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Notes On Mike Gundy’s Post-TCU Press Conference



Ed. note: I know this was a few days ago now, but I loved Mike Gundy’s post-TCU press conference, and Clint Davison kindly transcribed it for us. It’s a jewel (among jewels).

No Monday presser this week, so let’s take a look back at Coach’s thoughts post-TCU annihilation. Let’s just start with this: he came to the podium eating a banana! Yes, mullet, visor…and a banana!

Opening Comments

• “First I’m going to say that was the best defensive effort, game plan, execution, tackling against some pretty elusive skill players, that I’ve seen in a long, long time.”

• “Second thing is, we averaged 8 yards a carry rushing the football. And, I don’t think we had a turnover, did we? We did? We turned it over? Oh yeah, that’s right. So, we had one turnover. And they had two picks, so we won the turnover, got 8 yards a carry, and tackled well in space and that really kind of sums up what happened.”

• “We were throwing the ball ok, not great. But, they were playing back pretty far in defending the past, especially with James.” (Takes bite of banana.) “Thankfully, we evolved and we can run the football pretty well now, along with tremendous defensive play and that allowed us to play really well. I’m very proud of our running backs, the way they’re running. Offensive line play, you know, I always try and tell you without watching the tape – I think it was pretty dang good. I don’t think we turned many guys loose and I think we created some running lanes.”


• What’s the difference between the end of season last year and this year? “Last year we got beat up and got a little tired. We also just didn’t play very well. We got out of position last year, and we got out of position against some really good teams – which makes it really bad.

• Very interesting here: “We’ve adjusted our practice routine from last year. We’re considerably less overall and I think that it paid off for us today. We’re about 14 hours cumulative on-field practice time than we were at this time last year. You say, ‘It doesn’t seem like a lot.’ Well it is if it’s 15 minutes a day, 4 days a week. I think, knock on wood, it’s helped us from an injury standpoint and our players seem like they’re fresh. But, their attitude’s tremendous.”

• What did you do to contain Kenny Hill? “I thought we would see a little more option, and read/zone concept than what we saw. That was just our guess.”

• How satisfying to you is the improved run game? “I told our team that in 2006, 7, 8 and 9, that’s how we used to finish games. That’s what we were known for around here for a long time. When we’re not running the ball decent, it’s really hard on me. But, we’ve come a long ways, we were patient, we’ve built systems that allowed us to take full advantage of the players that we have. We created running lanes. Our Cowboy-backs were fantastic – they make it go. They chop people up. It makes it a lot easier for me to sleep when we know we can run the ball a little.”

• How much has Carson’s development impacted the running game? “The attitude he brings to the game, in the running game – he’s a completely different person than he was last year, and I told the team that. He’s going to be in an NFL camp now, in my opinion.”

• How would you describe who he is now? “He’s a pretty good running back now. I cautioned our team about listening to the outside after the 2nd and 3rd game of the year. I cautioned them again about listening to the outside when people are going to start telling them how good they are. But I felt comfortable in telling our team and Chris Carson today that he’s the most improved player on our team. He’s grown up a lot as a young man because it’s not easy to look past people saying, ‘What happened to you?’ He’s running like the guy we recruited now.”

• This seems like one of those games that was won at the line of scrimmage on both sides: “It’s kind of fun to watch those games now. In this league we see so many of the other, and it was real chess match going on in the 1st half with all four staffs going against each other – offense/defense, offense/defense…and I enjoyed it. I thought we made great adjustments at the half. It’s just nice to watch a game played like that.”

• What about Justice setting the freshman single-season rushing record? Does it surprise you he’s still running this hard as a true freshman? “It does. His savior was Chris Carson. If Chris wouldn’t have been able to come back, I just don’t know if his body could take it at this point. Not necessarily the hits, but just the fatigue it takes. Those freshmen run into a wall. He didn’t really run into it this year, but 2-3 games ago he slowed down a little bit. He just wasn’t quite himself it looked like, and he’s re-energized. And Chris Carson’s allowed for that to happen.”

