The Rundown: Gundy Talks Run Game Struggles, COVID/Injury Issues

September 6, 2021

STILLWATER — Mike Gundy didn’t have Labor Day off, as he was making his media rounds.

Gundy met with reporters in the Boone Pickens Stadium press box Monday afternoon. Here is what he hit on. If you’d rather watch and listen to Gundy’s media luncheon, it’s embedded below.

Opening Statement

“Obviously another week for us, game week. Glad to be able to get the win on Saturday. Got the guys together last night, and we had a little practice. Day off for everybody except us and you guys. And then getting ready to play Tulsa. Just kind of stay the course. Game week for us.”

On Spencer Sanders’ Status

“I would rather not talk about any injuries at this time. We’re hoping that he’ll be back. I think he’ll be fine, but I really can’t say, one because we never know how those things can turnout. So, I just prefer to not guess one way or the other.”

On reviewing film from running game struggles

“You know we protected really well, probably the best protection we’ve had in a long, long time. We didn’t run block as well as I would have liked. And it was a typical ‘one guy away.’ You hear that all the time, ‘We were just one guy away from this.’ Several times we were one block away from being a lot better in the running game. That’s something to work on this week and get cleaned up.

“There were a couple times that there was more yards available in our opinion, but for the most part, we had one guy that was lacking on several running plays that kept us from getting in the open field where they would really give them a chance to really make that one guy miss.

“I’m gonna guess five, six times one of the front five guys up front was not as good as what we want him to. It wasn’t really mental mistakes. It was more just — well, they get to coach too, their guys defeated the block and our guys didn’t finish the block. That’s really what it came down to.

“It could have been the tackle one time, could have been the Cowboy back, one time it could have been the guard. I mean it’s very common. It’s nothing unusual. It just happened at times and then a little bit that guy got him down instead of maybe running through it or making that guy miss and then the combination of it, made it not look very good.”

On the Cowboy backs

“They played pretty good to be honest with you. Guys that hadn’t played at all, I was pleased with the way they played. Now, the competition’s gonna get better every week. Guys are going to get more physical. So the challenge will be greater for them, but for players that hadn’t played much in a competitive situation. I thought they played pretty well.”

On the targeting call on safety Tre Sterling

“I thought that he led with a partial shoulder, partial head, which should not be an ejection in my opinion. That’s just my opinion. It wasn’t a direct head-only contact. I saw several others that happened this week that were every bit or maybe more than, and they ruled the other way. So it’s a matter of opinion, right? And we talk with our guys about, if you ever get above here, you’re leaving it up to somebody else. You got to stay down here. You stay down here, we don’t rely on somebody else to offer an opinion on whether it’s targeting or not. My personal opinion, which I am excited that they have greatly minimized blows above the shoulder, but his in my opinion, whether it was a penalty or not I’m good with, but for an ejection, I didn’t think it was that type of a hit. In my opinion.

“Again, the rule states, no matter what you’re supposed to protect the player, but that guy caught it and went down to cross the goal line. And he went down, shoulder, head, that’s where you get the collision. When two people are doing this, it’s different when a guy’s running like this and you directly hit a guy in the head, you should be ejected. That’s just my opinion on targeting.”

On Jason Taylor filling in for Sterling in the first half of the Tulsa game

“Jason comes in certain packages for him. We have other guys that rotate in in those positions, so there will be times that he can be in there. He’s an experienced guy that had to play for us at times. Last year, we had somebody else who got targeting in a game and he played. Can’t remember who it was, but he played a pretty good number of plays. May have been the year before at the (Texas) Bowl. He practices all the time. I’m good with him. We trust him. He plays hard. He competes. We’re good with him.”

On being able to use such heavy blitzes with an experience secondary to cover

“Most of our guys that are in the back end are mature and experienced, which should eliminate most of the issue that you’re referring to with missed assignments and such. Again, as we move forward the competition’s gonna be better. You’re going to be attacking guys that are going to be better protectors. I thought they played really good, and I thought Coach (Bobby) Petrino has done a great job with them. He’s revamped his people. He’s gotten guys that have transferred in there — they’re a different team than they were in the spring. But the point being is each week, for us, it’s going to get better and better. The guys to cover are going to get harder, and the pressure packages will be more difficult based on those guys. But we do have experience and maturity back in the back end of our defense, which allows for a little more flexibility.”

On corner Christian Holmes’ performance

“He seemed to play well. His missed assignments were very low. I’d like him to be more physical at times and be a little more aggressive in coverage. But overall, he played well.”

