Oklahoma State coach Mike Gundy and selected members of the Cowboy football team met with media Monday at Boone Pickens Stadium to preview OSU's game against Kansas. Some of their comments:
"We're back at it. The players had the majority of the week off. We brought them back last night for practice. Of course, today's their day off, so we're back in our routine. We're getting ready to head up to Kansas. We've got everybody back from the time off. Coaches were out recruiting, so we should be back in a routine to get ready to travel up to Lawrence and play Kansas."
On preparing to play in Lawrence:
"I think you can watch the tape of people who have played up there and had a better team than what the public thought, for example, TCU. I would guess that they probably didn't play as well as they had wanted to. The other area is when you watch teams play across the country and you see teams that people think are much better than others, and at the end of the game it's either a close score or they didn't win. We try to use those as examples. Obviously, we have a good football team and Coach (David) Beaty is in a rebuilding process, but we know that if we don't practice well, don't play well or turn the ball over, it could be a tough day."
On Ben Grogan approaching the school's career scoring record:
"Ben has done a really good job for us. He's stayed consistent. He's had two significant surgeries and has rehabbed himself over the summers to come back and kick well. We took away the kickoff duties from him because we felt it stressed his body a little much, but he's been very consistent for us. He's level-headed and a guy we can trust."
On approaching 100 wins as a head coach:
"I think it's special for Oklahoma State University and our program that we've had enough success over the last 12 years to get to 100 wins as a group. We've put a lot into this place. There have been a lot of
people outside of this University that have put a lot of time and effort into where we're at now. I'm most proud of – we talked about our logo earlier – when you got west of Colorado and people saw our logo, they thought it was Oregon State. It's not really that way now. When you go out east to Florida, people recognize our logo. I'm as proud of that as anything, that we've elevated this program to where people respect it across the country."
Defensive Coordinator Glenn Spencer
On OSU's success after an open week:
"I haven't even noticed that. And not to deflect the question, but it doesn't make any sense to me as opposed to just preparing for the game whether you had the week off or not. I really don't think about that. I see it as we've gotten three really good extra practices for these guys and we have to use that as an advantage. Make it worthwhile to get those extra reps and looks that you're not afforded on a regular week. I can see why that's an advantage, but only because of that."
On capitalizing on KU's turnovers:
"Every week you talk about those opportunities. When they happen you have to make the most of it. They have had issues with that, and I'm always on the side of they're getting that corrected. They're stressing that and seeing why they can't do that. They're trying to get those things corrected. Our challenge is to go for that ball. If they give you that opportunity, you strip it. It's no different than what we've ever done. I just see it as an individual week. Life goes on and it has nothing to do with what happened in the past or what's going to happen in the future. We have to take advantage of those opportunities to get the ball back."
On the defense's consistency:
"We have to be more consistent, that's for sure. It has nothing to do with that last quarter against Iowa State. It's us just realizing that we have to do what we have to do and execute. We have to be disciplined."
Offensive Coordinator Mike Yurcich
On playing KU:
"You have to maintain your focus and it's about how we play. We have to make sure we're on top of our game and we're carrying our assignments, that we're playing with urgency. All those things are important to get momentum and play to your strengths. We can't do too much, we had an off-week, so we're rested, but at the same time we have to make sure we're not installing too much. We have to maintain our base offense and go to those plays that have been working all year for us, but change it up enough to keep them off-kilter. A fast start is imperative, ball security is important and that starts at the line of scrimmage and goes to the receivers, quarterback and making sure we're staying on schedule and giving ourselves a chance to score and move the chains consistently."
On the rest provided by the open week:
"Midway through the year, it helps to break it up for us. It helps us get back to the fundamentals, back to the basics and get healthier. We had a great week of prep and some evaluation time to look at tendencies and look at things a little closer."
Linebacker Devante Averette
On the turnover numbers for Kansas this year:
"We just have to prepare. I mean, anyone can be capable of anything at any given time. Especially you know since they're playing at home and they play better at home. I know TCU just got out of there and they barely won so we just have to go up there, start fast and play a hard game."
On looking at other team's records before playing them:
"We're just going up there to play another football game. You know, face this opponent and just continue to do what we have to do no matter what the jersey says. We prepare like we have to prepare for Baylor or if we were playing Alabama. You know we prepare until the last second."
Wide Receiver Austin Hays
On getting rest over the break:
"Pre-season camp, two-a-days, six straight weeks and then head into the bye week with two straight wins, it gave us some much needed break. It gave us time to go see our families, go see our friends. It reenergized us for the season."
On the mood coming back yesterday:
"I'd say there was a pep in our step. Coach Gundy gave us a pretty good week off, he gave us about two and a half days. We got to get out of town if we wanted to, and I think everybody came back hungry and ready to finish out the rest of the season."
"Yeah, they have a lot more talent this year compared to the last two years. They have played people very close and they have given people a lot of fits. You take away those turnovers and they are in a lot more games. They have our full attention and we are looking forward to playing them."
Safety Tre Flowers
On being motivated for the next game:
"Me, personally, I'm motivated whoever we play. They have a lot of play makers on that offensive side of the ball now. I'm not sure about the defense, but they are getting close and we don't want to be that one team. We have to come out and play hard."
On the 1945 national championship:
"I enjoyed it. I retweeted all the things we could. It was just nice to see."
On Vincent Taylor:
"Vincent is extremely athletic, probably one of the most athletic people (on the team). We went to middle school together, I used to watch him run up and down the court with ease. Him being on the football field being bendable and everything is just something I'm used to."
Defensive Tackle Vincent Taylor
On doing cryotherapy:
"I actually saw it on (Devante Averette's) Snapchat and told him to let me go with him next time he does it. I've actually seen Von Miller doing it so I want to experience it one day. I'm pretty sure it's crazy. Devante said it gets pretty cold and I want to see how cold it gets."
On the defense's preparations heading into this week:
"We as a defense are just getting ready to attack this second half of the season so we're just getting focused and getting ready to start back up."
On how things have changed since defensive coordinator Glenn Spencer moved to the press box:
"It is a change. Coach (Joe Bob) Clements is the one who gets us all rallied up and gets the guys ready to go on the sideline. I think he's done a pretty good job. It's a little different, but we've managed to make it work."
Offensive Lineman Brad Lundblade
On the competitiveness of the Big 12 this season:
"It makes it really fun because you don't know how it's going to shake out. Any team in this conference has the ability to beat any other team and so that makes this a really fun and really competitive conference."
On how 11 a.m. kickoffs are different than other timeslots:
"It changes our game day schedule a bit. We won't have as many meetings or walkthroughs, which I guess is a little bit different. At the end of the day, we're just excited to have the opportunity to go play. It doesn't matter what time of the day, we just want to go out there and play. We wake up a little bit earlier, but we also don't have as many meetings as we would for a 2:30 p.m. or a 6:30 p.m. game. Once we get to the stadium, our warm up process and all that stuff is still the same."
On his preferred timeslot:
"I think 2:30 p.m. is perfect. I don't like night games because you have so much downtime and I feel like I'm just laying around all day waiting to get going. I like 2:30 p.m. because you kind of get to sleep in a bit more and you still have your meetings and walkthroughs. It's a perfect amount of time to get all that stuff in. You don't feel like you're waiting around all day. Like I said, though, it really doesn't make too much of a difference when we play."