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The Rundown: Everything Mike Gundy Said in His Pre-Bedlam News Conference

Gundy looks back on Iowa State and previews Bedlam.

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[Devin Wilber/PFB]

STILLWATER — Bedlam won’t have as much at stake nationally Saturday as it has had in most of Mike Gundy’s tenure, but it’s still a massive game for state bragging rights.

Oklahoma State coach Mike Gundy held his weekly media luncheon on Monday. Here is everything he said entering Oklahoma State’s game against Oklahoma.

On being late for the second week in a row

“I’m getting overloaded. Honestly, a blocked punt eats up my time. Poor coaching, awful coaching. That backs me up. But I did have a small excuse when I came out of my video room going to the elevators, people caught me in the lobby. And then coming down here, golf coach had to recruit, and I felt like I needed to speak to them also. They’re from Australia, so I’m sure they’re big football fans. But I felt like I needed to speak to them also.

“I told him we had a buddy who could punt, but he definitely looked like a golfer, that’s for sure. They were showing him and his mom around, so I felt like I need to speak to them, which I did. Anyway, I’m ready for questions. I’m ready to roll.”

On OSU’s defensive line getting pressure on Iowa State on Saturday

“We played much better from a technique standpoint. I thought our gameplan was awesome on the defensive side of the ball. I thought our offensive gameplan was not very good at all. Special teams wasn’t very good. But the [defensive] gameplan was good and we were fundamentally sound. We were better gap control. We missed three or four tackles in the first half, three of them in the first quarter. From that point on, we tackled better and just played good football. I mean, I know that sounds simple, but we just played good football and we had better results.”

On whether he knew the offensive gameplan was bad going in

“No, I mean, obviously we would’ve changed it if we knew that. After the game I mentioned that they got us. They got us on defense again. I hate it, but our defensive gameplan was excellent, and we played good football. Our offensive gameplan wasn’t very good. And we didn’t have a lot of options. They were actually better on defense than even I thought they were, and we didn’t have good gameplan. And that happens sometimes. I’ve been a coordinator. I’ve put gameplans together, and they didn’t work. That’s a bad combination. And then special teams, we didn’t do a good job. I say we: I’m involved with punt. We didn’t do a good job. We got a punt blocked. Bad coaching.”

On running the ball well in the first quarter but being unable to sustain it

“Part of it was some of the things we tried to do that we all were in agreement prior to that would work or we would not have come up with that gameplan. We started to run the ball decent. But as the game went on, we weren’t very effective on first down. And then throughout that next two quarters, we ended up in a lot of third-and-longs. And then they felt that, as a play caller on defense, they started to make some adjustments. They very seldom play a three technique in their three-down front, and they did in this game. So they made a couple adjustments based on our style of running attack as the first quarter went on, and they made some adjustments. The one thing that we don’t have a lot of flexibility with right now is adjustments in our concepts based on the inexperience at the position of guys that we have where they’re playing. So they made some adjustments, which we can make other adjustments and we know how to fix things, but sometimes we have limitations based on where we’re at right now. That’s what happened.”

On Dominic Richardson not getting as many carries in the second half

“He’s a little beat up.”

On the running game

“I feel the same way I have the last six weeks. I’m trying to make this as clear as possible: We can’t remake who we are in two days. I don’t feel comfortable doing that. Some people may change concepts and all that. I don’t think that’s a good pattern. So we continue to work the things that we feel like we’re good at. I will say this, I said this after the game and going to say it again, that’s a good team on defense we played. They know what they’re doing. They’re experienced at very key positions. [Will McDonald] is a good player. [MJ Anderson] is a better player than what people think. The coach knows what he’s doing, and they have a veteran group of guys that were a lot like we were last year. You can kind of adjust, and they know what they’re doing. Through the first quarter we actually blocked and ran the ball better, you just didn’t notice it.”

