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The Rundown: Everything Mike Gundy Said after Oklahoma State’s Comeback Win against Texas

Gundy talks the Cowboys gutsy performance.



STILLWATER — Mike Gundy has led his team to bowl eligibility for a 17th consecutive season.

Oklahoma State pulled off a come-from-behind 41-34 victory against Texas on Saturday in Boone Pickens Stadium. Here is everything Gundy said after the game.

Opening statement

“All right, well that wad a little more fun at the end. Great college environment, man. Wow. Homecoming crowd, the sound of the students, can’t get a better environment than this. That’s big time college football environment. Two really good football teams playing, had a heckuva game. I was really proud of our guys, defense adjustments at halftime. Our staff and our players found a way to slow them down a little bit, tackle a little bit better. Made adjustments on the counter play, and covered pretty good. Gosh, I don’t know, I think we ended up the game with six freshmen playing on defense there toward the end. I know on kickoff we had nine guys running down the field that have never played college football before, basically. So we had a lot of guys that were banged up here and there, nicked up and had to put some other guys in and play. It is what it is. I was proud of them, did good. Coaches coached well. Players made plays in the end. Made good calls in the end. Defense made stops in the end, players made plays and they end up being good.

“We had a 119-yard advantage in penalties. They had 14 for 119, we had 0 for 0. So, there’s the difference in the game. They got us in special teams. I’ll take the heat on that. I’m the special teams guy. We had a plan for what they did. We had a missed block and they blocked the punt on us. We knew returns were going to be tough. A time or two they got us, we probably should have tackled a little bit better. But in the end the hidden yards with penalties and return yards, we were plus 60-something in that area. Obviously, they’ve been a really good third-down team, we held them to 3-of-17 on third downs, which was good. We were 45% on third downs ourself, which has been good for us. And then turnovers.

“So I was really proud of our guys. Great win for them. Looking forward to them enjoying it tonight, and then we got to get back to work tomorrow and get ready for the next.”

On shutting down Texas’ offense in the second half

“Well, they made a couple adjustments on the running game. And I say adjustments, we just played it wrong. So we had to tighten it down. We didn’t scheme-wise have to change anything. We just weren’t playing it right. So, we adjusted it. The players understood it. Part of this game is being able to make changes, come up with a plan, absorb information and then take it on the field, otherwise you don’t do any good. And they did, they took the information. I let the coaches coach an additional six minutes at halftime instead of, you know, me getting up and giving them you know, my best Knute Rockne speech. I just said, ‘Coach it up. Get it fixed and we’ll roll.’ That’s what we did. And I think they got it coached up. So, and then offensively we maneuvered and, I don’t know, 535 yards is pretty good. So we found some ways to move the ball, score some points. We broke tackles, made big plays, you know, had to do what we had to do. Played with quite a few freshmen at wideout.”

On whether he was confident Oklahoma State could make adjustments

“Defensively, well we couldn’t get it done quick enough on the sideline, but we could get it done at halftime. We were talking about it, but it’s loud, and it’s just not as easy. Sometimes you can, sometimes you can’t. We really couldn’t get it done. But we did get it changed at halftime, got it cleaned up and played better.”

On where this win ranks in “gutsiest wins” in Oklahoma State football history

“I mean, it could fall, I don’t know. I mean, it’s big time, just because we’re playing a lot of guys that never played (college) football before. When you’re in that situation, you’re playing defense, you’re trying to stop the teams that’s got seven NFL guys playing and you’re playing with a bunch of freshmen out here, you know, it’s a little bit scary, but gutsy is a good term. That’s about what they did and they just kind of found a way to get done.”

On overcoming injuries that accumulated during the game

“Yeah, I mean, we have a good culture. We have players that understand, I mean coaches always say, ‘Next guy up,’ but to a certain extent really is the next guy up? If your culture is strong and they understand — I told them this morning in the hotel. We had the 70 guys here that travel, and I said, ‘Everybody in this room is good enough to play today and win and play at a high level or you wouldn’t be in this room. I don’t know who it’s going to be, but if you’re in this room, you’re good enough and we expect you to play well. And I understand you’re gonna make a mistake, but I expect you to play well and I expect you to understand it’s going to be a fistfight. And you have to strike them in the mouth. That’s just the way it is.’ That’s what I asked them to do and that’s what they did.”

