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The Rundown: What Mike Gundy Said after OSU’s Dominant Win in Morgantown

On the defensive performance and how good OSU is.

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[Devin Wilber/PFB]

Mike Gundy said he expected his defense to play well Saturday, but not that well.

Oklahoma State’s defense throttled West Virginia on Saturday in Morgantown in Oklahoma State’s 24-3 victory. Here is what Gundy had to say after the game.

Opening Statement

“That was pretty impressive defensive performance by our guys. I was kind of shocked, to be honest with you, that we could play that well defensively against them on the road as well as they played offensively the last two weeks. You know, they’ve been good up front, and they’ve rushed the ball well, quarterback’s played well, and I told our team, like always, I’m going to be honest with you, that offensively, we should have had 35 points. We shot ourselves in the foot too many times. We’d drop a pass here, drop a ball there, a penalty set ourselves back. We had 35, we just didn’t get to it. It was self-inflicted wounds for us there, but defensively we just dominated the game. I mean, I don’t know what else to say. Eight sacks is what I’ve been told. [Leddie Brown] had been running the ball good. I mean he had 10 carries for 27 yards. So, they just played good. Their pass rush, (Jarret) Doege, I think that’s how you pronounce his name, the quarterback had been playing good. I don’t know what he threw for last week, 357 yards or something like that, 327. I expected our defense to play good, but I didn’t expect that. It surprised me, but they dominated the game and never, you know, other than the first drive, West Virginia hit a few plays, and they could never really get off the ground again because of the way our defense played. 

“So, it’s a good win for us on the road against a team that I was concerned with after watching them last Sunday and then watching them Monday. But, I’m proud of our guys, their focus, their discipline, and their toughness, and their practice habits, the way that they’re competing in practice, and then I also think this is a big win for us in the weight room. I felt, as I said Sunday, that this team might have been the most physical team in our league at this particular time, especially after I watched how they played against Iowa State last week, who is a fairly physical team in our conference. It showed that our guys in the weight room were much further ahead and we were able to move those guys around up front on both sides of the ball. At times, we rushed the ball effectively. Again, we just shot ourselves in the foot. So, it’s a good win for everybody. They need to enjoy it and celebrate tonight, and then we got to get back and go to work tomorrow morning. Get ready for the next one.”

On what went right with the defensive line getting pressure

“Just what I said, I’m surprised that we could push them around like we did. It would be unfair for me to say anything other than that, but we did. Eight sacks and you know, 50, 60, 70-something yards rushing on whatever carries. Well, no actually, West Virginia had 17 yards rushing. Is that correct? So, you’re at negative half a yard or whatever, I don’t know. I’ve never had to add that direction. So, I’m surprised.”

On what he liked about Oklahoma State’s offense

“Well, we threw the ball around pretty good. I felt like Spencer (Sanders) was good. From listening over the headsets, he was on his reads and stuff. We had a couple drops, a couple opportunities to hit some things, but again, we rushed the ball well at times, but we got set back. So, your rushing is not going to be as effective. We spent four, maybe five series in like second-and-20. So, now your run game goes out the window and you become in a mode where you’re just trying to recoup your yardage and get back into the third-and-8 to 10. So, that kind of set us back a little bit. So, we could have played better offensively, but again, we need to eliminate some of the mistakes to give ourselves a better chance.”

On if the win “recalibrates” how good he thinks this Oklahoma State team is

“You know, I just told them, this team practices really well, and they enjoy each other, which is really important in my opinion in college football, particularly in this day and age. And, they focus in practice and they commit to themselves. That’s what has to happen, coaches can’t do it for them. They have to do it for themselves, and they do. They like each other. They have fun in practice. The last three or four weeks, I’ve almost been a little concerned, as I mentioned to you in media days, I’ve almost been concerned with their smile and having a good time at practice all the time. So, then I thought, I worried, are we getting enough out of this? But they’re just having fun and they’re competing. And so, when you put yourself in that position and you practice well and you focus and you’re discipline in your operation, you got a chance and that’s what’s happening to this team.”

On the moment with former West Virginia QB Major Harris during the game

“Well, it’s a great honor for him. You know, he and I played against each other and had a heck of a game. You know, I told some people yesterday when I came here and then today several people grabbed me that were at that game, and I asked them if they remembered when I talked to the media then, I told them that I thought that this was a really, really good football team. I think they were like 6-5 or something, but they were really good. And then you know the next year they played in the national championship. They had all those guys coming back. So, when I come to town, my bus driver, Arnold, he’s been driving us ever since I’ve come here. I don’t know how many years we’ve been coming here now, and he played back then with those guys, and he keeps me updated on what’s going on with those guys and Coach (Don) Nehlan, and he told me that they were retiring his number, which is pretty cool for him. Major’s been doing car commercials and stuff like that. I was hoping I could bump into him, but it gave me a chance to go out and congratulate him and also congratulate Coach Nehlan, who is a heck of a football coach. And, I got a lot of respect for him and obviously for Major. Major was, you know, back in the mid-80s, if you weren’t running wishbone, he was the type of quarterback you see a lot today, where you can’t tackle him. And that guy was really good, so it was pretty cool for them to retire his number.”