On whether you can adjust a gameplan when you’re already in a game

“So we had flexibility in the fourth quarter with Spencer because we could just get rid of everything we had and went back to what we’ve done last three years, just on pulling out plays. He’s experienced enough that he can run them, and we just call them and he knows what to do. There’s been times, years back you guys that have covered us, and we had younger quarterbacks … maybe it’s Spencer’s second year, maybe it’s Mason’s second year, and I said, ‘There’s not a lot of options right now. We’re kind of stuck.’ But with Spencer, we’re fortunate that we can say, ‘OK, let’s just forget this. Let’s call these plays because we know he knows them, and we can function.’

“The year Dana (Holgorsen) was here, we played up at Kansas State, and we were pretty good and they were average. In the first half, we had like 3 points, and they had like 14. We went in at halftime and our gameplan wasn’t any good. Kansas State schemed us. And Dana was just throwing everything, his hair and whatever he could throw because we didn’t have an answer to fix it. And we came back out and made some plays. I think we won like 24-17 or something. It was an ugly game. We won, but sometimes you don’t have enough flexibility. That’s the scary part of where you can be on game day if the gameplan you have didn’t work very well.”

On if Bedlam changes for a quarterback as he gains experience

“I don’t think Spencer cares. He cares about every game the same. I don’t think any game makes any difference to him. And honestly, I don’t know if it does to any young people anymore. Society today is so different. Our players, as well as everybody else’s players in college football, they communicate through social media — Instagram and the two or three ways they communicate. They’ll talk to players on the team before we go play them on Saturday. I mean, we go play whoever we played in the bowl — Notre Dame. They may be talking to their buddies, those guys for three weeks on Instagram and whatever and go play, ‘Hey, how you doing?’ Whatever.

“We never talked to anybody. We didn’t like the other team. We didn’t want to talk to them. When I was at Midwest City, I didn’t talk to people from Del City. We tried to take their girls. We didn’t want to talk to them. I mean, when I was at Midwest City, we didn’t talk to Norman. We didn’t talk to Putnam City. It’s not that way now. These guys are buddies. It trickles down from the NFL. Go to an NFL game an hour before when the players all come out. It’s a love fest. There’s nobody that’s the Steel Curtain versus the Cowboys. It’s just not that way anymore. I’m just being honest with you.”

On the animosity part of Bedlam being gone within the team

“I think it’s [still there with] the fans. I mean, I’m not on it. You guys are. I think probably big in social media, probably big at the workplace down in Oklahoma City. People talk trash all week, but I just think the players live in a different world. They’re gonna practice hard. They want to compete. They want to win, don’t get me wrong, but I just don’t know that there’s the bitter rivalry anymore with young people.”

On still wanting to beat an in-state rival

“Sure. Well, I mean, I do. It makes it easier during the year. Puts people in a good mood that wear orange.”

On whether Bedlam puts more pressure on players

“I think there’s more pressure on young people in society today than ever just based on the overall critical side of social media. I think that’s very unjust, but I think it’s a real life situation where they have more pressure now than ever. That’s why we have all the mental health issues across the country. Particularly you’re seeing more with athletes and movie stars and people like that. But whether it affects what goes on on Saturday at 6:30, I don’t know if that plays as big a role anymore as it used to based on all the different things that are going on.”

On his first Bedlam

“I was a little scared of Boz [Brian Bosworth]. Boz scared me a little bit. Boz was on a different type of artificial nutrition than I was — period. I saw Boz when I visited OU in, it would have been, January of ’86. And when they took me out to whatever nightclub or wherever we went, and he was there. It was cold because years ago, January is a cold month here in Oklahoma. I probably had on whatever sweater and coat I could have, and I remember being in that facility or that party or whatever, and he had a tank top on. Obviously that’s a big dude, so I was a little concerned about it when I played him based on the artificial nutrition that he had going on that I didn’t have. But once the game started, it didn’t make a difference to me. I mean, if we’re gonna have a fight, we’re gonna have a fight — it is what it is.”

On what his life would’ve been like had he gone to OU

“I’d probably be the head coach at OU. I mean, I’m just saying I mean, that’s probably would have happened, but I’m in a great shape here. I don’t have to listen to all that down there.”

