounder, he’s hard to move. 98’s been a terrific pass-rusher for them. 4 and 23 are covering very well, their safeties tackle. They’re going to force you, in my opinion, to try and throw passes and squeeze the run and make it extremely difficult to get yards on the ground.”

• On Colorado’s offense: “You know, their quarterback is a big guy. They list him at 6’4″, 238. I think he’s a little bigger than that. Smart, likes to play the game, willing to run, willing to take hits. They’re rushing for 230 a game or so. These guys are very well-coached. Not only on offense, but on defense. Their schemes are sound in my opinion.

“They’re running back is a 180-pounder and he’s somewhat elusive, can jump around and make you miss. They have the four wide-outs that all make plays. They’re quick guys. Coach Mac’s son is one of those four they use in the slot. It’s a lot like what Josh Stewart or Glidden or Cooper, those guys were. He makes a lot of plays for them, real savvy player.”

• Have you paid attention to Colorado since they left the conference? “I always watch Colorado, always watch Missouri, and I always watch A&M. Nebraska’s kind of been gone for a while. But, you still watch them just because we had so many years they were a part of our conference.

“It kind of makes me sad at times. I go back to what I said earlier about what coach Mac and those guys have done. They’re not sitting in a location that just gives them the availability to go jump in a car and find a lot of guys that can compete in a Power 5 conference. That’s not a knock on anybody. I’m saying that as a positive. I’ve never coached there, that’s just an outsider looking in.”

Talk About Recruiting…

• Is The Mullet ingenious for recruiting? “I don’t know that I could take credit for that much of it. You know the old rule of marketing: ‘Anything that has your name out there whether it’s good or bad is good.’ When I go into homes of recruits they don’t really care, but their parents stare at your hair. I’m not sure whether they really like it or not. But, up to this point we’ve done pretty good recruiting.”

• “Every year we want to be in the highest bowl we can. We’re very lucky in this league, we have terrific bowls. But, if they stick you in a bowl in Texas, you look at it as a bonus because the number of players whose families can drive and it’s very well publicized and it’s easy to market that we’re there and a lot of people see it. The bowls in Texas certainly help us in recruiting.”

• How hard is it going to be to replace Veatch and Jarwin? “It’s difficult. We’re working on it now. It’s funny you brought that up, we had a recruiting meeting this morning and we’re in the process now of looking for a Zac Veatch who played high school ball in Oklahoma, somewhere on the line that’s under-sized and is not big enough to play at this level…that can jump in and fit in that role for us for the next few years. We’re looking for that person.

“So basically I just used your question as free advertisement. And you set me up and that’s awesome. But, not a lot of players want to do it because it’s a tough man’s job. Now, we’ve glorified it a little bit. They get to catch passes, split out and look good and all that. But, it’s still a tough man’s job.”

• “We went through a couple years where we got out of our box a little bit, in recruiting and all the sudden we thought that we could get the Lawrence Taylor’s and those guys. We got left at a point late in January that we had all these good players that are making us feel good, and then when the nightclub closed down they all left with somebody else and we’re going home by ourselves. Not that we don’t want to go after everybody, but we now do a better job of making sure that we have a B-list that are really good players who can come in here and we’ve proven we can win the BCS bowls with. But we don’t want to get left out and that happened to us a couple years.”

What about Mason’s name showing up highly mock drafts?

² This was a great answer! “I don’t really look into it much. I would guess that most of those mock drafts are fabricated. There’s probably only one or two of them that have a clue as to what they’re talking about. Most of it’s just good for talk radio, which is about as akk-rut as a North Korean test missile. I think he could improve his overall long-term by spending another year here. But that’s going to be up to him and his family.”

About Vincent Taylor’s season…

• “He stepped up. I think last year he was somewhat overlooked because of Bean and Ogbah. He made a few more plays that people didn’t notice. He’s been very important to our success at times this season in close games where he made big plays, like the fumble in the West Virginia game, where we were able to get the ball and score. And he’s made some key plays on third down for us.”

• “He’s developed into a good player; he’s got a great future. For the world he lives in, he’s fairly intelligent. He can think things through. In the game that we play in today, it’s more about guys that can think fast then maybe can run fast. He has skill, but he can think really fast.”

On next season’s schedule, Bedlam in particular…

• “The first thing I thought of when I saw it was the day they put the game. I was a little surprised about that. But, either way, it doesn’t matter. The conference is going to do what they do. They don’t ask our input. If we give our input they’re not going to listen anyway. So we just take the schedule, and we roll with it.”

• “We’ll have to be careful the way we practice with all the road games and so on and so forth. We’ll have to be really smart on how we handle our players to try and keep their health and their strength up and all that throughout the season.”

How would you evaluate the job Marcus Arroyo has done?

• “He’s done a really nice job. I have to sit back and evaluate everything in our program. When I look at a lot of what we’ve done, one area that’s been positive is our ability to create some running lanes. The second thing that we’ve done a good job of is keeping our backs fresh and that’s not always easy because you always want to put the best player in all the time.”

• “He’s done a terrific job of handling Carson – and when we lost Carson, you know I was really nervous about 27 getting too many carries. But then using those guys, Rennie gets it a little; Junior gets a little here and there. The handling of that position has been very positive in my opinion.”

Then this…on his legacy at Oklahoma State…

• Does the Baylor situation and the unsigned contract affect that? “You know me, I could really care less about that (his legacy). Just because we haven’t come to an agreement is not a negative. That’s just the business part of what we do. I love being at Oklahoma State. This is who I am. This is what I believe in. This is always where I want to be. But, there is a small side to what I do that is business.”

• This was awesome – so very Gundy: “Have you seen that movie McFarland, with Kevin Costner? You ought to watch it, it’s a great movie. I was watching that movie last night and in the end…I know this is an extreme because we’re here and we’re a Power 5 conference and there’s millions of dollars involved and they’re a high school way out there…but what that coach did, is he changed the lives of those kids.

“He changed generations of families who didn’t have an opportunity and he gave them something and got them a reason to get in college and from that point on their lives changed. In the end, that’s really what we do. Now if we don’t win enough games they fire us and hire somebody else, I know all that and I get it. But when you do it as long as I do, we get about as much satisfaction from that as anything and that’s the legacy that I prefer more than anything else.”

Finally…are you able to enjoy Christmas with all this going on?

• “I’m not great at Christmas shopping. It is what it is. But, I love this time of year. We shut down here on the 20th, so when we do, in the staff meeting I make sure everybody has everything done for the bowl. Then everybody gets out of here. The assistant coaches haven’t been around their families, for the most part, since July. I’m here for a few more days because as a head coach I’m not always out on the road recruiting; but these guys, they’re gone all the time. So I want them to get out of here and be with their families.”

• “That’s the difficult part for us, it is for everybody. You’re busy all the time, trying to get your house ready, trying to get the tree ready, trying to get gifts, do all that. But to a certain extent, when you get old like me, you realize you might as well just sit back and chill out and enjoy it because otherwise you miss all the good times.”

• “Now Robert Allen’s wife makes toffee that is out of this world. I’m not just saying that because I like Robert. But she makes a toffee he brings in and people in the office not only steal it from each other, they fight for it. So, that makes it fun for us also. Danielle took mine yesterday from my desk and she doesn’t know that I know that she took it. But I saw it, so anyway…”

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