On mixing it up on offense in the second half

“Just trying to mix it up. So, you know, we have some new guys playing multiple positions, so try not to be predictable. You know, you couldn’t just pound it. You couldn’t just throw it. They played coverage a lot, and then they played overload pressure. We didn’t do as good a job picking up the pressure early, picked it up better late. And we didn’t get a break in the first half, right? So we had a ball that hit — well, the official said it hit Brennan (Presley) — we had a punt block, and we had something else happen that wasn’t good. Oh, we threw an interception going in, right? And then, it was a long field goal, but a missed field goal. So, I mean we really didn’t get a break. After we were done coaching on the way out, I said, ‘Guys, we didn’t get a break in the first half and it’s a 7-point game. I mean, just go out and play. We’re going to be fine.’ So, you know, I mean, I don’t know if they listened to that or not, but that was the truth.”

On Spencer Sanders loosening up and running more on the second quarter touchdown drive

“So at that point, they started pressuring us much (more), and without watching it, they kind of ran themselves out of play. Twice it was long yardage and it worked out good, because they brought five and a couple of times I think some six-man pressure and then got locked on and ran themselves out and he took off running. It worked to our advantage. There wasn’t anything we did or didn’t tell him to do or not do. We got to break at that point.”

On how far Stephon Johnson has come

“A longways in this game. He made plays in this game. He’s got a long ways to go, you know, and people are gonna say a lot of nice things about him. You can put that in your pocket, because that’s not gonna do you any good in the next game, but he played well today for a freshman.”

On whether he expected this time of performance from Stephon Johnson

“He’s played well in practice, but when you play freshmen, the two things I get concerned about is, 1) they get banged around, nicked up, can get hurt, it moves fast. And they’re freshman playing against grown men. So, played very, very well and didn’t let the game get too big for him, in my opinion.”

On Jason Taylor’s status

“I don’t know. Everything was happening too fast. So I’m not sure what’s going on there.”

On Jason Taylor’s interceptions

“I mean, you know, he’s one of those guys we talk about, he always ends up around the football somehow. And he’s very athletic, got great hands. And in the end, comes over and makes a big-time play. Takes it away from where they’re at and gives us a real chance.”

On shuffling the secondary the final defensive drive

“Yeah, so that one, I think, I don’t know who tipped it. Was it a backer? Oh, they tipped it to us? That was nice. But Kendal (Daniels) is a little bit from that same mold. Very athletic, basketball player, really good hands, so on and so forth. He doesn’t have the experience. He’s a ways away from all that, but he’s athletic. He’ll learn. He’ll get better.”

On a potential shootout starting in the first half and OSU needing to take advantage of its chances

“Well, awhile there it might be 49-29, to be honest with you, because I’m watching the clock and trying to add the score up, trying to see how we’re doing and I’m thinking, ‘You got to be careful against them because if it gets too far, they’re so athletic and talented, it’s hard to reel it back in.’ Those were things that go through my mind. Now, there’s nothing I can do about it. It’s not like we can change concepts and schemes, but those are things we got to try to be careful of. For me, it’s when I have to start deciding whether we need to go for fourth downs … which I would prefer to not do. But if it gets in a danger zone then we have started thinking about doing that.”

On whether he learned something about his team today

“I mean, gritty was really good word. But I kind of knew that. I told you guys a month ago I liked our team. I liked our chemistry. They practice hard, they like each other, they care about each other, which is a big part. We can’t talk them into doing that. Some people think coaches can talk players into doing that. Players have to self-motivated, they gotta want to do it for themselves. And I’ve always liked this group. They’re real young, they’re immature. We’re playing guys that shouldn’t be on the field right now, as much as they are, but they’re pretty gritty, and they’re tough, and they just continue to compete, and they don’t panic. Their body language is good and they don’t panic. They just keep playing. And that’s what I told him in locker room is that it’s gone on for two weeks now. We lost the last game out here, but they played good. They competed. We just came up a little short, but they just kept playing and today they just kept playing.”

On Spencer Sanders’ impact on the gritty mindset

“Big time. He’s the quarterback. It is what it is, right? He gets too much credit. I get too much credit. And he gets too much blame, and I get too much blame. When your quarterback is a very competitive player who’s willing to give his body up, playing injured, never says a word, never complains — he just keeps playing. Then that makes my job easy. If your best players are your toughest players, and most competitive, coaches don’t have to do much. That’s what you get from him.”

On whether Spencer Sanders felt better this week

“Yeah, he’s feeling better. He’s not where he was. I mean, you can tell. I mean, it’s obvious. You guys watch him, but he’s doing better. We are very fortunate that he didn’t take a direct shot down there in Fort Worth.”

