Coming off their first loss of the season, Mike Gundy and the Cowboy football team now look toward a Bedlam for the ages. They previewed the matchup at Monday's press conference.
Head Coach Mike Gundy
Opening statement:"We got the guys back last night. Obviously, there was disappointment. They wanted to win the game. After watching the game, they had really good effort, but Baylor was a better team than we were Saturday night. They ran the ball effectively, and they were hitting their downfield throws. We couldn't generate much offense in the second quarter when we needed to. We weren't as effective running the football, and we weren't anywhere near as effective as we needed to be. They became pass defenders. We hit a few of them, but it's difficult when you're not balanced. We've put that game behind us. The attitude of our players is really good, and they practiced really well last night. As a coaching staff, we're obviously back to work and getting ready for Bedlam. We'll get the guys back over here and start into another week. There's a lot of excitement about GameDay being here on campus. Obviously, it's a festive atmosphere here when we have Bedlam on campus and when the biggest show in college football comes to Stillwater. We'll try to stay focused on the task at hand. The good news is that everyone in the state will be excited about the game this week, and I can't imagine that our players won't stay focused, prepare and play well on Saturday."
On the success of young players:"Darrion Daniels has played real well. Jeff Carr has been productive at times, and we've got some good play out of Zach Sinor. He actually played really well in the last game. Jalen [McCleskey] is doing real well. He continues to bring more to the table. We like to get him the ball because he's somewhat elusive and very fast. We've had a good group. [Kenneth] Edison-McGruder has made some good plays on special teams. We've got some mileage out of those guys, and the good news is that we've been able to redshirt about 16 of them."
On Oklahoma quarterback Baker Mayfield:"He's been really good. You know, I was very impressed with [Trevone] Boykin, and in my opinion, Mayfield is as elusive and productive in the world he's living in. He has made plays with legs, and his ability to run has kept drives going and has moved the chains. He's been a really good player."
On trying to improve the running game:"There's not much we can do from a scheme standpoint, mainly because you only have two days to prepare. It's unrealistic to change that much. At this point in the season, you have more flexibility when you get into postseason play. We try to find ways within the system that we can manage to stay balanced on offense. It's not frustrating, but it makes it more difficult to be successful on offense and generate points and yards. We can't change what's happened or how we got to this point, but we can try to make it better in the future."
On the excitement of Bedlam:"The advantage of having Bedlam is that there's a lot of excitement and enthusiasm generated because of the game. Fortunately, over the last six to eight years, there has been a lot at stake with Bedlam, even more than it's been over the last 30 or 40 years."
Defensive Coordinator Glenn Spencer
On Oklahoma's offense:"Similar to last week, just a lot of weapons. Both of those running backs are dangerous and I don't think I've seen, watching the tape through the year, as many missed tackles as I've seen teams playing against them. It would have to be each team's all-time high for missing tackles. The weapons they have - Shepard, Westbrook and the backside of the backfield.
On Oklahoma QB Baker Mayfield:"He's not a pocket guy. He'll take shots, but then when it's a pattern to read, he reads it and then he'll keep staying free until they come open. They're just gaining confidence every week and making plays. They're clicking along pretty good right now."
On the development of the OU offense:"You can see it. I think they do a good job of scheming every week in the run game. Coach Riley and those guys are doing a good job of seeing the defenses and scheming up their run game. He definitely wants to run the football, and maybe even more recently because they are seeing that they can run it effectively as that offensive line has gotten better throughout the year. He's saying, 'We've got two of the best backs in the conference and maybe in the nation, so let’s run the football.' and I think they've found a way to do that these last few weeks pretty effectively."
On what he wants to see the defense improve on from last week:"Just tackling, defending the deep ball, you name it. There was a lot of good going on. The amount of plays we played was unbelievable. The tempo was unbelievable. It just doesn't give you a chance to catch your breath or sub out or a lot of things like that."
On putting the Baylor loss behind them:"We take care of that on Sundays, good or bad. It's just the first time we've had to deal with this all year."
Offensive Coordinator Mike Yurcich
On the high-stakes of this year's Bedlam matchup:"There's a lot of pride at stake and there's people talking about a lot of things going along with this game. There's a lot of implications, but mostly for our guys it's a matter of pride."
On how the team rebounded from the loss to Baylor:"They seemed pretty positive throughout the meetings. There was a little frustration and anger in there, which is normal, but we have a mature group and we expect them to have a great practice tomorrow to start the week and go from there."
On how the game plan for OU is coming together:"Monday is a big day for us, so today we're only halfway through it. We break up from the staff and get into our cut-ups and everyone looks at their specific formations that they're going to look at and then we'll get into situations as the week progresses. Today is only halfway done and we have a long road ahead of us today and into tonight."
