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

Gundy on Sanders’ return and the Iowa State win.

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[Devin Wilber/PFB]

STILLWATER — After back-to-back weeks of having to explain a loss, Mike Gundy’s postgame news conference was back to discussing victory.

Oklahoma State beat Iowa State 20-14 on Saturday in Boone Pickens Stadium. Here is everything Gundy said after the game.

Opening statement

“Well, that was funner than the last few that I’ve been at. Quite an interesting game. As good as Iowa State’s defense is, obviously we knew going in and very convincing as good as they are. I told the team today in the locker room that today our defense was better. And that’s not taking anything away from them. Obviously, their defense is really, really good, but today our defense forced turnovers, stops, put the game away in the end, and our guys were fantastic today on defense. So, I couldn’t be more proud of them.

“Fortunately, I think we made it through the game without really having anybody injured that I know of. So that’s a positive for us. And it was good to see a few guys back out there. We had a few guys that were able to get back and contribute a little bit and that was nice.

“But that’s a good win for us. You know, I mentioned earlier in the week that we needed to get home. I think some of the younger guys, inexperienced guys play better obviously when they’re home. We needed to play at home. And the crowd was fantastic. The blackout was fantastic, the paddle people. So, it was good to be back home and give ourselves a chance to go out there and compete and play. So it was a good win for our team.”

On the four fourth-quarter sacks

“Guys just kept making plays. We had a couple of calls where we were getting single-blocks on three guys, and so it gave us a chance to get somebody loose. And there was some experience there: [Ben Kopenski], [Brock Martin], those guys are good at that. Obviously [Collin Oliver’s] done a lot of it. And we got them in a one-dimensional style. We knew they had to throw it, so we could pin our ears back and come. You know the opposite of that’s what happened to us offensively but against their defense. They put us in one-dimensional pretty much the whole game. So I was very proud of them. And it gets to that point where we need one sack in the end. The last play, I lost a little bit of the vision, but I thought we had him and he must have got out and we got him again. But it was really good by those guys.”

On the spark Spencer Sanders provided for the whole team when he came in

“You know, Spencer’s played 50 games here. You have leaders who — and then I think sometimes, you know, it’s funny you bring it up. I think sometimes when they know there’s a guy that’s playing that’s not 100% they’re like, ‘Okay, I’ll fight for that guy.’ It’s just human nature. You know when we brought him in [at the end of the third quarter], we just said, ‘Hey, we’re gonna throw it every dow.’ I mean, we couldn’t run the ball. So, from that point forward, we just felt like we were going to throw it every down.”

On the process of putting Spencer Sanders in

“We knew that he was available, but we would have preferred to not put him out there for an extended period of time.”

On reasoning for bringing Spencer Sanders in on the fourth-down play instead of Garret Rangel

“Oh, that was a concept they had early in the week that they liked. Didn’t work out too well.”

On whether Spencer Sanders has practiced recently

“Not much. I mean, I don’t want to talk a lot about personnel decisions and things like that and injuries, but to be fair to you guys, I mean, he’s been in the same boat for about five weeks.”

On Spencer Sanders’ ability to come in late and take control

“I was impressed, but just remember now, he’s been doing this for five years. And one thing I said early in the year to you guys, I said, he can do this blindfolded. And with our offense, like he can break away and go coach it, he knows it like the back of his hand. So, offense and defensive staffs put together game plans every Saturday, and I’ve been a part of this as an assistant and also a head coach, and sometimes they didn’t work. The plan we had wasn’t very good or what we thought. Could be based on a variety of things. So, when he comes in, then you can just call anything. We can go back and dial plays up from a month ago or two years ago and it doesn’t make a difference, because he doesn’t need to work on them because he understands the system.”

On how much Spencer Sanders was around the team after his grandpa died earlier in the week

“He was gone most of the week when he had a loss in his family. So he came back and he was gone. I mean, we’re all different when we lose people. You don’t know how people are going to react, and Spencer’s awesome, but he wasn’t here very much this week.”

On Spencer Sanders being dialed in to come in and play late

“Yeah, Spencer’s never on cruise control. His competitive nature and willingness to fight is always pedal to the metal.”

On the win adding to Spencer Sanders’ legacy at Oklahoma State

“Well, this is a really good win for us, because as we all know, we needed to win. And we needed things to fall into place for us. We felt like that Iowa State was playing much better and the best football they’ve played just recently. So, we knew that we would have our hands full. And you know, for him to come in and make a few plays and find a way to score a touchdown was really important. I mean, we all know, I mean everybody can go eat with their family tonight, enjoy the evening and it makes things better. So, Sunday’s, as I tell you guys aren’t very fun when we end up on the short side of the scoreboard. So now Sunday’s will be a little bit funner for everybody. I mean, the offensive coaches will be sulking, because most of what we have didn’t work very good. And they’ll feel sorry for themselves, but they’re gonna feel a lot better than they did than if we wouldn’t have stopped them in the end. And that’s just life. That’s just the way it is. We’ve been on both sides of that.”

On what he saw from the defense in practice leading up to the game

“The effort and enthusiasm in practice this week was as good as it was if we were 8-0. And I told the staff that — you know, you worry sometimes about the morale of the team. It’s human nature, right? Everybody starts feeling sorry for themselves, coaches are the worst, coaches feel sorry for themselves. Players feel sorry for themselves. Okay, how are we gonna get motivated to practice well enough to play next week? And that wasn’t an issue. I don’t know who, I certainly didn’t say anything. I mean, I’m not a big speech guy. But their effort and enthusiasm in practice was fabulous this week.

