Oklahoma State coach Mike Gundy and selected members of the football team visited with the media Monday in Boone Pickens Stadium to preview the Cowboys' matchup with TCU. Their comments:
Head Coach Mike Gundy
“We're back at it. We've got a good challenge ahead of us, playing a very good football team. They're a very fast football team and well coached. They're manufacturing a lot of points on offense. They're successful on third downs, so we definitely have our work cut out for us. This could very well be the best team we've played, give or take. We've got a lot of work ahead of us with the young players. We'll try to get a little bit better in each area, come up with a good game plan, go down Saturday and play hard.”
On the offensive line:
“We're just trying to get a little bit better each week. We introduced Mike Wilson last Saturday. We got some quality work out of him. He should improve a little bit this week. We get Crabtree back. Maybe he'll be far enough along that we can roll those guys and give them a little bit of a break. We just have to keep pushing forward and try to play better than we did last week and give ourselves a chance to win the game.”
On opponents blitzing more:
“Percentage-wise, it's fairly close to what it has been. It looks worse because we don't block them. It hasn't really been many more, a little bit, but not a lot. They show up a lot and it doesn't look good when you don't pick it up. The blitz isn't a real concern for us, just blocking base front is a concern for us because there's a lot more guys in coverage. When you're not picking up base looks then you have issues because your quarterback doesn't know what to do with the ball and he can get sacked.”
On TCU's offense:
“Doug (Meacham) is in there and he's running our system. He went in there, and in his opinion, feels like spreading people out and allowing (Trevone Boykin) to be the thrower that he is, but he's also leading their team in rushing. He's a very important player to them. Doug is going to be the next guy. He had success at Houston. He came to TCU and completely revamped their offense in his thought process, in my opinion. He'll be the next guy that gets a head coaching job if he continues to move forward in the success he's had. They're running the same system that we did here three or four years ago.”
On TCU's defense giving up a lot in the last two games:
“There's two things there. The first thing is the two offenses they played were pretty good. The second thing is that when you run the style of offense that they run, their defensive statistics are going to go down because you're not using the clock. They're playing fast. They either score fast or they're off the field fast so the defense is on the field more. It's very similar to what's happened over here the last six or seven years. People have not been happy with the defense, but the defense stays on the field a lot. When we're having success on offense, the defense is on the field a lot because you're scoring fast. I would guess – and I could be wrong – that they could play as well as they have played in the past and their defensive statistics will go down because there's more plays on the field.”
On Daxx Garman:
“Well, he's played pretty well except he needs to understand the depth of safeties in certain times when he's throwing the ball. Daxx's ability to improve each week will be based on us running the football because if we are not able to run the football, then you play pass, and when you're playing pass, it's hard to throw a pass. Defenses are much faster and defensive linemen nowadays are much better in pursuit of the quarterback than they were five or six years ago. In my opinion, if you have a difficult time running the ball, you're going to have a difficult time throwing the ball.”
Defensive Coordinator Glenn Spencer
On Saturday's win over Kansas:
"Great win. I'm proud of how we got out of some situations that we talked about. I'm especially proud of that stop after that turnover on the 15 to hold them to three. That was big. I think six three-and-outs is big. One time it was four in a row between halves. There was plenty to be disappointed about, as far as corrections go. We went to a couple of different schemes at half time. Nothing major, but we tweaked it a little bit to try and stop a couple of things they were getting us on. It turned out that we got some production out of it, but it also gave up that last touchdown, so I'll take responsibility for that. That wasn't the kids' fault."
On getting off the field on third down:
"That's a big down, but if you take it another layer down, those are probably third and six or more that we're winning, and then third and one or two that we're losing. That goes back to how important first and 10 is because that sets you up and you're ahead in the count, as opposed to second and four, second and three or second and two where you're behind in the count. That's why first and 10 is so important. That's why in the first half we had four second and shorts. That's not good for success."
