The Oklahoma State Cowboys (3-1) look to rebound from its first loss of the season this coming Saturday, when they host the Kansas State Wildcats (2-2) at Boone Pickens Stadium.
Since 2010, OSU is 7-1 in games following a loss. They're also looking for win number six in a row in Stillwater. Today, Coach Mike Gundy and a select number of players met with the media inside Boone Pickens Stadium.
Coach Mike Gundy
“The West Virginia game was really as described. We turned the football over. Poor kicking game. You have a difficult time winning any football game, especially on the road, unless you’re so much better than the other team that you can overcome that. We actually tackled better. That running back, number three, made us miss a few times, but he’s a good player in our opinion. For the most part defensively I thought we were in the right spot. We need to continue to work on avoiding pass interference calls. There were a couple of times we got penalties in those areas and we need to improve. We had 18 possessions on defense and the offense left them to hang out to dry a little bit. We’ve got to be better in those areas. We’ve got to have a balance in tackling on the offense. It’s hard to throw the ball for a bunch of yards and not rush for any at all. We need to have a balanced attack in our system to be effective offensively and score some points. It’s really pretty simple. We were poor in the kicking game and we turned the ball over.”
On the offense
“We have to have balance. In the last couple of games, J.W. [Walsh] has been average throwing the ball. There’s been times we haven’t blocked as well. I think the one area I’ve tried to stress is that in our offense with the way that we function, we have to have balance in throwing and running and in misdirection and reverses. In catching we had some drops. There were a couple times we had chances to catch the ball, run into the end zone and score and take the lead, and we didn’t. There’s just been a combination of certain things that have given us some issues in that particular game.”
On if the offence is fixable in a week
“I think that we’ve identified where we need help and then we come up with solutions and then we work toward that. There are some things you can fix. Drops, more accurate throws and getting on the right people and blocking them are things that you can fix in a week. It just kind of snowballs on you. For example, look what happened to West Virginia at Maryland. When it snowballs and you’re on the road and you’re not playing with a real experienced quarterback, at times you have to fight through it and it’s not as easy as you would want it to be.”
On making sure last week doesn't affect this week
“It’s the same every week for us. You play 12 and if you do well you get to play 13. We have to approach it the same every week. It’s all about starting last night, up through Thursday and on walk-through on Friday. It never really changes for us. There’s times we’re in this situation the last few years where we are ranked in the top 10 in the country and you are worried about them looking past an opponent. Now we’re saying we have to put that one aside and get ready for the next opponent. It’s really the same every week.”
On the kicking game
“He’s got to kick it through the goal post. The interesting aspect about that is he actually hit the ball pretty well, he just lined up wrong. That doesn’t do you any good if you hit it well and it doesn’t go through the goal post. With the punting, he had two poor punts; the other ones were really good. We continue to teach and coach and instill confidence in them and move forward to the next game.”
On the mentality of kickers and punters
“These guys are stable. We have had guys who were not stable. I think they will be fine. The kicker is just a freshman. We’ve seen freshmen who have come through and kicked. For the first time he’s playing in front of 60,000 people on the road and in a hostile environment. He didn’t kick as well as we wanted him too. He has shown in practice that he has the ability to kick and I feel like he will work through this.”
On Kansas State’s offense without Collin Klein
“They try and spread you out and use the back as an extra blocker in the quarterback run. They have another guy that comes in and is a runner. The philosophies are the same.”
Defensive Coordinator Glenn Spencer
On what he saw on film that he didn't see during the game
"It wasn't much different than what I saw during the game. We caught on to what they were trying to do. They wanted to take a lot of deep shots against us. For the most part, the kids played well. They threw it deep 17 times and completed four. There were some pass interference calls, which happens. We did well in the run game, and the kids got off the field, but not enough. I was hoping we would get more turnovers with how many times the ball was in the air. That was a disappointment. The goal is to force three per game, or one every 25 plays."
On the challenges Kansas State's offense presents
"They're very talented running the football, especially in the quarterback run game--they get you outnumbered. They've always done that. It's hard to gameplan against them. Typically, you see a favorite set of run plays or a family of routes you can stop, but they just spread it out everywhere. With the quarterback run game, it's difficult to scheme. They're the most experienced offensive line we've played. It's always been a very physical game against them. That's what is on my mind with them."
On Caleb Lavey's performance
"That was one of the best games he has played since he came here. He's had that kind of year this year. He's making great tackles and great reads. He has been a leader on the sideline, encouraging everyone to do more, no matter what is happening on the other side of the ball. He gets it. He knows we have to do whatever we can defensively to win the game, and he's been preaching that all season."
