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

On defensive improvements, the run game and more.

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STILLWATER — Mike Gundy is 2-0, again.

Oklahoma State topped Arizona State 34-17 on Saturday in Boone Pickens Stadium. Here is everything Gundy said after the game.


Opening statement

“So, that was a better game for us overall as a team. We minimized missed assignments from the last game. So, I told the team and the coaches in the locker room that I was proud of them. We’re responsible for improving every game. We still had mistakes, but we cut our missed assignments considerably, in my opinion, and we were able to rush the ball. We ran the ball for 4.3 a carry, 4.5 is what we’re looking for, but much, much better rushing the football, and were much, much more physical in the second half. Our running backs broke some tackles in key third downs and situations to keep us going, keep the drive alive. When you know 6, 8, 10 minutes to go in the game, could have stopped us a couple of times and our backs ran through and made plays.

“And, obviously Spencer (Sanders) played good again. He got caught in a disguise coverage and threw an interception, but other than that obviously ran well, handled things well. Did a really good job of the screen game, avoiding the rush, pressure, man-coverage, hard to do. Played well. And we defended and we got pass rush. In the second half, we were physical running the ball and we were able to — it kind of looked like our team last year a little bit and putting a lot of pressure on the quarterback and making plays.

“I was pleased with our special teams. Arizona State (is) a really good punt rush team, and we worked hard on it this week and challenged our team, and protection was good. [Tom Hutton] was good. Did a did a really nice job with that. So, overall, we improved we got better. We still have a long ways to go. We know that. Thought through some adversity at times, and you know,  just gotta keep moving. Look forward to another good week of practice and improvement in areas. Had some guys get reps that hadn’t had a lot. They’re young, immature, but they got another game under their belt. So, just got to keep plugging away.”

On if Arizona State scoring early was because of schemes Oklahoma State was unfamiliar with

“Not really. A little bit, but not so much. We just had mistakes in communication. I mean, I wish I could tell you something else, but that’s the truth. We got to get through that. And then they started the second half, they shifted to empty, and we had one guy that was halfway doing the right thing and one guy (that) got lost and that’s what happens. So they’re young, and they’ll get that, but really other than that play the defense was really good and second half. They caught us on the one pass where we didn’t cover down.”

On Dominic Richardson

“He did, he really ran physical. And then Ollie (Gordon) came in and broke some tackles. But, you know, we need Dominic (Richardson) to do that. That’s the type of back he is, you know, he averaged 4.9 (yards) a carry, ran through some tackles and did a good job of taking care of the football.  They’re well coached in tackling and stripping the ball. I was concerned about that. But, they did a nice job and Dominic played well in the second half particularly.”

On Brock Martin’s forced fumble

“I mean, obviously turnovers are big. We had an interception and, well, I would call two turnovers, because we forced a fumble and then had an 18-yard punt, which is basically a turnover. But at that time, they went back to the weak side and we had a nice mesh charge, blew the thing up and the ball got on the ground and (we) recovered it. Early in the season, right, it’s special teams, penalties and turnovers, in most cases across the country.”

On the pass rush for Oklahoma State

“That’s what we have to have. Those guys have to do it. We have to rotate them. Collin Oliver is going to show up. [Tyler Lacy] is going to show up. Brock (Martin) is going to show up. [Samuela Tuihalamaka] and [Sione Asi] did a good job inside. Obviously you don’t see them as much because they’re right down in the middle of the trenches. But, those guys have got to continue to make plays like that. That’s what we need.”

On how much the defense as a whole improved from last week

“I mean, we’re better obviously. I mean, you could tell by watching the game, it was clean. You know, we’d had two or three mental errors in the first half and they had big gains. And then in the second half, we had the big throw. One other time, we got out of position. They got the run around the left side going this way. And then the other ones, they made plays. I mean, you know, the other team is going to make some plays, too. So, I’m gonna say that we — I’m pleased, let’s put it that way. I’m pleased with where we are. We got aways to go, but I’m pleased with the strides we made from that game to this game.”

On the adjustments in run-blocking in the second half

“Yeah, so we made a couple adjustments at halftime, and allowed us to hit the crease. In the first half, and I would have to watch tape, but I have a pretty good idea on that side of the ball. I thought we were really average run blocking. And we challenged them at halftime. I say we — coach (Kasey) Dunn and coach (Charlie) Dickey and coach (Jason) McEndoo and I just kind of sit behind and cheer them on. But, we challenged them. We gonna have to rush football. And we were much better at it. The average of 4.3 (yards a carry) is good. They played a lot of really deep safeties and played a lot of five across back. And then they were inverting last, which means you have to rush the ball. It becomes a numbers game. We challenged them and were able to run the football effectively. I was particularly pleased with the last 10 minutes of the game when they knew we were going to run it and we could still run it. That’s a good way to close a game out.”

On the third-down defense

“That’s where we were really good last year. I mean, we were fantastic on third downs, and that’s why I say — I saw some things tonight that look a little bit like that. We’re not to that point yet, because  we’re still young. And I saw a lot of pressure on the quarterback. I don’t think, in fact the only time in the second half where I think he set his feet and made the throw was on the over route. The kid caught it and I think he scored. We didn’t get much pressure and he sat back there for probably 3.2 (seconds) or something and the guy cleared all the way across the field and that’s not good. So, other than that we got good pressure. And that’s kind of how we’ve made our living.”

