The Oklahoma State football team held its first full scrimmage of training camp Saturday evening on the grass practice fields adjacent to Gallagher-Iba Arena. After the approximately 115-play scrimmage, coach Mike Gundy and others spoke to the media:
On the scrimmage:
"We had a good scrimmage, about 115 plays. The offense was very effective today. The defense gave up too many big plays. The defense actually rallied there at the end and forced some turnovers, but the offense was pretty effective in the early part of the scrimmage. They did a nice job of taking care of the football until the last three or four drives, where we turned the ball over in a two-minute situation a couple times, the defense did a nice job of forcing turnovers. We stayed fairly healthy. I was pleased with the effort, I was pleased with the attitude and our body language. Our tempo – the speed we played on both sides of the ball was good. Our kicking game seemed to be good, so it was a good scrimmage and a productive evening for us. When we first got out here, it was pretty hot, so we got to work in the heat a little bit before it cooled down. Very similar to what it will be three weeks from now. I thought it worked out well for us and I thought overall, it was a good scrimmage."
On the play of freshman quarterback Wes Lunt:
"We expected him to play well. He will still go through some growing pains, but I was pleased with him and how he handled our offense. A couple times, our running backs got lined up wrong and he adjusted them and got them set, which is not easy to do when you play as fast as we do. His demeanor and temperament was good. I thought he released the ball well in throwing lanes. He got the ball up high. I believe he only had one ball knocked down and our defensive line has been very good at knocking balls down the last year or two and even in the spring. I thought he played well.
On others who caught his eye:
"I thought both running backs played well. The freshman receivers showed up with the ones and twos. They didn't make any big plays, but they were very solid. Our routine players on both sides of the ball – Cooper Bassett, Nigel Nicholas, Alex Elkins, Justin Gilbert, Tracy Moore and Isaiah Anderson - made some catches. Kind of the guys we expect to make some plays showed up and made some plays for us."
On the program:
"We haven't arrived, we've got a lot of work ahead of us but we're a better team than we were two years ago and overall better than we were last year, with the exception of two or three great college players. We all know that great players win lots of games, but those guys are eventually going to move on and we've got to bring somebody else in and get their feet wet and get them going. We're in good shape. Our conditioning is good. Our guys play hard all the way to the end. We just have to continue on and get two more weeks of good work."
Offensive coordinator Todd Monken
On Wes Lunt:
"His knowledge has grown of everything. It's an easy system in a lot of ways because we run simple things, but the reality is that everything falls on him – to get us lined up, to get us communicating, to understand what the defense is doing, so the improvement is just the process and the understanding of how we operate. That's the biggest thing, because he's going to throw it accurately. He's going to have pocket presence. It's just does he really understand getting everyone lined up and when we want to go fast, go fast, where we want our players to be, getting an idea of how I call it. Those things will keep coming and growing. He's really only about halfway there."
On his assessment of the scrimmage:
"I don't really know. I just know that we're trying to run plays. We're trying to run as many good plays in a row as we can. We'll see from there. I don't really know. Sometimes, matchups go in your favor if the defense puts some freshmen out there. For some guys, that's going to be hard on them. For our veteran guys. We're just trying to put plays together. Did all 11 do it right? If we do that, we'll win a bunch of games. If everybody's doing the right stuff over and over and over and over, we've got enough talent. It's when you screw things up that you end up looking like a backyard football team and we won't be that."
On the receiving corps in comparison to last year's group:
"We're not as deep, but that being said, Charlie Moore is better than he was, Isaiah Anderson is better than he was last year, Tracy Moore is better than he was last year. We're not as deep, but the three guys that have returned – Josh Stewart, he's better than he was last year – so, the reality is that yes, we don't have Justin Blackmon or Josh Cooper, but the guys that are back are a lot better than they were last year, which you expect. You expect players to get better just by being here if they're committed and work hard and compete. That's what I've always said."
On which freshmen have a chance to play this year:
"The way we're are, I think they all could play. When you look out there, we really only have four guys back from last year. You've got Josh Stewart, you've got Tracy Moore, you've got Charlie Moore, who really didn't play and Isaiah Anderson. Then you've got Blake Jackson who just showed up and five of the freshmen. I don't know yet who those guys will be – and two of those guys are going to leave in a year with Tracy Moore and Isaiah Anderson – so, heck, we might just play them all and say ‘hey, we'll need them next year, so let's go play them.' We'll figure it out four years from now when they have an extra year. Same with our running backs and I don't know up front. That's a little bit tougher assignment. Wes is playing and let's go. Early on, we'll get them going a little bit, get them playing a little bit and see where we're at."
Defensive Coordinator Bill Young:
On how Wes Lunt and the offense looked from his defensive perspective:
"I thought he played extremely well. I thought the receivers made some really good over-the-shoulder catches – good catches. The offensive line is protecting and it just shows you what we have to do as a defense. We've got to get a better pass rush, we lost containment several times today, we've got to get our hands up and make him elevate the ball and we've got to play better coverage. We're a long, long way from a finished product."
On what part of the defense he feels good about:
"That's difficult to say right now because we just put in our speed package two days ago and that's our third-down package. We looked rusty and we should because we just put it in. We've got to work it in now."
On the play of DT Calvin Barnett:
"He's playing pretty well. He's still struggling sometimes with assignments, but he's very physically talented and we're awfully glad to have him as part of the team."
On forcing turnovers at the end of the scrimmage:
"We got three turnovers and our goal is to get three turnovers in a game, but that was for both teams – we were playing defense for both sides, so we should have had six turnovers. We're not real excited with what we got. We've got to keep working on it. We got some, but we've got to get more."
On Oklahoma State's knack for forcing turnovers:
"It's a point of emphasis, and gosh, we better emphasize it because it's going to be a difference for our football team. We've got to help our offense and shorten the field position. We did a little bit of that last year and we need to do more this year."
On if turnovers are part of Oklahoma State's identity:
"No question. It's something that nobody in the country works harder at it, nobody emphasizes it more. It's paid dividends. It's a new day and a new year, so who knows what will happen, but it's something that we're expecting and something that we're putting on our players' shoulders that we anticipate them doing it."
On the improvement of DE Ryan Robinson:
"He knows what he's doing. Against Tulsa last year, he had several mental mistakes and they had big plays off them. Now he's got it down and he knows what he's doing. So much of being a good football player is being in the right spot at the right time and knowing where your help is and all those issues. It allows you to play so much faster and that's what he's doing."
Safety Daytawion Lowe
On Saturday's scrimmage:
"We improved a lot on both sides of the ball. Offense made a lot of plays and we see that we've got to get better every day."
On if the secondary is better than last year's group:
"Yes, there's a lot of experience. We lost (Markelle Martin), but so many guys have played and seen what it is to be out there that it's really just us doing our assignments."
On the secondary taking pride in being the leaders of the defense:
"Us in the back end, we've got a lot of experience, so that's what we've got to do. We've got to step up and we've got to lead."
On how he's helping the underclassmen adjust:
"Teaching them how it's been around here. Nothing is going to be easy. Nothing is going to be handed to us. It starts right now. We've got to work right now to get to our goal."
On if the defense is ahead of where it was last year:
"It's hard to say, but yes I do, just because we have so many guys that have played. We have so much depth from the people who are in there, so I do think that we are a little bit ahead."
On the defense forcing turnovers in the scrimmage:
"That's always our goal and at the end of the day, we've got to get better. Teams are going to score. We've got to let that go and keep pushing and get turnovers. That's our job."