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The Rundown: Gundy Talks Central Michigan, Coaching Past 65 and More

Gundy said a lot of good stuff Thursday.

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STILLWATER — Mike Gundy held his first media luncheon of the year Thursday, meaning it must be football season.

Gundy went for about 45 minutes about Oklahoma State’s game against Central Michigan, coaching past 65, his discussions with new Big 12 commissioner Brett Yormark and more. Here is the video of his news conference with written out quotes below.

Opening statement

“Everything’s on par for us. Obviously, a week out and we’re doing good. “

What he’s seen from Central Michigan

“I see a tough football team. They’ve had a few transfers. Just watching last year, highly competitive, very physical up front. I see a lot of MAC football because they play during the week. You guys are probably like I am late at night. You’re flipping and you’re like, ‘I’m going to watch a little ball.’ You get to watch a game where it’s raining and it’s 30 degrees on a Tuesday night or whatever. I watched a lot of it and they are exactly what from a distance I see with that conference is they are physical up front, they’re tough, they’re back is physical — he’s part of what they are. Head coach is a good offensive guy, he’s a good playcaller. From the outside looking in they believe in toughness. Quarterback is athletic. Had a really, really good pass rush last year. They don’t try to do too much, in my opinion. They’re good at what they do.”

On whether a tough game will be a good measuring stick for OSU’s new linebackers

“It will be. They want to be physical up front, they want to double team, they want to come off and hit a backer in the mouth. There’s some old school involved in what they’re doing. They want to get into tight end wings ,they want to get in unbalanced. Based off what they’ve done, there’s a little bit of Les Miles offense look to it. You guys that have been around a while, a tight end wing shift, a tight end wing come right at you, run to the other side of the wing, see if you can make adjustments, can you get gap sound?”

On which position groups he is looking forward to seeing in-game

“[Linebacker] will be an interesting position. Those guys haven’t played. We have the same with a couple safeties and we have the same for the running back position. Those will be the positions that I’m sure you guys will watch like myself to see how mature we are at those positions at this stage of the game.”

On the team’s health compared to this time last year

Well, we have some uncertainty with the twin (Blaine Green) and then Jeff Roberson, which he’s out for the year, which I think you guys probably already know that.  I don’t know what you do or don’t know. But we’re better off than we were. This time last year, it was really scary. So, we’re further ahead now from a health standpoint than we were at this time last year.

On whether he was concerned with health at this time last year

“I was really concerned, yeah. Unfortunately, I was right. Then it got kinda worse through Games 2 and 3 and I can’t even remember up to Game 4. Then it got better. We always have to worry about health at Oklahoma State on the offensive line, so we need to stay healthy at that position. Then running back’s always a concern; those guys take hits. Overall, the health of our team now is certainly better than it was this time last year.”

“We practiced hard. We competed. We went at it just like we did last year. So we’re just a little more fortunate than we were at this time last year.”

On Trace Ford

“He’s doing good. Scientifically, he’s in great shape. I don’t want to repeat myself but I’ve said this a number of times — when you have an injury like he had it kinda messed with you a little bit. Then when you have two of them, I would think it would really mess with you mentally. So, you have to push through some mental strain and some stress. I think he’s finally getting there. My personal opinion is once the game starts, the action’s going, the juices are flowing, the crowd’s into it, I think he’s gonna go out there and play hard.”

On Ford being listed on the other side of the defensive line

“Those guys are going to be interchangeable. We move those guys around a lot. So, they’ll be all over the place. You won’t really notice much different.”

On whether this is the deepest defensive line he has had

“Well, we were really deep last year and we’re deep this year, whether we’re really deep or not, I don’t know. We’ll see. There’ll be a few guys that we’re trying to get reps out of — we’ll see how they play. Maybe I’m standing here at the third or fourth game saying we’re really deep again. But I’m definitely comfortable with where we’re at.

