Connect with us


The Rundown: Everything Mike Gundy Said in His Pre-Texas News Conference on Monday

On the run game, the substitution rule and more.



STILLWATER — Mike Gundy held his first post-loss news conference of the season Monday.

Gundy, Oklahoma State’s coach, discussed the fallout from the Cowboys’ loss in Fort Worth and previewed the Pokes’ upcoming game with Texas.

Opening statement

“Alright, so, what I thought after the game was accurate. We played pretty good football. They made some plays down the stretch and made some better calls and we did as coaches, but overall played a pretty good game. Need to rush the ball a little better and then need to defend — well a couple times we dropped coverage and gave them big plays. But when I watched the tape, overall I felt much better. If there’s any way to feel better after you come up short, with the way our guys played. So, on to Texas. Guys were back last night and had good meetings, good practice. So, as the world turns in college football, we’re back at it.”

On whether he was able to diagnose what went wrong offensively against TCU

“We just couldn’t rush the ball effectively and became one-dimensional. So, (when) you become one-dimensional, you become much more easier to defend.”

On what was going wrong with the run game

“We just weren’t very physical and we just couldn’t get into a rhythm rushing the ball. We just got to keep doing the same stuff we’re doing and improve.”

On whether he anticipates Spencer Sanders to practice this week

“Let’s do ourselves a favor, y’all don’t ask me about injuries and we won’t have a problem. Because I’m not going to tell you about injuries. I’m not going to tell you about who practices and who doesn’t. You wouldn’t reveal your hand either. It’s nothing personal, but I’m not going to talk about who practices and who doesn’t practice just because it’s not fair and it’s not smart on my part.”

On the TV broadcast saying Spencer Sanders did not practice

“So what happened is, Molly (McGrath) came and got me right before kickoff, and she said we know that Spencer did not practice, we know this, we know that, about seven other things, and what I should have told her was that those aren’t things that I discuss, and I will in the future. In fact, we should probably put that out from our own department, that way we don’t have that issue. But the players don’t like it. They don’t like people knowing when they practice, don’t practice. You have some guys that have potential NFL they don’t want — even though they might know, they might not know, they don’t really like it either. And it’s not smart to show our hand. That was a mistake on my part now that you bring it up, but it was different because it was 20 minutes before kickoff versus talking about it during the week. I should have said the same thing to her I do the local press, just say, ‘Hey, those aren’t things I talk about.’ That way it’s fair to everybody. I would say that’s a good point.”

On whether a shoulder injury is more of a concern than an ankle injury with a starting quarterback

“It just depends on what it is. And it could be a variety of things. It could be a non-throwing shoulder and so we just have to weigh our options based on where we’re at and what it is and then go on down the road. Any type of injury is a concern for a player that we have that we want to play on Saturday, that can’t practice as much during the week. But it’s not something that we haven’t ever dealt with. We deal with this all the time. That’s just the way it is. Sometimes guys can’t make it back to the game other guys have to play. Sometimes they can make it back.”

On whether Spencer Sanders’ health is a bigger deal because he is more important to the team’s success than last year

“Well, I think anytime you play with a defense we did last year, you have more options. Let’s put it that way, which you saw last year. I mean, we could just kind of run the ball and finish the clock and then figure we can win 17-16 last year. Well we’re fairly young on defense this year so we don’t have that option. But anytime you lose your or potentially could lose your starting quarterback, it’s an issue. Doesn’t make a difference what it is, but last year’s defense did give us other options.”

On whether there are new schemes he can put in offensively to improve the run game

“I don’t believe in that. I don’t think you can trick a team. I don’t think you can change what you do on Tuesday and Wednesday and go out and play well and say, ‘This is going to work.’ That’s me. I don’t think that players are capable of absorbing and understanding concepts and schemes with the multiple defenses that we see nowadays. Years and years ago, but, I mean I use the term with my staff. You know if we have a guy go down we’ve got to replace that guy. And travel baseball is a great example, 12-year-old travel baseball. If shortstop gets hurt and we take the third baseman and move him to shortstop and the left fielder and move him to third and the right fielder move to left and the center fielder right, we could move six people to replace one guy. That’s not what I believe in. So if we have somebody go down, somebody else needs to replace them. We need to stay in our system. I think we have the best chance of having success versus trying something new and trying to trick the next team, because I just don’t think that works. I just don’t think you’ll be any good at it. That’s my opinion.”

