April 17, 2013
STILLWATER - Oklahoma State football coach Mike Gundy and several members of the team visited with the media Wednesday. Some of their comments:
Head Coach Mike Gundy
On the improvement of the cornerbacks:
"I would agree that they've improved considerably. Our defensive line is much better in my opinion, especially with a couple guys that we had in practice this spring. I think we've really improved in that area. I think that the overall improvement as a football team has been very good this spring, but I would agree that the corner position and, in my opinion, the defensive line position are the most improved."
On Cornerbacks Kevin Peterson and Ashton Lampkin:
"We hope that they're talented enough to do it. They've got size and speed and their willingness to put forth the effort to be a good football player has been there. Young players have been able to compete at that position in this league, and those guys are coming along. I'm sure that the changes we've made on defense have been very positive for our team."
On Saturday's spring game:
"The spring game is a fun time for everybody - fans, players, families, coaches. It gives us a chance to divide up the team and play a game. We'd like to play a 60-minute game, somewhere in the neighborhood of 80-90 plays, but we're going to run the clock a little bit more than in a normal game setting because we don't have the numbers to compete on that many plays. But it's a fun game for us, and it's a day for us to meet the people that support Oklahoma State football, the little kids. It's a lot of fun, and we look forward to it. Our goal is to get 50-60 plays out of the game."
On the format of Saturday's game:
"We're going to do the same thing that we've always done. We feel like it's better to pick teams, so the coaching staff will go in and divide up their offense and defense based on what we think is the best way for us to function as a unit out there. Ultimately, it comes down to your linemen, because you have big guys playing that haven't really competed at this level, so there's a learning curve moreso than with skill players. We try to divide it up as equally as possible so we can function on offense with young offensive linemen. From a skill standpoint, and a defensive standpoint, we're pretty mature. The offensive line is where we don't have as much maturity. But we've got enough guys to spread out and split up and have a good scrimmage."
On the relationship between the cornerbacks and receivers:
"That's one thing I've mentioned throughout the spring, is that I like the approach on defense and the way that they're challenging our receivers. It's making us better on both sides of the ball. There's really no substitute for competition, whether it's at the same position or positions that compete against each other, like wide receivers and corners."
On Cornerback Justin Gilbert and Receiver Tracy Moore:
"They go at it pretty good. Justin's had a really nice change of attitude in the past few months. He's been more competitive in spring ball than over the past 12 months, in my opinion. He's obviously very talented. There's been a number of those [matchups] here over the past several years that have been really good and it makes both players better."
On the new assistants' first game experience:
"They've done very well. The question came up in the first week and I didn't really have an answer from the standpoint of I didn't really know them myself. But as I've watched them mature within our system over the last month, I've been impressed with each guy. Obviously Coach Yurcich is the one that gets mentioned the most because of his position, and he's learning and is more vocal in practice than he was two weeks ago. I think his approach has been good because when you come into a situation like this, you certainly don't want to change what has happened, and you don't want to change what we have going on at Oklahoma State. Joe Bob Clements and Jason Ray have done a great job, and then Tim Duffie came in at the last second and he's starting to catch up. So I think the transition's been very smooth."
On new Offensive Coordinator Mike Yurcich's approach this spring:
"We play very fast. That was our goal. We had some limitations last year due to inexperience at the quarterback position, and then when you change quarterbacks, it limits the speed. We played faster in the bowl game because we had a month to prepare, and we had kind of settled on that Clint was going to be our QB, so it made it much easier for us to prepare and play fast. There have been some different things we've used that he has experience with. I appreciated his willingness to come in and watch and listen and learn. I would expect that going forward, as he knows our players and our coaches and our quarterbacks, that he can proceed differently now. All of us, in whatever profession we're in, the more we listen and learn, the better we're off. So I'm comfortable with all the coaches and how they've handled themselves and our offense."
