Oklahoma State coach Mike Gundy and selected members of the team visited with the media Monday in Boone Pickens Stadium to preview Saturday's Big 12 opener against No. 12 Texas.
A win would give OSU three straight victories over the Longhorns.
Below are select quotes from today's media session:
Head Coach Mike Gundy
On Texas's Offense from last season to this season:
"I wouldn't say they're different. I think their philosophy is the same. I'm an outsider looking in. They're more of a power running team variation to formations and movements like last year. They try to get the safeties involved in the running game and throw it over the top. They're a better football team overall and not just on offense. In my opinion, because the quarterback has gained some experience since he's played in some games, he seems to have a better understanding of what they're trying to accomplish on offense. The running backs are making plays and running the ball effectively, which keeps the defense off the field more than last year. Experience would be the main reason that they've improved on offense."
On the off week:
"An off week is always good. You prefer to have it after the fourth game and then again after the ninth game, but we've been at it since the first week in August so it's good to give the players some time. It also allowed us to get on the road to recruit and to be as thorough as we can up to this point in recruiting."
On QB Wes Lunt's status:
"I'm not sure. Wes is going really well. They're going to cut off his knee brace today. They looked at it a few days ago, and it was even better than what we thought. With the off day today, and then he has a device that goes on and off instead of a cast. I don't think he'll be out practicing on Tuesday, but we're excited about the feedback we're getting from the medical staff."
On the possibility of Lunt playing Saturday:
"It's hard to say. Some guys, based on the type of injury, it's really hard to predict. When they said they were taking him out of the cast and not putting one back on, that's a good sign. Then he's going to be in a brace. I think he'll be out there with us before the end of the week."
On how Texas can prepare not knowing who OSU's quarterback is going to be:
"I think their staff would prepare almost the same. They know that we're going to run our plays. We can't wholesale change based on the quarterback. We would play to J.W.'s strengths if he was in there just like we would with Wes. They are a zone blitz, man pressure team. In the football scheme, that doesn't vary a lot based on the style of play. They're different than most teams that play a lot of zone coverage."
On QB J.W. Walsh's play after replacing Wes Lunt vs. Louisiana:
"We really like what he did, how he performed and handled himself. We went from freshman to freshman. That was a scenario different from any I've been in before. Bringing one guy along, and then bringing another guy in and bringing him along. Neither of them had any experience. I think he's doing very well. Is there a learning curve that has to take place? Yes."
On the Texas defensive ends:
"You have to be aware of where they are. Guys on the edge, as talented as they are, eliminate some points and some plays in your offense. But, you have to run your system. You can't vary a lot, but you also don't want to isolate yourself against good players. We aren't to the extreme of game planning for those individuals, but we certainly have to be aware of the players they have on the edge."
Offensive Coordinator Todd Monken
On adjusting the offense to new style of quarterback:
"We have a good offensive staff. Coach Wickline does a good job every week with the run game. I don't think there is that much of an adjustment; we are going to have to do what we do."
On Texas's defense:
"They are very similar. They have seven starters coming back, so the majority of their defense is back. They are aggressive and well-coached. You have to do what you do better than they defend it. They give you a number of looks to try and disrupt what you're doing. You have to make sure you are sound in everything you do. I think they do a really good job and their guys play hard. They fly around the football. I thought they played well last year."
On what Texas will teach him about Oklahoma State's team:
"I don't know. I think we've got a pretty good football team. I don't know where we will end up when the year is over, but I think we have got a pretty good team. Whether one game will show us where we are is a question mark as well. I don't think that whether we win or whether we lose will show us. It will either be one win or one loss. I think we will play well Saturday night."
On the pace Texas likes to set:
"Obviously, when you are doing well on offense, you want to get the ball back. When a team is able to keep you from getting the ball back, it is hard to have that kind of rhythm. With that being said, we have to do what we do. We need to push the pace. We can't all of a sudden change. What they do is similar to what Kansas State tries to do which is change the field even if they don't score. They change the field and then punt you down and you have to go the distance. They are trying to shrink their risk. They are running it and using play action. We have to try to not turn it over and play good football."
On how he will use the running game:
"Last year's game, we had a couple of big plays. We had two big runs that accounted for half or more of our run game. That was attributed to them miss-hitting. We got those big plays because of our ability to throw the ball. We had Brandon Weeden and Justin Blackmon. It is going to be a little bit different this year. Obviously we are not that same team. Whether it is Wes or J.W., we don't have an older quarterback or that same receiving corps. We have good players though. We will have to be a more versatile. We have to run and throw it."
On QB J.W. Walsh's performance:
"You can only practice so much and anticipate what someone is going to do when they get into the game. I think when you say as a barometer, as we get further into it, we will find out more about whoever our quarterback is whether is J.W. Walsh or Wes Lunt. It was nice to be able to see J.W. get in there and compete. As the game went on, he got more and more comfortable. I don't think it was ever a matter of confidence or toughness. It is just a matter of him being able to go out there and make more plays. It isn't always about the big plays they make; you just want to shrink all the negative plays that keep you from being efficient."
On the bye week:
"We spent time on Texas. We wanted to go into the week having an idea of what we were going to do against them. When you are still trying to figure out who your quarterback is, you have to have a plan for both. We will know more this week about Wes's condition. We spent most of the week on some of the things we need to get better at. We don't change that much. What we do is what we do. We will tweak things here or there. We got some of our young guys some more reps."
