Wildly entertaining presser today! Some cringe-worthy moments to be sure - some of Gundy at his best. It was, in his words, "awesome!" He talks Baylor, O-line, lots of players' numbers, hosts Daxx's press conference, deals with T. Boone and roasts a couple of beat writers.
On Baylor's offense: "They're just as explosive as they ever have been. Obviously the quarterback's playing well. Their defense is more active than what they have been, in my opinion. We certainly have our hands full." Well, I can't wait now!
Felt a little tense when Coach was asked why they don't seem to be improving: "We really are improving. We're just playing better teams. The quarterback played better than he has in a long time, he just didn't have the opportunity to make many plays. It was difficult for him from the first time he dropped back all the way to the end of the game." Just a little opinion piece here - I kind of feel sorry for Daxx. We were all stoked about his cannon, and then we griped because he throws too many deep balls. Now he can't even hardly get a pass off because of all the O-line matador-style blocking. What do you do?.
- Speaking of the O-line "whiffs", a reporter asked what causes that: "There were times when they were just better than us. We've got guys that aren't quite at that level yet. Makes it extremely difficult to call plays and draw them up and/or protect and throw the ball downfield."
- Reporter: "The spread is designed to alleviate pressure on the offensive line. Are there more things you can do to take more pressure off those guys?" Gundy: "I don't think so. We've explored as many options as we can and part of what you're saying's true, and part's not true, it just depends on the way you look at it. Some people think the spread gives you two short edges and puts more pressure on the quarterback." Interesting.
Then there was this, as described by Pistolsguy's Twitter account:
Definition of insanity. RT @ahrens_tim: Gundy said the team will keep doing what it's been doing and expect success.— Pistols Firing (@pistolsguy) November 17, 2014
Yep, "Keep doing what we're doing." I see the point in this.sort of. But, I totally get the Einstein reference, too!
Can they get better? "This week? Yeah, they can get better. We expect them to play better and improve. The team we played Saturday is pretty good on defense. They were better than the team we played the week before. So, it's hard to have success against them if you're struggling in certain areas."
- So will the offense be better - do you see Texas' defense as better than Baylor's?: "Baylor's defense is pretty good. They move around pretty good."
- "I just watched the Oklahoma tape. In some people's opinion Oklahoma's offense is pretty good. I wasn't real encouraged when I watched that tape. I gotta get me some other ones. But, I'd say Baylor's defense is pretty good."
On Tyreek improving his vision for holes: "I think it's just reps and a lot of that is natural. He hasn't has as many carries as what some backs would when you get to this level"Well, why not - I think that's kind of everybody's question, right? "I think he'll improve the more he sees it." Then what have we been waiting for?
On dealing with Baylor's offense - do you think more about Linwood or Petty? "I don't know that you can pinpoint any of those guys when you talk about what's on the perimeter, and the back and the quarterback." A.K.A. - the Triplets.
How do you keep the players positive? "For one you tell them the truth, which we do every day. And two, they're expected to prepare. They signed up for this - we all did." Love that answer!
He was actually asked if he remembers the message they gave the players when Les was here, in 01, 02 when they shocked OU: "I can't remember that far back - too many things to keep me from remembering that far back to be honest with you."
- And would he consider using a sports psychologist.what? "I think there's some times those guys might be beneficial, but I don't know if that really falls in this category."Kind of an odd question, don't you think?
Expanding on his answer about keeping up the coaches' spirits and if he needs to be "coaching them up": "I think in my position I have to coach everybody up. We're evaluated on wins and losses. We're expected to graduate players and make sure they don't have any off-the-field issues; but, ultimately nobody cares about that. They only care about you winning and losing games. That's just kinda talk people throw out there." Wow - sounds a little cynical.
- And this - just very Gundy: "Everything we do is magnified by social networks. People get frustrated when we're not winning so they vent through computers and it just kinda stirs the pot more and more."
- "My job is to keep everybody going - myself, the coaches, strength and conditioning, guys in the building, medicine staff and players." (Medicine staff.is that like a bow staff?) "I'm really doing great. Guys are working hard."
On Daxx's confidence: "I'm not worried, but you always want a quarterback to feel comfortable in the pocket. And for me to sit up here and say he feels comfortable in the pocket right now, then you guys should get up and walk out of her."
- Then, to a writer who was apparently missing Saturday - "It ought to be a rule around here that if you're not here you can't ask questions about the game. Where were you at?" Reporter: "Lubbock, Texas." Gundy: "What was going on out there?" Reporter: "A football game." Gundy: "Oh."
- Continues: "We work to make the protection better, but we also work with him to try and keep him where he's comfortable so he can have good vision down the field. He played better this game than he has in a month."
Any issues with the players - O-line and Daxx in particular? "I haven't noticed any issues with any personnel on our team - those guys and Daxx, anybody on defense - offense defense - so I'm comfortable with where we're at as a group. I haven't seen Daxx show any frustration with those guys because he knows they're giving effort."