“Tyler is very athletic for his size. He’s at 285 now. There’s times we’ll put him at the edge and let him rush and play some downs inside, which is going to help him. His attitude’s been really good, his practice habits, his mind’s clear. He’s not caught up in a bunch of stuff that doesn’t have a factor in the game, which that can happen sometimes with seniors. We’ve all seen that. His mind’s in a good place right now. His work habit’s in a good place right now. So, moving him around and playing some different positions is going to help our team and it’s going to help his future.”

On Kendal Daniels

“You know ‘Major League’, the movie, like the Wild Thing? He honestly reminds me of the pitcher that’s throwing 100 and not really sure. When he lines up, he’s going to look as good as anybody in the country and he’s going to be active and all that. We’re just hoping he’s going the right direction right now. And he’s better and better every day, but don’t put him out there so far. He’s going to make mistakes now, so we have to understand that. But he’s going to look really good doing it. And that’s really where he’s at right now. I’m just as excited as you are about watching him. He’s in a good place mentally. He’s mature, in my opinion, he’s handled himself the way he should, his mind’s clear and I think he’ll play well. He’s going to make some mistakes.”

On whether having seniors in Jason Taylor and Thomas Harper around him will help

“Guys are going to have to help. Central Michigan’s going to get in some unbalanced, double wings and things that take time to prepare for. When you’re a first-year player and you’re on the field and your heart’s beating out of your chest and you can’t hear as well and you’re sweating and it’s hot, sometimes you need a little help. Somebody to help get you lined up and those guys should be able to give him a little boost in that area.”

On Collin Clay

“He’s done well. Honestly he’s in the same category as Trace (Ford). I’ve been very pleased with his team full-speed production over the last month. He’s in there. He’s getting involved. He’s getting on the ground. He’s getting in physical contact. He hasn’t shown up on any of our injury reports, where he’s a little dinged up. So, I’m very pleased with where he’s at. I’m very excited about watching him also. He’s another guy — I mean, he’s got to be 300 now. Yeah, he’s 310 is what they’re saying. He looks really good. Where is his endurance? I don’t know. We’ll find out. He hadn’t played since ‘Rocky’ the movie.”

On whether there was curiosity to how Collin Clay would handle contact

“He hasn’t played in what, two years? Probably the last time he played, y’all watched him at Putnam City (High). Seriously. So, when you’re 310 pounds and you haven’t played in a couple years, there’s an endurance issue, right? It’s like football and wrestling. There’s football shape, and you get a break. You get huddles sometimes and you get a timeout or something. Wrestling, you never stop. It’s continuous action. Two kinds of different physical conditions. And his physical condition to me is further ahead than what I thought it would be since he hasn’t played in so many years. We’ll see.”

On whether Mason Cobb and Xavier Benson will lineup correctly regularly or if that will take time

“I hope so. I think there’s a better chance a large majority of the time they’ll line up right. Sometimes, can they get confused because it’s new? Sure. I’d be willing to bet 100% that’ll happen at times. Most of them it does. Now, Benson, he’s somewhat of a vet because he’s played at a high level. His heart rate and his adrenaline shouldn’t be the extreme of what a Cobb would be, or what a (Lamont) Bishop would be, or a Nick Martin, those guys that are going to be in there, because they haven’t done it yet. Benson should be a little more mature in my opinion. 

“Hopefully we can minimize that. That comes down to us right? We got to be smart. Keep them in the ballpark. Don’t give them too much, let them play fast, right? We all know that if they’re thinking, they’re not playing fast. We want them to play fast. To answer the question, yeah, there are going to be times where they probably go the wrong way.”

On what he needs the linebackers to be

“That’s good question. We need them to minimize what you mentioned. So defensively, everybody in the room knows we have a gap responsibility. We’re supposed to have one in every gap to prevent you from rushing the football. They’re just trying to block you out of a gap so they can rush the ball. We need them, the large majority of the time, to be where they’re supposed to be. If they’ll do that from a simplistic standpoint, and play hard and be physical, they’ll be alright. And then they should be better the next week and then hopefully a little bit better the next week. Because if they’re not then we’re not coaching them right. So, if we don’t improve by position and by individual each week, then we got an issue with the coaching. So hopefully they’ll continue to get better as they mature.”

