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Gundy, Cowboys Prepare For Texas Tech

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STILLWATER -

With just three games remaining in the regular season, the Cowboys sit second in the Big 12 and still control their destiny in the conference. Mike Gundy and company took questions about Texas Tech, which comes to Stillwater Saturday for Senior night.

Head Coach Mike Gundy 

Opening statement:
"We had a good practice last night. The players have recovered from the win. I've seen them around the office today. We're back at it this week. We've got a really good challenge with Texas Tech, trying to minimize their scoring and continuing to play well on offense. Their quarterback is a really good player as we all know. I think he's a potential first-round pick. He reminds me a lot of Dak Prescott, when we played Dak at Mississippi State. He was younger at that time, but the style of play, body, strength, speed and ability to run and throw in different positions reminds me a lot of (Mahomes). We've got a great challenge. We're a pretty healthy football team, and the attitudes of our players is really good. We need a good week, get a lot of work in and be ready to go on Saturday."
 
On going up against Texas Tech's high-scoring offense:
"You can't look at this game any different than any other game. We have to try to minimize big plays on defense, and offensively we have to execute and be sound in our game plan. We need to improve on special teams from last week. Then you just have to get in the flow of the game. We play a lot of games in this league where it isn't easy to predict what the score will be, just because of the quarterback play and how explosive teams can be at any given time."
 
On the importance of running the ball in order to minimize the time the defense is on the field this week:
"If you can run the ball, use clock and score, then that's good, but if you run clock and don't score, it doesn't work. That comparison is made a lot. In most cases, it's based on matchups, where we think we have an advantage. I'm sure their plans will be where they think they have an advantage. It's not always easy to predict, but you've just got to see how you get going when you're in the flow of the game."
 
On Texas Tech wide receiver Jonathan Giles:
"They have a number of guys. They always have. For years and years, they've had skill players that can make plays. They understand the system, and they're really talented players. There is a number of those guys that can do it and Mahomes makes it go."
 
On the level of confidence in his pass coverage:
"I think we've given up more big plays over the top than I've wanted this year. If you eliminate some of those and play in the intermediate part of the field, we've been OK. In playing (Texas Tech), you have to be sound in three-man, four-man, five-man pressure, and you have to be balanced at how you attack their offense."
 
On this year's senior class:
"Well, fortunately, we're graduating a group that has won a lot of football games and been involved in a lot of success. This group over the last few years, our APR numbers, once we got fourth and fifth-year seniors under control and guys who were going to play for the NFL, our APR has gone through the roof. They've been very loyal to this program and we've been very loyal to them. It's created this environment where we've had a large group of successful seniors for a number of years now."
 
Defensive Coordinator Glenn Spencer
 
On the defense against Kansas State:
"We didn't play the run as well as we'd like to for a couple of reasons. One was just the type of game I called to stop some of that quarterback run game and all that we have to play "zero" coverage, and I didn't do that as much as I'd like. The double move about got us one time and they busted out on a bunch route when we were in man, which kind of made me uneasy about playing more aggressive, but that being said, we still needed to force some field goals. If we'd have done that a couple more times, we'd have been in good shape. We gave up touchdowns after long drives, which is not what we like and we got shoved around a little bit. They have a good offensive line and up front we got pushed around a little bit. A couple of times backers got hit and sometimes the secondary would come up and get hit."
 
On facing Texas Tech:
"In this league, you see it all. This is totally different. Mahomes is an outstanding player with outstanding targets and it's kind of hard to get a grasp on them. Conceptually they have concepts, but then their biggest plays come off of when he scrambles around and creates a different play from it, so we have to be very disciplined and stay with the receivers a long time. We'll have to show him a couple of different looks, confuse the looks for him, but it's the reason he's leading the nation in all of those offensive categories. He's a great talent and he's going to be a tough task for us."
 
On the feeling of leaving Manhattan with a win:
"It's tremendous. I was telling some people especially after what happened, with what transpired with the turnovers, special teams and field position, to beat them on the road after some of those things happened was just short of a miracle. We got the win and can look at those mistakes and coach them up with a win under our belts, and that doesn't happen very often when you play like that."
 