Can you evaluate the improvement you've seen: "It would take a long time to do that. But for instance, Ramon - 18, he was much better than he was a month ago. 31 got beat on a deep ball, but for the most part, he's been better over the last couple weeks. Did he get beat the other night by that fast guy they have - yes. But, I look at - those guys are playing 70 plays a game and the plays you don't see are the ones where they're in the right spot." Said positive things also about Morrow - #5, #10 - Newton, Daxx, #74 and Washington. To me, his optimism seems genuine. Yeah, and with my luck, in 6 weeks he'll be doing the Gator Chomp.
Best part of the conference today! He was asked about comparing Tyrone Swoopes to Daxx and how Swoopes seems to "step up and bounce" and improving from where he was six weeks ago. Is Daxx? "Do you see him step up and bounce without getting hit?" Followed by this:
- Reporter: "That's a good point." Coach: "It's a better point than your question. It's a nice try though. I like your attitude though." Ouch!
- "I can tell you this though - he's much better than he was, but he's been hit a lot. The kid is tougher than all get-out and he continues to fight."
- On Daxx's decision-making: "His decision-making in the last game was the best it's been. I guess this has turned into his press conference. He had three bad passes. On a couple occasions he got out of the pocket and was a productive player. We have to evaluate him on his opportunities to be productive."
Talking about recruiting: "Players are different than the young men we recruited ten-fifteen years ago. They want to know they can be treated and coached with respect. They want to get on the field early, and they want to get on the highlight reel on ESPN - more so than it used to be in the past in my opinion." Weird - but probably all very true.
Then - the Florida job question - that he's got 4/1 odd to get the gig based on bovada.com's site: "That's crazy. I don't have any interest in talking about other jobs." What do we think about this?
What can he say to make fans feel better about next season: "There's a real strong commitment from the people in our organization. At times things seem to look a lot worse than they really are. I've never been one to be critical of the fans. But, I would encourage those who love OSU and love OSU football to continue to support their team."
- Yet another great moment - talking about his son wanting to skip out on a Stillwater HS football game "because they stink": "Well there's been times I've watched you play your games and you stink, too. People came to watch you play your games like me and your Mom, and I sat there and thought, 'What the h_ll's going on? Why am I actually watching this?' But I still come and watch you. So what you need to do is get your butt to that game and support your friends and your team and your school."
- Did your son go to that game? "Yes - because I still control him. I pay for his insurance and I have his gas money."
Coach goes all third-person here with a response. Aside from fan expectations, how badly does he want to win, just for the players? "These are fair questions, but even for the fans - if anybody thinks that Coach Gundy and the staff and the players and the people that are here every day don't want the fans to be happy, they've lost their minds. We want them to be that way. But I get disappointed for the players because there's a lot of work that goes in. The one thing we have to respect - and by 'we' I mean fans - is these guys play in pain all the time. They've chosen to go out and be a warrior and we should respect that."
- "But, the long and the short is this: here's where we're at. Here's where we want to go from this point forward and if we ever take our eyes off that, we're failing the fans."
- ALL very well said.
Is it a compliment to your program to be high on the list for the Florida job? "You asked the question, I'll be honest with you. I think it's awesome we can lose 31 guys (!?!?!) who played in the Cotton Bowl and then have people expect us to win 10 games again. I think that's awesome and shows a lot of respect for us. I wish we were providing that right now."
Wow - then the ultimate moment of discomfort - Coach was asked about T. Boone's comments in the Austin paper: "I don't read the paper." Reporter: "Do you want me to read it to you?" Coach: "Not really, but that doesn't make any difference does it? Unless it can help me in the game this Saturday, it doesn't really make a difference." Reporter: "Maybe it will motivate you." Coach: "Was it negative?" Reporter: "I don't know. I'll let you make that decision." Coach: "I mean, if it's negative, I don't want to know. If it's positive, maybe it will make me feel better."
- Reporter reads quote - Pickens basically says he supports oSu, he doesn't care who the coach is.
- Gundy: "That's awesome. I happen to be the coach so that means he's supporting me." Hmmm - little dicey there.
- Would you like him to come out and say he likes you? "I don't need anybody to tell me whether they like me or dislike me. I don't really care. I just want to coach my guys and keep playing ball." Awkward!! "He's old enough to make his own comments now, right? I mean, I can't control what he says."
Finally, some other guy just asked, in kind of a snarky way, if Coach can say we're going to be better next year: "Sure. I told you (at the end of last year) that I had a great concern because of youth and inexperience.and they'll get better and we'll have a little more depth and we'll improve. Alright guys - I gotta get back to work. I already went over my limit."
Can I just say - I was in school when Mike was playing - I was a freshman when he was. I've always loved that he's our coach. I may be a little biased and a little blind toward him; but, it means something to have an alum as a coach. Now I'm not in the "get a Michigan man just because he's a Michigan man - even if he's awful" camp. I just think it speaks to the tradition we're trying to build - to the loyalties we WANT to have. I going to be an oSu AND a Gundy homer for a long time. If he leaves, whether by choice or by force, I'll always be a ridiculously optimistic O-State homer. But, I would love to have him Bowden here - stay till he hangs it up. And, he's just so fun to write about! Go Pokes!!