On Caleb Etienne

“He’s come a long ways. You know, Caleb went through COVID — everybody knows the story, right? He’s from New Orleans, went to junior college, they didn’t practice, didn’t work out, didn’t do anything. Came in here and I think they generously said he weighed 365. Might have been more than that. So then he dropped 40 pounds or so, got in shape. He cleared his mind. He’s in a good place mentally right now. He’s gonna make mistakes. But he’s a big guy making them, right? He’s a big, massive guy who needs to continue to increase his physical play, which we all know that, but in a weird way, he’s still young, he’s still a kid, because he’s not done it at this level. 

“The good news is he’s been able to go out and practice against those good defensive ends that we have and let them kick his butt. And so, we have two choices when we’re getting our butt kicked: we can turn and run or we can fight back. That’s the only two choices we have in life. He’s fighting back now. So, he falls in the same category as what he mentioned is, now three weeks from now he needs to be better. Five weeks from now he needs to continue to improve and learn that it’s okay to be really, really physical and grind and I think he’ll become a decent player.”

On Jason Brooks

“More mature than that; coming along. Sure would like to get him some snaps. Obviously he’s come from another Division I program, so he’s further along. But we don’t know. We’ll have to wait and see. But he has worked hard and he has put himself in a position that if he’s in or he needs to be in and we decide to rotate him in, he should be able to play.”

On what Caleb Etienne can be long term

“Well, with with his God given ability, if he decides to be a physical football player, and he continues to work and mentally he’s in the right place, he can play the game for quite a while. I mean, you and I can’t, right? That’s not going to happen for us. But for him, it can happen. And I guess that’s what you’re asking me? But, he’s got a lot of work. It takes a lot of work. Guys that play at that level, you know, they’re not willing to give up a spot to just anybody. That’s a paycheck. Their wifes like to go to the mall, or go on Amazon now. I guess we don’t go to the mall. But my point being is, if he works hard and buys into Rob Glass, he’s got a chance to play the game for a while.”

On if there is someone on the defense that can take over directional leadership role Malcolm Rodriguez had

“Tyler Lacy’s going to do it. [Jason Taylor II] is going to do it. Brock Martin is going to do it. Brenden Evers is going to do it. Colin Oliver doesn’t say much. Trace Ford, they don’t say much. So, you know, then you get to what is a leader? Some people use the term, lead by example. Navy SEALs don’t believe in that, right? They say you have to be vocal to be a real leader. Can’t just lead by example. You need to pull people along with you. So those are some good examples of guys I think will help lead.”

On where Collin Oliver goes with his game

“He needs to just keep doing what he’s doing. So, with a player like him, his challenge, in my opinion, and this is not directed necessarily at him, I’ll get back to him since you asked a question about him. Any player that’s performed as well as he did as a freshman only has to worry about defeating themselves, the guy in the mirror. And that’s staying humble and working hard. That’s an issue. When you have production early in your career, and you listen to people tell you how good you are, your production level has a chance to go down, because you’re not hungry. Right? It’s like Mike Tyson, right? When Mike Tyson was fighting for survival, he wore black trunks, black shoes, no socks. Nobody wanted (to be) in the ring with him. Then when he started winning and listening, money got to be a factor, changed managers, started doing all the other things over the world, all across the country. He now wasn’t as good a fighter. That’s what Colin Oliver needs to do, in my opinion. 

“He’s been good. He works hard. He’s staying humble. I don’t say a word to him all the time, except, ‘Collin, just stay humble. Just stay humble and stay who you are, and stay hungry. You’ll be just fine. So far, he’s done that.”