On Emmanuel Ogbah's performance last week:
"He had a tremendous game. You can see the production on the stat sheet. The thing that you won't see on the stat sheet was that on the next-to-last drive, they are going to take the lead – I think we held them to a field goal on that drive – and he's chasing the quarterback down. He's selling out and leaving his feet. He ran probably 50 or 60 yards. It looked like it was a first down, but it wasn't. We forced the fourth down and they kicked the field goal, as opposed to them going in and having a chance to get seven. That was the effort play of the game. He's got his picture on the wall downstairs for that one. We showed that one to the whole team. That's what I'm proud of."
Offensive Coordinator Mike Yurcich
On TCU's pressure defense:
"They're a very physical defense and they have athleticism. Obviously, they can bring pressure with multiple linebackers and defensive backs. They're all willing and able."
On Kansas getting to quarterback Daxx Garman:
"They did a nice job against us. They mixed up their looks against us and they played very aggressively. They were ready to play. Their coach did a nice job of getting them ready. We have to do a better job protecting him."
On the TCU defense:
"Well they are a 4-2-5 defense. They apply multiple looks from a coverage standpoint. They're very versatile and very athletic. They run very well as an overall defense. They pursue the football well and are very athletic."
Cornerback Kevin Peterson
On playing TCU on their homecoming:
"It's going to be fun to go out there and try and upset them. Fans and family are going to be there and a lot of our family is going to be there, so it's going to be fun to see what we can do against them."
On the team's biggest challenge in facing TCU:
"The offense. They have a really good quarterback, good running backs and they have good receivers, so it's going to be fun on defense to play a team like that."
On what makes TCU QB Trevone Boykin so dangerous:
"His accuracy. He is really athletic and knows how to get the ball down field. He really makes a lot of plays with his feet, but just seeing his film now you could see that his balls are spot on. He's been really good so far."
Defensive Tackle Vincent Taylor
On playing TCU on the road for the first time:
"We just look at it like another game. We just go out there and just make plays and do what the coaches tell us to do. We are going to prepare for this game like we prepare for any other game."
On the crowd environment at TCU:
"With the loud noise in practice it will prepare our offense for this game. Some days we will have crowd noise mixed in with the music and some days we will just have music going. It's loud noise where the offense can communicate better and get their signals down."
On the game plan facing another dual threat QB in Boykin:
"It doesn't really change it much. We just know what we have to do. We have to go out there and execute, stay in our rushing lanes, get off blocks and make plays."
Wide Receiver David Glidden
On Tyreek Hill's kick return:
"The anticipation leading up to that was real big. We all knew that we needed a big play to happen whether it was on the offense, special teams or wherever. After it happened the excitement level definitely rose, and everyone erupted. It gave us a jolt, and the defense made a great stop after that."
On the difficulty of focusing on the next play rather than the big picture:
"The coaches preach that to us every day. They tell us to take everything one step at a time. Each week you have to go in and prepare and take it one game at a time. That's the same thing for each series and each play."
On the Kansas defense putting pressure on Daxx Garman:
"Honestly I didn't notice it. He's a tough guy. He's always been real calm and composed, so I really didn't even notice it."
On if the offense needs to pick up defensive blitzes:
"Each week the coaches put a game plan in store. The defense is going to game plan based on their strengths and what they think they can do. They go into the game with the same plan and adjustments each week, too. The coaches will make the adjustments, and it's up to us to execute."
Offensive Lineman Daniel Koenig
On what they need to improve on from Kansas:
"Technique. We do things really good out there and sometimes we do things that are not so good. You've just got to practice at that."
On how the line can improve this season:
"Be more consistent, not getting beat. Basically, you just have to go out there and practice Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday and prepare. Then go out there and try to execute as well as possible."
Linebacker Seth Jacobs
On how the season has gone so far:
"We're in a good position right now as a team. We're undefeated in league play. We're doing well, but we're focusing on the next game trying to improve each week."
On the key to stopping TCU's offense:
"We're just going to listen to our coaches and execute the game plan that they give us."
On his reaction after the Kansas game:
"We came out with a victory. We're undefeated in league play, and we're 5-1. There's definitely things to learn from the game, like there is from each game. We're in a good position right now, and we just have to focus on the next game."