On whether including more running backs in the offense can help

“[Jaden Nixon] is coming along. There’s a physicality to this game that is different with [Dominic Richardson] than [Nixon], period. Those are violent hits those guys take. And so, not that we have all the answers, I’m just giving you what we believe in. I went home last night and watched the fourth quarter of the (Dallas) Cowboys game, and they have one guy that’s really good. He makes a lot of money and he doesn’t run the ball anymore than [Tony Pollard] does. And the reason why is because the violent hits they take at that level. Eventually if you just keep running them, they’re gonna get knocked out. Now, [Richardson] is more mature than any running back that we have on our team, period. If [Nixon] had another year under his belt, he would share more of the load right now. And we’re going to get him more carries as we move forward to protect [Richardson]. [Richardson] ran hard. [Richardson] got us yards at times we didn’t have yards. We need to front guys up better. We need to move our feet and cover guys up and he needs to continue to run the way he runs, and then we need to get those other guys in some as they mature. [Ollie Gordon] has some talent can do some things, but it’s a different game right now for him.”

On Ollie Gordon

“He’s still a young player as a freshman. We’re playing against teams now that will hit you hard. They’ll tackle you, they’re physical. Just like this team we’re gonna play.”

On the comparison of run-blocking and pass-blocking from last season’s offensive line

“The guy that’s playing with the [Pittsburgh] Steelers now made that look different. That’s just a fact. [Dominic Richardson] is doing great, but we had a fourth- or fifth-year kids that’s now playing for the Steelers. [Lincoln Riley] is a great friend of mine, I think he’s a great football coach. But Kyler Murray and [Baker Mayfield] and [Jalen Hurts] will make you look really good. It’s the old Eddie Sutton deal, ‘I want to go to the Kentucky Derby, I want a full-blood thoroughbred. I’m not really in for a mule.’ So, our guys are our — [Richardson] ran good. [Richardson] ran powerful. We need to front guys up better, and then when he gets in space, he’ll make some guys miss and such. And then we’re going to have to share some of the load, because he’s getting a lot of hits and taking a lot of blows. So we’ll eventually have to do that.”

On Dominic Richardson in the passing game

“Yeah, he’s good. See, you know, when he’s catching the screens and he’s out in space, he’s running and doing good. So, if you envision him getting in space, looks pretty good. We gotta get him in space. Gotta get him out there more. You know, the difference, and [Richardson] knows this, the difference between him and (Jaylen) Warren is Warren was mature enough to create his own space. Remember how many times last year that it didn’t look real good, and then he got out and created? He turned a 3-yard (run) into not a 6 but a 16-yard run. Did that three or four times a game, now I got an extra 50 yards rushing. If you watched him on tape at Utah State, that wasn’t there early in his career. But as he matured and got better and changed and developed, he gave us some of that last year.”

On what TCU did well to cover Bryson Green

“Well, they’ve got some carryover there with what they’ve done with coach (Gary) Patterson. I mean, those guys were pretty good at what they do on defense and [Joe Gillespie] that went from Tulsa to there is a good football coach. They do a good job playing defense. They’re still pretty good on defense. They’re playing with some new guys in the box, it’s a little different for them this year, but out there on the perimeter, they’re playing pretty good.”

On Gary Patterson’s influence in Texas’ defense

“Sure, he’s very involved. I mean, I’m not in any of their meetings. I don’t know any of them, I just know that it looks that way to me.”

On how Oklahoma State’s receivers handled man-coverage from TCU

“We played okay. You know, obviously you have to be able to defeat (man coverage), but I’m gonna go back to if there’s a — you can play man and be one-dimensional defensively knowing that if you feel like you can hold up against the run in man and safeties can kind of cheat and help man, it’s a different way of playing man. So, instead of just saying I have you and there’s no help behind me, that’s a different, whole different cow.. And so, they played some of that against us when they didn’t feel like we could rush the ball very well. It kind of made us one dimensional.”