“And we didn’t tackle very well in the first quarter. I’m sure you saw that. We had our head down. [Kendal Daniels] had his head coach twice. [Mason Cobb is off-balance and reaching. And then [Daniels], I was just on the way to grab [him] and get on him about tackling, and then he smacks the guy and knocked the ball out. That was him right? So I said, well I’ll let him go, forget it. But when he learns to stand up and hit face-to-face, he’s gonna be really good. But we missed three to four tackles in the first quarter. That was frustrating to me, because we would have been off the field. But from that point on, we tackled really good.”

On what changed in the tackling after the first quarter

“I don’t know. If I knew I’d fix it right away. The only thing I know to do is to go back and continue to work drills and practice tackling and keeping your head up, not leaving your feet and wrapping. I do know this, there’s twice we bounced off them. Bouncing is not good. We need to wrap guys up. So we just got to continue to do the same things. We got to push and work on it, but you can’t overdo it. You know we’re way into the season, so we got to be careful about being too physical in practice.”

On living with the good and bad of Kendal Daniels

“That’s just a young player. Young kids are that way. They learn by making mistakes. Kendal has now played, gosh, that was game No. 10 for us. He could be over 300 snaps now — 400 snaps. He’s going to be close to that. So he’s starting to get seasoned a little bit and should get a little bit better and better now based on experience.”

On Jabbar Muhammad

“So we played him at one spot today. We were playing him some as a nickel safety, playing him at corner, and somewhat unjustified, probably. But when it was going on, I didn’t stop it because our defense staff felt like it needed to happen based on what we had personnel available and/or the personnel that was actually practicing to get ready for the games. So, it’s a rat race in a bad way. This week, we locked him in at one position, and I think it helped him.”

On Glenn Spencer’s defense relying on turnovers and OSU doing that some Saturday

“Yeah, him and Bill Young, our good friend Bill Young — good man, relied on that. That wasn’t the plan, but it worked out well for us. One ball was a tipped interception, and then [Muhammad] made a great play on the curl route. Really, really hard to defend and intercept that pass. Made a great play. And then, obviously, Kendal smacked the guy on the fumble. The turnovers that we were able to get allowed our defense, even as good as their defense is and was, to play better today.”

On the turnovers encouraging the defense despite OSU not scoring a lot off them

“You know what’s interesting is [Iowa State] didn’t [score off OSU’s turnovers] either? Believe it or not, I actually do something during the game. Most people think I don’t, but I’m trying to compute things in my brain. And we’re getting turnovers, and we’re not scoring. I’m thinking, ‘This is not fun.’ And then we turn it over, and they didn’t score. So I felt a little better about it. But the thing that does is it gets you off the field. We need off the field. The last few weeks, we spent the entire game on the field on defense because offense was struggling and defense was struggling, which is a really bad combination.”

On his message to Gunnar Gundy

“Gunnar’s mistake was his last interception, other than that Gunnar played pretty good. Now, statistically, I don’t know. I’m sure he’s gonna look at it and think this was not good. And I joked with him later in the week when we knew he was gonna play. I said, ‘Well, the good news is you get to go out there and play and have some fun. The bad news is you’re playing a team that’s Top 10 in defense in college football. You picked a bad week to stop sniffing glue.’ … But Gunnar competed. His poise was good. There’s a couple times I wish he could have made a guy or two miss, but they tackled good. But the last interception, what he needs to know is this: It’s OK to not make a play. At that position when you’re young, and I’m not making this comparison for any reason other than, Spencer used to do that when he was a freshman, remember? He thought he always had to make a play. It’s OK when it’s 3rd-and-26 or whatever to throw it away and we punt. That would be the message, but competitiveness, poise, he was through his reads. I think I heard other than the last one, one time that he should have been on the other side. Other than that, he was pretty good.”

On Gunnar being past the line of scrimmage when he threw his last interception

“I know. I was hoping they called it, but either way they could have declined it. So, they got together a little bit, and I don’t know what the rule is, but I think they were aware of it. But they would have just declined it.”

On Gunnar using his legs

“Yeah, Gunnar needs to run. In my opinion, to play quarterback at this level nowadays, you have to be able to move around and run a little bit. Very difficult to protect against defensive linemen who are really active. You have to be able to run. Spencer does it, right? Makes a living doing it. Gunnar will be able to run and move around well enough to benefit himself, and Rangel can do the same. And they need to be able to do it. I wish I could say that you could play old-school quarterback and just sit back and never do that. I’m not sure that offensively you can function without being able to do that. They know it. Gunnar knows it. He’s got to run. Rangel knows it. And obviously Spencer knows it. Got to be able to run to make our offense flow just enough. Now, I don’t want them taking hits, but they still have to be able to run and understand how to run effectively.”

On being 1-for-14 on third downs

“Well, the first thing I’m going to say legitimately, because we have pretty good relationship here, they’re good on defense. They squeeze you, and they put you in situations. This is a really good group, in my opinion, they’re playing with on defense where they all get it, and they play as one. Their read pass key guys, their alley defenders and their safeties have really good eyes this year, which is bad for offenses. They pattern read good. They jumped guys. And they squeeze you and put you in a difficult situation. They’re good at what they do, and this group they’re using right now, and then [Will McDonald] and [MJ Anderson], the defensive linemen, have added a dimension to them where they’re able to get some pressure and they’re really good slant up the field guys in the running game. We got hit behind the line like four or five times today. And those guys are really good at stepping and getting vertical and slanting and moving. They’re good at what they do. I wish I could say anything. I’m gonna give them credit. They’re good at what they do. But, that’s not a good plan for success on third downs. That was a long answer for I agree.”

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