Mike Gundy Previews Big 12 Championship Game

This will be the Cowboys' 2nd appearance in the Big 12 Championship game in 3 seasons.

Monday, November 27th 2023, 6:23 pm

By: Scott Pfeil


Head coach Mike Gundy met with the media Monday in Stillwater to preview Oklahoma State’s matchup with Texas in the Big 12 Championship. Here are some of his comments:

Head Coach Mike Gundy

On playing in the Big 12 Championship twice in the past three years:

“It’s good for the well-being of the program, your donors and people that want to be involved with success and administration. I'm sure Board of Regents likes it, University likes it. Recruiting-wise it's interesting. Most of the recruiting is complete. Now, it can help solidify those guys. I would say (it’s beneficial) more so than not. Not as much of an impact as it would have been in years past when you were still finishing the last six, eight or ten spots recruiting. I'm going to guess there's a marketing value financially that we're going to gain as a university through making a championship game. So, there are a number of reasons.”

On Jaden Nixon’s late fourth-down conversion vs. BYU:

“It was a play that we had in that situation for him. He’s a good receiver, he’s a good runner and he’s smart, he understands. When he got the near the first down marker, you saw that he knew exactly what to do. Where he dropped his pads and ran through it and knew that he just needed to get that yard and a half. It was a really good football play, a big play and a really good football play.”

On Alan Bowman’s maturity:

“He’s been really good. He’s bought into our culture, he’s accepted Oklahoma State family. The jerseys and things he wears (postgame) are his decision, I don’t think anybody’s told him to do that. So, he’s older, he gets it, he’s been around a lot of different coaches, been around successful people. Some of that is he’s smart enough to let that wear off on him and then be able to implement it in a new system and a new environment, which he came in to.”

On the play of his linebackers:

"Nick (Martin) and Xavier (Benson) both have had unbelievable years for us. I think Nick's at like 120-something tackles, it's crazy. We talked about Malcolm Rodriguez and nobody being able to ever do anything like that, and he's got Malcolm Rodriguez numbers. Those two guys have given us a lot of flexibility and have played amazing. Particularly Nick, he was just 'a guy,' and then he's thrust into that role and just took off. We felt like he could be that type of player. Well, I didn't think he could do it this year, I didn't think he was ready, but obviously he was. I don't know if anybody would have said he's going to be a 120-plus tackle guy. But, he's been an unbelievable surprise for us and then Xavier's played awesome on the other side, and then, knock on wood, we've kept them healthy."

On the Texas defense:

“They’re averaging 2.9 a carry, which is tough on guys rushing the football against them. It's interesting, they’re a 35-point team scoring and only give up 17. Their margin’s pretty big, pretty rare you see that. Twenty-five percent third down conversion defensively, which is really good. There’s a reason why (they’re) where they are. In particular, that’s what you're dealing with. More of a traditional defense, they can play gaps and play coverage. They don't necessarily have to overload the box to stop the run. That's not what they do. They could, but that's not traditionally what they do. Most people have struggled in a big way blocking their down guys and their backers, so they don't have to overload the box for the rush.”

On the Texas offense:

"They're (scoring) 35 per game. They don't play fast. If they played fast, they'd be (scoring) 50-ish per game, in my opinion, over the more numbers and snaps they would get. (Coach Sarkisian) wants to run the football, he's always wanted to run the football. He's going to max protect. He's going to throw the ball down the field eight to 10 times a game. He's going to max protect and run those guys down the field and try to throw the ball over your head and get big plays. He's going to run his zone play, he's going to run his counter and he's going to stay in his box. That's what he does. He's going to use his tight ends, he's going to move them. He's going to block down. He's going to drag them across the field. That's what he does and he pretty much stays in his box."


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