On freshman defensive end Collin Oliver

“We were going to play him this year because we think he’s good enough to play as a freshman. He’s physically mature enough. He has a really, really strong lower body. And we think that if he pushes hard, continues to work through all that you talked about, he’s going to be a really good player. And when we got some guys beat up a little bit, he has to get more reps. That’s why he played more than what we would originally have played him if we were healthy.

“I like everything that he’s doing. He’s going to make mistakes, but he’s gonna do them fast. So far he’s played physical, again, it’s going to get tougher for him as we move forward. But, at this point he plays fast, he plays physical, he likes to play football, those are good things.”

On the lower point totals around the country

“I looked at scores yesterday. Very seldom do I scan scores across the country, but I did it yesterday, just out of curiosity. I saw the same thing you did. You saw some teams that are really talented that went ahead and scored their 40s and 50s and took care of businesses, for lack of a better term. And then you saw more teams than on a traditional year, like us, that didn’t take care of business in people’s opinions. We call it like it is. We had a chance to make the game a 30-point game at one point, which probably would have been a little different. We didn’t get that done. 

“So, I started to think about when I was looking at a lot of the scores across the country, and seeing what happened and what’s happened is, and there’s a few things I think that’s contributing to this — this is just me, my opinion. One, with all the transfers, coaches or teams can change their team in the offseason, moreso than has ever happened in college football, right? A couple years ago down at SMU, they brought in 20 transfers and I think they won like eight or nine games or maybe more than that, I don’t know. But they were a completely different team based on their transfers. Some of these teams that play better than what people would have thought versus who they were playing, have a number of players that have changed and they upgraded their talent level and it happens really fast. But defenses are playing better now, considerably better now than they were even three years ago, in my opinion. 

“It’s turning again. It’s coming full circle. We’re not seeing as many big plays. Like when I got home last night toward the end of the third quarter of the game that was on TV, we still saw a couple big plays. You’re not seeing a lot of those anymore because the way defenses are playing, so your scoring is down. If we would have hit our deep throws that we could have hit in this game, which were either an overthrow or guys didn’t go up and get them, our numbers probably would have been pushed up. 

“So for that reason defenses are catching up and the transfer portal is creating more parity across the country, and it’s allowing teams to compete better, specifically defensively in my opinion.”

On if super seniors are also playing a role in that

“Sure, it’s the same theory. It’s just like the transfer. You get a super senior that doesn’t count on your 85 [scholarship limit], that’s another body that’s got a lot of experience. I heard our guys in the office talking about it a month ago, the majority of the teams that are doing it are defensive guys returning. Like Malcolm Rodriguez had 15 tackles for us and nine solos, pretty big deal. If he wasn’t there, if he would have gone on. So, just him being a super senior. Devin Harper played really, really good — super senior. If you have three or four super seniors who are essentially a freebie, they don’t count on your numbers, and they’re a defensive guy, defenses are going to play better.”

On Devin Harper’s performance Saturday

“We knew that he was fast, right? We’ve talked about that forever. That’s been his strength. He settled down in my opinion, and he’s not really a guy that’s played more than about 20 plays a game, because he’s played behind guys that are playing in the NFL and it didn’t happen. He played better once he got into the rhythm of the game, which sometimes we see. That’s the difficult thing about some players, some players get stuck behind somebody. That’s why the transfer portal is such a cool thing for some kids. You get stuck behind somebody, don’t get in a game, you don’t get experience, you don’t get in a rhythm, we might not ever know how good you are. Now, he just played one game, but he runs to the ball, and he plays aggressive, he likes football and he played pretty good. So I’m excited about watching him.”

On if there is difference between the Rodriguez-Obongbemiga tandem and the Rodriguez-Harper tandem

“Probably not much. I wouldn’t say there’s much different there other than Malcolm is good. Malcolm’s Malcolm. We didn’t know anything about Devin except what we see in practice because he hadn’t played a lot as I just mentioned. Amen (Ogbongbemiga) is playing for the Chargers, he made the pros. So, we lost a pro player. Now we put Devin in behind him, and he played pretty good. But it’s early. We’ll see where we’re at in October. First of October we’ll know a lot more about our football team. I’ll know a lot more about Devin. I’ll know a lot more about our Cowboy backs. Each week the talent level’s going to continue to go up and in most cases, right? You play teams and as you get into conference play the parity gets greater based on the scholarship limitations and things all even out. So we’ll know a lot more.”

