Big 12 Media Days: Oklahoma State

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 my opinion.


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
my opinion.


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
Seattle.


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.
 


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