Offensive Coordinator Mike Yurcich
 
On OSU's confidence level during its win streak:
"Well, I think it's pretty high, but at the same time you have to take it one game at a time. I know that's cliché, but really we have to play in the moment and focus on right now. Last week is over. The biggest thing is you get confidence with each victory and when you play better. When you improve, you get more confidence, but at the same time, you have to0 take one game at a time as it comes to you. You can't look into the future, and you can't look at the past. You have to play right now in the moment. We have to take care of business, and we've got to focus on each individual practice we have, and that's how you prepare to be a good team and a good individual player. You have to focus on what is going to make you better. That's the biggest key, and that's what we have now. Our guys really understand that process of improvement."
 
On the offensive line:
"Well, I think we've continued to improve each week. We faced a really good rush defense last week, and we were able to run the ball effectively. I think what we're seeing is balance. Some games we've been able to run the ball to open up the pass. Last week, it was more of the pass opening up the run. We're not banging our head against the wall. We're taking what the defense gives us, which is a good thing. The quarterback is doing a great job distributing the football, and the running backs are running tough. I think all those things add up into a better run-game and a better balance of attack. We have to make sure we do it again this week, come out and play tougher and continue to improve."
 
On what's most important to communicate to the players right now:
"We have to focus on ourselves and how we function, how we operate, our reads and our assignments. Our form of communication is what's most important." 
 
Linebacker Devante Averette
 
On the defense getting the stops it needed against Kansas State:
"They have a great football team and they're very stout and have a great steam. I felt like their record should be better than what it is. We got out of our gaps sometimes, but at the end of the day, we bowed up and that's what a team is about. You're going to make some mistakes, but as long as we get the win that's all that matters at the end of the day."
 
On adjusting to the differences between Texas Tech and Kansas State:
"Sometimes it's just backyard football. When (Texas Tech quarterback Patrick Mahomes) gets out of his first read, he moves all over the place and a receiver will make a play. We've got to be able to adjust and get pressure on him to keep him in the pocket. He's a great quarterback. He's leading the NCAA in some statistics and their receivers run crisp routes and make plays so we've got to keep pressure on him."
 
Linebacker Jordan Burton
 
On Texas Tech quarterback Patrick Mahomes' success this season:
"I kind of expected it because he's a Texas product like myself. He has a really big arm and does what he has to do to make plays, whether it's with his legs or with throwing it straight down the field. I'm not really surprised by him, but I am impressed."
 
On what makes the Texas Tech offense so efficient:
"(Mahomes) will use his feet to make a play if he has to or will throw it downfield just to get the yardage they need for a first down. He's got receivers that will go up and get the ball for him and that can make plays in space."
 
On how the defense can contain Mahomes this weekend:
"We've got to be aware of his pocket presence. We've just got to try and contain him and lock down some of the better receivers."
 
Running Back Chris Carson
 
On his success in recent weeks:
"It's fun to be out there and see everyone finding success and the team getting victories. It's definitely a lot of fun when your team is winning. You can't help but enjoy it."
 
On scoring the game-winning touchdown against Kansas State on Saturday:
"It was pretty nice. The offensive line opened that hole for me, and my job was to just run through it. I didn't notice it at the time, but we scored so fast that I probably should've dropped down earlier so we could run time off the clock, but at that time my mind was only focused on scoring."
 
Defensive End Cole Walterscheid
 
On Vili Leveni's injury:
"He was working his way back. He's a big-time player for us and seeing him go down, there's not a worse feeling you get. Going into the locker room and seeing how down he is, he feels like he let his teammates down. There's no worse feeling to have a player and a friend go down like that. Spencer said, 'He's a warrior. There's no way he is letting us down. We will go out there and fight for you.'"
 
On if the priority is to get to Mahomes this week:
"Yes. The goal is getting back there and getting after him and not letting him scramble around all day. That's kind of the main priority is stopping that guy. He is a hell of a player. It's just being disciplined in the pass rush lane. If you rush past the quarterback, you have to spin out of your rush and keep him contained."
 
Wide Receiver Austin Hays
 
On taking on Texas Tech:
"It's always fun. I just remember last year watching Patrick Mahomes. He's a fun guy to watch. He is really good. You know when you play them you need to score a lot of points."
 
On playing his final home game:
"It's just exciting and anxious being the last game in Boone Pickens. It makes it all surreal for me. I can remember my first one ever against Savannah State. It is just going to be a special day."

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