PETER IRWIN: We're joined by coach Mike Gundy. If you would make a brief statement and introduce the players you have with you.
COACH GUNDY: We have Zac Robinson, our quarterback, and Ricky Price and Andre Sexton, who are safeties. Andre plays some linebacker and safety. They've all been quality people, and we're proud to have them here with us today.
I've been pretty popular guy over the last year; I don't know how many opening comments I need to make. I do know that. But we're very excited about the season. Our coaching staff has
been intact. Obviously we lost Coach Fedora to be a head coach and he took one of our assistants to be a coordinator. For the most part those guys have been intact.
Our players are very excited, very confident. We've had a great off season, looking forward to the upcoming games. We're excited to be playing out in Seattle to open the season. And very comfortable with where we're at. We feel very good about our progress in the latter part of the season, finished strong with a bowl victory over Indiana.
We had a great recruiting class, our assistant coaches have done a tremendous job in that area. We have a lot of discipline and structure in our program and that's what we believe in, bringing in good people and working them hard, trying to make things better for them in the classroom and on the football field. It's
the direction we're going.
Q. To follow up on your celebrity, did the outburst, your comments after the Tech game, how did it affect your team, how does it continue to affect your team, if it does, and was that just a boil-over at the moment or did you really contemplate what you were going to say?
COACH GUNDY: Well, you'd have to ask the players how it's affected the team. I don't think that they put as much into it as maybe what the media does. And I think in society today that those are things that people thrive on, unfortunately, in
I don't care much for the off-the-field issues and it's not something that I contemplated. It was something that happened in a reaction and I felt it needed to be talked about from a head coach that should do the right thing for a player on his team. The only contemplation I had prior to the conference was if that was my son, what would I do. And Kristen and I are lucky enough to have three sons. So I felt if that had happened to him, and I would want whoever was his coach to do that for one of those three.
Q. Would you talk about the season that Zac had and what his emergence has meant to your program and if you have any concern about the risks that he takes and he's so good with?
COACH GUNDY: Zac had a great season, and I said this several times today, but I think on this day you're allowed to repeat yourself. There were only three players from what I understand that rushed for over 800 yards and threw for over 2800, and the other one won the Heisman trophy. I think that sums up the season he had statistically.
Zac is a good person. He's a good leader. He's been a tremendous player for us on and off the field. He's not concerned with individual statistics. He's more concerned with us winning football games.
We're very excited about the upcoming season. Zac studies the game. Obviously he'll take the majority of the reps now. In the past he had split time with Bobby. So I know he's looking
forward to that. And the team has rallied around him and should be a great leader for us.
Q. Are you concerned about what happens if something happens to him?
COACH GUNDY: Yes. I worry about that every night just before I take a sleeping pill to go to sleep. (Laughter). We feel confident with Alex Cate and Brandon Weeden. But we don't have any
experience behind Zac. And Zac plays relentless. He runs the ball a lot and there's times when I would prefer that he would run out of bounds after a gain of 8, 10, 12 yards and he's converted first down and he won't do that at times. He takes on
the defender. But I don't want to take his stinger away from him. We don't want to change the way he plays the game. But one of our concerns in the preseason is developing a back-up quarterback and naming him the No. 2 guy before we go to
Q. How do you feel about the progress on the defensive side of the football?
COACH GUNDY: I'm very confident in our defense. And we've brought in some players at midterm that have really jelled for our team. We brought in some defensive linemen to give us
some depth. Couple of linebackers to give us more speed at that position. Maurice Gray is a corner we brought in from the Kansas junior colleges. So we have more depth on the defense.
We feel like we're a faster defense. And one thing I was most proud of as a coach is after the season the defensive guys got together and there was a lot of talk about what we had accomplished on offense. And they approached it in the right
manner from the standpoint they said that if we want to earn any respect on defense, we've got to play better and we have to stop somebody. And they worked hard on that. And they've come together and I don't think there's any question that we'll play better.
We'll have more guys that can play in a game to give some of those defensive linemen a break. We had some defensive tackles that were playing 65 plays a game. We prefer they play 40. That will help us out as the season progresses.
Q. Could you kind of update us on what the picture is at running back and if your experience up front alleviates some of the anxiety that you might have there?
COACH GUNDY: Losing Dantrell Savage is a concern is because he's a good player for us as you all know. We have Kendall, we have Toston and Beau Johnson, another junior college player we brought in. They all played well in spring. And we feel like the combination of those three should give us the same productivity we were able to get from Dantrell.
We feel good about our offensive line. For the first time probably since I've been there, even back Coach Miles, we're close to being two-deep on the offensive line, instead of having a third guard or a third tackle, we feel good about guys that may have to go in in a back-up role.
There's some that don't have a lot of experience, but we think they're talented. So we've done a nice job in recruiting those guys. As we continue to get better in that area, if we bring in
skilled guys that can make plays, then we ought to be able to move the ball on offense to score some points.
PETER IRWIN: Thank you, Coach.
Transcript provided by ASAP Sports
Mike Gundy at Big 12 Media Day
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