On the starting QB spot:
"We haven't necessarily said anything about the first game of the season. The one thing that we can say about our quarterbacks is that we're very fortunate to have three guys that are experienced and good football players. I don't think that's changed, and they've gotten quality reps for us in the spring. There's a role for all of them. Whether one of them will redshirt, one of them will start, whether there will be a package for one of them, all of those options are still out there. I don't know that we've made any decisions in any of those areas. We can't do that at this point."
Offensive Coordinator Mike Yurcich
On what he's looking forward to learning at the spring game:
"Just watching guys running around and having fun. Seeing our fundamentals really come through and the things that we've been working on. To see that really flourish in the spring game would be a good thing."
On how his grasp of the offense is coming along:
"Real well. I feel I have a firm grasp of it. All the coaches and players have helped me out. It's been a great learning process."
On how fun it is to have three quarterbacks:
"It's been a lot of fun. They're great in the meeting room. I had them over to the house last week. My sons enjoyed them very much and my wife enjoyed them very much. They're three very nice young men."
On having three quarterbacks with different styles:
"It's really good and a lot of fun. You don't want to go three different directions though. The biggest thing is that we have three winners."
On if he views the spring game different than a normal practice scrimmage:
"We want to have fun with it. We want to make sure that first of all, our players are having fun with it and they're having a good time with it. They've worked hard this offseason and now this is a time to step out to the field and really enjoy as much as we can simulate gameday atmosphere."
On if he can learn anything in the spring game:
"Not too much. I think the first 14 practices really showed us a lot of things. This game is more about going out there and trying to execute some of the base concepts that we have."
On if he can finally take a breath after the spring game:
"You can't take too big of a breath because we're going to start recruiting pretty heavy right now in the spring time, so that's something that we're going to jump right into and go with."
Defensive Line Coach Joe Bob Clements
On the spring practices so far:
"Obviously, I think there are some things we can get better at and those things that we can always improve on. But I think the energy has been great this spring because they're working hard and they're eager."
On the defensive line implementing his strategies:
"I think it's been pretty good from my standpoint. We have a great group of guys that work hard and are eager to learn. I think I inherited a strong group of young men and they are doing well."
On competition for playing time:
"Especially at the end position, there are a lot of guys that don't have a lot of experience and are competing for that. Even at the defensive tackle position, I think some guys will come on this spring that might not have done that in the past and will make things pretty interesting."
On changing the perception of the defense:
"I know our guys are excited. They are practicing with a little bit of a chip on their shoulders. And I noticed that they want to change that perception, but at the end of the day all we can only control is what we can control and that is working on getting better every day."
Receivers Coach Kasey Dunn
On David Glidden:
"The guy that has really shown some things this spring is David Glidden. That is the guy. Now that he's healthy, he's making a ton of plays for us and adds another dimension. It's fun to have him out there. He's a smart kid, puts in the work, he's investing everyday in his success and in our success as a group. It's fun to see a guy like that who is putting so much into it. He's used by myself, coach Ray, Yurcich and Gundy everyday as an example of how to go out, compete and make the most of a situation. We have to find a way to get him out there because every time it's thrown to him he gets up and catches it. We have to get him on the field."
On the depth at receiver:
"It's good. I think with the upcoming season, we have a lot of receivers who are going to make an impact - a lot of young guys. It's interesting, we have a couple veteran guys in Tracy and Charlie Moore. Josh Stewart has been around and Blake Jackson, but there isn't much of a middle ground. We have a lot of young guys coming in that we are counting on to step up and make some plays. They're very talented and pushing those veterans hard. You're going to see those guys making flashes this year when they take the field."
On the competition for playing time:
"We're a solid three-deep across the board. Each guy is vying for that opportunity to get out there and play. Those young guys are pushing for time every day, so those veterans can't take a day off. Josh Stewart can't take a day off because David Glidden is right there behind him just chomping at the bit to get that position. Charlie Moore can't take a day off because Sheperd is doing everything he can to get the job. The great thing about it is there is no animosity there either. Charlie Moore is still helping Brandon Sheperd and I think having our group meet together, both inside and outside receivers, has really brought our unit together as a whole and bringing them together."
