The Rundown: Everything Mike Gundy Said after the Spring Finale

April 23, 2022

STILLWATER — Onto the long summer before Oklahoma State’s season-opener against Central Michigan because the spring is done.

Oklahoma State held its spring finale, a glorified spring practice, on Saturday in Boone Pickens Stadium. After the festivities, Cowboy coach Mike Gundy met with reporters in the BPS weight room. Here is what he said.

Opening statement

“We had a good day. We got a lot of plays in. Got some good work. A lot of the young players that needed quality time on that field in front of a crowd got some quality work. So, I felt like we had a great day. We’ve had a good spring as I said earlier. Today is normally a game which is not really much for us practice-wise, but we got to do a practice. So, it worked out good. We got really quality work, and I was excited about the guys and seeing them play today.”

On the backup quarterback role

“I thought they played well, just with the naked eye. I see most of it. Some of it I don’t see, and then obviously it looks different when I see it on tape. I thought that they played well. I thought that they competed. I thought that they handled the offense well. They get the summer to train and then all through August, and then hopefully if we need one in that position, it’s when we’re ahead so they can get some actual game experience. But otherwise, I thought they performed pretty well today.”

On if there is a position group he has liked that has grown a lot in the spring 

“I think the corners have, I think the linebackers have and I think the offensive line has. We’ve just been down a bunch of numbers, and they’ve had lots and lots and lots of reps. I think they’ve improved. We’ve had a really good spring overall, but I would say those groups with the youth and them improving, yes.”

On his feeling with the spring

“Well, I always want more practices. We have to make up some ground in August in the scenarios that we didn’t get this spring without having a second or third offensive line. We can account for that with our preparation in August. We’ll have 25 offensive linemen in August, so we’ll be able to practice three groups full speed. I keep track of all that, the analytic part of what we missed. So, we’ll make up for that in August. My right off hand thinking is we’re gonna have to get into more contact, 11-on-11, a week earlier than we did this spring because of what we lost based on not having enough guys this spring.”

On the offensive linemen who have gotten to participate in the spring

“They’ve got a lot of reps. I tell them, ‘You’re getting a lot of work. More work than you really need, but it’s gonna help you.’ Truth known, years ago that’s the way we practiced all the time. Those guys, it’s hard. They’re the 300-pounders. They’re the most nonathletic on the team. And they’ve been getting more reps than all these skill guys that weigh 190 and can run around all day and it not affect them. There’s some toughness that’s instilled in them during this process that will pay off for them as we move forward. I’m gonna bet if you ask them, they’re gonna want a smoke break, and they’re gonna be glad that spring ball is over.”

On Preston Wilson playing center

“Well he’s doing good, but he is a noncontact guy for us. We could’ve put him in contact. Wasn’t really necessary. He’s been here long enough we kinda know what he’ll do in that situation, so we held him out. But, he’ll get a full run starting in June. He’ll get up and running, and then when we go to August and get contact, he’ll be up and running.”

On Talyn Shettron performing well before ending the day on a scooter

“I thought he made some plays. Again, I’m obviously not watching the tape and I’m not seeing everything at once with the naked eye, but I know when the ball was thrown to him, most times it looked like he made his plays. He’s learning. Again, he’s young. He’s a high school player for the most part, and he’s out here and competing so he’s making strides. But as those guys do this, the one thing you get concerned with is if they get beat up. Their bodies are much different at 20 than they are 18. I’m guessing he’ll be fine, but either way, I thought he made some plays.”

On Ollie Gordon being in a sling

“Ollie had a little, what we call, just a mild little shoulder. If it was a game, we would’ve put him back in, but we’re not gonna do that in the spring. He’s had a good spring. He’s showing signs of progressing, but he’s a long ways off. He’s just a high school kid.”

On CJ Tate

“He’s made some plays, yeah. He’s been around here a couple years and gets in and has had reps. He’s a good example of the quality reps that we were able to give the threes, or the young kids, the last two years, all the way through. You guys were at our bowl practice, and you saw, they’re getting a lot of reps. His reps have come from that time, and you’re seeing him now today when he got in with the twos some, he was able to make some plays.”

On the importance of depth at receiver

“It’s important. Those guys are skill guys. We play fast. We would love to play eight a game and rotate them in and keep them all fresh. We’ll see if some of these young guys are ready to play when we get to the first game. But we certainly should have more depth than we had last year at that position.”

On if there are any offensive line injuries that will carry over to the fall

“I think they will be back by August. Do I know for sure? No. Do I feel like they will be back by August? Yes. If they’ve got an injury that they need to repair or something, we won’t put them out there in the summer.”

On Derek Mason and defensive leadership

“He’s doing a good job. We limited them with what they could do today defensively based on where we’re at. So, they were somewhat vanilla. His relationship with the staff is good. His relationship with the players is good. The veteran guys, the Tyler Lacys of the world, (Kody) Walterscheids of the world, Korie (Black), Jabbar (Muhammad), JT (Jason Taylor), those guys that have been around and been out there, they’re the ones that have to help carry it. We don’t play as coaches. We put them in a position and they gotta grasp it and take off and run with it.”

On the backup corners

“They’re doing good. They’re just young. You saw out here real early in the scrimmage, one of them got confused, turned a guy loose down the boundary and we threw it for a touchdown. They dropped coverage. I’m almost sure that was one of the freshmen. I’m not sure who it was, but those are the things that they have to learn and grow on. What happens is, even though we practiced 14 times, we haven’t practiced in front of however many thousands of people were here on this stadium when everybody was watching you. There’s the difference. I would not want to be a corner or safety in today’s game and be in a position where I have to defend a guy running down the field and there’s 80,000 people watching me and the ball’s in the air. That’s what they’re doing. The maturity and the experience and all that with those guys will be very important.”

