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The Rundown: Gundy Talks NFL Pokes, One-Handed Pushups and Fall Camp Updates

It was a wild Thursday morning in Stillwater.



[Devin Wilber/PFB]

STILLWATER — Mike Gundy was in midseason form despite the Cowboys season-opener still being a few weeks away.

Gundy met with reporters for about 20 minutes outside of the Sherman E. Smith Training Center on Thursday morning. He discussed the science behind the one-armed pushup, how former Cowboys are doing in NFL camps and gave updates from Oklahoma State’s fall camp.

Here is everything he said.

Opening statement

“It hasn’t been very many days, so I don’t have any updates other than if anybody wants to know about my personal workouts or bench press or anything like that — Cameo appearances, I’m for whatever y’all want. Football-wise, we’re doing the same thing. Everything’s good. Just gotta keep pushing. We’ve got today, tomorrow is Friday, and then we work out Saturday and then they’re off for two days. That’s the 48-hour period we give them. Science says give them 48 hours to let their body recover, and then when they come back on the Tuesday, they should be in much better condition from the stress standpoint from their body from camp. Then we get into the in-season, school routine. Before you know it, we’ll be playing a game.”

On if having Monday off is about the 48 hours or the first day of school being too big a distraction like Pat Jones did

“Coach’s patience with not good a practice was not real high, so he just said, ‘Forget it. We’re not practicing the first day of school.’ We have done that some in the past, but this year, the way the calendar fell, with the Thursday game and several other things, we’re able to give them Sunday off and then Monday off, which is the first day of school, so it works really good for our plan getting ready for the first game.”

On how much he is benching

“I don’t max out any more because I’m a little concerned about the old pec tear at 55 years old. I don’t know — 250ish, 260, something like that, maybe. I don’t know. I’m trying to keep up with my youngest, but that’s gonna be an issue, I think.”

On one-armed pushups

“Did you watch Rocky? … You’re [a young reporter] a smart kid, and you got your backup [twin brother],” said Gundy. “You might need him because two of you are smarter than one of you. It’s weight distribution, so it’s not really strength. If you distribute your weight evenly, it works much better.

“… Weight distribution, you spread it out then that way you don’t have to be as strong,” he continued. “You need to watch Rocky. You’ll love it. You’ll be stuck on it. You’ll especially like the part where he drank six raw eggs. I didn’t say try that. I just said you’ll like it.”

On Malcolm Rodriguez on Hard Knocks

“He was a risk when we took him — undersized. He really developed, which we all know. Looks completely different. But his second year here, he started doing things that were unorthodox for what would be a normal college football player. I saw another one of those clips. You guys might’ve seen it from five days ago where they showed both linebackers fitting up a run play. One of them ran and dipped in a block and missed the guy, and Malcolm went through the A-gap and came back around and tackled a guy for a 1-yard gain. That’s unusual. That’s just not normal, but that’s what he can do.”

On Rodriguez being uncomfortable in the linebacker meeting on Hard Knocks

“Those guys are making a living. So, essentially — I’ve never coached pros. We talked about it in the staff meeting this morning, so I don’t know anything about pro football. But I know that those guys that are in that room that currently have jobs would like to keep their jobs. When a coach says that, I saw Malcolm sinking down in his seat a little bit. It kinda put a bullseye on him, but it won’t bother Malcolm. Malcolm’s gonna do his job. He’s humble. I would guess that he felt uncomfortable because that’s not his personality, but he’s gonna do his job and it is what it is. The guy’s gonna probably play the game for a long time if the good lord is willing to keep him healthy.”

On why he thinks teams were hesitant to draft Rodriguez

“He doesn’t meet up to any of the criteria except production. He’s not tall enough. He’s not long enough. His strength levels were good, and his speed was good. But they are really into height and length based on the analytics to be able to make it in an NFL camp. He just didn’t match up for that.

“The interesting thing is, there’s a lot of teams that missed on him, right? It wasn’t just one — 31 teams missed on him. So you can’t just point it out. Here’s what they’re gonna say. They’re gonna say, ‘Well, if we take five guys that meet that criteria, four of them aren’t gonna make it.” It becomes a percentage game. It’s like Tommy Lasorda. If we’re gonna steal second base, the percentages are with this guy with this pitcher and that catcher in the situation in the game, it gives me a better than 50% chance, we’re gonna steal second base. If it’s less than 50% chance, I’m not gonna steal second base. That’s what the NFL does.”

On Jaylen Warren

“I’ve seen a little bit on him. I don’t know exactly where he stands in their camp. I personally think that he’ll make it. I think he’s good enough to play at that level. He brings a lot to the table, but I just can’t speak to that because I haven’t seen that much on Jaylen.”

