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Notes On Mike Gundy’s Kansas State Press Conference



Coach talks about getting through a great Saturday, previews K-State, talks WRs, has a lot to say about Ramon, and wraps up with being a hobo as a kid!

Opening Remarks

• “I’d like to start today with thanking the students one more time for their involvement in our game, and our fans. I thought they were tremendous. In the latter part of the game, there were times when we needed that support, and I could hear it, as a coach, so I know our players could. To be there in the end means a lot to our team. We felt like we had a big-time home field advantage.”

• “We’ve moved forward as a team. Our focus now has been Kansas State. Our message to them last night was, ‘When you have big wins or unfortunate losses, you have to get over them really fast and start preparing for the next team.”

On Handling the Mountaineers

• Mason was good, the defense was good – what did you like most? “I think our defense was well-deserved.” What? “I thought they played their best game in their plan.”

• “I think Mason understood our philosophy going into the game. Yurcich did a really nice job with him. We didn’t want him to get out of ‘the box.’ A number of teams that play them – and I put us in that category over the last few years – tend to get out of our box and try to re-invent the wheel, and in the end, end up not being very successful at anything. He understood that and was willing to take what the defense was willing to give us.”

• “Sometimes we try to force the ball and make everything happen too fast. In this league, a lot of times, it looks like basketball on grass. The quarterback play instigates that and they get over-aggressive at times in my opinion. But, I thought in this last game he handled himself very well.”

Previewing the SnyderCats

• “This game, like the rest of them on our schedule, we expect to be a close game right through the 4th quarter. That’s what we’re expecting and that’s what we’re preparing for.”

• “We’re excited about the next game. Our football team is healthy. I feel like their attitude and their chemistry is top-notch.

Ø You just had your win No. 100. Snyder’s two away from 200. What are your thoughts? “Well, it makes me think that I’ll probably never get 200 because I won’t coach as long as Coach Snyder. But, we have a lot of respect for Coach and for what they’ve accomplished at Kansas State.”

• Has Tom Hays, K-State’s Defensive Coordinator, caught your attention? “He’s got a lot of attention from me. I’ve been watching him all year and nobody’s scored on them. If you look at their games…you look at the numbers and they’re just not giving up a lot of points. And, because they’re more of a base defense that would be very traditional, they don’t get as much of the attention as what maybe Tony’s (Gibson) getting with the 3-3 Stack. But they’ve been very successful in the world they live in.”

• In their last game, they had 9 possessions and scored 31 points. How underestimated is their offense? “In this game you’re not going to have as many possessions on either side, just based on the number of times they snap the ball with two seconds or less. But, we don’t change who we are, we want to go play our game.”

Let’s Talk WRs – McCleskey and The President

• What have you seen out of McCleskey that accounts for his productivity this season? “He’s in the right spot in our schemes, if the other team is going to try and play heavy on James. But, he’s also a good football player. He has a gym-rat mentality and he plays fearless.”

• “We wouldn’t be near as successful now, or maybe not even remotely close, if he wasn’t in our line-up at this time.”

• How’s Washington handling the increased attention from defenses? “He’s OK – James is very unselfish. He works hard every day and he realizes what’s happening. He knows the importance of Mason distributing the ball. He never says a word.” Good family, goes to class…

Special Teams

• How much of your success is attributed to Coach (Steve) Houser (a G.A.)? “He’s the third graduate assistant we’ve hired and put in charge of special teams. The first two are full-time coaches now at this level. Houser will be very soon. The game’s important to him, he’s highly intelligent, he understands. Steve is one of those guys that we see in a few years on TV. He’ll be very successful because he’s loyal – loyalty is huge in our profession in all areas.”

• “This will be a real challenge this week. Year in and year out Kansas State will be one of the top special teams units in the country. They do a great job with their schemes. Their players understand leverage, they understand coverage, they understand…and have multiple reps in their schemes. So hopefully we can keep that going this week. We’ve been pretty productive in our cover units and in our return game – where there were opportunities – we’ve been better than what we were in the past in our return game.”


