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OSU Football: Pokes Preview Matchup With Horned Frogs

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STILLWATER -

No. 6 Oklahoma State hosts No. 16 TCU on Saturday. Mike Gundy has gone 4-1 against the Horned Frogs and Gary Patterson since TCU joined the Big 12 in 2012.

Here's what Gundy and players had to say entering OSU's toughest matchup yet this season.

Coach Mike Gundy

Opening Statement: 
"The tape from last week's game was what everybody thought. We played pretty well in all phases of the game and we're very pleased with the way the team played. TCU will be the best team that we've played up to this point. TCU is obviously very good on offense. They've got three or four guys at running back, their quarterback is playing well and they're still very skilled on the outside. We have to have a great week as always and we're looking forward to the game on Saturday afternoon."

On the Cowboys' starters facing limited action vs. TCU's starters playing the entirety of games thus far:
"You can look at it two different ways. I would say that they've been challenged late in the game, but don't let Coach Patterson fool you. He's burning the midnight oil right now to try and stop our team this week. I would prefer to limit our reps. We're always concerned about whether we've had enough quality reps and being pushed in the fourth quarter, but you're also worried about not burning their legs ups."

On TCU's secondary:
"I think it's the best group that we've played up to this point. They're always going to challenge you. TCU is going to hold its defensive call until the last second and they're going to run with you. They recruit well. Their guys can tackle and move well, so it'll be a challenge for all of us. It'll be a good game."

On balancing passing deep and running the ball on offense:
"It has to be both. I've said for years that I believe in balance. … Balance helps everybody."

Offensive Coordinator Mike Yurcich

On how practice has been going this week:
"It was a typical Tuesday for us. The game plan gets put in, so we have to make sure we get locked in. We'll watch the film, correct our mistakes and then come out and have a better tomorrow. That's always the goal."

On opening Big 12 play against TCU:
"It's always challenging. TCU is a great opponent and they have great players and coaches. It is going to be a heck of a challenge and week-in and week-out, you have to take that in stride and take everything one game at a time."

On the differences between TCU's early season and OSU's:
"We always talk about games in a 60-minute context and how that's what it's going to take to be successful. We talk about that with our guys all of the time. Our guys are conditioned extremely well. Coach (Rob) Glass does a heck of a job with those guys and in our past history - I don't know how many games we've been in it that late - we haven't had a problem with our guys understanding the intensity and urgency that's required late in a ballgame and I don't anticipate us losing that focus."

Defensive Coordinator Glenn Spencer

On OSU's ability to score defensive touchdowns this season:
"It's a good thing. I don't know what Florida is doing, but we need to be able to create more turnovers. I'd like to see us get at least three a game. We've dropped some interceptions. There's some strip opportunities that we've missed and were a little dicier than what I'd like to see, so I'd like to see us create more turnovers."

On the defense's long-term success creating turnovers:
"You have to teach them, and I'm sure a lot of people are teaching it right now – but you have to teach it, coach it, stress it and make them hungry for it every snap. It's barking and screaming at them to knock the ball out, to strip it. It's pursuit angles. How many turnovers are created by great pursuit angles? How do we coach it? We coach it like that."

On whether that style of coaching makes it more fun for players:
"It's stressful out here. It's no fun at times, but you have to go out there and do it every snap. That's our goal. It's what we want to do. We want to get off the field, maybe put up points and we want to change the field for our offense by getting quick three-and-outs."

Quarterback Mason Rudolph

On mistakes from the Pitt game:
"Every game, whether you throw for a lot or throw for a little, there's mistakes. As soon as we come in on Sundays, we correct stuff. We see it and we address with (Coach) Yurcich and move forward."

On the small mistakes the fans don't see:
"There's stuff like carrying out fakes, foot work, and stepping back with my left foot as opposed to my right. Little stuff for sure, but there's always stuff you can find."

On his extra film work and his availability to help know TCU's defense:
"I'm just going to go about my same routine that I've carried out for a while now, and obviously every week we start playing better opponents. This week is no different. They've got a great defense. They're very athletic, tough and play well together. They've got a really good coach. Really knowledgeable, especially on defense, so I think I'll approach it like I do every week, and I'll be ready to go."

On how the video work helps him with confidence: 
"Peyton Manning has said so many times, 'If you put the work in, you put the time in during the week, there's no such thing as pressure.' You do everything you can and go react to the defense. That's the way I approach it. You control what you can control, and you'll put yourself in a good spot."