On freshmen wide receivers starting to show up more in games

“Yeah, so [Jaden Bray has] practiced two weeks now in a row healthy. And the [Green] twins have been healthy for two weeks. One of them has been healthy for four, and the other one has been healthy just a week and a half. So, they’re all starting to get in the flow now. And [Brennan Presley], he’s a freshman too, basically, right? He got last year back. So, we have a chance to be really, really good at wideout for the next three years, based on all these guys that are playing are coming back for three more years. And they’re getting a lot of experience, more than they should, but they’re getting a lot of experience. We might run into a situation like we had a few years ago, we had potentially four guys on the field that are really good players at wideout.”

On Tay Martin

“We could have gotten the ball to him a couple more times, but they rolled coverage to him a lot and protected him. You know, you can watch and you see the high safety to the field with him a lot. They did that to (Tylan) Wallace last year, which we had a feel that they might try to protect him, which they do. Their style of defense allows that to happen. So, they kept the guy floating around from four to seven yards on him and then they had a safety at 14 yards to him, which allows them to protect him. We should have been able to rush the ball better to that side. We didn’t, but we should have been able to. And then you have access throws to the other side of the field. So, he’s a threat based on the success he’s had, and he made two really good catches today for touchdowns.”

On Braden Cassity injury:

“I haven’t talked to him yet. Obviously he didn’t return. I know it’s not serious, but I don’t know what his status would be this week.”

On how good OSU is

“I think we’re a good football team. I don’t think anybody in this room would’ve predicted our defense could play like this against them at home. It would’ve been unfair to say that. If you knew it, you should’ve went to Vegas. I will say that if we stay humble and we focus and work hard like we have, we have a chance to win every game we play, I would guess, just based on the improvement that we’ve made and guys competing and committing themselves. We need to reduce mistakes and make sure we take care of the football. I think we turned it over once today on a tip, one time. There’s some gray area or little things that you have to do throughout the season. You gotta stay healthy and you gotta make sure you understand who you are. We have to rush the football, and we have to prevent big plays defensively. That gives us a chance to be pretty good.”

On if OSU ran the ball well

“We did, but it looks ugly on paper. [Jaylen Warren is] going to work good every game. And [Dominic Richardson] came come in and [Dezmon Jackson] can come in. [Jackson is] healthy now. Dez gives us an extra guy there, and [Warren] ran great. We shot ourselves in the foot, and we ended up in long yardage, I’m going to say, at least four times, maybe five. We’re not built for that. When Mason (Rudolph) was here with all those five NFL receivers, that didn’t bother us. We’re not built for that right now. We have to eliminate negative-yardage plays and penalties so we don’t put ourselves in a position that our offense is not built for at this time.”

On getting good production from Warren without giving him too many carries

“That’s a good thing that we were able to get out. The game was played slow. They used the clock a lot. I don’t know if that was part of their plan, but they allowed the clock to run down a considerable amount of time. Then we didn’t play very fast most of the time. There wasn’t a lot of plays — 63 and they had 57. For us, that’s three quarters of a game. So, 16 carries for him was good to keep him fresh and keep him healthy.

On if he has gotten to talk with Mason Rudolph, who was at Saturday’s game

“Yes, I talked to him before the game quite a bit and then a little bit at halftime and just now. It’s good to see him here. He’s doing good. He’s happy. It’s good to see him come down and be around the team.

“[Rudolph did not address the team]. They all saw him there. They like to see those guys, particularly pro players, and most of them have a dream of doing the same thing he does.”

On his success in Morgantown

“For the longest time, my first few years as a head coach, we couldn’t win on the road. So it was, ‘What do you have to do to win on the road?’ And I didn’t know. I think we recruited better players, and I think our system’s got in place. But I will say one thing that I think helps us that I don’t know if other teams do this or not, but when we’re in a team setting in practice or a setting where the quarterback has to communicate, whether it’s the spring or August or during the season, we practice to music so loud that you can’t hear yourself talk from you to me. We practice that way all the time. It’s annoying, but we do it all the time. Our players are force-fed, and they learn to function when they can’t hear. So, when they get somewhere and they can’t hear, it doesn’t bother them. I really believe that helps our team because they can think, make calls, snap count, cadence, function outside with hand signals, and the sound’s not a factor. When we practice at home, it’s louder than it is when we play on the road. I think that’s the only thing I contribute that to other than the guys that just, you know, a big part of college football now is focus and discipline. Most young people spend more time on [phones] and they don’t understand how to focus. These guys are doing a pretty good job of focusing.”

On TCU

“I’ve seen some of TCU by crossover tape quite a bit, but I haven’t studied them. I watched their offense and West Virginia’s defense this week, and interestingly enough, I watched the first half and TCU moved the ball. West Virginia really didn’t slow them down in the first two or three series of the game. They moved the ball down the field pretty good. They got down inside the 15 and they fizzed out, had to kick field goals, but otherwise, they moved the ball pretty good in between the 20s. I haven’t seen any of their defense. We haven’t had crossover tape yet where I’ve had to watch their defense. For us, we go back to work and we prepare and do the same things we do every week. No matter who we play, we don’t really change. We try to stay pretty even keel and get prepared for each game. Get guys ready to play, go play hard and then we’ll have to get ready for the next one.”

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