Offensive Coordinator Mike Yurcich
On the struggles in the run game
"A lot of things factor into it. It's not just about running the football, but the effectiveness of your play action passes as well. It's about what you do on first down. It's about being effective. Your effectiveness in different areas can affect a lot. It's not just one thing."
On what J.W. Walsh did in previous weeks
"When he is good, he's in rhythm, throwing it accurately, receivers are running good routes and he has good pass protection. All of those things come into play. It's not one guy. It's a team game and everything is shared."
On getting ready for Kansas State
"Just to get excited about playing football. It's another opportunity, and we have to get to 4-1. They'll be ready to put last week behind them. It's a great opportunity this week. They can't wait to get out in front of our crowd and play football."
Defensive Line Coach Joe Bob Clements
On if his experience with Kansas State will factor into this week's game
"I don't know. If I try to do too much of that, it might end up causing more issues than benefits. I've spent a lot of time practicing against Kansas State's offense, but it's a different perception because we never had to play them. They did things in practice that caused us problems, but we would just shrug it off because we weren't keeping score-we didn't have to play them. Now that I'm an opponent, I'm seeing it through a different set of eyes."
On the influence Bill Snyder has had on his life
"He means a lot. I love the man. Growing up, I've had some major influences in my life, from my father to my grandfathers and my uncles. Outside of family, I think he's had more influence on my life than any other person. It was difficult to tell him that I thought it was best for me to come to Oklahoma State. I thought it was best for me and my family, but it was still tough to do."
On the first thing he thinks about when he hears "Kansas State"
"Home. It's my alma mater. it's where I met my wife and where three of our children were born. At this point in my life, when you talk about home, that's still home."
On what he recalls from Kansas State-Oklahoma State games as a Wildcat
"From the other side, I remember Stillwater always being a hostile environment. The way the fans get into it and the stadium being on top of you is always a factor. It was always a hostile environment. Playing against Oklahoma State, you always felt like it was going to be a physical game. After each game, your players felt like it was a physical match. Whether Kansas State won or lost, our guys were always a little sore."
On past Kansas State-Oklahoma State games that stick out in his mind
"I would say the last two for sure. Of course the 2011 game was close and down to the wire, and I thought that game had a great atmosphere. Last year in Manhattan, Oklahoma State had a lot of injuries and was playing guys who didn't have much experience at key positions, but it was still a physical game and a hard-fought battle."
On Tyler Lockett
"It was always good to have him on our side. He is a good football player. I read somewhere that he's up there in the nation in all-purpose yardage right now. He has great genetics. I got the chance to play with his father and his uncle, and they were both tremendous people and tremendous players. Tyler fits right in there with them. He's fast, he has great hands and he's maturing as a receiver. He will probably be playing on Sundays."
On whether he's received requests for tickets to Saturday's game
"Yeah, I have no tickets available. I have four kids and a wife, so those tickets were eaten up a long time ago. I have no seats available, especially for anyone wearing purple."
On looking across the field and seeing players and coaches he used to work with
"It's going to be good. This is a profession. I obviously care about the players and coaches over there, and I think it's going to be fun. It's going to be great to get after it and compete. It's going to be a hard-fought game, and I want us to come out on top. That's what we're preparing for – to win. Regardless, I think it will be a great matchup.”
On Kansas State defenders who could make an impact in Saturday's game
"I think it starts with Ty Zimmerman. He's a great player, who has a chance to play on Sundays. He's been a great player since the day he stepped on the field there. This is his fourth year as a starter. If you had to pick out a general on the field, it would be him. I think Ryan Mueller is coming into his own, from a role player to a full-time player. I think they have some good athletes up front as well with Travis Britz and Chaquil Reed; both are very athletic guys."
On comparing Kansas State and Oklahoma State as universities
"The communities, the universities and the people are very similar. That's why it's been a comfortable adjustment for my family and me. It's tough to point out extreme differences because I don't think there are any. There are a lot of positive similarities."
Quarterback J.W. Walsh
On returning to practice after the loss to West Virginia
“We're really focused and ready to get back to work. We're anxious to get back on the field and start playing again. We're disappointed after Saturday, so we're anxious to get back out there and get back to work.”
On what caused the loss to West Virginia
“Mistakes. We made a lot of mistakes that really hurt the team and in costly situations. After watching film, we want to correct those mistakes, and if we correct them, then good things will start to happen for us again.”
On bouncing back from the loss this week
“No doubt (that we can bounce back). We're a great football team with a lot of leadership and a lot of talent. If you combine all of those things, we’ll bounce back fine.”
