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Notes On Mike Gundy’s Texas Press Conference



The head man gave us about 30 minutes full of good stuff on Monday recapping Baylor and previewing Texas. Shared some interesting bits about The Mad Hatter, the two QB system, his Justice Hill comments, our O-line, and, believe it or not, Sponge Bob!

He also hit two bingo spots in the first 10 seconds: “back at it” and “ack-u-rut.”

Opening Remarks

• “Back at it. The postgame comments after Baylor were pretty accurate. I came back to work last night as always and we’re working on Texas. They’re very similar to what we’ve seen in the past. A lot of big guys up front…speed on the perimeter.”

• “I don’t think it’s any secret they have gone to the style of offense that a lot of people are going to. The young quarterback (Shane Buechele) seems to be throwing the ball pretty well and accurate – seems to be a good fit for them, seems to fit the system they’re trying to execute. Very accurate, is mobile enough, his arm is strong. He throws the ball like a baseball player.”

• “The big guy they’ve had for the last few years (Tyrone Swoopes) has come in and done a good job for them in certain situations.”

On Texas’ Physicality

• “They’ve been this way every year. The personnel for them doesn’t change much. They very seldom play with under-sized players at any position.”

• Regarding the RB size and Swoopes’ size – “Well, you have to account for him when he’s in the game. I would venture to guess that they have packages where he shows run and jumps up and throws it and passes it. They’ve had physical backs. It’s not anything new for them. You know, (Chris) Warren is a guy that we were into the end with. We felt like we had a good chance to get him. He’s growing up to be exactly what we thought he would be.”

• What about their two-QB system – why does it work? Is it the same as what you did with JW last year? “Same concept in my opinion, as an outsider looking in.”

• “Swoopes brings another dimension to the table. So, I’m guessing they feel like, in certain circumstances, he’s the best chance to be successful. That’s why we used two players last year, and I think it’s a great scheme. I wish that we had it and they didn’t.” Interesting!

Dealing with Texas’ Defense

• “We have schemes that we feel like, if they’re executed properly, should be successful on a three-down defense. I don’t see them shelving one plan and going to 4 down.”

• On Malik Jefferson: “He’s lived up to being a five-star player. You’ve just got to find a way to block him and find a way to get him moving different directions.”

On Les Miles

• “I was sad for Coach Miles. He’s a very good football coach. He cares a lot about the game. I know that he was still very youthful and energetic in his practices with his team.”

• “From what I understand he had the best winning percentage in the history of the school, including Coach Saban.”

• “I told Berry Tramel this morning, I had taken a quote from Mike Leach, told him, you stay at one place long enough, they’re probably going to fire you.”

On the Cowboys’ Offense – O-line, Justice Hill, and the WRs

• How is Washington dealing with the more extensive defensive coverage? “He’s doing good. Baylor had a plan for him. Obviously, Coach Bennett watched the tape and he’s understood his ability. They tracked him throughout the game. He’s going to start to see some coverages. If so, we’ve got to be able to run the football.”

• On the O-line – Larry Williams and Marcus Keyes in particular: “They’ve improved a little bit, but they have a long way to go. They’ve given us a little shot in the arm at times. Their effort and their willingness to want to be good players, has helped our team.”

• This was encouraging! “We turned fewer guys loose last week at Baylor than we have in two years. We had guys covered up.”

• And this was good on Zac Crabtree: “He had several plays where he was really good, but he needs to learn to finish his blocks. He’s on the right guy and he’s getting into his fourth and fifth step, but he’s not finishing his blocks. Like the first play of the game, he needs to finish his block. That’ll make us a much better team. From an assignment standpoint, he’s going to be high way up there in the nineties.”

• Regarding Justice Hill, the turnovers, and your comments played up in the media. How did he handle it? “You’ll have to give me the Cliff’s Notes version – I was a big Cliff’s Notes guy in college – on what happened in the paper and the media. I watched Sponge Bob instead.” Yes, he really said that.

• “I understand he’s a true freshman, but we want him carrying the ball. On that first fumble I have to give credit to Baylor’s defender because he was in there deep, reached hard and pulled, did very good in whatever he’s been coached him to do, just like number 40’s done for us. And the second time, he’s fighting for extra yards.”