On OSU being a better fit for him back then

“Wasn’t a real smart guy, but [OU] just won a national championship with one of the best option quarterbacks ever to play college football, and he was a true freshman. And he was getting all kinds of fur coats and cars and stuff. I didn’t see where I fit in on that gig. He was on an NIL plan.”

On if he could’ve played safety

“No. No, no, no, no. Tackling was not my deal. … I was a sophomore playing for Coach Evans at Midwest City, and Donnie Johnson was our senior quarterback. They wanted me to be on varsity, so they let me play wideout just to get some varsity time. Then they had me as a backup safety. We scrimmaged at Jenks prior to the start of the season. … I was playing free safety. We’re scrimmaging Jenks, and I’m 147 [pounds], at the most, and I come up to fill. And whoever that running back was, he played college ball, he came running right me and he’s about 200 pounds. So I kind of fell to my knees like this, and I looked like Kendal Daniels did out there on that first one. And he ran for a touchdown. Dennis Huggins, who was our defensive coordinator who was old school, hard-nosed, tough, honestly kind of a Bobby Proctor guy from back in the day, and he said, ‘You’re out. That’s it.’ That’s the last play I ever got at safety.”

On whether this OU team is different than ones he has scouted in the past

“You know, I just watched the first half of one game. I’ve been doing other stuff. Normally I’ve watched several games by now, and I have not watched. I’m through one half of the first game. I haven’t got there. I apologize. I just had other stuff going on.

“I have not seen one game. We’ve had the 2:30 games, so we’re doing all of our stuff in the mornings and by the time I get home in the evening … maybe I did see them play a little bit of somebody in the evening. I can’t remember who it was. I didn’t watch very much. Maybe Kansas State … I saw a little bit of that one. But not a whole lot. I don’t know why I didn’t watch more of it.”

On Brent Venables

“He was here for a long time. Then, obviously, he’s a Kansas State guy. I bumped into him. Seen him around quite a bit. Never really had much communication with him until meetings out this summer in Arizona.”

On Jabbar Muhammad

“He’s good football player. I gave him a hard time last night because the first play of the game, he could have intercepted that and walked in the end zone. I think it kind of surprised him. He kind of just knocked it down. Then he makes a really, really good play on the curl route where he’s covering a guy man and reaches over and intercepted it. Much more difficult. I said, ‘You could have had a house call.’ Anyway, made a good play on that. He loves to play football, he’s competitive and he has a high intelligence level when it comes to things moving fast. He sees things differently, tough guy and likes to compete.”

On the slim margin of winning and losing

“It’s slim now. There’s a really small gray area with winning and losing, particularly this year in our league more than ever, as we all know. Those things are hard — well I can’t speak for him, I’ll speak for me. Those things are hard to swallow. I’ve been in that situation some. I’ve been in it as a player, and I’ve seen it happen. I’ll give you an example, when we played OU and they had Kyler Murray and we went for two points, [Tylan Wallace] was open and the ball is kind of right here. I mean, he could have caught it, but whatever, it could have been a little better throw or we might have beat them there. You know, sometimes you drive home on the bus and you’re thinking, why does that happen? I don’t know. But what you said is right, he could very well have his record be flipped based on what happens. Very fine line.”

On Oklahoma State playing good defense all game against Iowa State

“Like I said earlier, I thought our defensive plan was really good and our players played good football. They just for the most part played good football. The last few weeks defensively, we haven’t played that good football. We got out of our gaps, are technique wasn’t good, didn’t defend like we should have, missed tackles. Just didn’t play real good football. Played pretty good football against them.”

On Spencer Sanders saying he is playing in Bedlam

“Well, 1) I didn’t know he said that. But that’s awesome that he’s made that decision. Obviously, he feels better. … I hope that that’s his decision and that’s the way he feels. We’re going to have to treat him the same way we’ve treated him the last five weeks. But that’s good news, though, if he feels like that, because it’d be good to get him in there and let him play. But yes, I mean, he’s the one making the decisions on whether he’s playing or not.”