On his talks with Brett Yormark when Yormark visited Stillwater this week

“He’s very well educated on all the schools in this league. Obviously, he didn’t get to where he was by not being a planner and being smart, high-intelligent. He is that. I had a long meeting with him, probably an hour and 10 minutes or something. He wants information. He meets the criteria of what people do that are eager to learn and trying to get out there and be innovative. I don’t think it’s any secret, he’s he agrees with all of us. He thinks that the conference realignment is just to getting started. It’s just starting now. I think he believes, and I don’t want to speak for him, you can ask him directly, but one thing I like about him is he’ll tell you the truth. I mean, he’s a straight shooter. I’m in heaven. I have a commissioner that’s a straight shooter, I got a president that’s a straight shooter and an AD that’s a straight shooter. I’ve never been so happy in my life. I’m a straight shooter. Sometimes it works against me, but I am. He says that it’s just getting started. It’s kind of funny because it’s gotten quiet now for a month, right? I mean, we haven’t really heard a lot, so that means is going on. I’m very comfortable with him. We made a great decision in hiring him. He’s in the process, which people know this, it’s no secret, of hiring whatever title he’s going to give to replace Ed Stewart, who’s going to be the director of football for this conference. And he wants to know an opinion on who that person needs to be because he wants that person to take control of football, and he wants to go do what he thinks is important for long-term financial security with television contracts. That was what I got out of that meeting.”

On what conference realignment just getting started means for the Big 12

“I think he’s a wheeler dealer. I wouldn’t even begin to know where to start with him. He knows so much about the schools in this league, and he knows so much about the Pac-12 schools just because of what’s happened, and I was shocked. He didn’t say this, but if anything — in my opinion — conference realignment, if anything happens it’s going to be this league [the Big 12] going probably [west]. I don’t know that any of us, maybe him subconsciously, thinking that much is going to go [east]. I think that’s what I got out of it. But he knows details on every school in that league, and I was shocked.”

On whether he had a suggestion as to who should replace Ed Stewart

“Well, Ed was good at what he did. Ed was football guy, and Ed is a communicator. He was able to communicate with people and head things that were going south off at the pass. That’s my opinion of Ed, and I hated that we lose him. But Brett, and again I’m maybe speaking out of turn and he can say I am which is fine, I think he’s looking for somebody to take that over that has a thorough background with football and could say, ‘We’re going to make football in this conference over a period of time the best it can be based on experience this guy brings with leagues that have experience with making football No. 1.’ Because we all know this — and I love basketball, I love wrestling, I love baseball — he knows that we need to secure a long-term television contract where athletic directors in this conference can pay the bills and they can budget and plan for the future. Otherwise, none of this is going to matter. He knows that.”

On whether he has thought about coming up on his 150th win

“I really haven’t. We’ve been very fortunate here to have a lot of success. Knock on wood, I feel better now than I have in years and years here. I’m thinking way down the line. I mean, I thought one time at 65 about checking in. I don’t see that happening now if I feel good. So, the next one doesn’t really do jack for me, honestly. It doesn’t, and I can tell you it did, but I’m worried about way down the line and trying to work with the commissioner and work with Dr. (Kayse) Shrum and Chad (Weiberg) and Reid (Sigmon) and our Board of Regents. We’re all tugging one direction now. And to try to build this to where at some point somebody’s going to take it over, and it’s gonna be a hell of a job. That’s my goal right now, not necessarily the one more win. But I’d like to win Thursday, I’m gonna be honest with you.”

On whether he reflects on what he has built

“I’m old enough now to reflect back and at least enjoy part of what I do. I’m just about to become an empty-nester, so that makes me sad every day. So, I reflect on that. I reflect on the job. I reflect on where we started. I’ve said this, and I don’t want to get into a long drawn-out deal, but I had this discussion the other day with Doug Gottlieb on the radio, from where we started when Coach (Les) Miles took that job [at LSU] to where we are now, I do reflect back on the success that we’ve had to build what we have here now for a Saturday game day that we can all be proud of. That to me, I get satisfaction out of it.”