On when he would be comfortable with giving Jaden Nixon and Ollie Gordon more experience

“Well, as I said, we’re going to start working those guys in. Nixon is showing physicality, and he’s playing on kickoff return. And when he was playing in the game, he did just fine. So, as he evolves, he’s earned the right to get more carries. But I want to say that it’s not necessarily that we need to take them from [Dominic Richardson]. [Richardson’s] running good for us, but I’m concerned about his total carries. And then Ollie [Gordon] gets better every day, but he’s still a freshman. And freshmen, you have to be real careful of them at that particular position. See, they got [Bijan Robinson], good player that they’ve got down there at running back. If you look at some of him early in his career, he’s a whole different guy now than he was when he’s a freshman. Just mature. I mean, he’s a first-round pick now.”

On what challenges Texas’ run game presents

“[Bijan Robinson] is a good player. The other back they put in there, (Roschon Johnson), is a good player. You know, [Quinn Ewers] obviously flips it around pretty good. [Xavier Worthy] is dynamic, [Worthy] is a threat wherever he is, whenever, catching it, running it, throwing it. He can do a lot of things. [Ja’Tavion Sanders] is a unique player. [Sanders] is a hybrid tight end, they use him in the blocking game some, but he runs and plays like a wideout. So, they use him doing some different things. He’s a good player. You know, the left tackle they have, (Kelvin Banks Jr.), the one we had committed here for a long time, good news is he won’t be here but three years. He’ll be gone. But he’s a good player. So, they look kind of like what they have. They’re always going to have a couple wideouts that can burn 4.4 (40 yard dash). They’ve always had five-star running backs and this quarterback throws it around pretty good.”

On Quinn Ewers being less of a mobile quarterback

“Makes it a little easier for us from that standpoint. Obviously you got to be aware — most quarterbacks in this league take off and run on you. We did a good job with [Max Duggan] Saturday. I thought we did a really good job. Hard to do, because you’re a half-man short. They’re protecting [Ewers]. They use a lot of slide protection and they use backs and tight ends on the edge. And they’re max protecting, what I would call, and doing some down-field plays. They have fast guys, so they can run all over the place. And they’re protecting him on purpose, I’m sure. I mean, he knows he’s a freshman, [Steve Sarkisian] knows he’s a freshman, and he’s smart. He’s going to protect him and that’s what they’re doing. And he doesn’t want to take off and run much in my opinion. They don’t try and design runs for him.”

On whether he was pleased with how Oklahoma State contained Max Duggan

“Again, I got back to, when you play a team that spreads out, and then they have [Quinton Johnston], you have to be aware of where [Johnston] is all the time, I mean ya’ll watched him. We tried to defend him and he still made a bunch of plays. But you have to be aware of him, and you have to be aware of the quarterback run. So that takes away from your pass rush. You can’t just have at him, because if he slips out and takes off, I mean, you all watch him run on TV. Most of time you end up chasing him and you don’t catch him. And so, we had to be aware of that, we had to be aware of [Johnston], so they kind of get you spread out. And they have that advantage now with what they’re doing. So, similar to you know the years that we had James Washington, and then we had, you know, I don’t know, Kendall (Hunter), or Justice Hill, whoever, and then you had a backside threat. They had to worry about that guy, and over the top and then worry about Marcell Ateman, and then worry about stopping the run game. So they’re spread across the field, and that’s really what TCU has going now in my opinion, and [Kendre Miller] is a good player. He’s a good runner. I mean, these two guys for Texas, and then [Miller] is really good. The Kansas State guy, (Deuce Vaughn), is pretty good too, I just haven’t seen him. He’s supposed to be pretty good.”

On whether he got any clarification on the substitution rule

“I don’t call Greg [Burks] on Sunday. Greg is involved with NFL and all that. I’ll call him today and try to find out how we’re going to do this. I just want to know how we’re going to do it. When they do that [substitution signal] when we go on the field, we should get a chance to come off the field. That’s the rule, in my opinion. Now, I need to call and find out.”

On players slowly jogging off the field during those subs

“Everybody in the league is doing it. Tech was really good at it against us. I mean, really good at it, right? They were really good. I guess the best way to put it is it’s just a part of the game that’s going on that needs to be eliminated, but most everybody’s using it. So, we need to clarify it, and it’s funny you guys bring that up because I was thinking about it last night driving home, you almost want a timer to go off. You want another clock, in my opinion. So the rule says when somebody subs, then the guy in the back, he turns over and does [the substitution signal]. That means you have three seconds to sub. If somebody starts on the field, then he holds it until that guy gets on that guy gets off and then he puts it down and he walks away. That’s the rule, but it’s not working for some reason. There’s too much of a human involvement and human error. And I think the officials would agree, everything that we can do to take the officials out of the game where human error cannot be a factor would be better. That’s why eventually we’re going to see balls and strikes called in the big leagues without an umpire back there because that takes the human element out of it.”