On his assessment of Gunnar Gundy after rewatching the Iowa State game

“Oh, Gunnar’s fine. You know, it’s just like what I told you, Gunnar made some plays. There’s a couple times he could have progressed a little bit further in his reads. You know, we got a call like it is, we had pressure on him in the first quarter. I’ve been there when you’re young and there’s pressure on you at times you reads go faster. You don’t see things like you should have. And then the last play he panicked. It was third-and-18, he tried to make a play. Whether it’s him or any other young quarterback, you can’t do that at this level. It’s okay to throw the ball away and punt. You can’t pull plays like that off at this level like you did in high school. Those are learning curves, but all these guys want to do really well and sometimes when you do just okay and not really well, you got to put your big boy pants on, suck it up, go out and fight and do better next time.”

On whether there is a silver lining to Garret Rangel and Gunnar Gundy getting playing time

“Yeah, I mean, we’re obviously a different team when [Spencer Sanders] plays, but we have young quarterbacks that need experience. And there are some guys that step in when they’re really young, that can play better than what they should based on their experience. Two things contribute to that, 1) those guys may potentially be an early round NFL Draft pick, or they’re playing on a team where they have really good players around them, and they can survive and function with a lack of knowledge because of the people that are out there with them. You’re way too young, but there’s probably three or four people in here that know, when I played as a true freshman. I had a good offensive line. I had Thurman Thomas, Barry Sanders, Garrett Limbrick, Curtis Mayfield and Hart Lee Dykes playing with me. So I could manage and function because I was just a guy, but I had really good players around me and I could function.

“And so these young quarterbacks are getting really good experience playing. You know, Rangel got to play on the road and got to play with a minimal attack on the perimeter, and you know we’re working through some issues up front health-wise. And Gunnar got to play in a live situation with some of the same issues, but against a very, very, very good defense. And so those are great learning experiences for young guys, and the silver lining that you’re mentioning is, at some point they’re going to be playing some, and we don’t know, maybe it’s in the fourth quarter this week. Maybe it’s in the second quarter against West Virginia, we don’t know, but at least they’ve been out there.”

On what led to the punt block against Iowa State

“Two things, the plan we had for that particular side and part of the game was not good. And I’m involved in it. So I’m putting it as bad football on my fault. The punt block was me; bad football. But we’ve had a little bit of musical chairs up front from where we started the first four games of the year based on that, but that’s not an excuse for what happened. That’s just bad football on my part. That’s bad coaching. And those things keep me up at night. Y’all know me, you can kick my butt, you beat me, I’m okay. I’ll fight you again tomorrow. But when we coach bad, I don’t like that. So the punt block was poor coaching on my part, and the guys that helped me in that unit, there’s three or four coaches that helped me, they should have told me that’s poor coaching. We should have fixed it. But the players didn’t fail on the punt block, the scheme failed.”

On whether an inefficient rushing attack led to numerous third-and-longs

“One hundred percent, and that’s what I said earlier. We put ourselves in third and — we pretty much stayed in third-and-8 to third-and-12. There’s not very many teams in the country that can be successful in that, particularly us right now. And so, we’ve got to do the best we can, nobody plans on it, but when you get in that situation, it allows a good defense to pin their ears back and become one dimensional pass rushers. So now you have better athletes against not as good of athletes, and they know what we’re doing and it makes it a really ugly situation. That’s what transpired. We’ve got to stay out of that. We need to live in third-and-short to third-and-5 where we have some sort of balance in our attack.”

On the jumbo package for short-yardage situations

“Well, we ran one of them on Saturday and that sucker didn’t look very good. We were trying to get one yard and we ended up with minus-4.”

On whether the jumbo, short-yardage package has been used too often

“We have different plays out of it. The concept there, the schemes that I mentioned on the punt, was not the problem. The problem there was the execution.”

