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Gundy, Cowboys Preview Iowa State

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STILLWATER -

Cowboy captain Mike Gundy plus his coordinators and a handful of players met with media on Monday to recap the win against Texas and preview this weekend's matchup with Iowa State.

Here's what they had to say about the 1-4 Cyclones.

Head Coach Mike Gundy

Opening statement:
"The tape on Sunday was real close to what we talked about post game, so not really anything to add there. Obviously we took good care of the ball, made some plays on offense, the running game was better, blocking was better and we were good on special teams. It was a good win for our program. We had a good practice last night. The players felt good about themselves. Getting into another week, the team has got considerably better over the last couple of weeks, after what I'm sure they would consider maybe a slow start. We made a few adjustments in the defensive structure and the way they're playing. Quarterback has a nice running game with their package. We need a great week of practice like always. We'll continue to get better at what we think gives us the best chance to be successful over the next couple of months and go play hard on Saturday."
 
On how crucial the extra point blocks were:
"After the game I had mentioned that when they were in the position to tie it up with the PAT and then you get a block and get two points changes the momentum of the game and gets the crowd back into it, which excited the team. And to do it two more times was really special. Joe Bob Clements is our coordinator for our PAT and field goal and they had a nice plan to attack No. 63, and it worked out for us."
 
On the benefits of Coach Spencer being upstairs:
"The reason we wanted to do it was because of the style of play now in this league. Things happen so fast, and I think he felt more comfortable. I know that when I listened to the defensive staff on the headset during the game, I thought it was somewhat more peaceful just based on him being in a controlled environment. I would say it benefited our team."
 
On points being scored in bunches in the Big 12 and how he looks at that from a defensive perspective:
"It's not necessarily just the Big 12 now. If you look at the SEC, which has over the years prided itself on defense, and the scores in their league are very similar to the scores in our league to a certain extent that we're in a trend again. We talked about how we have good quarterback play in this league. We have really good players – potential NFL players who are mature and understand. They're using offenses that use the entire width of the field. You're getting skill players in space and quarterbacks that keep the ball and run. You can't evaluate defenses as much on yards and points. I think the two areas that are important are if you're going to give up yards, which you are, then field goals are better than touchdowns. So what you do inside the 10-yard-line is really important. Then you can just throw out the points and yards per game. It needs to be based on total number of opportunities that the defense is given to stop them because you're averaging around 28 plays more per offense with these style of offenses than you were even eight years ago. So your numbers are going to be inflated just by total opportunities to get yards and to get points."
 
On how the defense is coming out in all factors:
"I thought that we were poor against Central Michigan on third downs. Against Pitt we gave up about three runs where we got out-gapped, that I wasn't fired up about. At Baylor we gave up the pump and go routes and gave up those big plays. Texas got us a half man short in the running game based on what they do. It ultimately becomes a numbers game. Are you going to play pass or play run? Their style kind of allows you to attack both. Iowa State did a tremendous job against Baylor's offense in my opinion, based on that staff's first time in this league. So that's where the corrections need to be made. I felt like in our overall plan, the way the players performed on the defensive side of the ball last week was better than it was the three weeks before that."
 
Defensive Coordinator Glenn Spencer
 
On working in the box during the Texas game:
"It was a lot more calm. There were times I wish I could've been down there, but we're in good hands in terms of Tim and Joe-Bob who can draw things up. It worked out well."
 
On calling down to the field:
"Mostly I called to the coaches, but I have a set of phones that I gave to the players to talk to them a couple of times when I felt they needed to hear my voice."
 
On Iowa State's offense:
"They kind of start breaking out on TCU. I think they moved the ball well on them, too. The first couple weeks of the year, they were a bit more conservative and they decided that they needed to formation everybody and start motioning, giving quads and empty. Then all of a sudden they started to see a lot of gaps and are using the quarterback run game a lot more, a quarterback power, quarterback lead - which a lot of times they'll get an extra guy for. They've opened it up, and it's paid off dividends, so I'm sure they're going to keep doing the same things."
 
Offensive Coordinator Mike Yurcich
 
On the potential of Iowa State being a trap game:
"There's no such thing as a trap game. We have to play every game like it's our last. You go around and if you try to compare scores I think you're fooling yourself. That's a trap. You have to play your best ball, and that's the goal – to prepare yourself regardless of who you're playing. It's a challenge to bring out the best in everybody as individuals and then collectively as a whole."
 
On how many play changes were made at the line of scrimmage vs. Texas:
"Quite a few. I don't know the exact number. The ability to get ourselves in the best situation possible, based on what their look was, was advantageous to us in that particular ballgame."
 
On Mason Rudolph vs. Texas:
"It was another gutsy performance. I think the kid played his heart out and gave tremendous effort from a physical standpoint. He took care of the football very well, made great decisions and made some great throws. I thought overall he played extremely well, and I'm happy for him to bounce back and to play that well."
 