On the dangers of dwelling on the loss moving forward
“We can't let West Virginia beat us twice. We’ve got to move forward and only focus on Kansas State this week. We need to focus on beating them.”
Offensive Lineman Brandon Webb
On what he expects from the offensive line against Kansas State
“We will do better. We felt like we kind of let the team down a little bit. As seniors, me and Parker (Graham) talked, and we think it’s kind of our fault. We have to get better this week and show up against Kansas State.”
On having so many veterans in the offensive line
“We don’t ever really panic. We just know we have to come out and get better. We have to adjust to a scheme and get it down to help our younger guys come along faster because we need them.”
On having to help each other as a position group
“We’re not really an individual in there. If someone makes a bust then it is the whole offensive line’s fault. We have to take responsibility as a whole and try to get better.”
Fullback Jeremy Seaton
On his touchdown against West Virginia
“We ran a play right before that, and I actually got a little dazed. We went running back into formation and called it. I didn’t really get to think about it that much before we executed. It just kind of happened.”
On preparing for K-State
“We’re just going to take it like we have every other week. We have to correct what we had wrong this last week. Really, we just have to take it one game at a time. We can’t look too far ahead.”
Defensive End Tyler Johnson
On coming off of a tough loss
“We still did a lot of good things. You have to take positives out of wins, and you have to take positives out of losses. Also, you have to correct the bad things, but if we lessen our turnovers and make a few big plays, we're in that game. Unfortunately, it didn't go our way.”
On some of the positives the team took away from the game
“We had guys giving a major effort, and that's something you can't teach. We had guys flying around with all kinds of intensity, so the other stuff that we need will come around. I think that if we stay where we're at, we'll be fine.”
On the team's overall attitude after the game
“It was down. Anytime you lose, you're not going to be happy about it, that's for sure. The goal is to win, but unfortunately we weren't able to pull out the victory. If anything, it was a life lesson learned.”
Safety Lyndell Johnson
On his thoughts coming off of a loss
“It's never good to lose, but whenever you do lose, you have to come back, practice harder and pay attention to details. Now, we have to do everything we can possibly do to be better than we were the week before. We have to make sure we can't lose the next game.”
On the added motivation after losing a game
“With me, I'm one of those guys that isn't much of a talker. I'm a self-motivator, but if I see guys out there that aren't doing what they're usually doing, I'm not afraid to speak up and try to get them going.”
On the defense's mindset during the game on Saturday
“I wouldn't say we were confused, but there was some stuff out there that we hadn't seen before. Once we got back to the sideline, we knew we had to communicate and work some things out.”
Linebacker Ryan Simmons
On the inability to stop West Virginia in third down situations
"It's everybody as a whole defense. It depends upon the coverage, yes, but if the defensive line doesn't get their proper pressure on the quarterback, and if the linebackers don't have their job done on the wide receivers and are not making it easier for the defensive backs, then it's basically on everybody's back."
On how tough the loss was
"Man, it was disheartening. Guys were just upset more than anything because we beat ourselves, that's what we believe. There are a lot of things that we knew that we messed up on and could have done better at. But it is what it is, and we need to bounce back harder this week."
On how the team comes back this weekend
"It starts within yourself. First and foremost, you need to hold yourself accountable to make sure that you can get the job done and not make those same mistakes that you made last week. Owning up to your responsibility and coming back even harder. We're really fired up. We're just ready to play. Last week is in the past, so we're ready for Kansas State."
Defensive Tackle Calvin Barnett
On what happened on Saturday
"We just didn't make plays. We gave them enough opportunities and you can't do that to a good team. And they took advantage of them."
On Kansas State
"They're going to be a little different this year because Collin Klein is gone. They still have their key receiver, Tyler Lockett. I think their whole offensive line is returning. They've always had a good scheme. I can tell everyone has continued to buy into Coach Bill Snyder and everything he does. We'll be ready for their discipline and make sure we're ready to do what we need to do."
On stopping Kansas State’s quarterbacks
"It's always hard because you have to respect the fact that they also have someone like we have with J.W. Walsh, but then they can bring in their other quarterback, and he can come in and control the game and throw the ball and make big plays. It can be hard at times, but it comes down to field studying and knowing what we're going up against when either one is in the game."
Receiver Tracy Moore
On West Virginia's coverage and if they disguised it
"No, they were pretty consistent with what they did the whole game. We’ve just got to execute better as a team and as an offense. We were so close a lot of times and it just didn't work out."
On dropped passes
"We got a bunch of young guys, and it was their first Big 12 game and first true road game. It's different than being in practice or at home where everybody is cheering for you. There's a lot of pressure, and I guess it got to them a little bit. The easiest way to deal with it is to drop one and learn from it."