On whether he was surprised about the primetime kickoff on ABC for Bedlam

“I think they’re all trying to make [Paul] Finebaum look stupid when he said nobody cares about Bedlam, when he didn’t do his homework that had way more viewers last year than any of those games over there. I’m good with it, but it is what it is. Might as well call it what it is. You know me, I don’t pay attention to it. We’re gonna work our schedule based on what it is. It means we got to find something to do during the day for four hours at the hotel. Get to watch a little bit of football.”

On whether he gets a sense that players get antsy waiting to play a night game

“It’s hard, but this one is a little different because it’s right down the road, but Big 12 requires you to be on location the night before a game. So it’s not like you can drive down. You know, there’s nothing like the old high school, right? You get on the yellow dog. Put your pants on, your shoes, your cleats, you got your undershirt, get off the bus, you’re carrying your pads. You put it on, go warm up, 30 minutes later we’re kicking off. I mean, that’s really the way it should be, but we don’t have that luxury. So you get there, get up, let them sleep in a little bit, eat some food, do walk throughs, kind of kill some time, let him go back two or three, three and a half hours at the room. Then bring them back down for pregame, do some more meetings and then go. So you really have to kill about four hours during the day.”

On the Big 12 requiring teams to be on location the day before

“That’s what I was told. (Kevin) Klintworth probably knows that. I think you have to be on location the night before a game, I think. One time we asked that. I think it was because of COVID maybe, either way I’m not sure. I think you have to be on location because it’d be a bad deal if you had a game the next day and you didn’t get there for some reason, or whatever. … I think you’re supposed to be on location the night before. Either that or that’s what somebody told me.”

On whether he is going to miss coaching against his brother Cale Gundy

“You know, I’ve said this before, but in those games I always forget. I don’t ever look at the other sideline much, unless I have a reason to based on something I think could be advantageous for us. If there’s a certain poker body language that coaches give based on certain play calls and stuff. Other than that, I never look over there. So I don’t really actually remember until the game’s over. And I forget, because I go to the center to shake the head coaches and then he’ll come up and grab me, and a lot of times I have forgotten that. So that really is not as big an issue. Makes it a little bit easier on the family. That’s for sure.”

On being a supportive brother to Cale Gundy since this incident this summer

“I think anybody that goes through what would be somewhat — traumatic would be a more bad word for it because that’s not traumatic. There’s a lot of things a lot worse than that — but just a tough situation, is to say, ‘Hey, I’m here. You want to talk?’ But what he did is, in my opinion, was very smart, which was he never stopped the everyday flow of his life. He does what he does every day. And he’s somewhat partnered up with coach Barry Switzer, and they work together now on certain things, which everything that Switzer’s ever touched just turned into gold. So it’s a good guy to partner up with. And arguably, you have two Oklahoma guys that could be the most well-known, prominent figures long-term in that program with coach Switzer and Cale. I think Cale’s been there, he’s been there more than anybody else, right, games-wise, I think more than Switzer. So those two working together are having a blast. They called the other day and they had me on speakerphone and they’re driving in the car going over to — I mean, you know, Switzer and Cale are going over to talk to some guys and drink beer, have a good time; ‘Where you going to practice?’ ‘Aha, we ain’t going to practice, we’re going to drink beer and talk to guys about football.’ So he’s honestly doing really well, and I’m happy for him. But that’s my role, right? I mean, just trying to help him out. So, you know, I did the best I could.” 

On the shooting at Virginia that killed three football players

“Everything scares me. I don’t know enough about it, I was just told some of the circumstances. Just awful. I don’t even know what you say anymore. I have sons in college. Somebody gets a call and all the sudden your son’s gone. Forget football. I mean, just terrible. Those things, I’m not a real emotional guy, those things make me emotional. A nightmare phone call that a parent would never get over the rest of their life, never get over that. You’d think about it before you go to sleep, think about it the two or three times you get up to go to bathroom … you think about it walking to the bathroom. You think about it before you lay back down to go to bed. You think about it before you fall back to sleep if you can, the rest of your life. It’s awful. Bad deal.”

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