On whether he can see himself coaching past 65

“I hope so. I mean, I want to stay healthy. I mean, I feel good. We have a big staff now. I don’t really do anything anymore. Honestly, I don’t. Gage, my 17-year-old, he comes in all the time and he sees me in my desk, usually I’m thinking, and he says, ‘You don’t do anything. What do you do? You just sit there.’ And I say, ‘Well, believe it or not, they pay me to think, so I’m thinking.’ Our staffs are so big now that everybody has responsibility and not many coaches leave us because it’s a great place to live and I’m a great person to work for, so I don’t really have to do much. Like, I could not have a staff meeting for a week and the thing would flow like normal. It wasn’t that way for 10 years for two reasons. One, I was out of control, and I was all over the place bouncing everywhere. And two, we had coaches leaving all the time. Then Coach (Mike) Holder said, ‘Hey, we’re stopping this. We’re doing long-term assistant coaches contracts,’ when nobody in the country did it. We were a trendsetter there. We stopped coaches leaving, except for (Joe) Wickline. Then coaches stay, place runs itself now.

“Most of the people that are in a director position for me, there’s been eight of them, they’ve been with me a long time. So, I don’t have to do much anymore. I just get to sit back and enjoy it, and I’ve also got to the point where I understand the journey and what it takes to get to the game Thursday night and be appreciative of that side of it moreso than actually what happens out there. And I know people say, ‘That’s crazy. You don’t want to win.’ Nobody wants to win for me, but I enjoy the journey. I enjoy watching Kendal Daniels. I enjoy watching Trace Ford rally back. I’ve enjoyed watching Spencer Sanders and what he’s gone through, so on and so forth. I’m happy. I enjoy that. I love watching the players. I tell the team, I told them the other day, ‘Look, the fun part for me is just getting started because I just get to stand here and watch you guys play. And I don’t really get real emotional because I’m proud of you.’ People will say, ‘Why aren’t you showing emotions?’ Because I don’t know. I just don’t know what to do. What do you want me to do? Jump up and down? That’s not who I am. I just like watching the game. And so I’m happy with where I am. I’m happy with the organization, and I’m happy with the direction this university and administration is going.”

On having two Black coordinators

“Well, first off, we hired leaders, men and coaches — they just happened to be minorities. I didn’t go looking for that. Sometimes people think that I guide people off one direction, but we went a direction two or three different times before we had hired Coach (Kasey) Dunn. The other ones were white. So, it wasn’t like I was just looking for a Black coordinator. I was looking for the fit. I was just telling Dunn the other day, which I try not to compliment him too much, but he’s really good at what he does now. We’ve been very fortunate, and selfishly I’ve been very fortunate, because we’ve had good play-callers here on offense. They’ve gone off and been very successful. He’s edging his way into that. He’s not there with a couple of them, but he’s getting close. He’s really good at what he does now.

“And then Coach (Derek) Mason brought all that experience that I’ve talked about, that I liked, no matter what color he was, honestly. He brought that here.

“But I will say this because it’s worked out that way, I think it’s a positive thing. We need to try and do more of that for all the right reasons. But, I don’t think we do it just because of a person’s color. I just don’t believe that. That’s just me. So, I’m excited about them. Dunn is going to be a head coach, if he chooses to. Dunn eventually, I think, he’s ready to be a coordinator in the NFL. You’re seeing college coaches go in the NFL or coordinators, you know the (Kliff) Kingsburrys and those guys, and the NFL game is now running college plays. [Dunn is] probably ready to do that now if somebody chooses to — and he’s ready to be a head coach. Mason, I think Mason loves what he’s doing. He loves being here. He loves the role he’s playing right now. Hopefully we’ll be able to keep them.”

