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Gundy Talks Bedlam Loss, Facing Iowa State

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STILLWATER, Oklahoma -

Coach Mike Gundy met with media Monday at Boone Pickens Stadium to preview the Cowboys’ game against Iowa State this Saturday. 

Coach Mike Gundy

Opening statement:

"How about Mr. Pickens? I was in there working on punts - I got back into working with the punt team this week and you could see how much better we were - and he had a couple of tweets that gave me a nice feeling. That was really nice of Mr. Pickens' tweets in support of the team and the crowd. He actually said the same things that I was going to say. He and I have butted heads over the years a lot, but we both think alike and we have a common goal. I did mention this a little bit in the postgame and on radio, but the game day environment - the estimated 40,000 people outside the stadium and the 58,000 inside, as well as the people on Library Lawn - was fantastic. Years ago as an assistant and as a head coach, we had a goal to make the game day environment in Stillwater like it is at an SEC school. Their game day environments are through the roof, so we've actually looked at that to study and see what they do to try and get that environment here. Our fans were fabulous, and I know it was a big game, but it was one of the few times that I've ever run out of the tunnel and actually looked at the crowd. I don't really get caught up in a lot of things like that, but when I was halfway on the field and had gotten through the smoke and could see, I kind of saw everything and it was a really warm feeling and it hit me about how far we've come. Ironically, after that we get tweets from Mr. Pickens, and he started the thing. With what he wanted - I didn't really read all of the tweets - he wanted us to compete, and that's what we did. The stadium that he built is full now. And sure, we came up short. They made a few plays at the end of the game that we didn't make, but I couldn't be more proud of the staff. Would we change a few things? Sure, we would. You would always change a few things after we lose. Would you call a couple of different plays? Probably. Would you have changed things you did defensively? Probably. But, the overall concept that we - and by that I mean Mr. Pickens, Coach Holder and myself, as well as the organization as a whole - have been striving for is what we got Saturday. We're going to continue to funnel money into this program and continue to recruit good kids and quality people. We want to keep quality coaches here and I think that could've been, arguably, the most important game in the history of Oklahoma State football, in my opinion. I couldn't be more proud of everybody."

On using Justice Hill more frequently late in Bedlam:

"Not to show our cards, but we have very few runs. We have a lot of reads. Mason (Rudolph) has become fantastic at putting us in the best plays. Can we do it? Yes. But was it feasible based on the defense we were getting at that time or the most prominent looks? No. Like I said, we go based on what we have. Well, people always say you can always add more, but you can only do so much. You can't be in a ‘run & shoot’ and then run a triple option. If Paul Johnson down at Georgia Tech gets behind by two scores or more late in the third quarter, history is probably going to tell you he's in trouble. But up to that point, he's fine, and if he gets inside the 5-yard line, he's in great shape. I think he's a fabulous coach, that's why I bring him up. He doesn't even use a play script to call his plays, which is pretty awesome. I'm just giving perspective on who we are. Whenever I'm done coaching here, and I'm over here at the junior high coaching basketball or wrestling, somebody can slow us down and play the way they want to play, but that's not we're going to do while I'm here. That's not fun to me and it's not fun to the team. I know everybody wants to win, but we've built and come a long ways on what we want to do. When we started this thing a long time ago, I told people that when they were watching games at home, I wanted them to change the channel because Oklahoma State was on and we were fun to watch. That's who we are and it's what we do. That has worked for us a lot, and we probably should've called another run or two because he was fantastic. We did call one and he got one yard. I think Mike (Yurcich) was through the roof with the plays he called this game though. I thought he was fantastic. I don't think anyone - even you guys, with how smart you all are - knew what plays he was going to call. I thought he was through the roof. I shut up and stayed off the mic because he was rolling and feeling it. The one post route that we threw to James (Washington) for the touchdown, I didn't want to do that, and I almost interrupted him to tell him what I wanted him to do, but I had a thought and shut up and he caught it for the touchdown. I'm learning to be a good head coach and shutting up."

On Tyron Johnson's break-out performance:

"James (Washington) got banged up a bit and we booted James and will pull him out tomorrow or Wednesday to try and get him back into practice, but Tyron is the next guy up and he made plays. I think it was evident that he was going to make some early in the year, but we hadn't gotten the ball back to him much. Earlier in the game, when James was still in, James got tired or whatever, so we called the double move for him and he made the play. That's what he's supposed to do. He is maturing and learning our culture. He had a little bump earlier in the year - kind of forgot where he was at a certain point - but he's back on the road and is 100 percent in, so as long as he continues to buy into our culture and system, he's going to make a lot of plays for us before he gets a chance to go to the next level."

On his comments about Bedlam being the most important game in OSU history:

"We've had some great game day environments, but not like that. Not in a prizefight where two heavyweights are just going blow-for-blow one after another. If it was Rocky 8, it was Rocky 8. It just never stopped and we had every chance to win. We were down 10, down 10,  down 10, and I was sitting there thinking, "You've got to be kidding me," as we were down 10 again. It never stopped. The crowd was in it and never game up. It was a big run, then a big pass and then the defense made a big play. Defense came out in the third quarter and got two sacks one right after the other to push them out of field-goal range. And I felt that way about the players. Then as I said, when Mr. Pickens tweets that out about how he feels that was, that's important to us and to me. So, when I look back on it, that could be one of the very most important games in the history of this school."