On Warren moving up to second-string running back with Pittsburgh Steelers

“It’s a good sign. They played again — today’s Thursday. Do they all play on Sunday? Do they have preseason games this weekend. Okay, well then they’ll play right? So if he’s not in there in the fourth quarter, then that’s typically an indication that he’s going to be on the roster.”

On if there is something “sneaky good” about Warren

“Well, Jaylen, he’s very humble. He’s very appreciative of the environment we have here. So when he came to us, he thought he hit a home run. Everything here, he was overjoyed to be here. So he was not entitled to be where he was, which is a real challenge for young people nowadays. Unfortunately, they get entitled and when you get entitled then you start regressing and going backwards, because you’ve already thought that you arrived. He never felt that way. Great person, great attitude. Tough. Intelligent, loves to compete. A lot of really important ingredients for success.

“He’s powerful, and he’s faster than what you think. Like at Boise (State), when he broke that long run, nobody thought he could break a long run. Now the year before he played and had a lot of success at Utah State, but his strength levels increased considerably when he came here and spent six months with Coach (Rob) Glass. And now he was able to gain that breakaway speed. That’s where he made his biggest strides. The strength conditioning here allowed him to develop breakaway speed, but he has really good side-to-side as we know. He has the ability to get yards when there’s not really yards blocked, as we know. So those two things really helped him, which is what it is in the NFL, right? There’s not a lot of really big holes in the NFL. The NFL you kind of get what you get.”

On players who are impressing in fall camp

“Oh, you know, Jabbar (Muhammad). You guys know about Jabbar, he’s got a lot of Brodrick Brown in him. Loves to compete. Never says a word. When you look at him, he’s not going to just wow you with his physical stature, but he just doesn’t go away. You know, he’s just kind of like a mosquito that you can’t hit. You know, it just keeps flying around you and causing problems. That’s what he does out here. 

“You know, staying on the defensive side, the linebackers we kind of know about. The two young ends, LEOs, whatever you want to call them, Jaleel (Johnson) and DeSean (Brown), those guys are going to be good prospects we think at this point, if they stay hungry, don’t become entitled, work hard. Another year in the weight room, they’re gonna be completely different body structures at this time next year. They’re doing fine now, but they’re lost. They get hit in the mouth and get knocked down some. They’ve shown signs of staying healthy and being able to make some strides in camp.

“And offensively, most of those guys that are competing out there are guys that you’re familiar with, particularly on the edge, where a lot of young guys who played last year, that we saw some that were just trying to find their way, they’re doing well now.

“Honestly, offensively I’m particularly pleased with the backup quarterbacks and the strides they’ve made. My comfort level with them was 100%, because they’re really the new guys that have tried to work their way into full-speed action. The other guys have done it. You know, we’ve talked about Ollie (Gordon), so everybody knows Ollie is coming on.”

On Braylin Presley

“Oh, he’s doing good. I just am just very, very hesitant to talk about a true freshman. I just am. I mean, are we glad he’s here? Is he a good prospect? Is he a good take? Sure he is. I just hate to say much about an 18-year-old. It’s just such a different game.”

On specifics he has seen with the backup quarterbacks

“Just the way they operate. And when they’re in, they operate and it looks like our offense, calling plays and looks like normal. That’s really what it comes down to. They can both run. Gotta be able to avoid [pass rush] and take off nowadays. Defensive linemen are good. Defensive linemen at this level have transitioned to what it was in the NFL. Offensive linemen really can’t block and it’s just a matter of holding them off for a little bit and then quarterbacks got to make a play.”

On the reason for the transition in better defensive-line play in college football

“The guys that are at our level now have trained differently than years past. So they come in in better physical condition. Some of these guys have personal trainers. Their bodies are more developed than they ever were before and they’re more athletic. So you see more 225 to 240 pound guys that’ll run between 4.6  and 4.8. In the past those guys that play that position used to run 4.8 to 5.2. Now they’re running 4.6s to 4.8s, and so you have a 320-pound offensive lineman that is trying to back up to stay in front of a guy that’s way more agile than him. It makes it extremely difficult.”

On whether Ollie Gordon will be a factor for the 2022 season

“Just hard to tell with these freshman. And he’s in a difficult position. He gets hit a lot. So he’s doing really well. And he’s lucky that he has a body that is what most sophomores in college would have. But yeah, I just hate to go out on a limb on freshmen based on they are 18 years old. It’s just a different transition. The physicality part of it.”

On how many Cameos he has done

“Gosh, I don’t know. They told me I had 18 right now that I’ve got to get caught up on. I don’t know how many I’ve done. I was unaware of it until somebody did it. And then I decided it’s a great way to interact with the fans. It’s a great way for me to interact with people all over the country, to kind of get myself out there as a normal person. Most of them have come from other states. I had an Oregon Duck fan, had an Iowa fan. All across the country. So that part’s been pretty cool to interact with the fans.”

