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Notes On Mike Gundy’s Kansas Press Conference



Coach gave a short one today. Previewed KU, talked a little about the ’45 natty, branding Oklahoma State, and the impact of cell phones on CFB parity…yes, cell phones. You can follow along with your Mike Gundy Bingo card if you would like.

Opening Remarks

• “Well, back at it. The players had the majority of the week off. We brought them back last night and practiced. Of course, today is their day off and then we’re back in our normal routine to get ready to head up to Kansas.”

Talking KU

• How challenging is it to get the team ready to play in an incredibly lame place like Kansas? (Not exactly the question, but that’s what he meant.) “I think you can watch the tape, where people have played up there and have been maybe the better team that the public thought – for example, TCU – and I would guess that they didn’t feel like they played as good as they wanted to. The other area that helps us is, that if you watch the games across the country, you see teams that people think are much better than others and at the end of the game it’s either a close score or they didn’t win. So we try to use those as examples.”

• “Obviously we have a good football team and Coach Beaty is in a rebuilding process but we know if we don’t practice well, don’t play well, turn the ball over, then it makes for a tough day.”

• How’s Chris Carson? “He’s with us; he’ll be practicing this week.” Will he be good to go for Kansas? “Should be.”

• Five years ago at Kansas was tough. Do you use that on these guys? “You know, it’s so far back, these guys live in a world today where you can bring things up from five years ago and they don’t have a clue what you’re talking about. We’re certainly not in a position where we can look past anybody. For the most part, we’ve been deficient in certain areas in every game we’ve played except for maybe the Texas game. So, we’ve got our work cut out for us each week.”

• Speaking of the early kickoff: “I’ve always been a big fan of 2:30 kickoffs. TV regulates when we play – it’s not something we can control. Everything’s based on three and a half hours before the game, no matter when the game is. That’s when we start our meals, nutrition, hydration, so on and so forth.”

• On the two-QB system at KU: “We’re going to have a hit chart of plays, formations, styles, sets, alignments based on that player coming in the game, just like we were using J.W. and Mason. We need to be good in base defense, understand our schemes and what we want to execute versus the formations and sets that they line up in, more so than who’s at the quarterback position. I don’t have a clue who’s going to play. I don’t know if they’ve made an announcement or anything, I haven’t heard anything. We kind of have to prepare for everything.”

On Branding and 100 Wins

• The KU game five years ago was the last one not televised. How has being on TV impacted this team over the years? Ultra-Gundy response: “I have no idea what you just asked me. I mean, I honestly…I don’t understand what you’re asking me.” Turns out to be a question about marketing. “Branding and marketing – logos, in our opinion, are very important.

“Our football logo, for a long time, was just regional. Then we began to win enough that it’s a national logo. We pushed that a lot. We’re into social media, branding – we try to do everything we can. The young people that we’re recruiting, that live on these phones, the branding part of what we do, along with television is important for us to be able to get in front of them if we’re going to recruit them to be a student-athlete here.

“We have people here doing the social media and all that. We tried to keep up, even stay ahead. I’m a firm believer in that. I think that’s part of pushing Oklahoma State football and our university.”

• Is reaching 100 wins something you think about at all? “Not really. I think it’s pretty special for Oklahoma State University and for a program. We’ve had enough success as a group to get to 100 wins, in a sense, where we’ve come from. We’ve put a lot into this place. Many people outside the university have put a lot of time and effort into building where we are at now.

“I’m most proud of what I talked about earlier, about our logo. If I ever got west of Colorado, people saw our logo, they thought it was Oregon State. It’s not necessarily that way now. You can go east, in Florida, and people recognize our logo.”

On the ‘45 natty

• “Yeah, that was interesting. It caught me off guard. I thought it was really neat for the families. I think there’s one living member, is that correct? Bob Fenimore and those guys, I hate that they couldn’t be around for it.”

• “At some point I would think that we may want to try to get those people together and make some sort of a presentation to them – for their grandfathers or their fathers who are involved with the 45 team.”

On the QB and the K

• Have you used the time off to work on Mason’s inconsistencies? “My personal opinion is once you get to a point in a career that he is, there’s not a lot of adjustments to make in throwing motion, quarterback play…physically. Mentally is a different ballgame. I think there’s times when he wasn’t as healthy as maybe he should have been, affected his accuracy at times. But, he practiced well, I guess I should say, he threw the ball well last week. I watched him last night and he looked really comfortable. So, hopefully he will play well Saturday.”

• Is more of that mental or physical? This was interesting – did we know this? “I think it’s different with each player. There are times when quarterbacks can be a little confused mentally about what’s going on and that affects their throwing. I think it’s the physical side for him. He’s taken a couple of hits that have affected his body and I don’t know how comfortable he was following through on his throwing motion.”

• On Ben Grogan breaking school scoring record: “Ben has done a really good job for us. He’s been consistent. He’s had two pretty significant surgeries and has rehabbed himself over the summer so he could come back and he’s kicked well. We’ve taken away the kickoff duties from him. We felt like that stressed his body a little much. But he’s been very consistent, level-headed, a guy that we can trust.” Doesn’t say a word, goes to class…

• Do you see this as a reflection of your team? “The guys that have kicked here over the last six or eight years have obviously had a chance to score a lot of points. We’ve been fortunate enough to score a lot of touchdowns. But, his consistency has played a huge role in the success he’s had and the opportunity to break this record.

Then …this on Parity and Cell Phones

• Coach was asked about the close games being a reflection of the depth of the conference: “You were probably in elementary when I made this statement years ago, that college football parity is growing more and more every year. I’ve said it every year – spread offenses, quarterbacks’ ability to run, changes in recruiting patterns, social media, communication in recruiting has changed this game and week to week you’re going to see more close games that people would ever expect.”

• “Focus and preparation is different now than it ever has been. The players that we coach come in and they’re not like guys that we coached 10 years ago, 15 years ago, and 20 years ago. Because your generation spends all their time looking at their phones. My generation spent all our time in the front yard playing games. So they were more ready to go into college athletics. They understood all the dynamics of it compared to young people nowadays.”

• “They don’t spend as much time around football. They spend more time playing some game on a phone. Because of all that, and the training that takes place, there’s more parity in college football. I know that it seems a little extreme but I talked to several college coaches in different sports, not just football, baseball and basketball, and over the last four or five years, we’re coaching young men that are talented athletically but don’t have some of the natural football, basketball or baseball skills because they don’t watch it and pay attention to it and play it out in the front yard.” Hmmm….

Random Wrap-up Thoughts

• This was great! Coach was asked about Devonte Averette using a cryo-chamber: “There’s a number of different resources that our players use to rehab their bodies. There’s some real science behind what these different devices can do for a player. The ones, in my opinion, that are smart use them all the time. It gives their bodies a chance to get back to the stage it was before the season started, when they weren’t so fatigued like they are now.

“I just try and use it a couple times a week on my brain. It’s helped me a lot. I usually use it before I come in here with you guys and it’s helped me in so I don’t get caught off guard.” Obviously…

• On Antonio Smith re-signing with the Texans: “He was originally from the City area and then went to NEO. He was not very highly recruited out of either place. And then he came here and in his first six months here we understood why he wasn’t very highly recruited. He wasn’t tuned into football. Then a light came on for him.

“He committed himself, football was important, school was important, taking care of his body was important, he got in the weight room, his attitude improved and he played hard. Now you’re looking at what, twelve plus years in the league? He’s been great. It’s been fun to watch him. I’m happy for him, for all he’s done for himself and for his family.”

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