(STILLWATER, Oklahoma / March 11, 2019) – Oklahoma State football opened up spring practice Monday at the Sherman E. Smith Training Center, and afterward, coach Mike Gundy, the coordinators and select Cowboys met with media to discuss their excitement about resuming on-field activities. A look at some of their comments:
Head Coach Mike Gundy
“Back at it. We’re excited about being back out there today, like always. I’ve been really thrilled with the guys this offseason and their work, their commitment and all the work they’ve put in. Not only with winter conditioning, but in the classroom. They’ve been first-class. I’m very proud of the guys and the coaching staff has worked hard to come up with our philosophies and our schemes. We’ll figure out a lot more about who we are right now and we’ll know a lot more in a month. We’ve had a great offseason and we’ve got a number of guys out there for the first time getting some quality reps. We’re playing fast and, like always, running the same plays on offense and the same schemes on defense. From that standpoint, there won’t be anything that is different. There will just be a few different guys out there that will be executing. We’re excited about it and looking forward to the rest of spring.”
On Sean Gleeson:
“He’s been a solid coach and has been good with the style of offense that we have. He’s done an excellent job with quarterbacks and training. He’s had a lot of success, is young and ambitious. The players have a very good feel for him as a person and as a coach, so I just felt like he was a good fit.”
On what he hopes Gleeson brings to the Cowboys:
“Well he needs to go through the spring to find out who we are and find out about our team and our quarterbacks. He knows the offense. I think he’s probably being a little humble. He’s a pretty sharp guy. I think what he means from the ‘learning phase’ is learning to the speed that we play and some of the thing we do are a little unusual. I think every day he gathers a little bit more information. To his benefit, he doesn’t really know much about us right now. Today is the first day he’s been able to see us get out there and do anything.”
On wanting his team to be more physical:
“A lot of that is based on our personnel and will vary from year to year. We always want to pride ourselves on being a physical football team. In the style we play on offense, you lose some of that at times.”
On the offseason workout shirt:
“Winter conditioning here is extremely difficult. They work a lot of hours, and they work early morning. Everybody had the shirt on and it was motivating, and it should’ve been. We’re through that part now, and we’re back into the core value of our program, which is to compete. Our focus, effort, toughness and leadership is kind of who we are, so we moved to the next stage.”
On his favorite part of spring football:
“It’s nice to be back out there. We’re in a time of year where we get to coach and be around the players. That’s a little bit of a lost art with all of the rules in the offseason now, so it’s fun to get back out there, see some new guys and watch them learn and develop.”
Defensive Coordinator Jim Knowles
On year two:
"You know, you come to the Big 12, you know the history of it and the power of it offensively. I think when you see it firsthand it's different. Offensive coordinators are willing to constantly seek the big play and take advantage of your weaknesses. We’ll be better this year. We finished in the top ten in sacks and red-zone defense and everything else wasn't good enough. That's a starting point. We have a couple of things we did well, but everything else has to improve. Another year in our system and getting our guys comfortable challenging and contesting, you know, treating every play like a game, we're going to make improvements."
On the defensive front:
"I think we have to wait and see on that, right? Those guys have to prove themselves. I think we can be dynamic with Brock Martin and Mike Scott kind of taking over for Jordan (Brailford). I think those two guys together will be dynamic, and (we have) a lot of good young players coming up inside, but they're going to have to prove themselves. I'm most excited about our secondary. We played a lot of young guys there last year, and you know, 'school of hard knocks'. They had some tough experiences, but they are going to be light-years better and we have two great corners in my opinion. I think when you have two great corners, you have a shot. I think they are going to be some of the best in the league and in the country. When we can play two guys like that, I think we have a chance to be good in the secondary."
On having an experienced defensive front last season, to having an experienced secondary this year:
"We did a lot in terms of attacking up front and trying to utilize our strengths and I think you saw that in the fact that we were, I think, fifth in the country in sacks. But, we also gave up a lot of explosive plays; too many explosive plays. I expect that to be turned around this year. We'll see where we get with the sack production. We'll see how the new guys develop, but I know we are going to be better in the back end and the emphasis is going to be put there a lot more."