On offensive lineman Eli Russ’ injury:

“Well, I’m not sure. Again, you know, I don’t know what goes on in those situations. It could be be anything. I always hope, you know, over my years, I’ve always tried to measure it by the sounds and you’re wrong. Sometimes it’s worse than others, you don’t know. So hopefully he’ll be fine.”

On if he was adding offensive drives at the end to get more reps

“Oh, not really. We had them all scheduled. In fact, we actually cut one out. But, we were rotating the [7-on-7] in between. You know, we would go ones, threes would go [7-on-7], then twos would come back out to give them a break. But obviously the bad news is it takes 10 to have two-deep on the offensive line and we only had seven so those guys were getting doubled up.”

On defensive linemen Collin Oliver and Tyler Lacy

“Well they’re gonna be good players. They’re experienced, they’ve been out there, you know what you’re getting from them. Collin had so many reps as a freshman, we have a good feel for him. And, obviously, you know, Lacy is a potential NFL guy if he stays healthy, keeps working hard on developing like he is now. The guys are potentially going to be drafted, will play in the NFL. So we’re expecting big things from those guys.”

On offensive lineman Caleb Etienne’s development

“I’m going to give you a good example. At this time — well, even after the season at bowl practice, when we were giving him a lot of reps. He was a ways away. He’s now just a short ways away. So, you know what I’m saying? He’s coming along. And he’s developing some toughness because now he knows which way to go. So, if you don’t know which way to go, it’s hard to be tough at his position.

“And he didn’t play football for about two years because of COVID and then he came out of New Orleans, went a junior college, they didn’t really do much. Then he came in here and got it thrown on him. And it was hard. Then we started the season, he couldn’t play catch up. And, so he’s one of those guys, like we mentioned a second a go, that got a lot of reps when we got the young guys go out all season. And then in bowl practice, he got 12 times of about 10 to 12 plays. So 120-ish or so, I’m not good at math, but somewhere in there. But he got live reps. So, now he’s better because of that. So I’m excited about watching him grow and become more physical, knowing now the direction to go.”

On if it helps that Caleb Etienne is down in weight since his arrival

“Fifty. I mean, he’s down 50 pounds. I mean, I maybe shouldn’t say that about him, but he looks really good. And that makes a huge difference. I mean, you just imagine being that massive. It’s not like he’s heavy. He’s a massive man. And then you’re carrying weight, you’re out of shape. You’re trying to figure out what to do. Everything’s new. And you don’t know what direction you’re going. That’s bad combination. Now he’s lost 40 to 50 pounds. He gets it. He’s learning, he can think, he doesn’t overreact, doesn’t panic and he can become more aggressive. Which we all know all he’s got to do is be just somewhat aggressive. And he’s gonna be in good shape because of how big he is.”

On how offensive lineman Tyrone Webber is progressing

“The same (as Etienne). He’s further along because he got to play last year. Caleb (Etienne) didn’t get to play. So he’s further along and I would say his last five practices prior to this, he made really good strides based on just knowing what direction to go. Offensively, it’s more difficult to play than ever because of multiple looks and the defenses and disguising of coverages and fronts that they get. It was interesting, I was going back and doing some research and I looked at some video back when (Brandon) Weeden played here and the defense just lined up. I mean, she follows football, she could have known what to do because she follows us so much. And I was looking at it. I was like I can’t believe that people played like that. Well now, you almost can’t tell what the defense is going to do ’till after the ball is snapped. So that not only affects the quarterback position, but that affects everybody else who’s trying to figure out what direction to go. That’s a big challenge for offenses now. And that’s what defenses are trying to do, create confusion for the quarterback and try to get an unblocked guy.”

On if Tyrone Webber could move into a guard position

“He can do whatever, yeah. He’s agile and strong enough, and he’s got good enough feet that he can move around. Not that we would, but he could probably play center. Very athletic.”

On how he felt about his first pitch at the baseball game

“I was good, right? It was a strike. Right down the middle, in my opinion. I think the radar was off. I usually float more in the mid to upper 70s — 51 is a little less. But I will say this, it’s probably close because I didn’t loosen up. And I just stepped out there and threw it. And I had to mentally psych myself up to, ‘Whatever you do. Do not throw it as bad as Mason Rudolph did. And whatever you do, don’t make Josh (Holliday) have to bend over and scoop on out of the dirt.’ So that was my goal. So fortunately, that was the most pressure I had yesterday, but it actually worked out. And I will say this: When I go over there and throw the pitch out, they play really good. I mean, right? And so Josh ought to have me over there more often to throw pitches, because I did trigger some really, really good home runs last night.”

“… Well, we get the big boy, the blonde head. Get him up there and put one over there on that building. What’s his name [Griffin Doersching]? I can’t pronounce his name. That’s why I call him that. I was in the batting cage the other day pitching over there, watching them hit and he’s got a blonde streak down his hair. And when he hits, it’s like an explosion coming off the bat. It got my attention. But he’s fun to watch. He’ll probably put one in the parking lot today and win it. Him or Nolan McLean. Nolan’s got some serious pop. I was over there the other day — I’m into baseball now. But he was floating around 105 to 108. That’s pretty good.”

On who his favorite MLB player is

“You know, I don’t watch a lot of major league sports because I just don’t have time, but I will say this, the shortstop for the Padres is fun to watch. I don’t know what his name is. But I got kind of hung up on him last year. Have you seen him? He’s pretty good.”

Closing statement

“Alright guys, I gotta get to recruiting so y’all don’t yell at me.”

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