On balance within the offense:"You want to make sure the defense is honest. That's the most important thing. So whether you're throwing it 60 percent of the time or running it 60 percent of the time, the most important thing is that the defense doesn't know what you're going to do and you can't lean on one tendency. That's the biggest thing. You want to complement yourself, but as far as percentages go, you have the tape that the defense has given you and you have to do whatever you have to do to move the ball and score points."
Quarterback J.W. Walsh
On weather playing a factor:"We don't care what the weather isn't going to be because it's Bedlam. It's going to be fun either way. Whether it's 100 degrees or zero degrees, it's going to be a fun last game of the season. I haven't played in many games that will be this cold, but the Baylor and OU games in 2013 were the coldest games I've ever been a part of."
On facing friends in a rivalry game:"It makes it more fun because when you're our age just hanging out, you like to talk a little bit of trash to have fun with each other. This week, we won't talk to them very much and keep our distance, but to look back six months from now and talk about it, we'll have some laughs about what happened in the game. It's fun having those connections in a rivalry game with those guys."
On improving the run game:"We have to be better. We can't have those numbers while running the ball and expect to win a football game. As far as the offense goes, we have to be better and we know that. This week in practice, we will prepare for the game and to be better than we were."
Receiver Austin Hays
On playing against friends:"I know a lot of those guys, some of them I'm really good friends with. One of them was my teammate in high school. We don't talk about football too much. We normally talk about what concert we're going to, where we're going to go for spring break or who our partner is going to be for the golf scramble. Our spring break trip with the OU guys has changed our relationship with them. We became really close and are in a group text most of the time."
On bouncing back:"Win or lose, it doesn't matter. If you win, enjoy Saturday night. If you lose it's OK to be pissed off about it, but on Sunday you have to get ready for the next team. We have to be ready for our next opponent."
Safety Jordan Sterns
On cold weather:"Bundle up. It doesn't affect me too much because I'll be out there running around, but people better bundle up in the stands. Freshman year, we played in somewhat of an ice game when OU came to town in 2013. It was very cold. You have to wrap up and stay warm. Every hit, you're going to feel it because it will feel five-times worse. Once you start playing, you don't feel it anymore."
On College GameDay coming to town:"During high school, College GameDay was something I always watched. This is cool to have them come back and have them here twice in my career. I'm excited for our team to be on that stage and have them here. This is a great opportunity to showcase what we have to the entire country."
On having a primetime matchup:"We came up short last week, but get to make up for it this week against our rivals. It will be great. We have them at home and we need to practice and prepare hard. There's going to be a big crowd and College GameDay here, so we're looking forward to it."
Linebacker Seth Jacobs
On OU’s offense:“When you have a balanced attack, it’s definitely hard to stop. So it’s something that we have to look at and we have to realize that we made mistakes that we have to improve on.”
On preparing for OU:“We just have to go out and do what we do best. We’re just going to have to prepare for the team. They’re obviously a talented team and they’ve been able to be productive across the board with all different positions so we just have to be ready to execute, and do what our coach tells us to do.”
On responding to the loss against Baylor:“We’re obviously not happy with the loss. It’s something where we just have to get back to work. We still have a lot to play for. Fortunately enough, we have a lot of leadership, starting from the coaches going all the way down. It’s just one of those things that we just have to move on and get ready for the next game because we have a lot to play for.”
On what’s at stake with Bedlam:“We can only control what we can control. We can’t really be wrapped up in anything else going on. We have to focus on the task at hand and what’s important right now. What’s important is to win this game against OU.”
Cowboy Back Zac Veatch
On the loss to Baylor:“Obviously, we want to win every game we play, but that game is over. Now we have to get focused on OU.”
On getting focused for OU:“Coach (Mike) Yurcich always talks about it being a faceless opponent. Yeah, it’s Bedlam and it’s a rivalry game — it’s big time — but it’s really a faceless opponent. We’re going to prepare the same way that we prepared all week for any opponent.”
On the motivation for Bedlam:“It’s all about getting the win. Being a competitive person and playing a team sport, you want to win for your team, so getting the W is what it’s all about for me.”
Defensive End Emmanuel Ogbah
On preparing for OU:“They have great backs and great receivers that we have to be prepared for. We just have to tackle better, not like we did last weekend against Baylor.”
On what the defense has to do this week:“I feel like we started slow that game and we have a lot to improve on. I know Coach (Glenn) Spencer is going to have a great game plan for us this week. We just have to do a better job of correcting errors we made and making better tackles in the open field.”
On his mindset during Baylor:“I was disappointed in how we were playing. I was mad and trying to stay focused on what we had to do. I was trying to do the best I can to help my team out. I felt like we had a lot of errors that we were making and we still have to fix.”