On OSU’s defensive line

“Once they got adjusted to play the counter right, I wasn’t happy with the way we played it, obviously. Nobody was. But once they adjusted that, they got really good in there. I’ve mentioned to you that last week I was not really fired up about them. I thought today they played better. And I think the offensive line play pretty good today. I’ve got to take statistics out. My job is to evaluate them vs. them, us vs. them and who they are. And I thought they played pretty good for the type of players that we were competing against in the box today.”

On OSU’s defensive line playing without injured guys

“They gotta play more. They just have to. They got to play more reps. Fortunately, that’s a position where we have some depth. We got two or three guys that are out, so we have to hopefully keep the guys healthy from this game. And then they got to play more reps, and we have to be smart with how we handle them during the week and so on and so forth.”

On Texas running backs running free in the passing game in the first half

“Those were bad plays. No adjustment involved there. I love the kids, but that’d be an eye-sight adjustment. That’d be my guy. A couple times over young guys, and they get caught. Then [Bijan Robinson] is fast, and then it’s not good. But they’ll be better for it. They’ll figure it out.”

On Jaden Nixon losing his shoe on his long run

“You know, I didn’t see it. I just saw the shoe out there, and I didn’t know whose shoe it was, and somebody said, ‘Put another back in.’ I have seen that before, but I didn’t notice he was without a shoe.”

On Dominic Richardson’s health and his thoughts on Jaden Nixon and Ollie Gordon

“I think he’s fine. I mean, I haven’t really gotten any reports yet, but the other guys came in and played pretty good. That’s where we’re at. You know, we’ll find out who’s available tomorrow or Tuesday, basically and if those guys practice, get ready to play for the next game.”

On most of Texas’ offense coming from big plays

“You’ve been watching the Yankees, right? Well the Yankees are playing long ball. Not playing much small ball, and they’re either hitting it out of the park or they’re not scoring. But homeruns pay the bills. It was kind of weird because when you look at, we had 32 first downs. They only had 21. And then the first half, they didn’t need first downs because they were getting big chunk plugs. That’s not the script that you write because those are things that, and I think three or more counter plays, and we weren’t good at them. We need work hard to fix those this week, which we did, but we need to be better at it. But that’s not quite the recipe you’re looking for because the big plays are usually what gets you.”

On what makes John Paul Richardson so good on third downs

“I don’t think it’s anything special. It’s just what it ended up calling. Spencer, he’s progressing, and it ended up being him a lot. But the plays we call are designed specifically for one person because we don’t know what coverage they’re going to be in. We can’t control that. That’s the experience of Spencer being able to scan the field and being able to progress, does a good job. And JP is a very reliable guy. If you just were thinking about like the guys on the field today on defense, [Lyrik Rawls] and [Cam Smith] and [Kendal Daniels] and [Mason Cobb] — those guys. JP last year was like that, and then look where he’s come this year, in one year of experience. He’s a pretty reliable guy. He makes good plays. Just look how much better he’s gotten just in one year. So, that’s the good news for us on defense.”

On Mason Cobb

“I don’t think it’s anything special. It’s just what it ended up calling. Spencer, he’s progressing, and it ended up being him a lot. But the plays we call are designed specifically for one person because we don’t know what coverage they’re going to be in. We can’t control that. That’s the experience of Spencer being able to scan the field and being able to progress, does a good job. And JP is a very reliable guy. If you just were thinking about like the guys on the field today on defense, [Lyrik Rawls] and [Cam Smith] and [Kendal Daniels] and [Mason Coobb] — those guys. JP last year was like that, and then look where he’s come this year, in one year of experience. He’s a pretty reliable guy. He makes good plays. Just look how much better he’s gotten just in one year. So, that’s the good news for us on defense.” of missing carpet. Day. You know, “It’s hard for me to say because I watch more of the back end. I don’t watch more up close. Obviously, he did make some good plays. I noticed a couple times he got his head down tackling-wise, which he knows that. We’ll keep coaching that, but it’d be unfair for me to really say without watching the tape because I’m looking more there than I am inside.”

On if special teams was affected because of injuries

“There’s some other guys out there, yeah. The punt block, we had guys for guys. We just didn’t get it done. It’s kind of complicated. I mean, you guys are smart and know what you’re doing, but it’s complicated. We had a guy for a guy. One guy thought he kind of missed a guy, one guy said, ‘OK, I’ll block your guy,’ then nobody blocked that guy. And it comes back to the same, ‘Look, you just got to do your job because when you start trying to overcompensate for somebody else’s, special teams could be an issue.’ The punt protection and stuff, that’s on me. I gotta do a better job, but they’re good at it, right? They put a whole bunch of fast guys there, and they come and if you make any little mistake, you’re vulnerable.”

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