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Mike Gundy Week 12 Press Conference Recap

Coach spent about a half-hour on the team's approach to being undefeated, Mason's performance, Coach Briles vs Coach Snyder, what we call ‘Football IQ', and quite a bit about the development and the changes we've seen in the offense this season.

Steven Branscombe-USA TODAY Sports

Coach Gundy's Press Conference.11.16.15

  • Opened with, "Obviously we're playing a really, really good football team. It really hasn't changed for us - we can't miss a day, can't miss a meeting, can't miss a practice - we've got a long ways to go."
  • "We ran the ball a little bit better last week. We're still a very average to below-average rushing football team. I don't know that we can take a half off this week and be in a fog and play well enough and still be happy at the end of the game."

The Team's Thoughts on Being Undefeated

  • "You know, it's not been mentioned. They don't say much about that. I don't know what they talk about anymore. When they're around us...they have matured and stayed fairly focused on what we're doing."
  • "Do they mention that when they're over there where they live and when they're hanging out with their buddies? That's probably very true. But, I don't hear anything about being undefeated." Oh yeah, they talk about it!
  • Do you talk about the high level they've been playing at? "Usually telling them the truth is the best. They just can't bypass a day, and that's really the way it is. That wasn't the same message other years we won 11, 12 games, whatever it may be." Almost makes this team even more likeable!
  • Don't they also need to have some fun with this? "They really need to embrace the moment - all of us do. I really enjoy the team. I think they're maximizing who they are. It's been really fun for me. (I tell the coaches) enjoy the time we're having and embrace being with these guys and the effort they're giving us." Really cool!

On Mason's Game Saturday

  • Mason's only had 1 INT in the last 4 weeks. What's different? "I think he's maturing and growing up. I think Mike's doing a great job with him. Like most of us, when you...get more reps, whatever we do, you're going to get better at it. I thought last week was his best game of understanding coverage and dumping the ball down and getting it in the hands of players who could make positive yards for our team."
  • Considering this is the game last season when Rudolph the Redshirt lost the redshirt, do you recall that being a painful decision? (Ok - he didn't really say all that...) "Not ‘painful', just a decision none of us liked. We would prefer each one of the players to maximize their time in college. It doesn't always work out that way."

On the Development of the Offense and the Running Game

  • Coach, talk about the expanding offense and what it's been like in the meetings: "They're long and involve a lot of video tape. Coach Yurcich and that staff have done a great job."
  • I don't know if ‘smoke and mirrors' is a good word (not really a word...at all...), but they're doing a lot of different things to be able to accumulate yards in ways that are somewhat different than what we've had here in the past based on who we are as an offensive team right now."
  • "Incorporating JW into the mix and allowing him to rush the ball has allowed us to get those rush yards that we need."
  • Are you surprised at your success on 3rd & long? "I've not been around a team that's been that successful on 3rd and long. It's not good to have that many 3rd and longs. We're not a very good running football team so you get in situations that aren't as favorable. We'd prefer to cut those numbers in half."
  • How much trust did the run game earn this weekend? Specifically, from Robert Allen, the 3rd & 7 call to #32 (Chris Carson). Was that a check or a call? This was such a great answer! "It was a call. I couldn't get to my button to ask if they'd completely lost their mind fast enough. I couldn't find my ‘Talk' button. But Mike felt like that was a time we needed to run the ball." That seems SO great to me! "One area that was different this week was 32's ability to run the ball hard."
  • What about the plays to Jeff Carr? "Carr is a decent weapon for us when he gets the ball in space, and we need to find ways to make that happen more than we have."
  • On Mike Yurcich: "He's certainly very intelligent, very creative, and developed into what I would describe as a good teacher. He's kind of a young and rising star." LEGOS!!
  • He (Yurcich) got beat up last year. Did he need you to help him out and did you think it was unfair? "I felt it was unfair; but, that doesn't make any difference in the world we live in today. I watched him, and I never felt like he needed anybody to pat him on the back."
  • How do you make sense of the offensive line's good pass-blocking and the not-so-much run-blocking? "We've been good pass-blockers, not great - but good. And we've been below-average run-blockers, and we were average last week. I don't have an answer for that. I wish I knew. I'd have solved that problem 10 weeks ago. That is a position that takes time and body-strength."
  • Last week's improvement - is it going to continue, or could we revert? "I don't think we will (revert). They've improved. They've made some progress and then they've had a couple ugly things happen. I said this a while back - we were about a 3 on a 1-10, then we went to a 4, then we went back to a 3, and then, that game, we were probably a 5 ½ - probably the highest we been all year." What? What just happened?!

