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The Rundown: Everything Mike Gundy Said Monday at Weekly Presser

Gundy said some good stuff on offensive tackle Teven Jenkins.



With a coffee mug that read “you are my sunshine,” Mike Gundy held his weekly media teleconference Monday morning.

Oklahoma State heads into its third game of the season at 2-0, and here is everything the Cowboys’ coach said heading into the Pokes’ game against Kansas.

Opening Statement

“I was on track after the game on Saturday with West Virginia. Now we’re just getting ready for Kansas and trying to keep everybody focused and have a good week of practice is really the challenge during this season.”

On the offensive line’s performance Saturday and the importance of keeping a group together

“We’re at a little disadvantage now. We’re playing guys that have never played before at this level and some new guys. But they played a little better this week. We got a long ways to go. We’re getting great effort from them. They’re taking coaching, they are buying into our culture here at Oklahoma State. So we’ll continue to work them. Hopefully they get a little better each week.”

On whether Saturday provided the offensive line with confidence

“Charlie Dickey and Kasey Dunn are the ultra positive people, so they’ve got them believing that they’re better than they are anyway. I’m not concerned with that. They’ve done a great job of coaching them and instilling confidence in them, trying to be as simple as possible, give them a chance to play with a clear mind.”

On if winning games through defense takes a mindset adjustment

“It’s completely different. If you look around the league, I haven’t seen much, I saw a little bit of Baylor-Kansas because it was at night, but the only guy that’s burning out bulbs is [Texas offensive coordinator Mike] Yurcich. Everybody else is playing differently based on the defenses that we’re seeing in this league. The defensive structures in this league have changed considerably in the last two years.

“You’re not seeing as many high-scoring games based on the structure of defenses. The games have slowed down more than they were. Years ago, everybody played fast. Teams have slowed down some. We still play fast. Yurcich must be playing fast because he’s burning some bulbs out down there on their scoreboard at Texas. It’s just changed over the last couple of years, and defenses have made an adjustment.

“It’s different. For me, my job is to game-manage. If a defense is playing good, on fourth-and-short, you punt. If your defense is struggling and you don’t have a lot of confidence in their ability to stop them, you go for a lot of fourth downs. There’s been several fourth downs that we would have gone for in the past here, but right now we’re just punting and playing defense.”

On Amen Ogbongbemiga

“He’s a very intelligent player. He’s come a long way. His effort’s been really good. As I mentioned to you guys, our conditioning, our cardio is probably 75 percent of what it has been my last 15 years here as a head coach going into Game 3. That affects everybody. It is effecting him a little bit, but the thing that we’re getting out of him is he is a very intelligent player. He helps to set the defense, and he’s playing with great effort. And he’s been productive. He’s making a lot of tackles.”

On if there is anything that looks different about Chuba Hubbard

“He hasn’t broke a long one yet. He hasn’t made that last guy miss and broke a long one yet. That’ll come with him. But, as I mentioned, Chuba or anybody else, you gotta take care of the football. We were very fortunate on Saturday. We had the ball on the ground a number of times, and the other team didn’t get it. Our players understand that. We have to take care of the football much better than we have in the last couple games.”

On whether Hubbard is a victim of his success from last season

“I don’t have any idea with that. I don’t know. Everybody has an opinion, and I don’t really listen to much that’s going on out there. So I’m not sure. He’s obviously had a lot of success, and I think as the season moves on, he’ll pick it up and have more success.”

On if Hubbard is playing up to Gundy’s standards

“Well, he doesn’t need to play up to my standards. He needs to play up to his standards. We put him in a position to have success, guys have gotta play hard and make plays on their own. They’re responsible to their teammates and to themselves moreso than the coaches.”

On how Shane Illingworth played after watching film

“The same as what I told you after the game. If you’re grading him out as a college quarterback, he was below average. If you’re grading him out as a second game of your career, he was average. I expected that just based on last week when he came in, there wasn’t any pressure. He wasn’t expecting to play. Now he had to get prepared to play and toward the end of the week, Spencer, we didn’t feel like he would be 100 percent, so he plays and he probably had some nerves and other things that affect your play as a young quarterback.”

