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Notes On Mike Gundy’s Texas Tech Press Conference



Coach had a lot to say this week! Spends some time on Dak Prescott, Patty Mahomes, talks pass coverage, reveals some information (finally) on Ateman, and talks virtual reality!

Opening Remark

• “We had a good practice last night and the players have recovered from the win. So we’re back at it.”

Previewing The Raiders

• “Next week we’ve got a good challenge with Texas Tech to try and minimize their scoring and continue to play well on offense.”

• On Patty Mahomes…“Their quarterback’s a really, really good player, as we all know, I’m not saying anything everybody doesn’t know. I think he’s a potential first-round pick. He reminds me a lot of Dak Prescott. We played Dak when he was at Mississippi State. He was younger at that time but the style of play, body, strength, speed, ability to run, throw it, in different positions reminds me a lot of him.”

• “So, we’ve got a great challenge. We’re a pretty healthy football team. Attitude of our players is really good. So, we need a good week, get a lot of good work in, and be ready to go on Saturday.”

• Playing Tech, how hard is it to balance knowing you can score a lot of points against your frustrations with your defense? “Well, you can’t look at this game any different than any other game. We have to try and minimize big plays on defense. On offense we have to execute and be sound in our game plan. We need to improve on special teams from last week. And then you just have to get into the flow of the game.”

• Is controlling the clock with your ground game part of your plan with Tech? Great answer: “If you could run the ball and eat the clock and score, it works good. But if we’re not scoring, it doesn’t work good.”

• Trying to talk Gundy’s language here: How good is No. 9, wide receiver Jonathan Giles? “They have a number of guys – always have, for years and years – players that can make plays. They understand the system and they’re really talented players. There’s a number of those guys that can do it and Mahomes makes it go.”

• This is so great! The question is being asked, ‘Mahomes was great against OU…’ and someone walked in unexpectedly… “Who was that? I thought it was like, a Secret Service guy or something. I know the election’s tomorrow and I thought maybe everybody’s getting nervous. Sorry about that…”

• Anyway, back to the question. What can we learn from the OU game? “With about ten minutes to go in the game, it looked like there was just complete exhaustion on the field. When that happens, college football players get out of place a lot. And, just from an outsider lookin’ in, I think that’s what happened a lot in that game.”

• “The Xs and Os part of defending these spread offenses with good quarterbacks is not very complex. You either rush three, four or five; you either play two-deep, three or man; you can do a little zone blitzing. Then you have to rally to the ball and defeat blocks to get pressure on the quarterback and you have to tackle well in space.” Seems like a lot to me!

On Senior Day

• Talk about your two-year guys: “We’ve not brought as many in as we had years ago. I think we’ve done a pretty good job of evaluating them, their character, and how they will fit into our program – whether they’ll make that adjustment with the structure we have. We’ve had a really good percentage of success. Like Chris (Carson) this year, once he got back from his injury, up to this point he’s been really good for us. It’s a little bit of a risky business just based on our system and how we are with accountability and our structure. We don’t vary much here.”

• Talk about these seniors: “Fortunately we’re graduating a group that won a lot of football games and has been involved in a lot of success. Out APR numbers, once we got fourth and fifth year seniors under control, guys that were going to try out for the NBA – not the NBA, the NFL – I was thinking about the Thunder playing well last night…our APR’s gone through the roof. So, they’re doing everything right. They’re very loyal to this program. We’ve been loyal to them and that’s what’s created this environment.”

• On Devonte Averette, in particular: “He’s a pretty unique individual. We don’t get a lot of players from Detroit down here. He led the nation in junior college in tackles his last year there. His first six months wasn’t as smooth as what you’d want to be just because of the different environment here. Since then he’s been great. He’s very loyal, he’s an extremely hard worker and he’s been a tough, competitive athlete for our team.”

• Grant Newell, a walk-on, is going to be celebrated on Senior Day: “We should’ve used him earlier. We put him out there (on special teams) and he’s been very effective. I’ve always had a soft spot in my heart for guys who were willing to walk on and do it for free. There’s a tremendous price that has to be paid to play on our team and it’s year-round. Some guys do it because they love the game, like Grant. Some guys do it because they love the game, but they also do it for the free money – the scholarship.” Careful talking about “free money” there, Coach. We’ll be seeing Thayer around…

• And on Ateman’s redshirt: “We could practice him this week some on about a 75 percent basis, then we could work him next week, and there would be a good chance he could play. But, there’s the chance he might not feel like playing. So we got to this conclusion…everything’s fine, but you could still set yourself back. I don’t think the number of games he could play full-speed compared to the future he has in this game is worth it.” Absolutely!

About the Offense…

• Are you worried about Justice Hill hitting that freshman wall? “I think he’s already gone through it. He got hit (Saturday) from a couple different angles, and then the weight on his shoulders pushed him backwards, so I think it scared him. That’s fairly common in that situation. He’s doing really well.

“His practice habits are great. He didn’t break loose Saturday, but I still think he’s in a really good physical condition right now and that that could happen at any time. Good question though. I was wondering the same thing when he came out.”

• Having Carson back has helped: “He’s helped us. I mentioned that when Chris came back – we needed him to take 12-14 carries away and Chris is running good. Chris is playing good. Those runs he had in that last drive were pretty impressive.”

About the Defense…

• Where is your level of confidence with your team’s pass coverage? “I think we’ve given up more big plays over the top than I would’ve wanted this year. If you eliminate those and play in the intermediate part of the field, we’ve been ok. In playing these guys you have to be sound in 3-man, 4-man and 5-man pressure, in my opinion.” Isn’t that the case with everybody we play?

• On creating turnovers: “They’ve gotten turnovers at key times. When their backs were against the wall, they’ve played pretty well. We need more consistency throughout the middle part of the game. 65 percent of the game is played under normal circumstances, so we need to play better in those situations.”

• “Playing against Tech and Mahomes, we have to be consistent in our pass rush.” This is awesome: “We also have to understand that, it may seem like your biological clack is going off as a pass rusher, but it may not be over, with his ability to move around and extend plays.”

• What’s up with Vili Leveni? “He has an Achilles injury. You know, they repair it and move forward. He’s had two of them now, so I would say at this time, he’s going to repair it and start to rehabilitate it and move forward. In 4-5 months he will have to make a decision on what he wants to do with his future.” That’s too bad.

This…on using Virtual Reality in Recruiting…

• “That was our social media people, myself, our recruiting office – we have meetings in the off season and try and look way out into the future and see what would be something new. It’s been really good for us.”

• “It allows you to take a setting from campus, from everyday lifestyle – where our players live, everything that we use in recruiting, game day, The Walk, the fans – and put it into a story and people that may not be able to get here and see it, they can see it. It gives them a good feel of what it’s like to be in that environment.”

In Closing…on the 2:30 Kick and NO Night Games

• “2:30’s a good time, now. You get a lot of television audience. It is unusual, but television dictates a lot of what happens. We have the big Fox contract, right, and they had the World Series. That played a big role.”

• “The 2:30 kick is usually really, really good for Stillwater. Most everybody can get here in time for The Walk. It gives them a chance to tailgate for a couple hours. It also allows the families that have to travel an hour, hour and a half, a chance to get home before it’s too late when they have little kids. So, I think it’s a good starting time for us.”

• Did you have a kick time preference when you were a player? “Honestly, I can’t remember that far back.”

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