On Justice Hill:
"Another tremendous game, obviously, statistically. He still has room to improve, still has a couple of bad reads in there and can even get better. He has a tremendous work ethic and did a great job protecting and securing the football, so I'm excited about him and how much more he can grow and how much better he can become. It's very encouraging."
 
Safety Derrick Moncrief
 
On the PAT blocks against Texas:
"Those blocks were really big. We practice those every day. Coach (Glenn) Spencer always says that you can win the game on that aspect. We really try every day to block kicks."
 
On defensive tackle Vincent Taylor:
"Vincent is an impact player. He's the best tackle in the country. He can make a lot of plays for us."
 
On the relationship between the safeties:
"The relationship has been great. We just feed off of each other. Like we say, next man up. It really doesn't matter who is in the game because all it does is make each other better. We all have certain attributes that we bring to the table, so it's all about the team."
  
Defensive Tackle Motekiai Maile
 
On preparing for Iowa State:
"You know, we just have to play the run a lot better this week. We need to attack the ball more and be able to hold our gaps. Iowa State, they run a lot of misdirection stuff, so we need to stay in our gaps.
 
On refocusing after the win over Texas:
"We just take it as another week. We know we have to be better than we were last week. As Coach Spencer says, we have to be about the team instead of about individuals."
 
On going up against quarterback Mason Rudolph in practice:
"We just like to give Mason a hard time and make him think that we're going to hit him in practice. We're just going to run to him and make him think we're going to hit him, then pull up last minute."
 
Center Brad Lundblade
 
On making sure they don't underestimate Iowa State:
"You can't treat anybody lightly. We have to prepare just like we did for Texas and Baylor and Pitt and all the other games. We will get in film today and get out to practice tomorrow ready to go."
 
On guys playing in more of a rhythm:
"It feels great. We feel like these last couple games we've really been able to get into a rhythm running the football. As an offensive lineman it's a lot of fun to play downhill, get guys moving, and make holes for those guys. It's a lot of fun."
 
On seeing results in their work:
"Anytime as an offensive lineman that we can open up holes for those guys and create big plays it's a lot of fun. I think (Zach) Crabtree is right on point. We have always been confident, but to get into a rhythm the last couple games and really open up holes and see big runs is a lot of fun."
 
Wide Receiver Chris Lacy
 
On what he expects from Iowa State after a heart-breaking loss:
"Iowa state is always a tough team. They are always going to come and play hard. We are just going to have to go out there and execute to get the win."
 
On if they will play harder after a loss:
"After a loss a team always goes into the week practicing and working hard to come back and get a win. We know they have some tough players and they work hard."
 
On how much of a confidence booster the win over Texas was:
"It was a big confidence booster. Especially after we lost to Baylor and we could come back strong against Texas. We hadn't beat them at home since 1997. It was a big confidence booster to get the win going into next week."
 
Quarterback Mason Rudolph
 
On what he is hungry for going against Iowa State:
"I think as long as we keep taking care of conference play and we are preparing each week to the best of our ability we can hopefully get ourselves in a good spot for a Big 12 title. This week is important just like every other week and we can't wait to get to practice tomorrow."
 
On anything specific about Iowa State they are looking out for:
"New staff, new players. I actually have a good buddy from South Carolina that is a quarterback there now and to be able to talk to him and see him. Haven't seen a whole lot of their defense but I'm looking forward to getting into that today."
 
On his friends from South Carolina seeing him play against Texas:
"Yeah, they are good buddies. Friends of my parents and some good buddies from back home. It was awesome to see them up and kind of hang out with them after the game and catch up. It was cool."
 
Linebacker Chad Whitener
 
On what challenges and adjustments happened in the Texas game:
"We made really good tight-line adjustments. We were able to come back and tell the coaches what we were seeing. During the week, right after the last game, Coach Gundy challenged us to not let big plays happen. You saw, guys weren't running free like the receivers or anything. The secondary had a really good game. As far as our adjustments, we were very efficient in those."
 
On the next step in team improvement:
"We don't like having X plays (plays over 20 yards). We call those explosive plays. We just have to go out there and execute and do what we can to limit X plays. There were a lot of missed tackles. We just have to keep running our feet and do what we're taught to do. We just have to go out there and execute."
 
On having Glenn Spencer upstairs instead of on the sidelines:
"It was different, but he could see everything better, so he got plays in quick because he was able to see personnel and everything he wanted. I feel like it was a good adjustment. It was different though not being able to just talk to him, or get yelled at if we did something wrong right away."
 
On if he noticed a difference in the speed of the calls:
"Yes. I feel like he could call everything he wanted to call, and I feel like it was a really good adjustment for all of us."

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