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OSU Football: Week 2 Notebook

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STILLWATER -

Mike Gundy and the Cowboys met with the media on Monday to preview Oklahoma State's Week 2 opponent Central Arkansas.

Head Coach Mike Gundy
"We're back at it this week, obviously. Our players are fresh and ready to go, especially with having the extra day off. We worked on Friday and again yesterday. They get their day off today, and we'll be back at it again on Tuesday. The health of our team is good, and we're looking forward to another week of practice."

On if the run game in the second half was successful because of execution or because of a tired defense:
"Could be both. We were a little more open in our attack and had a more vertical passing game. I thought we blocked better. I think, because of the numbers, that we wore them down a bit later on in the game."

On if mistakes were due to a lack of communication or lack of physical effort:
"I don't think many of them were physical. I think there were just some plays where the communication wasn't as good as we always want it to be. Remember, though, about 20 to 30 percent of plays that are run throughout a season don't get executed properly. That's in all of college football, in my opinion, so there will be some of those plays. We've talked about that. That's why your quarterback, running back and wideouts have to make up for it. We'll be a little better each week. Hopefully we can improve as we progress throughout the season. That's what good football teams do."

On Darrion Daniels'  debut:
"Physically, he's a little further ahead than players we've had in the past here. He's a 300-pounder, he's strong, he's got a good background and he's more mature than most freshmen are. He was able to stay healthy in camp. He has made plays in practice, and he has held his own against the offense. His cardiovascular shape is pretty good. When you can stay healthy through camp and absorb information, you have a chance to play as a freshman. At Oklahoma State, we haven't had as many at that position, mainly because we haven't gotten that many 300-pounders. Most of the time, we're bringing in guys around 250 or 260 pounds and have to develop them into that position."

On the kickoff and punt returners:
"We were pleased with the communication between [Jhajuan] Seales and [Jeff] Carr on kickoff returns. I thought they stayed level-headed. 84 [Jalen McCleskey] went after punts, caught the ball well and was trying to return it. That's encouraging to us as a coaching staff."

On Mason Rudolph making his home debut this weekend:
"I think this is the first time he has played a home game in like, eight games. In high school, they played on the road during the playoffs and in the state championship game. Somebody on the Big 12 call this morning asked if he was excited. I'm sure he is. He doesn't really talk about a lot of things like that. He's a little more quiet and reserved, but I know he has to be excited to play at home."

Defensive Coordinator Glenn Spencer

On the defense’s effort against Central Michigan:
"I think when you turn that film on, I think about what the next opponent is going to see. The next opponent is going to see some guys giving tremendous effort. The couple times that it wasn't what we wanted, it's pretty evident that there's something that I need to bring to the guys attention. I thought we defended the run real well. The linebackers did a great job of seeing the ball, coming off of blocks and making the play they’re supposed too. When you stop the run like we did, it's the front seven doing a good job."

On the challenges of the Central Arkansas offense:
"They had a 103 gradable plays last week, so probably 109 total. It's fast-paced. They run a lot of formations. They have a lot of skilled receivers and running backs catching the ball out of the backfield and running wheel routes. It gives the defensive coordinator a lot of headaches because the defense has to get lined up right and cover the vertical threat, which they're going to test us a lot more than we had last week."

On the performance of the defensive line:
"Good. Anytime you stop the run like we did, that's the main goal. What's great about our side of the ball is people try to give credit to someone when things go good, and try to put blame on somebody when things go bad. Most of the time people don't know what they're talking about. It's a combination of the front seven understanding, and sometimes the safety will do his job. He might not make a play, but that back is going to make a cut. The big thing is that they did their job responsibility wise."

On the competition on defense:
"That's determined during the week of practice. It's hard to make moves after the season starts. A lot of that is earned in the off-season, spring ball and then fall camp. Yes, there is still competition and we would like to still roll guys more. I thought we had a good rotation up front. I think we have to do that better in some other situations. As a young man, you should be hungry to play more and that's earned during the week."

Offensive Coordinator Mike Yurcich

On the offense being one step away from big plays:
"Well, it's about rhythm and we have to stay on the field longer. We didn't do a good job of converting third downs into first downs, as compared to the second half. It was a missed throw here or bad ball there, but whatever the case may be it was good to see our guys comeback in the second half and finish strong."

On the running game:
"I think our guys up front did a really good job of being on their assignments. We were on the people that we needed to be on. I think we ran strong, tough and physical. In the second half, we opened it up a little more and got some space."

On trying getting better throughout the season:
"I think what's really important is to get better as the year progresses, and keep on getting better. That's what the practices are for. The goal is to be constantly improving and working on it with good effort and good fundamentals. Over time, you should get better."

On creating more targets for the Cowboy backs:
"Match-ups, mainly. Depending on who we're playing and how they plan on covering. However we can get them in a good match-up is really the key to the Cowboy backs in this offense."

Defensive End Emmanuel Ogbah

On the performance of Vincent Taylor:
"Vincent Taylor really stepped up into his role. He played spectacular. He had a good game last Thursday and he really helped us out when we needed him to."

On what he expected out of Vincent Taylor and Darrion Daniels:
"I expected it from him. I knew Vincent (Taylor) could ball, so I kind of knew that he was going to do all that. I know Darrion (Daniels) can step up when he needs to. He's a young player, and he really stepped up during the game so we're glad that he did that for us."