On determining whether OSU goes with Spencer Sanders or Shane Illingworth on Saturday

“Obviously, Spencer, he’s gonna feel a lot better. He practiced last night, and I’m guessing when we go out Tuesday, he’ll be in better condition. The reps were in Shane’s favor last week, and I would say by the middle of the week the reps will be in Spencer’s favor, just based on what we see. But we’ll have to wait and see on Tuesday or Wednesday with Spencer.”

On Rodarius Williams

“He’s playing good. Everybody on defense is playing good. We’ve asked them to give great effort. We’re gonna play a lot of guys. Bring their own party with enthusiasm because we’re playing in limited-capacity stadiums. At this point, they’re playing fast, they’re coming together as a group and they’re playing reckless. They can have success if they practice hard each week. It’s the old coach’s cliché, but it is what it is. If they bust their butt and practice hard and come together as a group, run around, they can keep playing well. If they start to listen to people tell them how good they are, not practice as well, they’ll get 40 hung on them. It’s just the way it is.”

On how he gameplans differently with a lesser experienced quarterback

“Our gameplan can stay the same with the exception of tagging quarterback runs. The running plays that we have, we can tag with quarterback reads on every play. Our passing system stays the same. It’s really a simple process for us. We’ve run this system now for, I don’t know, 10 or 11 years, and we just adjust it based on quarterback play, whether we tag quarterback runs on it. But our passing game pretty much stays the same as it has been for the past 10 years.”

On how tough it is to win with a backup quarterback in the Big 12

“It’s not easy because they don’t get the reps at Oklahoma State. I don’t know how other schools divide up their reps, but our starter, particularly in an August preseason practice is gonna get 90 percent of the reps. So your backups gonna get 8 to 10. The other guy is just gonna get what’s left, which is not much. I mean, I can add to 100. But particularly in preseason camp.

“Losing a quarterback in the first game like that, like last week, that kinda derailed us as you can see by our offensive production because we just haven’t gotten the other guys much work based on early in the season. As the season goes on and we’ve had good fortune with quarterbacks staying healthy, those guys will get more work. The twos will get more work during the season, but we haven’t given our backups much work in August preseason camp this year.”

On if his success with backup quarterbacks is because he generally has good backups

“Unfortunately we’ve had to use one, I think, seven of the last 10 years, we’ve had to use backup quarterbacks. I think three of those years we had to go to the third-team guy. I don’t know what it is with us, and we’re not a big quarterback run team, particularly those last few years.

“What we do is try to keep it as simple as possible. Our system is built to where a guy can come in and function if he understands a couple things on every play. The simplicity allows another guy to come in and distribute the ball where it needs to be.

“We’ve got good skill players. We’ve been very fortunate at wide out and running back, so if they can distribute the ball and get the ball in the hands of the guys that can make touchdowns, then they end up getting pretty decent numbers at quarterback.”

On if there is another level of adjustment that needs made playing in a road venue with limited capacity

“It’s something that we discussed yesterday in the meeting I had with the players on Sunday night when I go over the upcoming opponent and give my opinion on what’s going on, I did mention that. I think we had more people at the game in the West Virginia game than in the other game. I don’t pay any attention to that, but it looked like to me there were more people there, so they might have sold some more tickets.

“Kansas is supposedly letting 10,000 in is what somebody told me, so I had that discussion with our team. You have to cover it. You have to talk to them about it. It’s gonna be quiet in most stadiums. I’ve used the term you gotta bring your own party this year. You’re not gonna show up and the party is there waiting on you. You gotta bring your own enthusiasm. That’s the message that we’ve given the team this season.”

On if he has had further discussions with the team about COVID-19 protocols on the road

“It’s the same. I’ve talked so much about COVID that it stays the same each week. I talked to them again after the game because it’s no secret, they’re college kids and my concern is them going out and getting amongst the crowd and being social. It’s out there. It’s particularly in kids ages 17 to 25. It’s all over the place. Most of them don’t even know they have the virus. They tested again yesterday. We’ll test again Wednesday. We’ll test again early Friday morning. I stress the importance of we have to try to avoid a setback. We’ve been unbelievable here with our medical training with our doctors and what we’ve accomplished by bringing guys in early, and we’ve been in a really good position.

“Now we have to be a little careful of what the second wave can actually do to you from an athletic standpoint because we’ve got several players that are out of that 90-day window now. Believe it or not, guys that had it in May and June, if you start adding up days, you’re starting to get into October, so you could start to get the resurgence if it’s gonna show back up. We don’t know. That’s what concerns us, not just necessarily for eligible players but to try to keep the virus at a minimum right now with where it’s at.