On Thomas Harper following Devin’s path

“Devin held his own for a few weeks, then he got comfortable and got really good, because it’s called reps, it’s experience. Things settle down, the game slows down. Little Harp could be the same way, and if he’ll do that, if he’ll make strides and continue to grow like his brother did, we’ll be thrilled with him. But his work ethic’s been tremendous.”

On what makes Thomas Harper ready

“Experience. There is no substitute for reps and experience. Game time, being out there, your heart beating out of your chest, you’re hot, gotta think, gotta make plays. Experience. He’s had the luxury of watching his brother. Those things all factor in. I would say that gives him a chance to have a really good season more so than anything, because he’s always worked hard, he’s always been tough and he’s always taken the coaching. He just hasn’t had a number of reps and he’s gonna get ‘em now. He’s gonna get a lot of ‘em.”

On Central Michigan 2016 bringing up bad memories

“Anytime we lose, they’re painful. People ask all the time about certain games. I only wake up in the middle of the night thinking of games we didn’t win. I never — like, I haven’t woke up yet thinking about the Fiesta Bowl. But I’ve sure woke up thinking about the Big 12 Championship Game. Those games you never get rid of, and I don’t know why that is. I wish they’d come up with some type of medication that would make it go the other direction. We didn’t play good (against Central Michigan). We didn’t play good in that game. We didn’t put ourselves in position to where that didn’t matter. We just didn’t play good. And unfortunately, sometimes that happens. I wish I knew why, because if I did, I certainly would’ve solved it prior to. But we just didn’t play good that day.

“I will say this, and you guys that have followed me for 18 years know this. They had an NFL quarterback and when you play an NFL quarterback, you’re always at risk. He made play after play after play. He wore us out on those passes. He scrambled. Made some throws. When you take a team that — I don’t even know what the spread was of that game. Let’s just say it was a 12-point spread. The other team has an NFL quarterback, in my opinion, that spread goes down to about five points. They can change games, particularly at this level. And we had some others. Our quarterback’s in the NFL, too. Mason, I’ll go to the end and fight for him. But that guy played really good that day.”

On the game being extended

“One of my goals, at some point when I’m done, I’m gonna write a book. I have so much stuff, I don’t know if you’ll be able to get it in an actual book. There’ll be a good chapter on that. And the other thing is, I want to be able to, at some point, figure out how I can get that win back, because I’d already be at 150. Then we wouldn’t be talking about it. But there’s gotta be some circuit judge that would say, ‘The game was really over,’ you know? But anyway, that was the crazy part. The guys made a mistake. The officials made a mistake. You know, it’s interesting, the discussion I had with them. I said, ‘I don’t think this is right.’ And they said, ‘Well, we talked about it and we do.’ I said, ‘OK, I’ve never heard of this on an offensive penalty.’ But it’s all gone now.”

On whether he considered pulling his team off the field

“More of what you’d see in a protest, like, take your shirt off, lay on the field kinda deal. Hug a tree. More of that than take the team off the field. Honestly, I actually thought of what could I do to stop it and let people think? But I was afraid it would make a big scene national, and I didn’t want to do that. “

On next week’s officiating crew

“Yeah, they’re a Power Five crew.”

On how that play changed his thoughts on defending a Hail Mary

“Yes, we looked at that and we were able to see things we did wrong, which it was kind of a weird deal. It ended up being way short. Then the guy cut across. I don’t think it was designed that way. Maybe it was, but I don’t think it was designed that way. We looked at it, studied it, changed a few things, yes.”

On whether he knows how the running backs will split carries

“No. I’m hoping that they all stay healthy and based on maturity and experience, that Dominic totes the load. And then let the other guys — because the other guys haven’t played — let them get their feet wet and not just put them out there and just have to handle it. “

On coaching until he is 65

“I think Coach Saban’s like 70 or something, right? I’m not gonna compare myself to him. He’s got 19 national championships or whatever. I don’t know, I’m just saying if you feel good and you like what you do and you’re fortunate enough that you’re healthy — like in the summer when I go on vacation, if I go somewhere for a few days, about a day-and-a-half is about all I can take, then I’ve gotta find something to do. I can’t just sit by a pool and look around. I can’t do that. I gotta have something going on. So that’s what my fear is, is to do it — now, I can get into some other business, which I might. But I don’t know, because this job eats up my time all the time, and that’s what Kristen wants. She wants my time to be eaten up all the time.”

