Oklahoma State coaches and players met with the media on Monday to preview the Iowa State game and rehash last Thursday's 45-35 performance against Texas Tech.
Head Coach Mike Gundy
"All right so we're back at it with Iowa State this week. They are a team that has played fairly well. They ran into a bit of a buzz saw with Baylor, which has been fairly common with most teams that have played them over the past few years. They have gotten a little bit better. Their quarterback has been a key player for them. He is obviously their leading passer, but also has double the rush yards than anyone else on their team. He makes them go on offense. Defensively, they are similar to what they've done in the past. For us, it's continuing to improve each week. We have to continue to work on the same areas that we've talked about for a number of weeks here. There's a lot of room for improvement in the running game. We continue to throw the ball vertically down field. Defensively, we'll try to bring some players along and develop some more depth. We continue to work on our coverage units on special teams. We have a lot of work ahead of us. Each week is exciting for us, and I'm sure the games we'll play from this point on will be exciting on Saturdays."
On Jimmy Bean:
"He's played pretty well. He's continued to develop. He's an example of a player we've brought in who's somewhat undersized. He's developed in the weight room. He understands our program, and I think his attitude is really good. He's developed his body, and I think he has the chance to play the game maybe beyond college. He's been a really good player for us."
On the defense:
"I think there are areas where we are certainly vulnerable, but for what we're working with in inexperience I'm pleased with the output. There's some tackles that we missed. Again, when you play Tech, they can create matchup issues with our players, and we will miss our tackles. There are areas where we can improve, but I think they are doing a good job with the staff. We just need to bring some young players along as fast as possible and create some depth."
On how the offensive line can get better:
"They need experience. Young players just aren't physically as strong as the experienced players. It takes a little bit of time to bring them along. There's not really a recipe to get them a lot better in one week that I know of, but they are improving."
On the averaging about 4 yards per carry in the run game:
"It's not good enough. You have to be over five in most cases. Last week we didn't really have an opportunity to run the ball with the way they played defense. They have the choice to determine that. If they are going to play coverage and stop us with equal numbers in the box, we are in a whole different situation. Tech's perspective was to stop the run with safeties, which didn't really give us numbers throughout the evening."
Offensive Coordinator Mike Yurcich
On Iowa State:
"They are a very physical defense. When you put the film on, you can see that they enjoy playing the game very much. They run after the ball very well and they are well-coached. They're a very tough team."
On what unique challenges the Iowa State defense presents:
"It's a normal thing that you are concerned with. They are a good defense. They pursue the ball very well and they try to strip it from you. They're very aggressive, so we just have to make sure that we're taking care of our business and taking care of the football. We are most concerned with how we play and our fundamentals."
On quarterback Daxx Garman's performance against Texas Tech:
"He played pretty well for the most part. He made a couple of mistakes and turned the ball over early. We threw the ball down the field a bunch and he made some really nice throws down the field. He made a lot of good decisions. Everything was easily correctable. We look forward to getting back to work this week and ironing those things out to try to improve. The good thing is that he played well and he can play better."
Defensive Coordinator Glenn Spencer
On playing with injuries on the defense:
"You do it long enough to realize that's part of the game. As long as it's a physical game, which it is, injuries happen. That's why it's so important to recruit, and that's why there's 85 scholarships. You have to have depth to have really good seasons. Only time will tell if that will happen with us. What's most concerning is this next game with being able to function and get stops with the 11 we have on the field."
On the number of negative yardage plays the defense has forced:
"As a defense, negative yardage plays are huge. Those could be momentum changers that get you out of a drive situation. You don't want it to be a feast or famine deal, though. I'm looking at the big plays we're giving up and how we can get that corrected. Now, if we can start reducing the big plays and still have the negative yardage plays, then we're in business. There's a flip-side to that too."