“We’ve made good strides on this campus. The other students are getting educated in my opinion. So you wanna try to keep it down as much as possible. That education is important for our players.”

On what changes for the team traveling this year

“You just space out and you wear masks. When we’re in confined areas, you wear a mask and you’re spaced out differently than what you would be. You sit on an airplane and you would have an open seat and then another player. Now I think they’re every other row or something like that. We haven’t been on a plane, so I’m not for sure. I just know they said they were gonna space everybody out. Then you require your mask when you’re in a confined area.

On hotels

“We’ve had everybody paired up with a virus guy and a non-virus guy, so you don’t get tracing. The tracing is what’s getting you. I mean, I don’t know what’s getting everybody else, but what can get you is the tracing. One guy gets it and the other four guys have got to go to two-week primary because they’ve been in the area. So we don’t put two guys in one room that have not had the virus because if one guy gets it, the other guy is automatically a trace guy unless he can prove to them he had a mask on and stayed six feet away from him, which you could, but it’s pretty rare.”

On Alex Hale

“Well, I don’t want to look in the bag and count what I’ve got with him. He’s just been good. I was afraid somebody was gonna ask that question, but he’s been really good in August. He’s been really good. I don’t know with kickers and punters. I don’t have any idea what makes them tick or what they do, but he doesn’t say much. He’s very calm. He’s got good composure. He doesn’t get rattled. They tell me his technique is good.

“We’re 2-0 because in the first two games our special teams have been very good. We certainly haven’t done enough on offense to win games, and our defense has played well. But our special teams has been the deciding factor in my opinion in the first two games.”

On how much emphasis he has put on special teams

“We stressed more this year. I changed some things this year. I would like to take credit for it, but again, when you’re talking about special teams and kicking and punting, it’s hard to really decide what makes a difference unless you allow an enormous amount of time, enormous is probably a bad word. … If you don’t amount a lot of time into it like Kansas State used to, then you just kinda try to do the best you can. We’ve made some adjustments on special teams in our approach this year, and so far that’s worked out well for us. I’m pleased with the results at this time.”

On a fumble recovery drill he has the offensive linemen do and how it paid off Saturday

“They did a good job and [Jason Taylor] did a great job of laying out on the one on kickoff. We were very fortunate in that game that we got those back. We’ve done that offensive lineman recovery drill for as long as I can remember. There is an art to recovery a fumble, particularly with big guys. When you’re over 300 pounds, the laws of physics, somebody who’s 300 pounds jumps on an object that’s not square or flat on an edge, it’s gonna squirt and go the other way. Those guys are doing a good job with that. That was a big part of the game.”

On Teven Jenkins

“Teven is an interesting young man. He doesn’t even know how good he is, and he doesn’t know how much he’s worth, if you just want me to call it like it is. He is uncharacteristically strong. I watched him in the weight room this summer, I think he hit 225 like 35 times. They weren’t even counting. He was just doing it. He has tremendous feet. He’s got good leverage. He’s highly intelligent. His work ethic is getting better this year.

“I’ve actually told him several times over the last couple years, I was serious but somewhat joking with him in the weight room when there would be a bunch of guys working, and I said, ‘You know, Teven, can you name the one person in this weight room that’s worth $40 million?” And he looks at me like I’m trying to give him a haircut or something, and he says, ‘No.’ And I said, ‘You if you decide to work really hard. If you decided to just say you know what, I’m gonna do it, you’re the guy.’ That’s the kind of talent that he has. If he just gets his mind focused on ‘That’s what I wanna do,’ that’s the level that he can get to.

“Kinda like with the kicker, I don’t really wanna look in the bag and count my eggs yet, but in this last game he actually played a little bit nasty, like what you have to do to be a really good player and to play in the NFL. We were happy with what he did. He was our offensive player of the game. It’s pretty hard for a lineman to be offensive player of the game.”

On Cole Birmingham’s and Hunter Anthony’s statuses

“They won’t be with us this week. Those guys will be out a few weeks. They have more extensive ankle, you know that ankle injury that takes, I don’t know, can take four weeks or eight weeks. We can’t ever predict it based on the separation of the ligament and the bone and how high it comes up on the Achilles. Those guys will be out a while.”

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