Safety Tre Flowers

On the defense scoring a touchdown in all three games this season:
"We pride ourselves on that. We try to score at practice every day, and we all always say we're athletes, so we try to show that when we get to touch the ball. We just have to make it happen."

On whether the consistency in scoring touchdowns is luck:
"I mean, it comes with a little bit of luck, and it comes with a lot of hard work."

On TCU being more balanced than previous years:
"Oh yeah, they're real physical. I watched that from last year. They were a little banged up from last year, and they're a little banged up this year, but they're O-Line is real good. They have good backs, and they're just physical."

Defensive End Jordan Brailford

On being stride for stride with McGruder on the fumble recovery in game one:
"I pride myself in being the fastest one out there, so I'm going to run hard when I get the chance."

On getting the team effort award from Coach Gundy:
"It means a lot. It lets me know that I'm doing the right things, running hard every play, and trying to make every play I can. It's good to be recognized for that."

On how much it helps seeing five to six other defensive ends working on the field:
"It helps me a lot because it allows me to give it my all every play knowing that someone else can come in and run the exact same play I can, so it's really helpful in letting us play at 100 percent every time."

On how fresh he feels coming in on a third down play when he wasn't out there the first two downs:
"Oh I feel real good. The initial get-off feels good the first couple of times. I have a lot of confidence, especially getting my legs into a third down. It's really the 'money down,' so it gives me the opportunity to have a really good beat down on the offensive line."

Wide Receiver Tyron Johnson 

On if the team has gotten deep into TCU game planning:
"Yes, we've watched them. Their secondary definitely stands out about them, and they have a good defensive back group. It's going to be the best defensive back group we've gone up against this season, so we're going to run our A-game."

On if he likes starting Big 12 play against one of the better teams in the conference:
"Oh yeah. It's always a challenge for us to see how good we really are. A lot of the starters haven't played in the second half throughout these three games, and we're ready to play."

On how excited he is to play in his first Big 12 game:
"I'm very excited. Conference play shows your character and shows how good you really are."

Center Brad Lundblade

On pass blocking:
"As an offensive lineman, that's always your mentality is that no one's going to touch your quarterback. I think Mason has good confidence in us and that's our job is to keep guys off of him and to provide time for him and we know that if we give him time that we have plenty of guys that can make plays."

On playing several games with the other offensive linemen:
"Having that experience is huge, especially at a position like offensive line. A lot of it is about camaraderie and being able to trust one another and having that continuity and trust along the entire offensive line. So I think it's really good to have a lot of guys with experience, we have a lot of guys that have played a lot of snaps next to each other and I think that's really good for us."

On the talk about how good the team is:
"We don't worry about what other people say, we're just focused on getting better every single day and that's our mindset. It's just showing up and working hard every day and getting better and focusing on what we need to do to win."

On the goals for the offensive line:
"We're always out to send a message no matter who we're playing. Our goal was to dominate and that's what we came out to do and we were able to do that against Pitt; and that's our goal every single week. I feel like we made a good statement and we represented our conference well and now hopefully we can carry that into conference play this week."

Wide Receiver Jalen McCleskey 

On Pitt trying to take away the run game:
"Whenever they take something away the other people have to step up and make plays and that's what we did, and the O-line – they did a great job blocking for Mason. Mason made great throws, the receivers ran great routes, and the coaching staff, they did a great job of putting the plays in and helping us succeed."

On the offensive strategy:
"Just what the defense gives us. Whatever they give us, we're going to take it. So the first few games it was James and them. They had big games. This game was just mine, and the O-line and offense, they did a great job by helping me get the ball."

On which other receivers have played well:
"All the other receivers, you know Marcell had a big game. We watch film together so we know how we need to run a certain play, what we need to do, our technique, and stuff like that."

Linebacker Justin Phillips

On forcing turnovers:
"Coach Spencer puts a lot of emphasis on the defense scoring, just trying to help the offense out as much as we can. So whenever we can get our hands on a ball, you know, we do a lot of turnover drills and things like that just to help get us in the end zone."

On how they practice forcing turnovers:
"We do some type of turnover drill every day after practice, where somebody's stripping the ball, somebody's catching the ball, somebody's scooping it off the ground, and taking it and scoring it and making sure you run through and making sure you finish it."

On keeping count of how many turnovers each member of the defense creates:
"We usually have a little competition about it just to make it a little more fun and make everybody a little more eager to get those turnovers."

On TCU's quarterback:
"He's a great athlete, and I think he has a better team around him as well this year, so he'll be a pretty good challenge. He can throw the ball and he can run so it makes it a little harder for a defense to scheme against him."

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