STILLWATER - The Oklahoma State football team concluded preseason camp with a 115-play scrimmage in the Sherman Smith Training Center Saturday. After the scrimmage, coach Mike Gundy and other members of the team visited with the media. Their comments:
Head Coach Mike Gundy
"We had another really good scrimmage today. About 115 plays, and we had good effort. There are some areas we need to work on and certain things that we need to improve on. We limited our penalties, for the most part, as a group. That was better today. Our tackling was improved. We had some offensive guys that were explosive at times and made good plays. The quarterbacks played the best that they've played in a scrimmage in a number of years here. They were very productive. I was pleased with today. They get a chance to get away from us tonight. They don't have any meetings, and tomorrow we don't come back until after church for a full day of meetings and academic meetings to get prepared for school. We're kind of changing routines now. We've gone from preseason camp into an in-school routine. They'll have tomorrow off their legs and we'll give them Monday off. If you start it as of right now, they'll really have 60 hours off of their legs to try to rehabilitate their bodies. We'll try to get back in the flow of it on Tuesday afternoon."
On which of the receivers are starting to separate themselves from the others:
"We've been very fortunate. They're all making plays. Jhajuan Seales is making plays, Brandon Sheperd has made some plays, David Glidden made plays and a couple of freshmen are making plays. I wouldn't say any one because we're playing so many of them at one time; three or four of them at one time during the scrimmage. We generally play six, and we've played as many as nine in this scrimmage, so there is a number of them that are making plays."
On Daxx Garman's performance in today's scrimmage:
"He played very well. He threw the ball effectively. He was able to move around in the pocket and pick up some yards on a scramble a couple of times. As a group, the three of them had as good of a scrimmage at the quarterback position in a number of years."
On how he would describe the character of this year's team:
"I just mentioned to them a few days ago that their team chemistry will be identified in about six weeks. It just takes some time. People say 'Well, it needs to be now.' It can't be now. We haven't played a game yet. You go through the growing pains of good plays, tough plays, guys that are fighting through injury, being fatigued and all the different things that it takes to develop team chemistry. I did say that I like where our football team is right now. I like our attitude. I think they're a very focused group. We've had very good football teams here that weren't focused. They were always kind of in left field, but they played well on Saturdays. This team really seems to be focused."
Defensive Coordinator Glenn Spencer
On his observations during the scrimmage:
"There were no injuries today, which was big. I pulled the (first unit) out pretty early today, so really the second, third and even some fours and freshmen (got to play). I wanted to get them on tape. They hadn't seen a lot of reps in camp yet. The first unit functioned pretty well. The second unit gave up too many explosive plays. Big evaluation off this tape, so I'm looking forward to going in and watching it right now."
On how many positions the defensive staff will struggle to fill on the depth chart:
"There are going to be a lot of young linebackers that travel because they'll be backups and they'll help us on special teams. Same thing with the defensive backs. Up front, we've got some depth, so there isn't going to be a lot up front. Most of those guys we'll be able to redshirt right now, the young ones. Linebacker-wise, probably none of them. They're all going to contribute, which will make them better for next year. In the secondary, there's about two or three guys on the bubble that, depending on what we saw today, we'll decide if we want to shelf them for next year or not."
On who stood out to him during today's scrimmage:
"I thought our front did well. Our first unit, again, I thought they had a solid camp. Ryan Simmons is having a great camp. I'll tell you, a young linebacker that is making strides is Justin Phillips. He's really shown up. He can tackle."
On how he feels about the defense now versus only a week ago:
"Better. No doubt. We are a better football team just because so many guys, assignment-wise, know what to do a little bit better. You throw it all at them in camp, but when you get to a game plan, it's not as much, so you can isolate it more. It's kind of like they've got a crash exam every week now. Those young guys can get ready for one week now, whereas you throw the whole package at them in camp and every day is a new mistake, then they forget what they did two days ago. We have to focus in on our next opponent right now and work a lot of scout team next week."
Offensive Coordinator Mike Yurcich
On the scrimmage:
"We had good tempo; some good plays, some big plays. For the most part, we had good ball security. I'd really have to take a look at the film to give you an accurate assessment. It helps when you can press the rewind button and watch it a few times. But for the most part, pretty good. I saw a lot of explosive plays, and that's a good thing."