On Iowa State:
"Coach Mangino is a very good offensive mind. You can see every week. They spread it out. The spread set is their favorite formation with three wide. The quarterback broke a couple of long ones against Baylor, and last time I checked Baylor has some good speed. One that he kept, nobody gained on him. He went 40-something yards and they couldn't catch him. He's a competitor. He'll get knocked around and he'll gain some yards on you with his legs. They do a good job in the passing game of scheming it up. Their run game hasn't got on track yet, but they have able backs that will make you miss. We have to shore up some tackling issues we had last week against Tech. If we continue that, it won't be a nice day out there."
Receiver Marcell Ateman
On his performance against Texas Tech:
“I just followed the game plan and whatever play they called for me. I just went out there and made the plays.”
On how he can improve:
“There's always room for myself and the whole team as well. We always think that we can do better. I just have to practice some things that I didn't make, like that catch.”
On the team chemistry:
“We get better every day in practice for us. It takes practice and we're building that chemistry.”
Tight End Blake Jarwin
On if the role of tight end is becoming a bigger impact at OSU:
“I hope so. When you have receivers like James Washington, Marcell Ateman, Jhajuan Seales and all those guys, they make a lot of plays around the field so it really opens us up. I'm glad to just help in any way that I can.”
On Gundy's comment of him having deceiving speed:
“I feel quick. Of course, I'm not Tyreek Hill or anything, but I feel like I have a step or two in me.”
Offensive Lineman Zac Veatch
On the offensive line playing together:
“On the defensive line, one guy has to win in order for them to all have success, but for offensive line, if one guy gets beat, then we all lose. We all have to be in unison and we're all really together in understanding that.”
On Iowa State's defense line compared to Texas Tech:
“The middle two guys up front might be a little wider, but they're not drastically different. Every game is a battle in conference play.”
Defensive End Jimmy Bean
On how he motivates his defensive teammates:
"We always push each other, even at practice. In the game, it's even better. Once one person makes a play, he'll come back to the sideline and we'll start cutting up, saying 'I'm going to make the next play.' That's just motivation, and each play is going to be better than the last."
On following Josh Stewart and J.W. Walsh's footsteps as a Denton Guyer standout:
"When J.W. went down this year, I realized that nobody else is left from Denton Guyer, so I just figured I'd put it in my mind to start making some plays."
On how he reacts to the recognition of his play:
"I've never been into being that type of guy that's always in the limelight. I'm good with just making plays here and there and being the best I can be for this team."
Safety Jordan Sterns
On where the team stands after last week's win:
"I like where we're at, but there's always room for improvement. If we keep practicing the way we are, keep the tempo up, keep flying around on defense and continue to make plays on offense, I think we'll be fine."
On Daxx Garman's Big 12 Offensive Player of the Week honor:
"It's good for Daxx. He works so hard in practice. He started out taking reps with the two's, and now he's taking reps with the one's, obviously, so he's made a lot of progress. He's making big plays for us. I knew it could happen, and I knew he would do just as well when he had to step in. He's really stepping it up and making plays."
Cornerback Kevin Peterson
On playing almost the entire game against Texas Tech:
"We move at a high tempo all the time in practice, so we'll get just as many reps in practice as we do in the games, especially when we have scrimmage situations. Going into the game, we know to be prepared to play as much as we need to. If you're tired, Coach Malone and Coach Spencer are going to make you go back out there anyway. If I have to go out there for 150 plays, I'm going to play 150 plays."
On Ramon Richards' performance against Texas Tech:
"He did really well. He had a few missed tackles and a couple of penalties, but those were probably his only faults. You can't have penalties, whether you're a freshman or a senior. You can't have penalties in any aspect of the game, but he wasn't nervous at all. He went out there and held his own. He got a lot of reps in early. I told him, 'You're going to be thrown into the fire, so you've got to be ready to play.' He stepped up."
On facing Iowa State quarterback Sam Richardson:
"I watched film on him just yesterday. Him and the rest of the team are all really athletic all around the board. The running backs, the receivers and the defense, they're all talented, so it should be a good game."