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The Rundown: Gundy Talks Getting Outcoached, Not Being Burnt Out

Gundy went for about 30 minutes in his Monday news conference.



Despite his team’s poor performance this weekend, Mike Gundy laid it all out there Monday morning.

Oklahoma State’s coach met with reporters via Zoom on Monday to talk the Cowboys’ Bedlam loss and how the team is moving forward.

On the decision to punt on fourth-and-8 from OU’s 39 in the fourth quarter

“I think at that point, they were pretty much in rush the quarterback mode. We had a young offensive line, and we were struggling to protect the quarterback, even with a three-man pressure. They were dropping eight a lot, and there wasn’t really a lot of places to go.

“Just a call on my part based on the flow of the game.”

On the status of Barry Sanders’ Statue

“I don’t have anything to do with statues. That’s all over my head. I’ve never heard anything about a statue. I know that they’re building one (Boone Pickens’) out here, but I don’t know anything about Barry Sanders’. You would have to ask the administration. They’re in charge of all that.”

On how the CFP committee should compare teams that have played nine games vs. teams that have played three or four

“I think they’ve got their hands full. They’re gonna earn their money if they get paid. I don’t know if they get paid. I don’t have any idea how they would take into account what’s gone on across the country. I just looked a week ago and noticed that the ACC, most of those teams are up to nine games. Then you’ve got some other teams across the country that have played two.

“I would say they have their hands full. They should be able to get down to like six or eight teams pretty easily, though. I don’t follow it like you guys do, but you would think that they’re gonna get down to six or eight teams pretty easy.”

On if there is a case that a two-loss Big 12 champion should be in

“I think they should. I think anybody that wins in this league and has just two losses oughta get in the Playoff. I don’t think they’re gonna take what I say into account.

“My honest opinion there is, if you have several one-loss teams in the country ranked in the top 10, it would be extremely difficult for that to happen. People in this part of the country I don’t think will want to hear that, but I think if you’re just looking at it and being reasonable, it would be difficult in my opinion.”

On how Sunday night’s practice was and what the objectives are for this week

“Practice would be about like you expected, the only guy that was in a good mood was me because I’m the head coach and that’s my job. The players are down. The coaches are down. The coaches are worse than players. Things will get better in the morning, which is now. Guys are back to work, and that’s kinda life. You pick yourself up and keep going.

“I’m guessing [Texas Tech] will play [Alan] Bowman at quarterback. I’m not sure, but he came in and led them to a victory in their last game, so I think that he would be their quarterback.

“We’re playing with a young offensive line, guys that don’t have a lot of experience and reps. You can call it like you want. Charlie [Dickey] is doing a good job, and guys are playing hard. They’re competing. So, we’re trying to piece some things together and get those guys up and going.”

On OSU’s quarterback situation

“The guys are doing a good job. They’re competing. [Ronnie Perkins] and [Nik Bonitto] are good pass rushers, guys that can make plays and have a chance to someday play in the NFL. We’re a little bit limited in protecting against those guys. That’s how you learn. That’s how you get better. It wasn’t easy for a quarterback for Oklahoma State to be productive in that game last Saturday night. That’s a fact. There’s various reasons why, but the good news is that game’s over with, and now we’re prepared to come up with as good a plan as possible based on the people we have available for the next game. That’s what we do.”

On what OSU’s goals are heading into its final three games

“Every year our goal is to win the Big 12 championship, which I’ve said forever. If that’s completely out of the picture, then your goal is to be the very best player and the very best teammate, very best coach that you can be every single day. That’s our job. If people think that you fold your tent based on that outcome, then 95 percent of the teams across the country would be folding their tent after Week 5. It’d make for a pretty ugly season from that point moving forward.

“As coaches, we’re on salary here. We love to coach the game. As players, these guys are on scholarship or walked on, obviously. They love to play the game. Then there’s something to be said about life. We get up and do the very best we can. We compete every single day and try to improve ourselves. That’s the message that they get, and they buy into it.

“The good thing about young people is they’re very resilient. So, our job is to get them practiced, get them good game plans, get them enjoying being around each other, get them prepared to play on Saturday morning.”

On how he quantifies Boone Pickens’ contributions to the university

“He made the big jump with the $160 million, however many years ago that was, that initiated the stadium. Prior to his gift, we had arguably the worst facilities in the league. Now we’ve built a facility and a stadium that people are proud of. It’s a perfect size for us. When we’re virus-free, we can have 60,000 people here. We have a basketball-type of environment. It makes for a hell of a home gameday environment. That would be where you start with him and what he was able to accomplish however many years ago that was.”

