OSU Media Day: Gundy Has Some Answers

Oklahoma State head football coach Mike Gundy spent nearly 30 minutes in front of the cameras, microphones, scribes, and bloggers to kick off media day Saturday afternoon after the fan appreciation day activities. Gundy was asked a variety of questions about the 2014 Cowboys, who began practice on Friday.

Media (Me): How do you feel about the leaders on your team? You have fewer than a year ago and now that you've had two practices, how did those leaders do with the young players this summer?
Gundy: As a team, we've had a really good summer. That leadership will start to show up in the next seven to ten days, but we have enough guys on both sides of the ball to lead. The difference with this team will be how the young players adjust, monitor themselves, prepare and work hard through the middle of August in order to be ready to play. We're obviously playing a very good football team for our first game, and that'll be an adjustment we go through as a team this year. I feel good about [Ryan] Simmons, [Jhajuan] Seales and those guys. It's the young guys who are learning to play the game really fast.

Media: What do you expect out of quarterback J.W. Walsh?
Gundy: Whoever we play, we hope that, most of the time, they'll play at a solid level. I think, as coaches, we're responsible for that. Our quarterback situation this year is a little bit different than what it has been in the past. We vary our style of offense based on who's in the game. We expect that player and that style to be involved enough to score points.

JW has played in, you guys know better than me ... is he even in double digits in full games? He’s been in seven or eight games. I was pretty close there, but he still hasn’t played one full season. He’s been in a lot of practices. He came in a semester early, and he’s been here a long time, so it’s like he’s been here for ten years. He hasn’t competed in game settings, and he will continue to get better and develop as the season goes on. He’ll play better this year than what he played last year, and we start to expect that. It’s our responsibility to put him in that position where he can perform at a higher level. We have a lot of confidence in J.W.. I’m really excited about watching him play.

Media: So you are saying you might play two quarterbacks?
Gundy: It's a very good possibility.

Media: How does having a young team change your workouts and have any of those younger players made a big impression in the first two practices?
Gundy: We just have to repeat a lot and kind of lead and direct them around. When you have a mature team, they lead themselves for the most part. When you have a young team, you've got a lot of players looking and watching what other guys do. It just takes a little bit of time to get them adjusted. We have a number of guys that should develop into really good football players. I like the body types of the athletes we have here. This is a large class, so there are a lot of players to look at. We have some real good walk on's who go together well with our scholarship players, and I think this is a very athletic class. In our meetings we've had prior to practice, we've been very positive in knowing that the measures, the speed, the jumping ability and things that are most important to competing at a high level are there with this team.

Media: What are your expectations of Kevin Peterson?
Gundy: Kevin is a mature player. He has competed in big games and he has had success in conference play. I've always said that there's no substitute for experience and maturity. He has been out there enough and competed in practice, so it's time for him to step up, lead and make some plays.

Media: What are your expectations of defensive end Jimmy Bean and how do you feel about your defensive and offensive lines?
Gundy: Jimmy falls under the same category as Kevin. He's been out there with the best of them. He has played in some big games, so he understands the demand of what it takes to be a college football player. He's young, but he's an experienced player. We expect him to compete and perform at a very high level. We have a very mature defensive line, and it has some quality depth. We feel like we were pretty good last year up front. If we have some young guys show up, we should be close to as good as we were last year. With the offensive line, we've got a lot of work ahead of us. We lost two players that were key contributors last year. One of them was a starter that graduated early and had an opportunity to get a good job, so he went out there in the real world. We're replacing some young guys, so we've got a lot of youth and not a lot of depth on the offensive line.

Media: Are the defenses in the conference catching up with the speed and explosion of the offenses in the league?
Gundy: From an x's and o's standpoint, I would say that they're catching up a little bit. The offenses in this league were at such a high level for a number of years because they were all NFL quarterbacks. If you're a college football team and you've got a quarterback who is good enough to be in the NFL, you're going to move the ball with success.

Media: What are the positives of opening the season against Florida State, the defending national champion?
Gundy: I'm sure the guys are excited about the game and are building it up, but we've got a long way to go and a lot of work ahead of us. We have to stay focused over the next 20 days until we get into a pattern and can back off. We also have to start a little earlier this year and get a little further into camp before we can back off, mainly because of our opening game.

Media: Does this team remind you of any of your previous OSU teams?
Gundy: You can go back to early in my career when I was just starting up as a head coach. I don't remember the exact year since they all kind of run together, but with the turnover between last year and this year, we're pretty much back to base one. That's where we are as a football team in a number of areas. It has been a number of years since we've had that many starters depart and lose several guys that have contributed. Over the last four or five years, on average, we would go into an opener with about 45 players that we felt had competed and practiced at a high level. This year, we have 29, so it's a little different.

Media: Will quarterback Mason Rudolph redshirt?
Gundy: We’re not sure yet. We’ll have to let it play itself out and see how those guys develop. I watched him a little bit today, and I thought he was considerably better than he was when we finished in the spring.

Media (Me): Are you up for officiating questions? One of the officials' emphasis this season is sideline decorum and keeping coaches off the field.
Gundy: I think we should all stay off the white and make it consistent. If you cross over, you get flagged, and that stops that. If you let some people do it every once and a while, then guys are on the field and it goes right back to the way it is. Right now, there are too many coaches on the field after plays, and guys just need to stay off the field. They just need to tell us what to do and make us do it and then we'll all abide by the rules.

Media (Me): Week two, it's not as OSU game but at Kansas the Big 12 will use a female official for the first time. What do you think of that?
Gundy: I think it's awesome. I don't know who she is or where she came from, but Walt Anderson's in charge, and if she made it through, then I'm sure she's qualified to get out there and do it. You know we live in a world today where people from all different backgrounds are doing things differently than they ever have before. The way I see it is, if it's important to her, which obviously it had to be because it probably wasn't easy for her to get to where she is now, then she must be really good at what she does. The consistency of the officiating, no matter who they are, is what's most important for all of us. We always just want them to get it right, but they're human and they're going to make mistakes. Honestly, I won't even know because you know how I am. I'm sure she'll have a hat on probably and her hair tucked in, and I won't even know who it is out there. If she can do the job, then more power to her.

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