On how he thought the defense played:
"We didn't reach our turnover margin, but we still have a lot of work to do with turnovers and we're still emphasizing getting turnovers every game. We had just the one turnover in the game, so that's what we need to work on and that's what we've been working on."

On the defense heading into week two:
"I feel like we couldn't contain the QB in the last game. I mean we contained him, but he would leak out and so we need to work on that more against quarterbacks that can run. That's what I feel like we need to work on as a defensive line."

On what the team learned from the Central Michigan game:
"I learned that we're not where we need to be right now. I learned that we have to keep playing hard and get better every week. We didn't expect the QB's run game to be like that, so we need to focus more on that during practice and work on stuff like that."

Linebacker Seth Jacobs

On the team's performance against Central Michigan:
"There's definitely things we need to learn and move on from, but we're happy we came out 1-0 and we're looking forward to the next game."

On the success of the defense stopping the run:
"It was really nice. There's definitely some things we can correct as far as that goes, but we played strong, we played aggressively and crowded the ball whenever they ran it."

On the adjustments made at halftime:
"We just played more sound. Playing the technique that our coaches teach us, and just fixing some ways that we play it. We've just got to go from there, improve and listen to our coaches."

On his approach to the Central Arkansas game:
"We've had a good week of practice, we just have to be ready to go out there and be ready to compete and play hard every down." 

On having to drop back in pass coverage as a linebacker:
"I would say that we have to do that every week, especially being in the Big 12. We have to be sound in everything that we do in playing the run and the pass. We just have to be ready to play against anything that they give us."

On the performance of the defensive tackles:
"They did a great job. They were stout, they got off blocks and they made plays. They definitely held the line and did a great job getting to the ball as well."

Safety Tre Flowers

On playing at Boone Pickens Stadium:
“It’s a great environment. It feels like you are at home. Everyone is screaming for you not booing at you, it is just a great environment.”

On losing to Texas on senior night last year:
“I mean you try not to think about it. It still sits with me because we should have won that game, but your only focus should be that game on Saturday.”

On the biggest difference in himself from a year ago:
“Confidence. I feel like people believe in me, and I know what I can do. I am just more confident as a football player and as a person.”

On who helped him improve and grow his confidence:
“Really everybody. The whole defense, they always told me to pick my head up when I was going through it. I can’t give credit to just one person, I give it to the whole team.”

On how he has matured since last year:
“I say more mentally. I know physically I was kind of small out there last year. I was going to gain weight, but mentally I know I can get done with one play and play the next."

Cowboy Back Jeremy Seaton

On the game against Central Michigan:
“They were a really well coached team, and it was a tough environment.”

On the second half against Central Michigan:
“That’s kind of how the up-tempo offense is. If you’re gaining yards, it just keeps getting better and better and you keep building that momentum. In that second half it switched and we were starting to get more yards and first downs. We got that momentum and kind of just rolled with it.”

On if they play their best when it’s a fast-paced game:
“Absolutely. If we are playing fast, and we're getting faster and faster, we are always playing a lot better.”

On how good the team can be if they continue to grow from Central Michigan:
“Oh, I could see us being very good. Anytime we can keep our defense off the field, I mean we are going to be a really good team.”

On if the outcome of Central Michigan was not what everyone was expecting:
“Week one you always want to start with a W, always want to start out on the top. Going into Central Michigan, they were a well-coached team, I can say it again and again. They were always in the right gaps, always right where they needed to be. They were a lot better than what many people give them credit for.”

Defensive End Jimmy Bean

On the defensive line's performance against Central Michigan:
"I feel like the defensive line did a good job getting pressure on the quarterback. We progressed as the game went on and got used to the tempo."

On if the attention given to he and Emmanuel Ogbah frees up other players to make plays:
"I think that's how it's going to work a lot throughout the whole year, because we've got guys at each position that will be able to get back there and put pressure on the quarterback."

On the play from the younger defensive linemen against Central Michigan:
"It's a big deal, but I think the coaches do a good job of putting them under a lot of pressure at practice so they can really step up during the game." 

On the home opener:
"I'm looking forward to it. I've been waiting all year for this."

On waiting for the home opener and what he's most looking forward to:
"It's been a long time. I'm ready to get out there and hear the fans go crazy." 

Receiver James Washington

On Mason Rudolph's running ability:
"I've never seen him run that way. It surprised me. Not everyone knows he can." 

On if the team was surprised after Mason Rudolph's touchdown run:
"Honestly, I was. I've never known him to do that, but you got to do what you've got to do." 

On the respect gained from watching Mason Rudolph during the touchdown run:
"Really I've always had respect for him because he's my quarterback. He's a smart guy on and off the field." 

On watching Marcell Ateman score his first touchdown:
"Honestly, when he scored I looked at him and he looked shocked. He didn't even know he did it I think. Just the look on his face, I'm proud of him because he's finally learned how to play at the top of his game and that's something that's going to take him real far."

On the difference he's seen in Marcell Ateman during camp and up to now:
"I see someone who wants to be the best they can be. Come out here, work hard with his teammates and making the team better while he's making himself better."

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