“So once he turns and does [the substitution signal], if we have a guy start to jog on, [the official] should be able to walk away and there should be a clock go off, like the 40-second clock. You got 12 seconds, 10 seconds, I don’t care, you gotta get that guy off the field because when that clock goes to zero, the ball can be snapped and it’s your fault. And then what that does is that takes away the human element of how fast you sub and how fast you don’t sub. Unfortunately, in my opinion, that’s what’s eventually going to have to happen because people use it as a weapon just like the fake injuries on a turbo team. That’s been greatly reduced this year because they’ve got moral rules put in effect that could affect your team if you don’t follow them. It’s been reduced, which is good. So anyway, I think they’re gonna have to come up with an extra clock as much as I hate to say it because how do you really say you’re jogging off too slow and you’re not? Who’s to judge that? I might call [Burks], and he might say, ‘Hey, your guy is jogging off too slow. So we just said it’s your fault.’ I’m good, but that doesn’t say that the rulebook.”

On whether he thought the officials policed it differently during the game

“It changed obviously because [the officials gave the substitution signal] and we came on the field then they threw the flag on us, so it changed.

“But let me say this, I think this is a good discussion for the future, but that’s not why we lost the game. They made plays and made good calls in the end. We didn’t. But we need to get this figured out because that element we need to take out of the game.”

On the issue showing up more this season as teams move faster offensively

“No doubt. It’s showing up more this year. So what happens is, you guys know, going fast, going fast, going fast, you’re wanting to sub. Well, if they sub then you start looking to send everybody in, and then they do it slow to give themselves a rest. That’s why they’re doing it, and it’s happening more this year because most everybody in this league is playing fast now.”

On it being an advantage for teams with more depth

“They’re controlling the clock. There’s a long story behind it, and it helps you control the disguise. There’s a reason why everybody’s doing it. So, we’re going to have to come up with, I don’t care what we do. It doesn’t make a difference to me. We just need a standard, and this is the way it is, and we all have to live by it, and I’m good with it.”

On how late in the play clock he feels comfortable making an offensive substitution

“Well, that’s why I don’t know because I don’t know how long they’re gonna hold it. See what I’m saying. So that’s why we’re gonna have to come up with some way to do this because we can sub with about 18, if they give them three seconds, and then somebody comes on and somebody goes off then it should be like eightish, sevenish. We’re fine. But if they wait longer or if they let him bring a guy and then another guy comes out three seconds later, that’s a problem. So, we just need some sort of consistency. It’s nobody’s fault, but we need, in my opinion, some consistency that way that part is taken out of the game.”

On Texas’ defense

“They’re the same every year, right? They’re big up front. They don’t play with small guys. They don’t play with undersized guys. All their backers are thick and they can run. They’re in a challenging mode more this year than they were last year. They’re playing more man this year than they were last year. But, you know, they’re playing with NFL guys on defense. It’s the same thing they’ve always played with.”

On the parity of college football this past weekend

“NIL and the portal has created that. I’ve talked about it in here for a month. I just started watching a couple games, seeing some scores and stuff, and I don’t really see anybody play many games, but I said this last week it’s turning into the NFL. Two weeks ago the Patriots were 1-3, and the Rams were 2-3 a week ago. They just won the Super Bowl. Patriots have a good coach. How are they 1-3? There’s so much parity. And now it’s trickled down to this level with free agency basically and NIL. Now it’s trickled down to this level. And then what you’re seeing is how a portal move, a couple of portal moves, or a couple NIL deals, whatever, can take a team from three or four losses and make them an eight-win team just like that. And so now you’re getting tons of parity, and I didn’t see one play of the Tennessee game or Alabama game or whatever. I did see a little bit of the game you’re talking about with Utah because it was late at night. They had a good battle. Kid from Texas [Cameron Rising] played good late in the game.”

