Mike Gundy Q&A

What follows are some excerpts from Mike Gundy's session with members of the print media Monday afternoon.

Question: Did the change to the no-huddle, spread offense have much of an impact on the quarterback race between Donovan Woods and Bobby Reid?
Mike Gundy: We have to decide which quarterback we can put on the field that gives us a chance to win with this style of offense and this personnel. That's the thing people are missing out on – we don't have what we had last year, we're not the same group, we're not the same people. So which quarterback on our team gives us the best change to win? Whether it's leadership skills, whether it's throwing, whether it's running or whether it's the ability to get in the right play, that's who we have to play. And it changes from year to year, unless you have a guy who's by far the best. That's one thing that nobody has talked about. We're not the same team we were personnel-wise that we were last year.

Question: So, if you were in the same offense that you were last year the quarterback answer may be a lot different?
Mike Gundy: I'm not saying it would be different. I'm saying that if we had the same offensive structure and the same offensive personnel that we had last year, we wouldn't have a quarterback controversy in the spring. He would have been our starter and the other guy would have come from behind to beat him out. But when you changed, and our personnel changed, now we had to decide what was best for us in this particular time.

Question: Do you think one of these guys will take command by mid-season and one of them will not be playing much?
Mike Gundy: It's really hard to predict.

Question: They are that close?
Mike Gundy: Oh, yeah. I could have brought the statistics in here. They were within a couple percentage points of completions throughout fall camp, and their quarterback rating ... they were right there. That was from 7-on-7, blitz, team and scrimmages. They were almost neck and neck.

Question: Do you worry that both will try to do too much, or maybe play tentatively while trying to avoid mistakes, while they are in there?
Mike Gundy: We've told both of them that I don't want anybody coming in and playing scared. Because it's not a situation where if you come in and throw an interception you're out and the next guy's in and you may never play again the rest of your career. We made that very clear up front. They're going to make mistakes. Donovan Woods is a veteran, (or) so called, although he's only played 12 games, and he's going to make mistakes. Donovan doesn't need to worry that if overthrows a receiver that we're taking him out. And if anybody doesn't think that Bobby isn't going to make mistakes ... Bobby's going to make mistakes.

Question: Do you see a point in the season when one of these quarterbacks won't be playing very much?
Mike Gundy: That's a question he asked earlier. I don't know. It's real hard to tell. We're going to experiment with putting them both on the field at the same time ... It's just really hard to tell.

Question: How have your young freshman defensive backs come along? Are you going to play some of them Saturday night?
Mike Gundy: Hopefully, all not at once. We think that we've got it simple enough that they're comfortable, and they can go out there and perform. They have to be mature enough to block out the game day atmosphere, and not worry about where they're at and go out there and do what they've been coached to do.

Question: How good are the freshmen defensive backs?
Mike Gundy: Our defensive staff thinks that these young defensive players that we've signed are really going to be good. They think they are a good class and over a period of time they are going to be pretty salty. It's not like they're going to be up and running Saturday night. We just try to do the best we can and bring them along. One thing that I'm pretty confident of is that they'll play hard. When your defense plays hard and chases the ball you got a chance.

Question: Are you pleased with the improvement on the defensive line?
Mike Gundy: The best defense for the pass is the rush. Everybody says that and that's true. It was evident last year that we struggled because our defensive line couldn't ever get to the passer. We're hoping that Ryan McBean, a year along Nate Peterson, and Victor DeGrate has made big strides, and XLK is in better condition ...that those guys can make some plays for us. Marque Fountain is healthy for the first time in about a year. Those guys need to make plays and put pressure on that guy so he just can't sit back there and work on those young guys in the secondary.

Question: Who made the quarterback decision?
Mike Gundy: (Larry) Fedora did.

Question: What determined that Donovan was the one?
Mike Gundy: Not anything in detail, really. We feel like he deserves to start the game with what he's done up to this point. And the other guy deserves to play in the game. It's really very simple. They were so close that I wasn't even going to do it until the game. But the offensive staff was tired of messing with it and they wanted to go ahead and name the starter. They're so close that if one guy didn't play well today in 7-on-7 (drills), he could have fallen behind the other guy.

Question: Could you live with a two-man quarterback rotation all season?
Mike Gundy: I guess. If our staff feels that way, but I would prefer to have a starter and a back up. If the starter maybe needs a little help, or a jump start, we could put the backup in. I'm not saying we couldn't ... and I'm looking forward to seeing that package when both are on the field at the same time.

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