On if Pickens’ contribution inspired other donors to give

“I would think so, but that stuff’s over my head with the university. I don’t really know what all took place outside of athletics. I don’t really know anything about athletics either. I know just what they tell me. But obviously when you have someone stand up that will be first in line, in most cases, others will follow.”

On the importance of being positive in practice this week heading into Texas Tech

“Well, it’s difficult. I think any head coach that says it’s not and everything’s OK and it’s gonna be good and players are fine, I think they’re just BSing everybody. When you put a lot into something like we do every week, and specifically a game like Bedlam where there’s a lot of talk in state, most of the players know each other, so on and so forth, when you put a lot into something and you don’t come out with the result that you want, it’s gonna be painful. And it should be. I always say this, just give some thought if it wasn’t painful.

“The other side of that is these are some great learning experiences whether people like to believe that or not. Just like in raising your children at home, it’s not always gonna be the way it’s supposed to be. So what do we do? Do we just check it in? Or do we buck up and figure out a way to make it better? That’s what we do. Our players have to learn to overcome these situations. My job is to be the guy to lay the groundwork and show them how it happens.

“It’s like I said now, the coaches are just as bad as the players. When you lose a game like that and we talk to the team, if I don’t remind them, they all go in and change their clothes and shower and go sit on the bus and get ready to ride home and eat a pizza. They have to be involved in this also.

“Losing games and then losing games like Bedlam are always gonna be painful.”

On Spencer Sanders’ composure in his first Bedlam

“Overall, he played really good. He didn’t have much of a chance. We struggled. We were outmatched up front against them for a variety of reasons. We didn’t have any effort problems. Guys were playing hard and competing.

“But, physically up front, we were outmatched in that game. We knew we had some issues going in and then when Teven [Jenkins] got injured, that put us in a more difficult situation. Brought in another young guy then played a little musical chairs. We’ve practiced that some, not a lot.

“The quarterbacks played OK given the circumstances they were given Saturday night.”

On Teven Jenkins’ injury

“We MRIed him, well it’ll be today. We’ll do an MRI to make sure everything’s OK with him, and then we’ll go forward. … It was a lower back. He’s had some lower back issues.”

On Alex Hale’s injury

“We’ll find out on him today. He could even be possibly be seriously injured. I was in the locker room talking to the officials before the game like always, and our trainer walked in and was standing right behind them, like looking at me. I thought maybe something was wrong with me, and finally I said, ‘Do you need me?’ And they said, ‘Alex Hale just injured himself. We think it could be serious.’ I didn’t know what happened, maybe he slipped coming on the ramp or something, but I guess during warmups. Very unfortunate situation for him. He’s been awesome for us. It doesn’t look good. We don’t know for sure.

“The other thing that’s interesting, see I’ve never had that happen to me in 16 years as a head coach. I don’t remember it happening in 31 years as a football coach. But in preseason we actually had a pretty good contest with two or three guys that were kicking to see who the starter was. I had mentioned to a couple guys on our staff, I said, ‘You know, I know this is the first time ever in my years as a head coach, we got two really, really, really good kickers. That’s a heck of a deal.’ And then unfortunately we ended up having to use him, but it was a good problem to have at that particular time.”

If Spencer Sanders is the guy going forward if healthy

“They cleared him up whenever we put him back in, they kinda cleared him up and we put him back in. His composure was good. He played fine. It’s just tough sledding for him in that game.”

On if the offensive line having lingering issues for the past seven seasons is the most frustrating thing he has had to deal with as a coach

“I would say now just based on how this transpired. We came into this year with what I would call almost two deep. Everybody knows we had a guy or two opt out. I had to discipline a couple guys, which I didn’t like. Then we had two guys break their legs in the first game. Then Teven’s had back issues. We lost like five or six guys that were in the two deep by September.

“It’s been unusual, sure it has. I do like Coach [Charlie] Dickey, and I like what Coach [Kasey] Dunn is doing with our schemes, and I like the effort we’re getting with our players. The best answer I can give you is we’re gonna try to come up with seven guys that we feel good about and prepare for the next game. As long as each one of those guys gives us everything that they have, then I’m OK with that. We can’t control some of the things that have happened. We just ask those guys to do the best they can and give the effort they can and play hard, and we were getting that.