• Does their play remind you of Joe Randle and Jeremy Smith? “Sure does – that’s kind of what we’re getting out of them. You know, for a while there we were using Kendall (Hunter) and (Keith) Toston the same way. Toston was a lot like Chris, and Justice is a lot like, you know, shifty and a different kind of runner.

They’re pretty impressive with their ability to come off tackles and keep their balance. Justice has the unique ability to have has body at more of a 45 degree lean and not go to the ground. And then Chris’ ability to run guys over and stay on his feet – that last run, he ran two guys over – that’s not easy to do. But, I will say this: I thought our offensive line play today was fantastic.”

• How much better do you feel about going into Norman in two weeks than you felt last year? “Last year, in the latter part of the season, we were beat up. We were really beat up on defense – we were tired. Mason had a broken foot the latter part of the year. That’s not a good combination. So, I feel better about our team.”

“I’m almost sure the only thing we got today was Kirk Tucker had a little turned ankle. (Jordan) Burton didn’t play today. We’re going to give him another 10 days off and then we should get him back full speed. Chad Whitener was in there some. So I feel better about where we’re at right now.”

• Is the bye week “well timed”? “Well, I think it’s well time because it’s here and you can’t do anything about it. It is what it is. We lose a week in recruiting – I’ve not been a big fan of this. We’ll only have six days to recruit prior to the dead period. Obviously the conference is doing it this way to compete with the championship games. Obviously they’ve made a good call up to this point.”

• Will the momentum carry over? “This team, I told you guys 6 weeks ago, they changed completely. They create an identity for themselves. I have a lot of confidence in them right now. I like where they’re at. I think they care about each other. Their attitude and body language is tremendous. They play the next play – they don’t worry about the last play. They didn’t come in here with any fear, they didn’t show any frustration and they didn’t show any fatigue.”

• How about Chris Lacy’s play of late? “He’s still tremendous in the blocking game. That big run we had he was huge on the safety. It’s really nice to see young men that work hard and don’t get a lot of accolades – good things happen to them. He’s become a real weapon for us, not only in the blocking game but he’s making plays in the throwing game.”

• Since the (1) 2 loss(es), what about the turnaround in your team? “You don’t’ get to 10 wins very often. Double-digits is a pretty special place to be. The one thing they did is, they stayed focused and they didn’t budge. You know, you go to Kansas State, you go to TCU, it’s not easy. You play a No. 10 ranked team in the country at home, it’s not easy. You play Texas Tech with Mahomes, it’s not easy. I just like where they’re at.

“They train 342 days out of the year to get to this point. They don’t get very many days off, so they understand that and they don’t take it for granted. It’s all about them – it’s not the coaches – it’s their team. I have to say I agree with you – it’s been a heckuva transition from that point in the season.”

• Did you handle that Shane Richards elbow pretty good? “Yeah, you know, I think it was his glove or something! I was ok with it. You know, I hadn’t been hit that hard since my wife did that to me a week ago! But, that was a pretty good blow there for me. You know – I’m old. I can’t take many blows like that.” What did you do to you wife to get that? “I just asked if there was dinner! In this generation, you can’t even ask for dinner! I said, ‘Well a guy deserves it.’ And she said, ‘Well I’m busy – fix it yourself.’” And that’s why we love him!

• This is the 4th time in 6 years you’re playing for the conference title. Will you do anything differently? “Not really. We’re in better shape than we were. We did not play well on defense last year late, but we were beat up. I know we’re healthier and our team’s playing with a lot of confidence. We’re going to play a good team – playing a team that’s hot right now and playing really good. It’ll be a great challenge for us, but the guys have worked hard and they’re there. We’ll be there in two weeks.”

• Do you allow yourself to think about where you’d be if it weren’t for the CMU loss game? “Well, we did get the win; nobody will ever convince me we didn’t get the win. But, yes and no. The reason I don’t is because I tell the team not to. But, I know Kirby (Hocutt) had mentioned that the committee feels a certain way about that game, but I think Kirby’s playing poker and that they see us as a 10-win team. That’s just my opinion.”


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