On if he overreacts after one game

“Not me because I know what’s going on. Fans may overreact because they all have a perception, which we do in life. I’ll over react on things that I don’t know about. And I have a pretty good feel of where we’re at as a team, I have a pretty good feel about how people will play. I was surprised the Cowboy backs played as well as they did. I really wasn’t surprised with Devin because he’s been here for 19 years, and he’s a fast guy and likes to play football. But the new guys that play Cowboy back haven’t been here as long, so I don’t know what I’m going to get on game day. I usually have a good feel for all this, now, when I drive home, my mind’s in the same place. I know what our problems are, I know which ones we can fix, which ones we can’t, which ones we need to put a Band-Aid on and try and do the best we can. If we have injuries at certain positions, in my opinion, I know where there’s issues. Some of it can be cleaned up, some of it can’t. So, I don’t overreact because I kind of know, in most cases, what it’s gonna be like. I don’t really get surprised as much, like I did with the Cowboy backs. Most of time I have a pretty good deal for it.”

On special teams

“We didn’t kick good enough. When we started the game, the ball was landing on the 7 and the 10. We didn’t kick good enough, so our coverage units all of a sudden don’t play well. And we have good coverage. We got fast guys that can cover. It’s a fact. So our kicks needed to be better. Once our kicks got better, our coverage units got better.

“The one time that (Brennan) Presley ran 96 yards and ended up losing two, he shouldn’t have been running. He should have fair caught it, we were in a safe look. I’m not mad at him. He’s burning a lot of energy, but the point being is, he didn’t need to do that. Then we almost busted two returns. We have one punt return we were close on, and a kick return where we were one man away. So, I’m encouraged by that because I’ve watched special teams now for about 10 years, I’ve really been involved and I watch it. And it’s interesting, with special teams you could be playing Stillwater High School, or you could be playing, I don’t care, Penn State, doesn’t make a different. (James) Franklin’s my buddy, I’ll talk about him. And the matchups and the way that you block them in, the rights and wrongs, generally stay the same. Either you know what you’re doing, you know how to leverage them, you can get a guy through or you can’t. So I was encouraged by the opportunities that we had out here Saturday that I think we can build on.”

On Tulsa

“I mean I’m not in their building, I don’t pretend to say I know what they’re going through, but when you have as many suspensions as they do, it’s going to greatly affect your team. You’d have to ask Coach [Philip Montgomery], but I’m sure they don’t just feel like they can run two groups out on both sides of the ball and feel comfortable with their experience and ability to compete at a high level. I don’t have that luxury here. So, when you lose as many players they do, it’s going to directly impact your team. As we just talked about the general fans and the population, and public, they don’t like that, but they don’t really know how much that affects your team, which I’m guessing is a bunch. I’m guessing these guys are back now. And they got out there and things just kind of didn’t go good. UC-Davis played pretty good. Their quarterback’s a good little operator, made good plays, they had a good plan and just kind of hung in there and ended up winning the game. Sometimes that can happen.”

On how much OSU can take from Tulsa’s 2021 film with all the absences

“It’s one game, so you look at it. That’s all you have to base it on this year. But they’re going to be who they are. He believes in his style of offense and obviously they believe in their style of defense. That’s what they do. They know what we do, and we know what they do. But you’re going to get personnel off that tape because that’s the only tape we have this year.”

On Tulsa having a lot of super seniors

“I just think it’s an advantage. I told you the other day, I gave you four guys that were thinking about returning to us, and if those guys would have returned to us, you certainly upgrade your talent level. So they got a number of them, and it’s certainly an advantage when you have those guys, no question.”

On if he knew how good Tulsa was after playing the Golden Hurricane last year

“My honest opinion was, as I told the guys the next morning, I said ‘Tulsa is good football team.’ I didn’t know that they were that good, based on they went on and had a good run. I mean they came back won a bunch of games. They had Cincinnati beat, the next week or two Cincinnati had Georgia beat, right? You can say what you want, but you got to be pretty decent to be in that position. That was on the road, in a rainstorm I think. And then played an SEC team in the bowl game, and could have won a bowl game. When we finished playing them, we made some mistakes, obviously we had some things happen injury-wise, whatever, it is what it is, but I told the staff, in my opinion, they’re are good football team. Those guys are a good football team. Coach doesn’t get out of this box. He does a good job in the world he lives in. That’s what they do, that in my opinion, they’re good at it, and allows them to get better as the season goes on. They ended up being much more effective and better than what I thought. But I knew they were a good team. It would have been hard for me to say they were going to win — after they played us, what did they win eight games? If you would have said, ‘OK, they’re gonna win six of their next seven.’ I don’t know if I would have said I agree with that, but I would have said they were a good football team.”