On whether he’d do TV

“Sure, I’d do TV.”

On Fiesta Bowl experience for Jabbar Muhammad and Korie Black

“Those reps are valuable. Their reps in the Fiesta Bowl are valuable. You’re in a big setting. You have to make plays, come from behind. You gotta stop them, gotta challenge them. Notre Dame has length at tight end and wideout, so yes, those reps should pay off for us.”

On Malcolm and Hard Knocks

“I’ve seen one, the one where they were excited about him doing the right thing. I haven’t seen any others. Malcolm was kinda sinking in his seat. He had that deal (hoodie) and I think he was trying to slither under the table. Those guys, that’s their job. I would guess it’s pretty fierce and this is not real funny. I just kinda felt for him in that situation.”

On last week’s episode, when Rodriguez talked about his wrestling background

“I would not mess with him. I saw, I was over here at the scrimmage the other day, watching the high school scrimmage, and I saw – I can’t remember who we were going against, Jenks or Choctaw or Sand Springs, I don’t remember – Stillwater, and one of their linemen was blocking one of our defensive players, and he’s a wrestler, and I just saw him and he kind of pushed him late, and the kid hooked his arm and hip flew him over. I mean, it was awesome. The cleats were in the air, and I saw him, and I’m like that’s awesome. You know, there’s no officials out there. That was probably the coolest thing I saw in the whole scrimmage.”

On calling plays with the knowledge you can’t get Spencer Sanders hurt

“We’ve had those discussions. We gotta run our offense. I’m comfortable with where we’re at in that position. Most coordinators have apprehensive feelings about another guy going in and playing quarterback. That’s just the way it is, so I would say that we’re always wanting to do that, but I feel good about where we’re at with those guys.” 

On how he would feel if OSU led early and Gunnar Gundy or Garret Rangel had an opportunity

“Hopefully, we’ll be able to do that. Hopefully, we’re in a position. We wanted to do it last year with guys, and we didn’t have that luxury. We were just trying to win at the end of the games. This team is, I’m gonna say this now, you gotta watch these teams, this team is a tough, physical team. That concerns me. But any experience that they can get is valuable to them, and gaining that experience with a tremendous amount of pressure on them makes it extremely difficult because they get evaluated differently than anybody on the field.”

On who he would run out on the field if Spencer Sanders loses his helmet and has to come out for a play

“Gunnar. He’s up next.”

On Thursday night games

“It’s interesting when we talk conference realignment. There could be a variety of things that factor into all of this. I’m gonna get back to that, but I think this is what I’m talking about, and the networks are gonna tell us what to do, period. And so you might play Thursday night games, you might play Friday night games and you play 11 a.m. games. Fans don’t like it, but the media tells us what to do. We have our contract with the Big 12, television contract, requires us over a certain number of years to play certain Thursday night games and even a Friday night game. I can’t remember the details of it. But we pick those, so for us to be able to start the season then, I think it’s, is it Labor Day weekend? So it catches the students before they all head out, which is smart, Thursday night, try to get more people, you grab television, you grab a crowd. We thought it was beneficial, and then we get an extra day for the next game, so on and so forth. But then there’s going to be conversations, in my opinion, like how many of the teams in your league are willing to play Thursday and Friday night games? It might depend on what kind of contract that FOX or ESPN or whoever gives you. And how many teams in this league, are you guys still willing to work a deal with Bedlam, for OU and OSU, to where you play for the next 10 years even though you’re not in the same league? If so, we’ll pay you. All those things will be on the table. It all factors in, just like it is now.”

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