Football IQ

  • Can you recruit resilience or do you just get lucky? "We've had this discussion. We call it, in our organization, the ‘Football IQ' - toughness, willingness to do whatever it takes for a team, be unselfish, play with pain, football savvy, intelligence, and it's so hard to identify."
  • "Chad Whitener (#45) is from right down here in Dallas and he had to go all the way across the country for someone to give him a scholarship. I'm not saying he's Dick Butkus (#51 - look it up) all I'm saying is he's a pretty good football player."
  • "Jalen McCleskey...he comes in and he has a very high football IQ. So, I'd like to say that it's not, there's not, but yeah, there's some luck involved."

On Preparing for Baylor and Art Briles, and the Rest of the Season - interesting stuff here...

  • "You know, it's funny, I haven't watched OU yet. I've watched all of Baylor's tape, but I haven't watched the game on either side of the ball yet. I hadn't got that far."
  • "We can play with tempo. There's other times we choose not to." We don't care what you do! We'll play however we want to! "That tempo can factor in, but we also have to have tempo on our offense in case we need to use it at any point during the game."
  • "They're going to run their plays. They have schemes on defense they believe in...(his) system's not going to change a whole lot."
  • Is Briles the new Snyder? "He's on track to get to the position he's been able to do, just because of the long term. (I don't even know...) The only difference is..." Coach goes on to say - basically, K-State was AWFUL for years. Baylor, on the other hand, was not terrible a few years ago. So, it comes down to...Briles < Snyder! "I hate to quote Coach Switzer, but...when Coach Snyder went into that place, it was over! The main difference is, you know, Kansas State had a pretty long run there where they didn't have a lot of success."
  • On Briles: "I don't know what he's worth to that school. I can't even put a dollar figure on the marketing he's brought to that school." ‘Not as much as me, though', Coach thinks to himself!!!
  • On the Bears' O-Line - this was a great line: "They're massive, and they run-block and throw passes. They've taken huge human beings and developed them and coached them into the scheme they believe in."

Are We Going to See Smack-Talk Like We Saw Between OU and Baylor?

  • LOVE THIS - "We address it all the time. I tell my guys it's just a waste of time - you're just wasting your own oxygen." That is SO great. (May I? I coached 5th-10th grade AAU basketball for many years. I tried SO hard to get this across to my kids! Well done, Mike!)
  • "If you have an issue with the other guy, you're going to get to play the next play. All the other stuff, to me, is just a waste of time. I see it, for our team, as a distraction, and as a loss of focus and pretty much a waste of energy, if that answers your question."

Random Notes

  • Two weeks in a row with questions about the analysts (Bill Clay and Darrel Wyatt): "We need two more on each side of the ball for what they've brought to the table for us. Bill Clay's been calling plays for 30 years. They give you your ‘Cliff's Notes' on what the next opponent is. They give you a short cut to preparation and you can trust them. I feel very strongly about them. Those 2 guys don't give a flip about the assistants. They're going to give you their opinion, and, like Bill said, ‘You can take this and use it, or you can throw it out the window.'"
  • On Todd Mays: "He went back to Mississippi. He's not with us anymore. He never really got comfortable and then there was injuries and he just decided he wanted to go home. Sometimes that happens."