OSU Football: Highlights From Mike Gundy's Pre-Texas News Conference
STILLWATER - Coach Mike Gundy met with media Monday at Boone Pickens Stadium to preview the Cowboys’ game at Texas this Saturday.
"The tape kind of told the story that we did after the game. Once we made a couple of corrections on defense and some adjustments on offense, our guys played very well in the last game. That was a good game for us. We need a great week of preparation for Texas. They are, in my opinion at least, the most athletic team from top to bottom in this league. I haven't studied everybody in this league, but I've seen a lot of crossover tape. We'll need a great week of practice and to continue to improve in a few areas of special teams play that I talked about after the game Saturday - location of our kicks, the decisions we're making in the return game, and punt and kick coverage will be very important in this game with the skill that Texas has on the back end. We're going to try to stay balanced on offense because that's what we do. We're going to need to tackle well in space because their quarterback is playing well. He can throw it, run it and does a little bit of everything. Everybody knows who we're playing, so we're going to try to continue to move forward and have a great week of practice."
On the linebackers tackling in space:
"Texas is going to try to spread us out and use their quarterback as a running back, at least that's what I see from the outside looking in. That gives them a one-man advantage, so our linebackers have to tackle well in space. To a certain extent, it becomes a fairly easy game to know what's happening. You have to get guys down toward the line and try to keep them under four yards per carry. They're using the quarterback as a running back in my opinion and getting 4.5 yards per carry, so we have to be able to get him down."
On Justin Phillips' growth:
"He continues to get better each week. We need to keep him fresh and healthy. He's starting to understand being a full-time starter and seeing things differently. At his spot, it can be similar to the way a quarterback sees the game because he has to see so many blocking schemes, running back alignments, passing schemes, misdirection and so on and so forth, so it takes a little time."
On using Justice Hill in a wildcat formation:
"We struggled in the red zone against Texas Tech. I thought it might've been blown out of proportion a bit based on us being 1st and goal at the nine, the nine and the eight. The percentages go down considerably in those situations, but either way, we felt like we needed to improve in that area for the last month. Mason Rudolph has done a tremendous job doing what we've asked him to do in the running game, but he's obviously not going to be a guy that's going to carry it like J.W. Walsh did. We felt like Justice would give us an edge in that area for this game, and it did, but I don't know if it's a long-term answer depending on who we play and how we matchup up front, but I was comfortable with it for this week."
On how Texas' loss to Oklahoma impacts this weekend's game:
"I don't know anymore. I can't tell with young people. I mentioned what (Alabama) Coach (Nick) Saban said about kids listening to people on the outside. That is something that he says that I would agree with, but I don't know anymore about how it affects everybody. The only thing that we can go on is our history here and my history with being here for a long time. If you focus well, prepare well and avoid distractions, you have a chance, but if you get caught up in different things and you don't prepare well or focus, then it's probably not going to go very well. I don't have the answer for why that happens at times, but I just know in my history that that can be a big factor. I can't tell anymore whether it matters if you're coming off a win or a loss."
On if he anticipated Baylor trying to slow down the game:
"You would have to ask them if that was their approach. The reason it looked like it was, was because we let them do it on the first drive. They used a lot of clock and then scored a touchdown. Those things only work if you score. It's like having an offense that plays fast like us. It's a great offense if you score, but if you don't score it isn't a great offense. It looked like that was their thought, not only by the number of runs but by the way they let the clock run and snapped with three seconds left. I will admit that wasn't what I was anticipating. They were starting to move towards the other faster style of offense. Maybe in the open week they went back to what their principles are and went a little different direction."
On ways Big 12 defensive coordinators are getting creative:
"There are more exotic looks than we've seen in the past. We have very good skill players in this league, we have good quarterback play and your other teams are using quarterbacks to run the ball as an equalizer if they don't feel like they're meeting that potential output, so you're seeing a lot of offensive production, but look at the quarterbacks in this league and how well they're playing. When that happens, it's tough to slow down an offense."
On what differences he's seen from Texas since Tom Herman took over:
"Scheme-wise, there is a considerable difference in that they want to be able to run the quarterback. They want to be able to throw the ball. Defensively, there are a few more different looks than what you would have seen in the past. More blitz, more pressure, play some man, play some zone pressure. With special teams, not a lot of difference, but they want to get returns, want to block you up front, but those kids make some plays on the back end of special teams."
On Marcell Ateman:
"He's been very good. We anticipated him playing well. He sat out for a year and realized how much he loved the game. That's one of the best things that can happen to a young player. He's used his body. He's got good body control. He's played a role that really benefits our offense."