• “My comments after the game were because I was upset for our team – coaches and players – because we were in a position to win the game and, I’m not the smartest guy in the world, but when you turn the ball over multiple times in critical points on the field and you give up big plays on defense – we gave up nine against Pitt and gave up ten against Baylor – it’s very difficult to win. You have to have a much superior athletic team. Well, Oklahoma State’s not been in that position…very much. So what happens then is you lose.”

• This was really cool on No. 27: “I’m a big Justice Hill fan, but, you have to take care of the football. They don’t stop and say, ‘Oh, well you’re a true freshman, we’re going to give you that one back.’ They all count and he understands that. He’s a very intelligent young man. Comes from a very good home, he’s been raised the right way and so constructive criticism is not something he’s going to shy away from. If you’re asking me because he fumbled what are we going to do? We’re going to give him the ball and make him run it again.”

• The last time Hill had meaningful carries he was running against guys from like Sand Springs… “Which they were pretty good last year though. They weren’t as good as Midwest City but they had a heck of a year. The two times (of great adjustment), for a football player, when you’re an 8th grader and you go to being a freshman in high school; and then when you’re a senior and you go to being a freshman in college. It’s a considerable speed, size and strength difference. Unfortunately, sometimes the only way to learn is what he went through.”

• “Those comments after the game were, in a sense, directed toward him; but, I also to the whole team. The quarterback put the ball on the ground, too. But that’s for everybody on our team. If we don’t take care of the football and we continue to give up huge chunk plays then on Sunday we are going to be sad.”

• On McCleskey and the WR crew: “When 28 gets double-covered, then 1, 81, 17, those guys have to become a factor. We also need to involve our Cowboy Backs more. Those guys have to make plays. It becomes a numbers game. If there’s two people on one guy, and the other guys are getting single coverage. It’s the same thing that happens down here in Dallas a lot with Dez.”

• On Marcel Ateman’s return: “October 1st, I think is what I said, so he’s got five days, six days – whatever it is – they’ll scan his foot or ankle or whatever he’s got an issue with. They’ll scan him and go from there.” Is there a chance we see him Saturday? “No.”

• What about Mason? “I thought he had his best game pulling the ball down and scrambling for positive yards in crucial situations. He played pretty well overall. He missed a couple throws. I think he had maybe two reads that could have gone the other way which is fairly common in a hundred-and-something play game. Where I think he really stepped up is in his ability to pull the ball down and fight for extra yards.”

Wrapping up…

• You’re the only coach to win 4 times in a row Austin, but you never beat them here. “I didn’t know that until you just now told me. I was unaware of that. Didn’t we travel down there twice in a row one time? Yeah, and then we were ahead of them here a couple of times and, Vince Young took the game over in the second half…three times? Thanks for telling me.”

• “We’ve actually overall, played fairly well against them. A couple years ago we didn’t play good. Where, uh, was Daxx quarterbacking? I mean, he had no chance. He should have filed a lawsuit against us after the game for assault…on ourselves.”

• “I think our players look forward to playing in this game. I don’t think they have a chip on their shoulder like, ‘I want to get Texas’; but, I would say…” Picks up press guide… “I’m going to use this for the first time. They put this up here for me and I’ve never used it because I think they think I’m going to forget who our own team is. But if you went through this roster, you’d maybe find one or two guys they recruited. Maybe? Maybe not anybody, I’m not sure. But I think some of them would like to play in this game for that reason.”

• Are you frustrated or just angry with defense? “Let me give you the positive from this last game. We played our best game on special teams. We ran the football effectively on offense. We stayed fairly balanced but, we turned the ball over. In this game defensively, we stopped the run. Last year, we couldn’t stop the run. The two ways that most coaches, including myself, get frustrated is when you can’t stop the other team from running the ball because it just wears on you. And then the second thing, is when you give up the big plays. The positive is we at least did a better job of slowing down the run against them. And the negative of it is that our safeties were so involved that we were isolated on man coverage on the corners.”

• Finally, this on the deep balls by Baylor…and some quarterback from the 80s: “When their guy started to stutter, before he even came out of the route, the ball was already in the air. I’ve not seen many guys that could do that. Weeden could do it a little. Josh Fields could do it whenever he wanted. Those are the only two guys I’ve ever been around that could let go of the ball that early on double moves and then hit a guy right in stride. We don’t like it. We’re not going to accept it. We’re going to coach it and get better. But, I am giving them credit on their ability to throw the deep ball. If you just go off percentages, the only guy that’s probably better than him played in the late 80’s. Other than that, he’s pretty good at it. That’s the only guy.”

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