Safety Daytawion Lowe
On the defense this spring:
"Coach Spencer has really harped on us getting after it with our effort and doing some things we haven't done around here."
On offense vs. defense during practice:
"It just depends on the day, but I like to say that the defense is winning most of those battles because I'm a defensive player. I feel like we are winning most of the battles."
On adjusting to Coach Spencer as the defensive coordinator:
"It's different, but he's getting us better. Everybody is seeing that and can see how much better we can be if we learn and buy into the system that he's trying to do."
On having a championship attitude:
"Well, that's always our goal but right now we are just working on trying to get ourselves better so when we get to that point we won't have lost any days."
Running back Jeremy Smith
On how the spring is progressing as a whole:
"It's been really good. The young guys are really competing. Especially the last couple practices, it's been wonderful out there seeing guys making big plays. It's been pretty good."
On growing into his role as a starter:
"I'm just learning to communicate more with the offensive line and the quarterback, and just making sure I go out there, work hard, and do what I know to do."
On working with multiple quarterbacks:
"It's really all the same to me. We did it last year, so I'm used to who they are and how they operate. They're all competitors and ready to go out there at any time and make plays."
Defensive Lineman Calvin Barnett
On how the defense is performing in the spring:
"I think we're looking pretty good. It's different to me, because this is only my second year, but now I'm more comfortable with myself and what we're trying to do."
On adjusting to the defense under Coach Spencer:
"I've been comfortable with Coach Spencer. When Coach Young left, I was hoping Coach Spencer would get the job. Coach Spencer and I have had a good relationship, and that hasn't really changed."
On the competition for playing time:
"To be honest, I try not to pay much attention to it. Even when I got here, I knew that if I paid too much attention to who was starting and who was getting playing time, I might mess something up with my technique on the field. The more you pay attention to that, the more likely you are to make a mistake that can put you in the hot seat. I just try not to worry about it."
Wide Receiver Tracy Moore
On getting back on the field:
"I'm very excited, it's been a while since I've put on a game uniform so it'll be pretty interesting."
On his recovery:
"I feel pretty good, spring ball and that grind is physical but I'm excited to get back out there. I'm definitely back to 100 percent now, especially dealing with Coach Glass every day in the weight room. He makes me do extra, but I'm feeling pretty good."
On the spring game:
"I'm definitely looking forward to it, but at the same time, the spring game is for the young players to see what they can do, and a lot of guys to show what they can do that didn't get the chance to on Saturday nights. I'm looking forward for that opportunity to play a little but I'm excited to see them shine."
On the defense:
"They're the best defense I've seen. They're right up in your face and they throw a lot of different things at you and it's hard to tell through the snap what they're doing. They're doing well at it."
Offensive Lineman Parker Graham
On the offensive line:
"We have a lot of young guys now, especially with Lane Taylor and Evan Epstein gone, we lost a lot of that veteran experience, but with me and Brandon Webb being back, Jake Jenkins has had some playing experience, guys like Daniel Koenig have played a lot and even Devin Davis has played a lot in games. We're just working on our chemistry right now and that's what it comes down to, five guys going together."
On making calls at the line:
"It's kind of an older guy thing, I've been making calls for a couple years now. Jake makes the point and it starts with him, then the tackle usually tells what's going on to Jake if he has guys looking at something. But with as fast as we go with our offense, it's kind of hard to do that sometimes, but we do that pretty well."
On the team's performance this spring:
"We've had a heck of a spring. No matter who is in there, we are performing and that's a heck of a thing to have. Clint is performing well at the quarterback right now and Jeremy is doing a great job at running back. So it's going to be fun to open up holes for those guys and put some yards up. From top to bottom we've really improved this spring."