On the future of Oklahoma State football:

"Mr. Pickens wants to win every game. He is a competitor, but, he also understands. He's a businessman, and I don't know how many people in this state that you could put together that have made or lost more money than him going up and down all of his life. He understands that and wants you to get back on your feet and keep fighting. What he's saying is what I'm saying, and I felt that way as well. He had put out tweets saying that we're going to funnel more money into football and we're going to keep our coaches, unless they go to be head coaches. We're going to continue to push money into air travel for recruiting so that we can continue to try to get the very best young men for this program. We're going to have those options now. There's going to be more things available to us that we can use. I had two phone calls Sunday morning from very prominent people that are involved with Oklahoma State football from outside the program that are very influential in a lot of areas, not only financially, and they felt the same way. They said, ‘You just tell us what you need and we're going to make this happen.’ Because, whether the Oklahoma State people like it or not, OU is traditionally a top-10 team in the country. I'm going to say since 1950, they're a traditional top-10 program. Over the years, it has been toe-to-toe, and Saturday was a perfect example of that. We came up a little short, but people now say, ‘If we keep working at it and doing the right things, we can continue to build.’ And I've said this - we started building tradition in football about eight years ago. Prior to that, I love all of the people that played here before, but they didn't have the means. They didn't have Boone Pickens or the stadium. Our facilities weren't very good. We did what we could do. We committed to basketball and other sports, and we've been fabulous at them. We committed to football in the last eight or 10 years, and we've started building tradition in football. How long has Michigan or Notre Dame had tradition? How long has OU or Texas? So, we're working at it. We're building it, and I won't be the one to finish it. I'm not going to coach long enough to finish building the tradition that it takes to be a year-in, year-out top-10 team. I feel like we're a top-20 team now. I'm comfortable with that. Some years, you may not end up that way, but we can go on a neutral site right now and play anybody and it'll probably be a hell of a game. How good are Alabama and Georgia? I don't know because I haven't watched them very close, but probably pretty good. We can get on a site with most people and probably have a heck of a football game, and that's what I'm talking about."

On Matt Campbell and Iowa State:

"I don't think anybody could say they would have predicted that they would go on the road and beat Oklahoma, and then, as well as TCU is playing this year, that they could've beat them. I have respect for Matt. Matt and I had a good conversation last year for the first time before the game. We had a nice conversation out in Phoenix at the meetings. So from an outsider looking in, he's tremendous for this league, but I don't think anybody could've predicted what they've done this season. They're in every game, or they win against people that somebody thought they didn't have a chance against. He's an up-and-coming guy. I would say (Jamie Pollard) had better ante up because I would predict he's going to be a hot item out there with his youth and what he has done…You watch them play, and they're humble; they're unselfish; they play hard; they're in the right spot. He's a pretty valuable guy."

On overcoming a tough loss:

"Experience, for me, helps. I've come out of games and we've won ... I didn't feel great about West Virginia. We had mistakes all over the place. Our punter lined up wrong, our shield wasn't good; protection was average, we didn't kick the ball off very good, we turned the ball over. We won, but I didn't feel great. Then there are times we've lost before, and I'm OK. Regardless of how I feel, it's important for me to instill in the players the importance of the next game. That's why it's beneficial for us that they can turn the tape on and watch what they (ISU) have done against TCU and Oklahoma."

Takeaways from OU:

"Three things came out of that game. Both teams have fantastic quarterbacks. Both quarterbacks made mistakes. It was interesting that both defenses made some plays at times. They were down there once, and we pushed them out of field goal range. Those are big stops, and they made some at the end. Both quarterbacks made some mistakes, but both quarterbacks were fantastic... I also learned this ... knock on wood ... but I'd like for somebody to show me a better running back than Justice Hill – anywhere. He's pretty good. He rolls around pretty good, and I can say it for him. He's not going to say it… but he's pretty good."

On Iowa State's defense:

"More of the Kansas State approach. They're going to line you up, look over, check, look over and try to get the perfect play. They're a little different tempo. They're going to try to get in the right play. They're going to try to out technique you. They've got two guys who ought to be playing for the basketball team, 6' 5" and 6'6", they go up and make plays. They understand who they are and what they're trying to accomplish. They don't take a lot of chances. They're pretty smart and sound."

On OSU's defense bouncing back:

"I don't think the defense played poorly because they played hard. We weren't out of place. They got big plays on us. We had guys there – they didn't make the play. Three of the biggest ones ... One time Tre Flowers got his feet tangled up ... he was where he was supposed to be. The one time we were in man coverage, (Marquise Brown) took off and ran and nobody could catch him. Then on the deep throw, Mayfield did what he does and starts to move, throws the ball downfield and hit a guy in stride. Rodarius (Williams) got caught up in the moment and got behind. So most of where we were supposed to be, we were, except the last play where they broke the long run. We had two guys who should've made that play. For the most part I have to evaluate where we were at from an assignment standpoint, which means we were either focused or not focused. We were pretty good most of the game, they just made a lot of plays. So you shoot them straight. You tell them the way it is, like, 'I wish you had a week off to feel sorry for yourself for a couple days, but I've got news for you. You better get right. You better get ready to play. You're going up to play a team that's a legitimate top-20 team, in my opinion. They've played extremely well at home this year.’"

On Joel Lanning:

"I think I told you guys a couple weeks ago I wrote him a note. When I watched him play two ways, I don't care if he's playing the New England Patriots, the L.A. Rams, whoever ... to play inside backer and have eight tackles and then play quarterback in the same game, I thought that was awesome. That's old school stuff. That's throwback. We haven't had a guy do that here since 1995. I don't know that it's real easy to do that nowadays. I'm an old school, throwback guy and for a young man to compete like that and be willing to play both ... that's awesome." 

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