On if the run-blocking issues were fixable

“We’ll be fine. Yeah, we need to get some things cleaned up. We had a couple things happen that were unusual.” … *gives a visual example of a pull play* … “It’s little things like that. I’m just trying to give you an illustration of things that can be cleaned up just through reps. Is that the puller’s fault? No, that’s the coach’s fault because we haven’t given him that. We haven’t shown him that. I went back, ‘How many times have we showed him that?’ ‘Not many.’ ‘OK, well then that’s what you get, not many.’ So we need to do a better job of showing them the looks that they’re going to get in the game that way you have better chance for success.”

On left tackles Taylor Miterko and Caleb Etienne

“They played pretty good. Miterko graded out better than Caleb did, which I thought was gonna happen. I had a pretty good feel for that because Caleb hadn’t played in a game in, I don’t know, long time. He hadn’t played football because [his junior college] didn’t play, so he’s trying to figure it out. And he’s trying to figure it out at a high level right now. So, he played OK, and I expect him to get better. Miterko played good.”

On where he sees Etienne by early October

“Early October? Somewhat better. That’s too early for him because, see what happens now is when we get two practice days a week because we got to play a game. It’s not like spring where you can go out and just crunch him every day. So he’s only going to get six more practice days until early October. So, he’s going to get a little better each week, but is it going to be early October where he say, ‘You got it?’ Miterko played pretty good, so I’m not ready to say that yet. We’re just trying to get him ready as fast as we can, based on him learning everything and not playing in a year and a half.”

On Dominic Richardson not getting a carry Saturday

“Well, the other guys are more experienced and have more reps, so if you have to categorize them, that’s where he’s at on the depth chart now. If we would’ve run the ball better, he would have got a carry because we’d have been running more running plays. But we weren’t running the ball good so we were throwing more passes, so we didn’t have as many to share. None of those guys got tired because we didn’t get to run them enough because we didn’t run the ball very well. That’s just the way it was.”

On the depth at the Leo defensive end position with Trace Ford being out

“Well, it’s not as good as it was when I was in August, but we’ve got guys there. (Collin Oliver) can get in there and play a little bit. (Tyren Irby) can play a little bit. Brock (Martin) is gonna be able to play a little bit. (Ben Kopenski) gave us some snaps.

“Kopenski, he was a good example of what happens when you get guys work all spring and in August. He got more practice in the spring than any guy ever at his position at where he was on the depth chart because we kept the COVID policy in place that we changed a year ago. We practiced everybody because we didn’t know who’s gonna get to play. And for that reason, he was able to play out there and function some Saturday night. If he wouldn’t have got all the reps we gave him in the last nine months, he would have really struggled. So, that worked in our benefit.”

On getting depth players more reps in practice

“So what we’ve always done is, and this is not very smart on my part, but it’s one thing COVID taught me: last year when we got into August, nobody knew who was gonna play — who’s going to get the virus, who’s not going to get the virus. So, I said, ‘Guys, we’re going to practice everybody the same amount of reps. In this drill, ones get seven reps, twos get seven reps, now the threes/young guys, you’re going to get seven reps.’ Because if 16 guys get the virus, these guys over here, they’re fixing to be second team, or first team. So, we did that all of 2020, and I liked it. Our time didn’t change. We used to go ones, twos, ones, twos, ones, twos, ones, twos — threes got a little bit of work. Well, we went ones, twos, threes, ones, twos, threes, ones, twos, threes. So ones and twos didn’t get any more wear and tear on the body, threes just got some work. Now, when we went into the spring, I said, ‘We might as well keep doing that because we’re not wearing down ones and twos. Threes might as well get to work.’ We just never did that. Not very smart on my part. So, we did it again in August. So, for that reason, I’m going to throw out a number: Kopenski might have had 250 somewhat live reps from spring and fall. Traditionally, at where he was on the depth chart, he would have had about 30 — maybe 50, that’s an exaggeration — probably 50. So, he’s getting a ton more work.”