Offensive Coordinator Sean Gleeson
On how Stillwater has been:
"Fantastic. Fantastic for a New Jersey boy. Very welcoming. I'm very encouraged about the way these kids work. You kind of don't really know until you get to a place, but I'm incredibly encouraged by the way Coach Glass wires these kids in the winter time and then how they run around out here at practice. I'm very happy with it."
On why he chose this job:
"Well first, Coach Gundy. You evaluate, and I'm not in an evaluation position, I'm in a 'do a good job for the head man' position. But, when you look at some of these jobs and some of these coaches around the country, he stands out above the rest. He's been here for a ton of time. He's dedicated to this place. His style of play on offense suits the way that I like to coach kids. I think if there's one thing that's non-negotiable about me it's the no-huddle, and that's a good match for this place."
On living outside the northeast for the first time:
"I don't have a pair of Cowboy boots yet. My family has been out for a little bit and they enjoyed it, they loved it. The community here, people go above and beyond to invite you in and teach you about what they love about this place. I'm excited to be here. I can't wait. I was like a kid in a candy shop today so I can't wait to get some more of these guys and get some more practices under our belt."
Running Back Chuba Hubbard
On the offseason:
"It has been a good offseason. I am just trying to recover. I got a little work on my knee, so I am just trying to get back to 100 percent. I feel good, and am just working on the stuff I need to improve."
On what he learned from Justice Hill:
"I think he just taught me to stay poised. He was always cool through everything. No matter what happened he was like, 'yeah, I'm good.' I just learned to be mature through the ups and downs, so he definitely taught me a lot."
Offensive Lineman Marcus Keyes
On his first impressions of Coach Dickey:
"He seems like he is very aggressive. I like the way he gets us going. He's really fired up to be here, and trying to keep us in shape and everything. He really wants to get serious in practice and help us reach our full potential."
On what he wants to improve:
"I want everyone to grow. I want everyone to have better chemistry, but for me personally, I want the offensive line to get used to the coaching change. There are some young guys on the line who really don't know what they are doing, so I want to help them and get them going."
Wide Receiver Tylan Wallace:
On the offense with Coach Gleeson:
"It's really nice. He came in with high intensity. He is a really high-intensity guy. Nothing has changed too much, he seems to know what he is doing, and we will get along great."
On the differences from now and a year ago:
"As a receiver, I feel like the intensity is a lot higher than it was last year. We are excited to be here and make plays."
On the pace of the offense:
"It's been a lot faster with him (Sean Gleeson) and his intensity. He wants to go fast. I feel like the guys are really buying into it."
Cornerback A.J. Green
On the offseason:
"The past few months after the bowl game are always tough and Coach (Rob) Glass giving us new conditioning, but it brings us closer as a team. We came out of the bowl game feeling good and ready to work."
On the offseason workout shirt:
"Having those shirts with all of the names on it to all the people we lost to was a constant reminder of what we're not as a team. Every day when we come out with those shirts on, it was just a reminder that we don't want to go through that again this season."
On his first day back into football:
"It feels good to finally be back on the field being able to do football activities. Just being together with the corners and defense and competing again."
Safety Malcolm Rodriguez
On practicing again:
"It feels good to be back out here with the team. We're all excited, we're all amped up."
On the offseason workout shirt:
"It just makes us motivated to go out every day and try to change that. We just want to go out there and compete and give it our all."
On the new recruiting class from January coming into college football:
"They came in and they are fitting in pretty well with the process. It's a great deal to come in and fit in like that so quickly."
Cornerback Rodarius Williams
"We have a lot of guys with a lot of experience. The fresh faces last season are coming in as sophomores now, and it is great having a lot of depth."On the depth at cornerback:
On the competition between Williams and the receivers:
"Just a lot of trash talking and getting after those guys. We're just getting our feet wet again and getting used to the process again."
On knowing the talent of the receivers:
"We know what they are going to give us every day at practice and they are going to work their butt off. There is a lot of competition between us and we are just working on making each other better."