On him not recruiting the portal as much as others

“I just believe in developing the ones in our program, and those discussions could go on forever. We try to recruit the right players that we think that can fit in our culture and do what we do in our schemes and develop them. It works against you, like we had some guys leave here. [Monroe Mills] that’s playing Tech, he would be starting for us now. He felt like he was going to be a backup, so he left, which is fine. I’m just saying that he’d be starting for us. Obviously Jarrick (Bernard-Converse) would be starting. (Tanner) McCalister would be starting. (Jayden) Jernigan at Missouri would be starting. So, you take a certain number of guys and they vacate and you tried to replace them with young kids. So what you’re saying is correct in the fact that we have to decide whether we can replace them with young kids and get them developed fast enough or you start trying to work the same free agency and get guys in and get them developed over a six-month period. So, as of now, we’re trying to develop our people. But those discussions go on all the time, as you can imagine, in the in the staff room. Everybody has an answer.”

On finding a middle ground of developing young players and bringing in transfers

“We’ve tried to do that because we’ve used the portal. We brought in three or four kids. So we’re trying to do just what you said. But if we think we have young players that are going to develop, we’re going to stay with those guys because they understand our culture. Different than a new guy coming in that we have to train, which takes a little bit of time.”

On OSU’s special teams

“We were good Saturday, with the exception of we missed two tackles, and they got a 30-yard return. That’s gonna happen some, and that guy’s good player. That’s gonna happen. Our guys make people miss. Tom (Hutton) has been unbelievable for us, but he got one punt in the middle of field. When you punt in the middle of field, you’re covering 52 yards. We normally punt over on the numbers, and we’re covering about 15 yards. That’s where we weren’t as effective as we should have been in those areas. But I still like our special teams, and I like our skill special teams. Those guys who are playing very well.”

On Tanner Brown’s 52-yard field goal

“We don’t do awards or any of that stuff if we don’t end the game ahead of the other team. But there was three things that happened in that game they need to know. The first fourth down they tried to run, 4th-and-2 or whatever, when Jabbar (Muhammad) and (Thomas) Harper stopped them, they had us at first, and Jabbar comes back and does a couple things and gets him banged around and then Harper comes and finishes him. We stopped him. When that play started, we had our back against the wall. They had us. Let’s put it that way. Then in overtime, we had fourth down and I don’t know what it was when we spread out, we protected it, had good time, the quarterback progressed, Braydon (Johnson) found the open area where they got out of coverage. We sat, we threw it, got to the 1-yard line. We had our backs against the wall there. Then we certainly had our backs against the wall when we had to kick a 52-yarder just to stay alive. We did those three things. Those are things that need to be pointed out for our team. They need to understand that. And those were all on the road against, at that time, the crowd was a factor. With 8:50 left, the crowd became a factor in the game. Prior to that, the crowd was not a factor at all. And those guys performed at a big time, with the exception for the fourth down that was early in the game.”

On whether Saturday feels like an elimination game for the Big 12 title

“I don’t know. I hadn’t thought about it. Either way we got to go play, but I think there’s gonna be somebody in that game. With two losses this year. I really haven’t paid much attention to who’s doing what. … Could be. They all could be from here on out. But, you know, I don’t really have to think about it because it won’t do me any good anyway. Doesn’t give me an advantage.”

On settling for field goals in the red zone

“College football is about finishing with touchdowns and not field goals, and our defense did exactly that on Saturday in the first half — held them to field goals and we scored touchdowns. Then in the second half, we ended up kicking field goals, and they scored touchdowns. Then overtime ended up being the difference. Kick too many field goals, and it’s going to be tough.

“College football is about finishing with touchdowns and not field goals, and our defense did exactly that on Saturday in the first half — held them to field goals and we scored touchdowns. Then in the second half, we ended up kicking field goals, and they scored touchdowns. Then overtime ended up being the difference. Kick too many field goals, and it’s going to be tough maintenance in that problem in the red zone that you guys have been able to. Most of what we have to get accomplished on offense is rushing the ball effectively enough to balance who we are. Doesn’t make a difference where we are on the field. If we can rush the ball a little bit better and we can balance up, we can avoid being one dimensional, makes us a better team.”

On Texas tackle Kelvin Banks who, at one point, was committed to OSU

“He came up here when we was about a freshman or something, a sophomore, he was young. In fact, I almost remember him being up here when he was like 14 years old. He was like 6-6, 320, and he was like 14. Come in my office with his family, his mom and dad, and then he came back again. And then they committed. They loved it here and so on, so forth. And then Texas got him from us at the end. That’s the best I remember.”

Most Read