• How closely are you watching Hill and his carries? “We’re trying to protect him some. With Chris coming back it’s helping. We have to watch him as he goes. There’s times in the games he may get banged up a little bit, but part of that is just the natural process of developing into a running back at this level. These guys take a lot of hits. But we also know that if he’s carrying the ball we feel like we’re a better offense.”

• What do you do to deal with defenses changing against you? “It can create some issues. In the last few games we’re seeing teams go against percentages. We’re getting some looks in the back end that are unaccustomed, in our opinion, to what be the norm for the teams we’re playing.”

• “We have to make adjustments. What it really means to me is that you’d better be good at your base. West Virginia made some adjustments at halftime that gave us some issues first couple series’ in the 3rd quarter and we had to adjust again a little bit.”

• “Our ability to run the ball a little more effective this year has given us other options when last year it was just protect and keep chunkin’ it down the field, which I’ve never been comfortable with.”

• You’ve had one turnover since the Baylor game (!!): “I think part of it’s Mason understanding the schemes…and he’s been willing to take what the defense is giving us and not trying to get too eager and take something that’s not there.”


• On his interception return Ramon turned back into a HS QB: “We’ve had a number of them. (HS QB turned defensive back…) It’d be hard for me to pinpoint, but Justin Gilbert…I’ll think of some of the other ones…in most cases, a high school quarterback, whether he’s a running quarterback or a traditional quarterback, is going to be one of the smarter players on the team and one of the most athletic players on the team that the coaches trust. So, in the recruiting process we’ve always had a lot of respect for young men playing that position in their high school, for those reasons.”

• Coach with some high praise here…sorta… “Ramon is starting to kind of grow into a good college player now. For some reason, he’s got a knack for being in the right place at the right time. That’s a good thing – Shaun Lewis had that. He handled that situation (the INT return) the right way, he didn’t start lateraling. Our guys blocked well, stayed off the back, no unsportsman-likes away from the ball.”

• Ramon always seems to be either making a great play…or getting burned: “He needs to develop into being a smarter football player in game situations. It’s not a secret, and he’s highly intelligent. He gets caught up in the moment at times and I think he’s learning to play through that.” This was cool: “There are some people that we cross during our lifetime that very seldom ever have a bad day. He’s one of those guys.”

• What’s the key to only giving up 30 points this season in the 4th quarter? “I think our rotation and the depth that we have has helped us up to this point. This was the first time that we felt like we could play two defensive lines since I’ve been the head coach here. That’s been our goal from day one, it’s just taken us a long time to accomplish it. It goes back to the switch we made four years ago with the scholarship numbers.”

• How good of a season is Vincent Taylor having? “He’s been really effective for us. He’s been very good on the run. His pass rush ability has improved considerably in the past 5-6 games. Some players have a natural ability to get to the quarterback when they’re within an arm’s length or so. He’s one of those guys that when he gets fairly close, he’s got a knack for being able to grab hold of something and get the quarterback and get him down.”

• Is his success part of harnessing his athleticism and working in the scheme? “He made a number of plays last year based on them worrying and concerned so much about Emmanuel (Ogbah…obviously…). We felt like he was a good player, but because he wasn’t the center of attention, we weren’t sure. Joe Bob (Clements) has worked with him fundamentally and he has improved in that area.”

And this…in closing…

• Do you have a most memorable Halloween costume? Oh boy… “It’s interesting. As an adult I’ve never been a big Halloween party guy because it’s during the season. But, when I was a kid…you know one of those things that happen to you when you’re a kid you just never forget – one year, I think I was 9 or 8, I was going to be a mummy.

My Mom was wrapping me up, and we couldn’t get it to stay on, so all the sudden she just took the scissors and started cutting all my clothes up. For a second there I was a little bit scared; then I realized she turned me into a hobo and sent me out the door. I’ve always remembered that, so I’m going with that as my all-time favorite!”

The great thing about this – Jenni Carlson said Spencer’s favorite ever was a hobo, too! Great!

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