On if that cuts the reps for the ones and twos

“Nope, same number. All it does is, we would finish earlier because they can only go so much. You can practice three hours or you can practice an hour and a half, but on a normal day, we do individuals, we do some 7-ons, we do a little inside, we do little one-on-ones, and then we get 42 plays of team. The ones and twos get those numbers of that 42. So, that 42 didn’t change, all we did was over here, we added a number in for the threes, that matched with the ones and twos got. And the ones and twos didn’t get burned up. We just use that extra allotted in 15 minutes or whatever to get those guys to work.”

On if that strategy will affect how he uses the four-game redshirt rule

“It could be because it gives us some availability because I know these guys can play a little bit. We wouldn’t have known anything about Kopenski if he didn’t get this work, and he starts showing up in the spring we’re like, ‘Guy’s playing pretty good. Guy’s making some plays. He likes to tackle. He’s not scared. OK, we could use him if we need him.’ Well sure enough, we needed him. It worked out good.

“(Aden Kelley) was out there. I don’t know how many reps he played, I should have known. I like calling him 71 because I tease him about farming, but he was cutting wheat as high school kid. Then he shows up and he played, I don’t know how many plays he played. So, he’s cutting wheat in western Oklahoma and hog hunting and all of a sudden, he’s in the game. He would have not been anywhere near ready if he wouldn’t have gotten that work in August. So, he got all that work, so we could put him in there. We had some guys down and guys injured. We had to put him in, and he actually went in, functioned, played pretty good, did OK. Now, it’s gonna get tougher on him, but still he wouldn’t have had a chance if we wouldn’t have given him those reps, probably couldn’t have even gotten lined up.

“He even turned his ankle in warmups. Langston Anderson is out for an extended period of time in warmups. Hurt his foot in warmups, and then Aiden Kelley turned his ankle in warmups, and we didn’t think he was gonna be able to play. He went in, they retaped him, did whatever they do, got him fixed. He ended up playing a little bit. I asked him what happened. He said, ‘Coach, I was so nervous. I was so nervous I just ran and kind of turned my ankle over. I was so nervous in warmups.’ I said, ‘That’s awesome.’ We had another guy that played the same position, Ian Marshall, he pulled his hamstring in warmups.”

On what’s going on in warmups

“I know, I’m out of warmups. You almost don’t want to warm up. I mean, warmups now are so slow, I don’t know why we do it anyway. In the old days, you used to the bull in the ring. That was good stuff. Now, you don’t do anything anyways. But, I mean they came to me and said, ‘Well, Langston Anderson’s could have pretty significant foot injury. He’s out.’ I’m like, ‘I just saw him. What do you mean he’s out?’ They said, ‘Well, he did it warming up.’ So we put (Jaden Bray) in. (Bray) was playing for Norman High School about nine months ago. ‘Alright son, you got it. Have at it and have fun.’”

On who was the backup quarterback Saturday without Spencer Sanders

“That would have went (Shane Illingworth) and (Ethan Bullock) and (Gunnar Gundy) was what that would have been. (Bullock) probably would’ve.”

On if they are in another rough patch with the injuries and COVID absences

“A little bit. I mean, not like it was last year because in the first game, the two kids broke her bones in her leg. That was a tough blow. We’ve got some guys beat up, but I don’t feel like it’s to that point, and we have a little more depth now. I mean, do I like it? No, I don’t like it, but it’s manageable right now as we start to get a few guys back. But we’re in a situation where I don’t know when they’re going to come back yet. And that’s kind of got me a little puzzled and a little concerned. And then with Langston and Trace, those guys, and then Collin (Clay) — Collin and Langston and Trace, I said the other day they’re out for an extended period of time. It is what it is. I hate it for the kids, hate it for everybody, but you got to go play.”

On if Spencer Sanders can stay active while in his COVID protocol

“I need to ask what CDC guidelines are on that, on throwing a football while you’re in protocol. Spencer kind of hangs by himself. He’s probably been somewhere. It was dove season, so he could have been dove hunting by himself or he could have been flinging the ball around to somebody for all I know. But he’s done it so much, I mean he’s fine. He’ll be fine. He’ll be fine. I think he’s going to be fine, I think he’s going to be back, I just can’t say that because we have a very strenuous introduction back into our team from that, and sometimes they say he’s not ready and sometimes they say he’s ready. That’s not me making that decision.”

On if not having many practices between now and Saturday makes it more difficult

“Oh, he’s had so many practices. He should be fine. We run the same plays we’ve run here forever, and he ought to be fine.”

