"We are excited about playing Arizona, this will be a great matchup. When you look at the bowl matchups I don't know that there is a better matchup for an exciting bowl game. Arizona has established themselves as a football team that can compete with the best on any give Saturday. I think Coach Stoops would agree that if you don't turn the ball over and you are in the right spot on defense you have the chance to beat anybody you play and that's what you have in an Arizona team. Both teams have very good quarterbacks, both make plays, and one thing you don't want to overlook is that both teams have played good defense at times this year. As a football coach you look back over your season, and at Oklahoma State this has been a very good year for us. There have been times our defense played well, and our offense has kept its head above water most of the year, and we have been fortunate to be good in the kicking game. This is a good matchup because both teams will have a chance to move the football. Both defenses will be excited to stop the ball because all the talk is going to be about the offense. We are certainly aware of the challenge at hand. Our team is looking forward to spending some more time with each other, and we plan on arriving on the 23rd and looking forward to the excitement of the bowl game festivities."
Mike Stoops Introduction: "Thank you for your continued support of intercollegiate athletics and what you do for our young men as a reward to be able to go to such great destination points and play such great opponents. It's really a special time of year for all of us and not being home for the holidays usually means a successful season and we certainly won't be disappointed that we will not be home for Christmas. I know this bowl game does a tremendous job with hospitality for our players and our fans. We are certainly excited about the opportunity to be here. To be able to play such a high ranked team is very special, and to play a program that six or seven years ago was a lot like ours. Trying to redefine themselves in college football, and certainly Mike has done that at Oklahoma State putting them in the upper echelon of college football being consistently ranked in the top 20, which is what we are striving to do at the University of Arizona. Kind of redefining who we are, that has been a difficult process, but I could not be more excited about where our program is and the way our kids compete on a weekly basis.
"The Pac-10 was an extremely competitive conference this year with an out of conference schedule that played some of the best football and that certainly affected the end of the season, but it's going to great for us to step back, reevaluate where we are at and prepare for a great contest against Oklahoma State. Certainly we feel like we have one of the premiere quarterbacks in college football in Nick Foles. A lot like Oklahoma State's quarterback, you have to have a trigger guy who can put you in great situations, and we feel like we have a truly great quarterback from Austin Westlake in Nick Foles. Again, we hope he can play as well as Drew Brees, the last Westlake quarterback to play in this game. He stuck a dagger in us when I was at K-State on a final drive to pull out a win, so hopefully we can be on the other end of that this year, but we excited to be here in as competitive of a setting that there is in college football. We are going to do our best to put on a show for the people of San Antonio, our fans have supported us, that's a big reason for any success we have had, and we look to have a great turnout of Arizona alumni and fans here for the game."
Stoops on how the Bowl will help Texas recruiting: "We have recruited very aggressively in Texas, and we will continue to do so, we are the closest Pac-10 team to Texas, so that's why we started this and have had success with the players we have recruited out of Texas. Hopefully this game will continue to give us exposure in the great state of Texas and help us with our recruiting."
Gundy on Arizona: "I know for us anytime you play an opponent with a quarterback like Nick Foles you have to take note, and they have a great receiver in Criner. I also like their two backs, I have gotten the chance to see Arizona play at night, and their two ends do a great job of getting to the quarterback and moving him around. One of their defensive backs, number five, he's a young guy and a real good player. Our team certainly understands who we are playing and the potential that they have, so it will make for a very good bowl game."
Stoops on Oklahoma State: "I had the opportunity to watch the entire Oklahoma-Oklahoma State game three weeks ago. I know what kind of players Oklahoma has and to watch Oklahoma State compete like that, you can see they are a different team and program than they have been in the past. They keep knocking on the door if you keep doing that, something will happen. They are very close to making an elite step that is very difficult to do, and that we are trying to do that as well. You have to have a very complete program to make that leap. It tells me they have good players throughout their program, whether its offense, defense or special teams. That's what really jumped out at me was how good they looked as an entire football team. That's really what you have to do week in and week out to be successful."
Gundy on maintaining team's focus with potential coaching staff changes: "The way it works with the coaches, you manage it day by day. You take phone calls of people who are interested in hiring your coaches and try to have a schedule when you practice and recruit. This is actually the busiest time of year for our coaching staff because we are trying to recruit and prepare for our bowl game, both of which are very important. We just take it day by day, as of 20 minutes ago our staff was intact, but at anytime that can change and I have always felt we have a lot to sell at Oklahoma State. It's a good place to work and if there is a coach that has a better opportunity we don't want to hold him back and we try to find another coach as quickly as possible. We just do the best we can with the opportunities that come our way."
Gundy on exceeding expectations this year: "We try to prepare to win every game we play. Sometimes we play teams when we have more talent and sometimes teams are more talented than we are. It's our responsibility to put a plan together each week so we can win if our players play well and give great effort. Every win is important and that won't change. Our program has had a good year and set the bar very high, but we have to prepare for this next one just like the last one if we want to have a chance to win the football game."
Stoops on potential changes to his coaching staff: "Some things are out of our control, and you want to give coaches the best environment to be successful. I always think it's a great compliment when people come after your coaches, it tells you they are good coaches, good people, good recruiters. I credit our players for getting these coaches promotions. Again, we will have some movement on our staff and I'll evaluate what gives us the best chance to be successful, not only on the 29th but I have to look beyond the 29th into the future. We will make decisions that are best for our football team not only short term but also those who will be a long term fit for the University of Arizona. We want guys who want to be there, and committed to our program and what we are trying to do. We will evaluate that starting this weekend, it's difficult recruiting, preparing for a bowl game and trying to hire coaches. We have to make sure we don't make any hasty decisions and we make the best fit for the University of Arizona. Certainly the possibility of me coming out of retirement and coaching defense is there. For the secondary, I don't know if that excites our players that much, but I am sure my role will probably have to change a little bit over the next three weeks."
Stoops on benefits of brother at Oklahoma and matchup against Oklahoma State next year: "There are some similarities between defenses at Arizona and Oklahoma. You look at every opponent at what they did, what they had success with, just like Oklahoma State will look at with a variety of our opponents. I think you look at all of that, we have different players that have different strengths and weaknesses than those at Oklahoma. So if it fits we look at it, and see how we can benefit. We are going to play three times over the next two years, so we will get pretty familiar with each other. It's exciting, and it's a great environment at Oklahoma State and we have a great environment as well. These types of games are really exciting in preseason, they are very demanding, but this will start the rivalry a little quicker than we thought, but again it's going to be a great matchup. "
Stoops on kicker and team's mindset: "We talked after the game as a team, no game comes down to one play. There were a lot of mistakes that were made, a lot of competitive plays that were made, so that's football. If you're in it long enough sometimes you will be on the good side or you're going to be on the bad side at times as well. That's how it goes sometimes and you just got to pick your head up and go back to work. You have to be strong enough inside and motivated enough inside to do what you can to prevent it. I am sure Alex will evaluate everything just like we do to see what he can do better, and that's what I expect of him. I don't see any long-term effects, he's our kicker and hopefully he will come out and prepare over these next few weeks and be ready to go."