On the craziest thing he’s had to say on Cameo

“Well, I’ve done, the 40-year-old (birthday message) obviously is the biggest hit. I should have started that 12 years ago. But I do anniversaries, I’ve done birthdays. I’ll tell you the other one that I’ve done quite a few of is NFL Fantasy Football, like you getting together with all of your buddies, and you all do a get-together and do a draft or whatever. I don’t really know how to do fantasy football, but they send me the information and they want me to heckle the guys that didn’t do good last year, like one guy there, it’s like, ‘Dude, you picked a kicker. Who picks kickers?’ So I’m guessing they’re all sitting around drinking beer and then they throw it on and make fun of the guys that didn’t do good the year before, so that’s been pretty cool.”

On Langston Anderson

“He’s doing good, knock on wood. He’s doing good so far. We just want him to keep going. He makes plays. He’s staying healthy. We held him one day because he was like, a little tentative with his ham(string), came back the next day and is doing good. I want him just to get out there and play. He hadn’t even got a chance to get out there and play. So he’s doing good so far, and hopefully, he can continue to push through. We’re going to need him.”

On Jaden Nixon and Zach Middleton

“They’re doing good. Zach missed a week. Zach got dinged in the head, and so he went through the protocols, so we had to hold him out a while. He’s back now. Jaden’s doing fine. They’re doing good. They don’t have any game experience, and it’s no different than the question that I answered on Ollie, it’s how can they withstand the physicality of playing at this level? That position gets hit, I’ve said it a million times, more than any position, and so we’re gonna need them all. Every year, we need three backs, and the year that one guy carries it 23 times a game and we don’t have to use the others unless we want to, I don’t see that happening in the future. Even as good as Jaylen was last year, there was times we didn’t have Jaylen, so we’re gonna need them all.”

On Jaden Nixon’s touchdown run against TCU last year

“We knew that Jaden came out fast. He was a 10.7 (second) 100-meter guy or something in Texas, so we knew he was fast. His body being developed, which he has, he’s 12 pounds heavier, and he has that side of it. Pass protection is being able to pick up a safety or a backer, the physicality of running in the A and B gaps and getting hit, but his speed and breakaway is not an issue with Jaden.”

On Blaine Green’s injury status

“He’s got the wrist. Well, we won’t know for a week or at least 10 days, so we’ll just have to see where we’re at with him.”

On if Blaine Green being out changes how the Cowboy back position is used

“We went through this last year, so we run our plays, we do what we do. He’s more of a big-type receiver playing that position, so there’s some things we can do differently. Coaching is understanding your personnel and who you have on the field and doing what they can do best, not which plays you can draw up that you think you’re best at, so we have to go through some adjustments. If he’s not in, we can hit you in the mouth a little more with the other guys, but maybe not as much in the vertical threat, so we just have to make those adjustments.”

On Jake Schultz

“He’s doing good. He’s gonna play. He’s getting better every day. There’s a transition, but he started to understand the concept in the spring. Now he’s getting more reps and starting to play more and not think as much, which is the direction that we want him to go.”

On whether Kasey Dunn’s comparison between Brennan Presley and Josh Stewart is good

“Yes, except Brennan’s faster. Josh was 4.75. Most people don’t realize that, but Josh had the ability to, like when he would return punts and stuff, he could feel somebody coming and slip away from them. Brennan will be able to take off and run away from them, but their side to side, their approach is very similar.” 

On the growth of The Walk tradition over the past 20 years

“Well, our game day is awesome. Coach (Les) Miles started The Walk in whatever year, and I’m glad you told me that, I was unaware of that, I didn’t realize it was 20 years. And so on game day now, I know in the years past, we have 35,000-somewhat registered tailgaters now that we know are on campus. They have to keep track of all that for security and things like that, so I was told 35 (thousand), and then numbers are rising based on almost somewhat limited space. We don’t really have as much space anymore. So it’s a great tradition, great idea Coach Miles had, and then it gives the fans a chance to see the players on game day and the little kids to see them face-to-face and all that, so it’s been pretty cool. It’s been a really good tradition. We’ve transitioned the game day here over the last 12 years to what would be comparable to pretty much any game day anywhere in the country. Starting on Thursday night, tent setups obviously Friday, and then Saturday and then into the game.”

On how much Central Michigan he’s working on in practice

“The majority of Central Michigan will start Saturday, so we’ll practice today, tomorrow we’ll do a heavy practice that will be more situational game-type stuff, and then Saturday we’ll tone it down some and do some other situational stuff, just not as long as Sunday and Monday we’ll be off. Part of Saturday’s practice will be some introduction into Central Michigan. Now, they should have already been deep into it throughout the summer, which I’m thinking most of the guys are, but as far as us doing the teaching aspects of concepts, it will be Saturday.”

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