“I watched the last two series of offense really close, and then I watched the last couple series of our defense really close on the game Saturday night. We were getting tremendous effort.

“My job is to make sure that we’re getting good effort and we have good game plans and we move forward. I wish I could give you a better answer for the question you asked me, but I can’t fix what’s already broken. When you have issues like we had, it is what it is. Maybe I could’ve not disciplined a couple players, but we’re never gonna sacrifice the character and discipline of this organization. We run an organization that’s disciplined, and it’s very structured. We don’t put up with anything. It is what it is around here. Maybe some day that’s the wrong decision, but that’s not what I believe in. These are still young men that are being raised and developed, and they’re getting an education. They need to be trained to do the right things at the right time. That’s just the way it is around this place.”

If it’s frustrating that after having good offensive lines anything that could go wrong has gone wrong

“Yeah, if I was at a black jack table in Vegas and that was going on, I would get up and leave if that’s what you’re asking me. Now, we still have won a lot of football games during that time. But what you’re saying is correct. We’ve had to do a lot of different things on the offensive line over the last four or five years. The good news is this: We are getting a lot of work with young players right now. They are being thrown in the fire. That’s gonna pay dividends in the future. I hate to step out there based on the results we’ve had in the last five or six years that you’re bringing up that it’s gonna be a lot better in September, but there’s sure a lot of guys that are in our program that are getting quality work. The two guys who broke bones in the first game might start practicing in a couple weeks and get them some quality work and give us a little bit of a break. But next up is Robert Allen or Scott Wright, I guess, at the offensive line position.”

On keeping Shane Illingworth positive after going 5-for-21

“Shane has been here since January, and he’s like a number of players, and the media that have followed us for the last 16 years, I haven’t heard him say a word. He’s quiet. He’s confident. He practices hard. He’s physical. He believes in himself. Most players, they realize and know what’s going on. They can watch the game and see what’s going on. They know, ‘Hey, I should’ve hit that throw. I should’ve made that tackle. Should’ve made that catch.’ Or, ‘Man, it’s pretty tough to make that throw when I got three guys hanging on me.’ So, they kinda know.

“He’s been awesome for us, and I don’t see any issue with him at all.”

On what it means to the team to see Chuba Hubbard keep battling despite not having the season he wanted

“Chuba’s had some ankle issues now for a month. He doesn’t practice very much. We keep him in a boot to try to let it recover. He’s had some tough breaks. He played in the Texas game and did fine, and then came out the next day, he had an issue.

“He’s competing. He’s limited. His practices are limited, which makes it extremely difficult. Even a young man that’s got a lot of talent like Chuba does, if you don’t practice, it’s tough to play in games. He’s been a little spotty there, but he’s done himself and he’s done his team a favor by pushing through this and fighting. I think later in life, he’ll look back and think this was the right thing to do.

“I just think that he’s getting a little closer each week, and hopefully we can get him up and running full speed. Ankle injuries are nagging for skill players. That’s just kinda what happens when you’re a track athlete that’s playing football and you rely on that as much as he does in games. Just makes it a little difficult each week.”

On the possibilities of Tech playing Alan Bowman and Henry Colombi

“Well, obviously Matt [Wells] has a better feel for his organization than anybody. With his experience as a head coach, I’m guessing that he’s making decisions that he feels like gives him the best chance to have success. We’ve played two quarterbacks here at times. Most of the time that we were in a system with two quarterbacks was more of a short-yardage, goal-line versus first-and-10, second-and-normal. We haven’t done a lot of two quarterbacks here. Our guys have to prepare and get a good look at both players and try to give ourselves the best chance to defend them on Saturday morning.”

On who helps him recover from a game like Saturday

“You guys. You’re all I got. It’s lonely, man. Kids at the house, they won’t talk to me. The old lady won’t talk to me. Family won’t talk to me. I probably don’t even get to go to Thanksgiving.

“I can tell you this right now, you all think I’m joking, but it’s lonely at the top, man. I’ve done this for a long time. I’m in year 16, and I don’t know why anybody would keep me this many years.

“I’ve said this a lot, and I’ll say it again: My job is to look at the effort and the game plans that we have and put together how I feel about our football team. If effort becomes a problem, if attitude ever becomes a problem, we have an issue that has to be fixed. That’s not happened on this football team.

