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The Rundown: Mike Gundy Talks Spring Game, Nick Saban, Linebackers

Gundy spoke at Alabama’s coaching clinic last week.



[Devin Wilber/PFB]

STILLWATER — Spring practice is going by quickly, with the Cowboys’ spring game being just a few weekends away.

Oklahoma State coach Mike Gundy met with reporters ahead of the team’s Monday practice. He discussed the upcoming spring game, talking at Alabama’s coaching clinic and more.

Opening statement

“We’re in the same routine. We’re doing really well. Two weeks out from the spring game, but everything’s good.”

On if everyone is back from the flu

“Yes. We only missed one practice. Nobody really had any issues. Fortunately we didn’t get it to spread, and we’re in good shape.”

On if they’ve started to put together a format for the spring game

“Very, very little. I really wanna play a game. I just don’t know if we have the offensive line to do it. I don’t want to risk setting it up that way and then one person get a turned ankle and have to almost shut it down. That wouldn’t be fair to the fans. So, we’ll try to have it done by Wednesday, decide what to do as these practices move forward.

“We’re gonna do 7-on-7. We’ll do some team run. We’ll do some individual. We’ll do a lot for the fans. We just have to make a decision on how much 11-on-11 we would do with the exception of just doing it at the end so we get an hour’s worth of work and then hoping we can stay healthy all the way to the completion.”

On Gunnar Gundy and Garret Rangel

“I think they’re doing good. They’re learning. Our offense takes time for quarterbacks. The only way to learn it is to get in live drills like we put them in in practice and make mistakes and they see it. Then come up with a plan to fix it and put that plan in place. I think those guys are doing a good job with that at this time.”

On the learning curve Gunnar Gundy and Garret Rangel have to go through

“It’s much more difficult to play quarterback at this level than it ever has been – that’s first. Second thing is, I think our defense is good at what they do, and they create some confusion for our quarterbacks. So not only do we see the results of that on game day, but we see the results of that in practice every day, specifically a young quarterback trying to play at this level against the structure of defense that we use on a daily basis.”

On what he is looking for in spring ball

“Competitiveness, guys willingness to allow themselves to be coached, to work hard, to improve every day. Our systems are in place. We’re getting ready for the first game in September right now. We just continue to get quality reps. We compete, we play hard, stay with the basic fundamentals of football on both sides of the ball, and ultimately, we come up with a package where you don’t beat yourself. Play hard, you give yourself a chance.”

On if anyone has stood out so far

“Oh, there’s been a number of guys. There’s been a number of guys that have made plays. The young ones in and that second group that needs to play next year to help us win, they’re doing well. They’re making plays, then they make mistakes. Kind of what spring ball is all about.”

On how the linebackers are developing

“They’re doing well. I like their speed. I like their competitiveness, and I think they’ll strike you. Now it’s just a matter of getting them more reps. They’re facing the same obstacles as a quarterback does. A linebacker has got a lot going on. He’s gotta play the run; he’s gotta play the pass. We play fast. We’re pretty multiple on offense, so they face a little bit of the same picture that a quarterback will face from the other side of the ball.”

On Kendal Daniels, Ty Williams and Lyrik Rawls

“They’re all in the same boat. They’re out there. They’re getting good, quality reps. They’re competing. They’re improving, and I look for that over the next two weeks.”

On how the Alabama coaches clinic was

“It was a really good experience. Gave me some quality time with Coach (Nick) Saban. Spoke at their clinic. Gave us a chance to go and look at some of their facilities and see where they’re at, what they’re doing, what their thoughts are. You learn a lot in those situations. As we improve our facilities here, it gives you ideas we may want to put in place here at Oklahoma State.”

On his relationship with Nick Saban

“Well he and I have had quite a few conversations over the years on the phone. We’re never in the same place at the same time, so we don’t have like face-to-face, but we spent a good, quality hour together and I enjoyed him. Hopefully he enjoyed me. I learned some stuff. I would be willing to guess he learned some things about what we do. So, it was good to meet with him.”

On anything that stood out from what Saban said

“There’s just a lot of similarities in what they do and what we do behind the scenes and belief and things that we think our culture things that we feel like are important in successful long-term. He feels the same way in a lot of areas that are important to success.”

On Mason Cobb

“Well, I think he’s fast. I think he’ll strike you. I think he’s got good football savvy, and I think he’s learning.”

On how much he gives out when doing a coaches clinic on no-huddle offense

“Not a lot of terminology that actually factors in the game, but behind the scenes of what we do offensively is not a secret. It just takes a full commitment to get it accomplished. So, there’s not really anything that is earth-shattering, but in order to accomplish what we do on offense, and what we’ve done now for 10 years at least, takes a full commitment, you can’t really dip into it and dip out. So there’s not a lot to hide from the clinic standpoint.”

On is there is an excitement for the spring game

“They’re just practicing right now. They wouldn’t even know — I don’t think they know it’s two weeks out. They don’t focus on much more than that. Once it gets much closer to that I know they’ll be more excited about it.”

On if he senses an excitement from the fans

“I don’t see any of them. I don’t see anybody. I’m here or a high school baseball game. So that pretty much does it for me.”

On if there will be autographs with the players after the game

“I don’t know. I don’t know what they have going on. I know it’s a big day. I know we have the spring game, I know we have baseball. I think we have softball, I’m not sure, but I think there’s a lot going on.”

On defensive coordinator Derek Mason throwing out the first pitch for baseball

“I think that’s good. I think the more people that get around coach (Derek) Mason will understand why we brought him in here and realize he’s a pretty good dude when it comes to building relationships and a really good people person.”

On freshmen running backs Ollie Gordon and CJ Brown

“Just young guys, they’re trying to find their way around. They do some good things, break some good runs and go the wrong way on some things. Typical young-guy stuff, both really good for high school players.”

On how Joe Bob Clements is adjusting to coaching linebackers

“I talked to him last week a little bit. He’s comfortable. I like his individual work, I like his approach in drills and I think he’s doing just fine. I think it was a good move.”

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