On getting through camp without injuries:
"That's a compliment to our strength and conditioning program. They've done a heck of a job preparing our guys. Our guys work hard and they also practice smart. They understand that and we teach that. Coach Gundy does a really good job of explaining how to practice smart, and that really helps you stay healthy as well."
On the quarterbacks:
"J.W. Walsh brings a lot of physicality to the game. He understands the game very well, he has experience and he's a great leader. Daxx Garman has knowledge. He's had a lot of practice reps and he continues to impress us with his ability to throw the ball down the field. Daxx can really spin the ball and it's really pretty to watch him throw it. Mason Rudolph still has a little bit of growth to go from an intellectual standpoint. There are just some small things that are very correctable and are very typical of a rookie. From a physical standpoint we think Mason is a really talented quarterback and we're really excited about him being here."
On player progression:
"I'd have to sit here and think, and I could go on forever, but I think we're progressing well as a unit. I think our leadership is growing, which is a very important aspect of our production as an offense. It's not just about making plays, and it's good to see these guys become more mature and take ownership of the offense. At the end of the day, leadership is by example - that's the best way to lead - and we have a bunch of guys that are willing to step up and make plays, and that's what you want."
Offensive Line Coach Bob Connelly
On how far the backup offensive line unit has come in the last week:
"Where we are right now, Michael Wilson would be the third tackle in the game right now. He's had a very, very good camp. I'm pleased with where he's at today. Jesse Robinson has done an exceptionally good job. He's probably the most improved from spring to now. He's starting to figure it out both mentally and physically. Those two guys have had a good camp. I feel good about where they are in helping the depth of the offensive line. At the center position, we've got Grant Canis and Zac Veatch. I worked Veatch quite a bit this past week. We've got to continue to work on the depth up front and work on swinging those guys around. We're trying to add some continuity and build to it if the situation comes up to fill the holes."
"It does help me sleep a little easier at night knowing that you've got three of a group of potentially five or six. Recruiting is a long, long process. Until you get it inked, you see and you hear every year that a guy is committed this week and next week he's going somewhere else. It's about relationships. I've got to continue to develop a relationship with both the players and their families. Hopefully they made the selection for a reason and they feel good about Oklahoma State."
Defensive End Jimmy Bean
On today's scrimmage:
"I feel like today's scrimmage went well. It went pretty good. Everybody was moving around and enjoying themselves."
On the intensity in the scrimmage:
"I feel like the intensity today was right where it needed to be. I feel like we've progressed all the way up to this point, and at the end of camp we're right where we need to be."
On how he feels about upcoming season:
"I feel good about the upcoming season. With the defensive line and the whole team, we've been building team chemistry over the past few weeks and over the summer."
Cornerback Kevin Peterson
On playing receivers tightly:
"The way Coach Malone is having us do our technique now, we just try to blanket the receiver as much as we can. Going against receivers like Jhajuan Seales and Marcell Ateman, it's kind of hard to do that every play, so it really makes J.W. Walsh have to put the ball in a tight place."
On the play of quarterback J.W. Walsh:
"J.W. has been making really good decisions. He doesn't just put the ball up there for anybody. He puts it up there for the receiver to get, so it's hard to make a play sometimes."
On receivers enjoying making catches against him:
"It's all really fun. We're all really good friends here, so anytime you do something against each other, it's fun to go over there and brag and say you did this to them. We're a team and we all play together. We want to go out there and make plays."
Running Back Desmond Roland
On how having multiple running backs changes the offense:
"It's creates something for the defense so they don't know what to expect. We can give it to me up the middle then run Tyreek up the sideline. He's a fast guy, so he'll be a playmaker this year."
On the defensive line:
"They look great. They are athletic. They play with great effort and they are experienced this year. We had a couple of newcomers last year, but they seem like they know it now. They've been playing hard all of two-a-days and I'm just excited for the season to start."
On wide receiver Ra'Shaad Samples:
"He's improved. He knows the offense now. He gets in the film room and takes notes. He seems more comfortable now."