On reports of UCF, Houston, BYU and Cincinnati joining the Big 12

“I don’t have enough information to say other than I think there’s something going on, but I have a meeting on Wednesday to kind of get brought up to par and I’ll know more. The only thing I can guess is based on what the other conferences have done where they’ve come together to say we won’t poach in your other schools, which we all know that, to keep our league together through 2024. Is that going to happen? I don’t know, but that’s what The Alliance is supposedly saying, and then the other conferences don’t have a reason to do anything. Why? They all have their television money up through 24 or 26, and if this conference stays intact through 24, then this television money stays the same. If people leave, there’s penalties to be paid, so why would anybody need to step out there and do anything? So then, I’m just guessing that they’re down here saying, ‘OK, we need to find if this happens and we bring a certain number of teams in here, what’s the financial television stability of this conference if these teams come in?’

“They’re trying to find out what the marketability is for it, would be my guess. So, do I know what conversations that have taken place with any of those schools? No. Do I know how much interest is in those schools? No. I just know some of the stuff you know, maybe Wednesday they’ll tell me a little more. But what I will say is this is, I like that our president (Kayse Shrum) is proactive and aggressive. And I like that the conference is trying to come up with different avenues and ways that they can go if something happens. That part I like, but I don’t know a lot about it, so that’s the best I can give you.”

On if it’s important for him to have a strong Texas connection in the conference

“I don’t mind telling you that we recruited a lot down there, and I think that if we have schools in that state that are tied in with us in whatever we do, I think it’s beneficial for this school. I have always felt like one of the issues, again, this is my opinion, everybody can throw me under the bus, I don’t care, I hadn’t been thrown under the bus in a while so, I thought when Nebraska went north, they lost recruiting down here, and I thought it hurt them. That’s just my opinion. So, I don’t want to lose that base. We get the majority of our players from a four-hour radius, and then you head south, down through a little bit of West Texas, metroplex, all the way out through Louisiana, east Texas, down to about Waco, really, and then push this way. We get a few his Houston kids, but that part of the world is turning real SEC. So, I don’t want to lose that. That’s why you’re hearing that. That is true. I have said that. To people that asked if I had an opinion what I want, I want the Texas people with us because I think it ties us into that television market, and I think that ties us into that recruiting base, which anybody that’s in here knows that’s pretty important. There’s a lot of people that play football down there, and it gives us numbers to recruit to.”

On UCF, Houston, BYU and Cincinnati all having solid football programs

“Coast to coast, people see BYU as a Power Five team — that logo. If you see that logo, they don’t really know they’re an independent. They think they’re tied into a Power Five conference. Central Florida has 71,000 students, And they’re in a heck of a television market. They have a heck of a recruiting base, and they’ve played good football. What other people may think of that, I don’t know. I’m just giving you my opinion on it. And then you have Cincinnati, who has a big television market. A lot of people live in that part of the country, and that logo has grown in popularity in the last few years. They’re winning. Winning is important, and a somewhat extended period of winning is important, I would think, to these television people. And then you have Houston that’s got a huge market, and has had success. They’re tied into a place in the country that’s huge with high school football — state of Texas high school football, everybody talks about it. So, there’s good candidates out there. I don’t make the decision based on the television money. Somebody else does, but there’s good candidates.

“We can call it like it is, I really feel that Oklahoma State is going to be just fine whatever direction this goes. Nobody knows what direction it’s going. If they get to a point where they’re going to bring teams into this conference to strengthen it and it’s financially secure for the teams in this league and the teams that come in, because they have to get their cut of the pie, right, that’s what we’re talking about here, then that decision will be made. I’m not really concerned about that. But if there’s ever Texas teams in our conference, I don’t see how that would hurt Oklahoma State. Somebody might be able to tell me how, but I don’t see how it would hurt Oklahoma State.”

On the upcoming anniversary of 9-11, and his memories from OSU’s first game back from it in 2001

“Well that time was kind of odd for all of us. That was the first time in really kind of my generation that we had what would be a real terrorist attack because we hadn’t had a real war in a long time. It was a different time for all of us, and I know for me specifically, it was kind of the first time in my life, which I young, and I kind of swallowed like, ‘I can’t believe that could really happen. It was scary. Since then, now we’ve seen a lot of things happen. We’ve grown accustomed to, not liking it, but almost just saying things happen. It was the first time in my life, where I was like, ‘I can’t believe that that actually happened,’ and then didn’t really know what to think.”

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