On Bryson Green

“He’s getting better. He’s a young guy that played just a little bit last year but not enough to talk about. He’s gonna get better every game. Those young corners, and safeties, and linebackers, and Bryson, and really Dominic (Richardson) haven’t played much until this year. They all should get a little bit better each game. I mean, if not, then we’re not coaching them. We’re not doing a good job of coaching if they don’t improve each week.”

On who made the call to go with the flea flicker

“It was Coach (Kasey) Dunn. Just made a good call, and quite honestly the coverage they jumped in is not great for that. But three guys took the post. They got into a high safety on that particular side and had a low corner. So that gave me a chance as a head coach on the headphones while it was happening, I said ‘Dunn, you’re in trouble. It’s not a good look.’ And when they hit it, I said ‘That’s a good call.’ But three guys went with the post, and that’s why the other guy cleared out. Sometimes that happens.”

On Jason Brooks playing in the first quarter but getting two penalties, including an unsportsmanlike conduct

“There’s just no need to talk trash. There’s no place in the game for it. We talk about that a lot. You’re wearing a shield of armor and a helmet and a face masks, so are they. So when the play is over, what are you actually going to do to hurt the other guy? And what is he actually going to do to hurt you? Nothing. So let’s just play football. I know it’s a violent game and guys have egos and they get into it, but you can’t win games being emotional after the play. If you want to be really good, do it the next time the ball snapped before the whistle. So we brought him out of the game and told him because you don’t get anywhere. You accomplish zero, except you’re gonna get a penalty. So I’d prefer to not give the 15 yards up.

“He’ll be fine, and we need him to continue to get better. I’m gonna guess just off the cuff without looking, we need to play him more. But when they lose their emotions, we have a tendency to not put a guy in because you can’t really help us because you can’t think. If you can’t think, it’s really hard to play and that’s anybody on our team.

“He just needs to learn our culture. There’s not a place for that. You don’t get an advantage, and he’ll learn that. He’s a good young man. He works hard. He’ll continue to get more reps. He’ll be just fine, but he just needs to learn the way that we operate around here. It’s not jawing with the guy or pushing and shoving after a play that has zero effect on the game.”

On defensive communication

“They were better. We’re improved, and that’s what should happen. We coach them right, and they stayed focused. I thought they practiced well this week. They should get better, and the communication should improve each week based on their experience.”

On Terry Miller being back in town

“I think it’s awesome. I mean, when you think about Terry Miller, he finished twice in the top four in the Heisman voting, I think. Second one time. How many other guys have finished in the top four twice in their career? I don’t think very many. Most of you guys are kind of history buffs in football, but you can do your research on that. I don’t think there’s been many players finished twice in the top four in the Heisman voting. And I’m gonna guess you’re not going to see it from here on now because if anybody finishes that high in the Heisman voting, they’re gonna go in the NFL. So you probably won’t say much anymore, but it’s pretty rare when he’s done. He was a heck of a football player, and it’s well deserved.”

On Tyler Lacy

“Tyler made a great decision by coming back and playing college. He could have been a fifth- or sixth-round pick. I mean, I don’t know. I’m just guessing. But if he continues to work like is, he’s in a good spot right now. He’s focused. He’s training. He’s developing his body. And he’s gaining valuable experience. He can jump himself up in the draft and make some really good upfront money. Now, the team’s important, but, obviously that plays a role too. He’s getting better and better, and his body’s developing. The male body continues to grow and develop until you’re 26 years old. So he’s developing and getting bigger and stronger and faster. He made a good decision. And he’s been a really good leader for us. It helps when you’re most experienced and best players, play hard and practice hard. Then it’s easy for coaches. And that’s what he’s doing at this point.”

On running every play after recovering the fumble

“Well, that fumble got us going? I mean, we were struggling. I kind of go back to what I said, they were playing way back, had everybody way back, and said rush the football. Basically, that’s what they did, so we just kind of migrated into rushing the football. We’re gonna run our quarterbacks when we do that. I mean, obviously Spencer’s a good runner, so we run some some read-zone option stuff with him when they’re doing that. Gives us an extra man, numbers. In the numbers game we have an advantage. Then once we started doing that, then it’s set up a little downfield throw. Then we’re able to hit Braydon Johnson a time, we had the flea-flicker pass, few things like that. But until we rushed the ball some, we didn’t have much. So that’s kind of what they pushed us into.”

On Ollie Gordon

“We feel comfortable. He’s just young. I’ve said it a million times, there’s just no substitute for experience. [Jaden Nixon] comes in, and he’s got a little more experience. He can play some. Obviously when Dom’s rolling and playing good, he’s the guy that’s most experienced now and is mature and physical. Ollie will come along. Ollie’s big and looks good and all that. The times he’s touched the ball, he’s made plays, but he’s still a freshman. Rain was coming down, getting a little wet. You got to be careful with the football, some things like that. So, the maturity is a big part of that. It’s just difficult when you’re a freshman to be able to understand and how to handle those situations.”

On Bredon Evers’ injury status

“I think he’s fine. Now, I didn’t get any information of somebody saying he’s out, so I’m guessing that he’s gonna be fine.”

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