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The Top 5 Quotes from Mike Gundy’s Kansas State Postgame News Conference

‘We practiced hard. They made that decision, the players did. We can’t do it for them.’



[Devin Wilber/PFB]

STILLWATER — Just when you’re ready to count Mike Gundy out, he takes down the defending Big 12 champ with a 2-2 football team.

Oklahoma State beat Kansas State 29-21 on Friday in Boone Pickens Stadium. Here are Gundy’s best quotes from his postgame news conference with a video of his full news conference below.

Finding an Identity

After Oklahoma State’s Week 1 win against Central Arkansas — a game that was closer than anticipated — I wrote that OSU looked like a team in search of an identity.

The search seemingly continued with the Iowa State game looking like the first time where OSU, at least offensively, looked like it was going in a solid direction.

The open week apparently came at a great time because it allowed the Cowboys to hone in on who they wanted to be.

“I think the extra week helped us get more comfortable with who we think we can be on both sides of the ball,” Gundy said. “I thought our defense played excellent and settled into some things that we think fits our personnel. And then the same thing on offense. The extra week helped us in that more than anything else, in my opinion, just getting more reps on who we are.”

A Cameron Epps-Tre Flowers Comparison

Cameron Epps made his first two collegiate interceptions Friday night, and he housed the second for his first pick-six ever, regardless of level.

A redshirt freshman, Epps was already an intriguing prospect with his 6-foot-3 frame, which is shades of former OSU defensive back Tre Flowers.

Flowers, also listed at 6-3, was a safety in Stillwater who ended up as a corner in the NFL.

Cameron Epps came to Stillwater as a corner and made the switch to safety this offseason.

Epps has a long way to go before ending up in that echelon, but you can see the through lines.

“Cam has got … he’s got a chance,” Gundy said. “He’s long, rangy, very intelligent. He’s very athletic, got good hands. He’s raw now, I mean, you gotta understand he hadn’t played very much.

“Cam made plays. He had two picks. We’re excited about his future. Somebody brought it up last week — he’s kinda Tre Flowers-lookingish, now that you bring that up. So I’m excited about him.”

Nickolas Martin, Big Football Guy

Nickolas Martin made 17 tackles Friday — that’s the most in a game for OSU since Jordan Sterns’ 19 tackles in Bedlam 2016.

A redshirt sophomore, Martin has been a big bright spot — sort of coming out of nowhere — early this season. His tackle-happy day puts him atop OSU’s tackle leader list with 45 on the season. He also had a crucial fourth-quarter interception Friday to push his team to victory.

And he sounds like a guy Gundy created in a lab.

“Nick’s got a great future for two reasons – one, he’s tough,” Gundy said. “He’s old-school tough. And two, he loves football. Those are two things that are hard to find nowadays in recruiting – young men that love football, they don’t care about the sideshow, they don’t care about social media, they don’t care about whatever else kids nowadays care about, TikTok or Tic-Tac or whatever that is. He loves football, and he’s tough. That’s why he’s a good football player.”

Presley Gets Involved

Brennan Presley’s lack of involvement the past few weeks was almost as alarming as the results themselves.

But Presley was back in the action against the Wildcats — so much so that he threw a pass.

Presley finished 1-for-1 through the air with three passing yards. He also caught three passes for 34 yards, had two carries for 11 yards and returned a kick 31 yards. All that involvement and OSU gets back in the win column — quite the coincidence.

“It’s not always easy [to get Presley the ball] because he’s a perimeter player,” Gundy said. “But there is ways that we can do it. We had chances to do that with him tonight, and we have to continue to do that because when he has the ball in his hand, something good usually happens.”

The Fork in the Road

After losses to a Sun Belt team and perhaps the worst team in the Big 12, it was easy to wonder where the Cowboys’ morale was the past two weeks.

The Cowboys had to sit on a two-game losing streak to two teams they probably should’ve beat through a bye week and into Friday’s game. Going into the bye week, Gundy said he laid out the options for his team and that the Pokes chose to fight.

“I told the team that two Sundays ago — or Monday, I don’t remember what day it was — that you’re playing a very, very well-coached team,” Gundy said. “You’re playing last year’s Big 12 champs that whipped your a–. So we have two choices, we can practice hard for two weeks and go play with a lot of energy and go fight and see what happens. Or we can sit around and pout because we lost a couple games. Either way, we’re still gonna be playing two Fridays from now at 6:30.

“… Our guys practiced their butt off — all last week and this week. We practiced hard. They made that decision, the players did. We can’t do it for them. I just told them to enjoy it, be very careful tonight and then understand this is over. We gotta start back Monday.”

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