Following a bye week that saw his team rise to No. 12 in the polls, Mike Gundy met the media to preview this weekend's matchup with Kansas. Here's what the coaches and players had to say:
Head Coach Mike Gundy
"The players had a good off-week. We let them have three days off. They were back in town last night, and we had a good practice. We've got another day off today, but we'll be back at it on Tuesday. Everybody seems to be in good spirits and is hopefully rested up. We need to continue to improve in the areas that we talked about a week ago. We've put some time into the running game and downfield coverage, and we continue to work on special teams. We just need to get a little bit better each week, and we'll get ready for the game on Saturday."
On if the team can improve in certain areas before facing tough competition in November:
"We hope so. We're putting a lot of time and effort into it. I don't think you're going to see a considerable difference, but you'll hopefully see some improvement. I don't think you're just going to see us become a great running football team all of a sudden. We put time into it. We self-scouted in certain areas, trying to look at things that we can improve. We want to play a good game, and we want to play hard. Hopefully, you'll see some improvement in that area."
On the scheduling of the bye week:
"It was one of the thought processes that we had, but you just have to wait and see how the season goes. I think there's so much energy. We've played a number of close games, so I felt that our players needed a break. If they're not away from us, they don't ever really get a break. Hopefully, it'll work out to where we practice well this week and have a lot of energy in the game. From this point on, there aren't any more open dates, so we have to stay fresh all the way through."
On how the team's receiving depth helps the quarterbacks:
"It's good that, if you have guys on both sides of the field, that you can count on to make catches. That should help prevent defenses from playing strong pass defense on one side or the other, especially with blitzing and in man coverage, where you can spread it out. I think it has helped our overall concept of our offense. It should start to help the running game more, mainly because we can make people be aware of where our receivers are on the field. It helps them with the blitz, and it helps them know that, if they're more pass-heavy on one side of the field or another, that he can go to this side and not just rely on one person."
On how defensive coordinator Glenn Spencer helps the team focus before games:
"I think that some people have a unique ability to teach, coach and train young people in a way that helps them focus on what really matters. He's very level-headed and calm, and he thinks things through. Teaching is one of the strong points that he has as a coach. Also, he's great with instilling the importance of yesterday's practice and Tuesday's practice with our players. With us, we're not talented enough to just think that we're going to show up and play fine on Saturday. We have to get better each day, and we have to stay focused. He just has a unique ability to get players to realize what's important at the end of the day."
Defensive Coordinator Glenn Spencer
On last year's game against Kansas:
"They had a different coordinator, so last year's game isn't a big part of our preparation. We did watch the game so we could see their returning guys play. They've done an outstanding job of finding their quarterback and settling in on how he can move the ball."
On focusing on the week at hand:
"I'm trying to get ready for tomorrow's practice. I stay in the day, not the week. With the players, we just talk about the next practice and getting ready. All of the sudden, it's Saturday and they go out and perform with the intensity that we've coached them to play with."
On the defense's play this season:
"You know I'm not big on throwing out praise because I see the negatives, but we function. We've had issues, but they've made a lot of big plays. We have contributors all over the place. Good defenses have a lot of people contribute. There are too many moving parts. We have to have all 11 as contributors. We can't have too many weak chains."
Defensive End Emmanuel Ogbah
On the defensive line:
“There’s a lot of work that we do that gets us to this point. We just have to keep working and getting better every week. We can’t take anything for granted though. We are grateful for this achievement we have so far. We just have to keep getting better.”
On his success:
“It’s a team sport. It’s a team effort. If I get a sack, it’s because Jimmy (Bean) is causing destruction on the other side that lets me get to that quarterback.”
On if the week off was more important mentally or physically:
“I would say both, but more physically. It was a long six games. My body feels fresh and I’m ready to go back out there.”
Cornerback Ashton Lampkin
On KU’s freshman quarterback:
“It’s not really something I think about. I prepare for any quarterback the same way. We are preparing like we’re playing Florida State next week. I would prepare for every team the same way.”
On Kansas receiver Tre’ Parmalee:
“He’s pretty fast. He’s a major deep threat for them. He’s their playmaker guy. He’s pretty good.”
On what he did during the weekend off:
“My high school had their homecoming this weekend and it’s a big deal there. They tailgate and all that type of stuff, so we had that going on. I really just go to relax with my family. I haven’t been home since May so it was nice to be at home and just relaxing.”
Quarterback Mason Rudolph
On relating to the freshman quarterback at Kansas:
"I thought he did a good job of handling high-pressure situations. You're going to make mistakes, but you just have to learn from them and get better."
On Kansas playing tough against Oklahoma State last year:
"We played at their place and they did play pretty well. I think Tyreek (Hill) took back the punt to give us the edge there, but this year we're excited to play them at Boone Pickens Stadium."
"Obviously, it's great for our school because a lot of alumni come and watch OSU football, but I'm going to prepare for it like it’s any other game."
On if the bye week helped him mentally or physically:
"I think both. For our team to rest and deal with some nagging injuries, it really helped physically. Also, psychologically to rest and enjoy time with our families by going home was nice."
Offensive Lineman Zachary Crabtree
On the bye week:
"It was good. I hung out, went home and saw the family. Also, I did a whole lot of nothing by just sitting on the couch and watching college football."
On struggling running the ball against Kansas:
"They're a good football team. You can't say at this level that any opponent isn't good because anybody can get up and beat anybody. Previous years, we might have struggled against them, but we just have to focus this year because this is the biggest game up to this point."
Safety Tre Flowers
On KU's freshman quarterback:
"I saw him make a few throws that were pretty good. So I know he has composure and everything. It's going to be a good challenge."
"It's just a fun time to be around. Everybody is wearing orange, the fountain is orange and it's just a great time."
On being consistent each week:
"Each week I feel like I'm getting better. I just have to keep practicing hard and trust in the coaches’ plan."
On Jordan Sterns being a good role model:
"I try to be as physical as him each play because he's naturally physical like that. I try to be that physical every week."