The Oklahoma State Cowboys took time out from their preparations for the Tostitos Fiesta Bowl to meet with the local media on Monday.
Coach Gundy and select players talked about preparing for Stanford, and the school's first-ever BCS Bowl.
Below are select quotes, courtesy of OSU Athletics.
Coach Mike Gundy
"We're back to work. We've had three practices but we canceled today's practice and tomorrow's practice due to inclement weather. We had three practices scheduled for the remainder of the week up until we let them go home for Christmas so we'll practice on Wednesday, Thursday and Friday and they'll go home and meet us out there on the 26th. We're in really good shape; our team is healthy. We're going to hold Jeremy Smith out one more week and then when he shows up at the bowl he should be pretty close to full speed. The team's attitude is great. I think we're playing probably the best football team we've played against all year. I know everybody across the country is excited about the Stanford vs. Oklahoma State game. We're really excited about it."
"There's no question that Andrew Luck is a special player. If you break down all of his throws his percentages are through the roof. He's smart, well-coached, big and strong. Their tight end is a really good player and they have backs that fit into their system. Their defense, nobody really talks about it much like ours. Statistically they're doing really well. They're smart, they're in the right gaps, they're sound. It's going to be a really good football game."
On reflecting on the season
"When we finished playing the Oklahoma game our coaches were all on the road recruiting and I was in that week. I was able to kind of sit there and think some and I'm just thankful for the opportunity that I've had and our staff has had and what our team has done for us. I don't think there's any question it has changed the way people look at Oklahoma State football. I'm really proud of our players for what they've been able to accomplish."
On OSU's running backs
"I knew Jeremy Smith is better than he was showing. We started to see him improve at the end of last season and we were hoping that he would continue through. His mental approach and his attitude is so much different than it was a year and a half ago, and that's why he has become such a good football player. Joseph Randle was probably the best freshman running back in the country last year."
On the future of OSU's ground game
"We don't think one running back can take the pounding playing in this league that backs used to. Not that they're not as physical, but there are a lot more plays in a game than there used to be and it moves too fast. They can't stay in there and play like they used to. They don't get a chance to huddle up and rest."
On the possibility of a split national title
"We're playing to win the BCS. I would like for our team to have every opportunity that's out there but I think they've earned it. Our focus and our players' focus will be on preparation. We want them to enjoy each other at the bowl site and have a good time. We want them to be in perfect condition with fresh legs on January 2. Then they have to go play hard and win that game. We'll see how that works out and then proceed to the next point."
On Justin Blackmon not ruling out coming back for one more year
"We'll have one available (a scholarship) if he decides he wants to come back. I can't imagine, but he's welcome to come back. We'd love to have him."
On keeping the team focused
"We always worry about keeping them focused. It should be easier now that school is out because they're with us, they're lifting, practicing and watching tape. When they go home they are with their family and then they show back up and it's really us together. We have the resort we're staying at going to and from practice. We eat together and spend a lot of time together as a group. There should be fewer distractions. I'm not as concerned about it now as I was during the season."
Defensive Coordinator Bill Young
On beating Oklahoma and moving on to the Fiesta Bowl vs. Stanford
"We have been more concerned about Stanford than we were with (celebrating )the OU (win). It was a wonderful game and a nice win. It's something big for our program. We have some issues about not being in the National Championship game, but (Stanford has) the same issues."
On time off
"We're using that time to heal up and get our legs back. We're so much quicker than we were before we got that week off. It's so nice to have that week off. The time off really freshens our players."
Offensive Coordinator Todd Monken
"We both do it in a little bit different ways. They're more run and play-action. They're probably more pro-style than we are. They obviously have some very good football players so it ought to be fun. They do it a little different. They're aggressive on offense and aggressive on defense. They've recruited well. They've got really good players, and they've done well in coaching them. The similarities are if you have a good quarterback, you have a chance to be really successful."
"We decided we weren't going to turn it over as much against OU. I felt like that was the reason we lost at Iowa State. We turned it over way too much. We felt the best way for us not to turn it over as much was to hold onto the dang thing and not throw it to them. That sounds pretty simple. When we ran the ball, it gave confidence to our guys. We have to be able to run the football to win. That doesn't mean we have to run it all the time, but I think we made a conscientious effort with what we did schematically to run the ball. A lot of it had to do with what OU had prepared for us. We hadn't run that style before. We were running it well, but we got a lot of it when we needed it. We had control of the game. "
DE Jamie Blatnick
"We're excited to play them. They have a good team. This is a good time to look at them and scout them out and realize how dangerous they are. It's exciting. My senior year, I want to play a great opponent. The Fiesta Bowl, there's no better place. I'm just excited."
On Andrew Luck
"He's good. He's definitely one of the top quarterbacks in the nation. He shows it and makes great throws. He's a playmaker. He's kind of hard to cover because he makes the plays. He doesn't just make the throws. He makes the runs and the calls."
RB Jeremy Smith
On time off
"It's definitely nice. There are no students here so we get time to chill, relax and just be around each other. We just build up more team chemistry. We get our legs back and our minds back mentally. We know what we're doing."
"I can't wait. It's going to be fun when we get out there. They have a pretty good defense, but we're still fired up. It's our first BCS game, and we're just ready to get out there. I'll be ready when the game comes."
WR Justin Blackmon
"It was an all-around good night, and it got better as it went on. It was a good day for us."
On travel and the post-season awards circuit
"It was a lot of fun just going out and meeting other players and interacting. It's a time that you get to do a lot of things that you can't do normally. It was just a good time."
On the Fiesta Bowl
"It's already compelling. We're playing a BCS bowl game for a chance to get 12 wins, which no one has done here. We're playing a good Stanford team so it's already compelling. We're going to go out there, execute and try to get a win."