Here are some of the notable items and quotes of interest from Oklahoma State's time in the spotlight at Big 12 Media Days on Monday:
Gundy Predictably Gives Early Nod To Walsh
Gundy hasn’t been very outspoken about the quarterback situation in Stillwater the past few seasons but did shed a little light on who will likely be lining up under center for the Pokes in Week 1. And the answer came as no surprise.
“Well, J.W. Walsh took the majority of the reps in the spring with the 1s and has had a good summer. We have some inexperienced and young players behind him. Each one of them brings something a little different to the table in our offense. Based on the style of play or the plan of attack that we want to use, we have a little bit of flexibility with the quarterback that we put in the game at that time.”
The 6-foot-2 junior from Denton Guyer started five games for the Cowboys last season and finished with 1,333 yards and nine touchdowns against five interceptions with a 59.5 percent completion rate. He also rushed for 294 yards and three scores.
He was even more productive as a redshirt freshman in 2012, throwing for 1,564 yards and 13 TDs with 290 rushing yards and seven touchdowns in 10 appearances.
Walsh will have highly-touted freshman Mason Rudolph and transfer Daxx Garman behind him in a deep but unproven rotation that Gundy hinted could be a multi-quarterback system once again.
Thomas No Longer On Roster
OSU freshman running back Devon Thomas is no longer listed on the Cowboys’ roster. Gundy addressed the matter indirectly stating that the players listed on the roster are the ones who will be reporting to camp next week.
Thomas was charged with three armed-robbery felonies – burglary, robbery and shooting with intent to kill – in June. Reports state that Thomas will have his preliminary hearing on July 28.
Thomas was a four-star prospect out of Broken Arrow High School. He signed with the Cowboys over OU, Clemson, West Virginia and Georgia Tech, among others.
Gundy did not close the door on Thomas having a possible return in 2015 but it will be determined by how the legal proceedings play out.
Ryan Simmons on his move to middle linebacker: “Seeing what it takes to play at the best of your abilities. Shaun Lewis, his preparation was top of the line. During the season he used to do extra stair masters or extra film room right before class. Caleb (Lavey), he just knew everything and prepared just the same. He may not have been as athletic as Shaun but he knew every adjustment, every play-call, what you’re supposed to do in this formation. They both knew everything it took to be successful. I can carry that on and I can show the guys that you have to hold yourself to this standard. I enjoy middle linebacker. Everything about it; I love it. I’ve been playing it pretty much my whole life. Last season I played Will to help the team and moving back in – I know it like the back of my hand.”
Simmons on facing defending champion Florida State in the season opener: “Playing Florida State is a great platform, a great opportunity. You don’t want to go out there and embarrass yourself so you have to go out there and hold yourself to the standard of doing everything right.”
Wide receiver Jhajuan Seales on what this offense can do better than it did last year: “I think there is more speed out there on the field. We move faster, move with a faster tempo to gash the defense.”
Cornerback Kevin Peterson on the importance of not getting too wrapped up in the opener against FSU: “We prepare for it like it’s any other game, you don’t want to overhype it and have all the younger guy’s nerves, or even my nerves, overflowing and make anything more than it is because, when it comes down to it, they play football, we play football; they practice, we practice; they game plan against us, we game plan against them; it comes down to who is the better team and who wants it more.”
Peterson on the challenges this team faces reloading with an infusion of youth on both sides of the ball: “I feel like it’s more of an opportunity more than trying to have to cope with it. They’re going to think you’re underdogs, they’re going to think they have stuff on you, they think without the experience you’re going to be nervous or mess up, and things like that. It’s really time to be able to show what you can do and make a name for yourself. Coming into the game, we’re all young. The whole defense is young, the offense is young, but everybody can make plays and everyone has been practicing hard. The coaches will get us ready to be able to compete the first game.”
Peterson on feeling added pressure to be a leader on a defense forced to replace nine full and part-time starters: “I feel like I have taken on a leadership role in my ability to help other guys because, I know if they look over and need to look up to somebody, they’re going to look up to me or Ryan Simmons or James Castleman or Jimmy Bean or guys who have more experience because they haven’t really had that. We’re forced to lead by example more because if they see us working hard that’s more of a testimony for them to work hard and to want it just as bad.”
Mike Gundy on the skill set and dynamic ability Big 12 preseason newcomer of the year Tyreek Hill brings to the offense: “He's very fast. We'll play him at a running back position. We'll play him at the receiver position, and we look forward to him helping us in special teams. We're learning more about him each day. We feel like that he needs to touch the ball at least 15 to 20 times a game, maybe more, depending on how he fits into our system each week. But I've been impressed with his work ethic, his ability to come in and run track and also be part of our football team. He's very humble. Our players like him. And so we're fortunate to have him on our football team.”
Gundy on the challenges of facing FSU with a young team: “It's going to be a big challenge for our team, but they're very excited. One advantage to an opener against a very good football team, much less the national champion and returning Heisman Trophy winner, is motivation is there. They've worked hard this summer. I can't imagine we'll have any issues motivating them in practice in the month of August when it gets really hot and they get fatigued they'll be able to push through it. They're obviously a great football team. They've got a number of players other than the quarterback that are some going to be playing on Sundays. But our responsibility as coaches and players, as coaches, is to come up with a great plan. Players, to learn that plan and execute and play with effort. So we're looking forward to the challenge, and as I said we've got a lot of work ahead of us, but we'll show up on Saturday and be ready to play.”
Gundy on entering his 10th year at the helm of the OSU program: “It's gone really fast. It seemed like that we were just getting started. But very thankful to be at Oklahoma State and the support that we've had from all the fans and administration and had great players. And I've said all along that Oklahoma State football has been built on our players and their commitment to the game and the people that have stayed with us through and through. So from a personal standpoint, I couldn't be any more proud of who we are and the direction that we're going. But it has changed considerably, just like walking in right now, I felt like Britney Spears walking in here with all the cameras and the pictures. And when I walked in the first year, I'm not sure that a lot of people didn't think I wasn't just working at the hotel (laughter). So it's changed considerably, but the players have made it happen and I couldn't be more proud of them and what they've been able to accomplish.”