“If game plans aren’t very good, then I have to fix that with the coaches. I didn’t like our concept on Saturday night. We could’ve done a better job of coaching.

“When I looked at it again, I graded every play Sunday morning, and all three phases, in special teams we were fine, but I didn’t think we did a very good job of coaching, moreso now than I thought after the game on Saturday night.

“I thought the players played hard and competed. I thought we could’ve done a better job of coaching. I understand, Oklahoma’s playing good, the quarterback’s playing good, they’re scoring a bunch of points, defensively they’re active. I’m good with all that. I get all that. But I don’t think we had the plans that we needed to give our players the best chance for success in my opinion. That’s how I do it.

“Sometimes I’m not a very popular guy. It is what it is. But that’s not gonna worry me, I don’t care.”

On how he fights through potential burnout

“I have not ever woke up and said ‘Do I really want to do this?’ I have woke up sometimes and said, ‘This is getting hard.’ Then I have to sit and think what my options are based on the situation that’s been presented to me. When I go to practice or I have a team meeting, there’s gonna be 120 people staring at me, and there’s probably 118 of them that want an answer.

“I can’t stay at home, and I can’t retire, and I can’t not do anything. I don’t know if I’m any good at being a coach, but I’m probably not any good at doing anything else. I’m not any good at farming. I lose money farming.

“The point being is this, this is what I do. This is how I do it. This is what I enjoy doing. I’ll be honest with you, I like having my back against the wall. I enjoy that. I woke up this morning at 5:17, and I was at work by 6:10. If we would’ve won, I probably wouldn’t have got up until 6:10 and be at work until 8. Maybe I’m a little backward, but the point being is at some point, maybe I’ll get to like what Bob [Stoops] talked about doing what he did at Oklahoma. He said he wanted his own time. He didn’t wanna be on call 24/7. He just wanted his own time. I think at some point maybe that happens. There’s some truth to that. As a head coach, you’re on call 24/7. That’s what we are. I haven’t got to that point yet. I like what I do. I like the young people and the coaches. I like our staff.

“At some point maybe the people around here will think, ‘Hey, somebody could do a hell of a lot better job at Oklahoma State than Coach Gundy.’ They’ll probably can me. Then I’ll go off and coach junior high football or something.

“As far as me saying that it’s burned me out, I’m really a long ways from being burned out.”

On if him not liking the concepts from Saturday was offense or defense more than the other

“Both of them. I’m not blaming their staff because I’m involved in that. I see what they’re doing. I see what they’re doing. I buy in. I don’t buy in. We make adjustments either way. It starts with me because I knew what was going on. After looking at it, maybe we underestimated a couple things with them personnel-wise on both sides of the ball.

“Some Monday morning quarterback, but I would’ve done it differently if I had to do it all over again. I’m just being honest with you.

“Most of the games we come out of, I feel like we were every bit as equal or outcoached the people we play over my 16 years, but if I had to do it over again, I wouldn’t do what I did. I don’t want to get into specifics. I know you’re gonna ask me that, but I don’t want to get into that. I’m just saying, I’ve already met with the offense last night and then met with the defense this morning, and I shared that conversation with them that this is what we should’ve done in my opinion. And it’s not their fault. It’s my fault because I OKed everything that went out the door.”

On if OU’s offense is “becoming a monster again” after struggling early in the season

“They’re really good right now on offense. I’m not gonna evaluate them one or the other. There was a year, I can’t remember what year it was, they had four NFL linemen playing, and the center wasn’t eligible because he was a freshman or sophomore. That kid’s a hell of a player. I’ve not seen people do what he can do on tape.

“I wish we would’ve played them in August, to be honest with you, after watching how they’ve progressed over the last six weeks. I don’t mind giving credit where credit is due. I have to give them credit, but we should’ve been better in the first quarter. Then we just played right into the fire. We had a questionable call on an intentional grounding on the second play of the game that didn’t help us. That set us back a little bit, and we hit a throw and if we wouldn’t have had that (intentional grounding), we could’ve had a first down and got maybe a little bit of momentum going. Then we had a tough break on the interception. When you play a team that’s playing as well as they are now, and you get behind by 21, it’s not easy to come back. Then it becomes one dimensional. That’s not the type of team we are right now, specifically offensively. We’re not in a position that we can be one dimensional at this time.”

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