Defensive Coordinator Bill Young
On how Texas is different than last year:
"They are not a lot different, just a lot better. They've got multiple starters coming back. Almost all their skill players are back. They have a big, strong, physical offensive line. We are playing a powerful football team that is a lot different from our offense. We will see a lot of powers, counters and unbalanced lines, things that we haven't seen from our offense. It will be a real test."
On David Ash's improvement:
"He is much more experienced. After having started multiple games last year as well as spring ball and two-a-days, he is just much more settled in. He looks a lot more confident in the pocket."
On how he would prepare for J.W. Walsh:
"It would be very difficult. J.W. does throw the ball better than people think. You have to prepare for the vertical passing game and the quarterback run game. A lot of things that you do defensively are much tougher when the opposing quarterback is an athlete. You have to be careful with zone blitzes and things where nobody is assigned to the quarterback."
On how Texas' offense has improved this year:
"They have almost everybody back, especially in the skill positions. The quarterback is a year older and more experienced. The running backs are extremely good. They are a really powerful, solid football team. They take the ball and eat the clock. Our offense needs to be on the field and needs to get timing and rhythm. If you don't get them off the field in a hurry, you can go stale on the sideline."
On turnover emphasis:
"We emphasize it every week and we have not done a very good job so far. We have three for the year and we are way behind. They emphasis is always there. We want to get a minimum of three a game."
Free Safety Daytawion Lowe
On how he has prepared for the Texas offense:
"We have a high-powered offense too. So we just need to keep preparing and playing fundamental defense. We don't need to make changes. We just need to do what the coaches tell us to do and do our jobs."
On using J.W. Walsh as a barometer for how to defend David Ash:
"That's always helpful if we can get somebody out there that resembles who we are going to see."
On his bye week focuses:
"We focused on getting better overall as a defense. We took it upon ourselves to get better. We did look at Texas but we just wanted to get better as a whole."
On what he did on his day off:
"The most exciting thing I did was spend time at home and relax."
On changes made from Arizona game to Louisiana game
"We're more focused now. Anytime you get knocked in the head or anything you start to pay more attention. We are working harder on getting better every day."
On what he's seen on film from Texas:
"They have a lot of speed. I wouldn't say it's too much different from our offense in that way. They like to get it on the outside and use their speed and blow past you."
Linebacker Caleb Lavey
"Texas does look better. The offensive line is big, they have great running backs, and David Ash has matured as a player since last year so we're going to have our hands full. We're going to have to come out harder than we have this whole year. We have to give them a good game."
On Texas's offense:
"Texas is one of those teams that has the size and strength to run and pound it, then when they get you to commit to stopping the run, they can dump it over you with their speed over the edges with their wide receivers. The quarterback can throw it when he needs to, and they can run it all day, so they've got a good offense."
On the importance of the front seven:
"The good thing is we get more linebackers in the box, and we get to play what we love to play, that downhill, smash mouth football. That's what they're going to be bringing, and hopefully we get our front seven in there and can stop them on defense and play aggressively."
On what he's learned from the last two meetings:
"Texas is a good team. They won't lie down. They've got talent, so we have to out-fight them and give our best effort every play. You can't take a play off with a team like Texas because they're capable of breaking a big play every time."
On playing a school from his home state:
"It's always great to play any Texas team since I'm a Texas native. But I'm excited to get out there and play a team that's ranked as high as they are and prove to the nation that we have a great team here and we're ready to match up with anybody."
On differences in preparation since losing to Arizona:
"There's been an attitude change. You can tell a lot of guys have realized that even though we won a few games last year, it has nothing to do with this year. So, we have to put more practice in and we've seen that on that practice fields."
On importance of turnovers and stops:
"We've worked really hard this week on turnovers. That's something we really haven't gotten many of this season so far so that's one thing we've been pushing ourselves to do. To get off the field, get the turnover and get our offense back on the field and get some points on the board."
On J.W. Walsh:
"I would define him as a workhorse and a leader. He's a competitive guy. We get to go against him in practice and he gives us a hard time. He can run the ball and throw it and he's just a competitive guy."
On the pressure this week:
"The pressure is on both teams. I always like to be the underdog and with them ranked high, I'm just excited for a good Big 12 night game."
Cornerback Justin Gilbert
On stopping the run:
"I think we're doing a good job of establishing that in practice. We're practicing pretty heavily against the run. They have some big backs, so we have to work on going out there and stopping them."
On preparing for Texas after beating them the last two years:
"We try not to base our opinions of an opponent on the previous game. We pretend like last year never happened. To us, this is a new Texas team, and this is a new Oklahoma State team."
On how the bye week helps OSU prepare for a big game:
"I think it helps a lot, not only on our bodies, but especially with them doing all of the motioning that they do, it gives us more time to prepare for that. With other teams, they don't have as much time to get all of the motioning and stuff down, which causes some confusion for the defenses they go against. But we have another week to watch film, and go through the shifts and motions that they do."
Offensive Lineman Lane Taylor
On looking at this week as an opportunity to prove OSU is an elite Big 12 program:
"Obviously we want to win. It really does not matter whether we are playing Texas or Louisiana. If we are at home, we want to protect our house and win every home game we can."
On Texas this year compared to years past:
"Their defense is always good. They always have athletes. Their offense is clicking better than last year. They definitely look better."
On the uncertain quarterback situation at OSU:
"As an offensive line, they just tell us to block and we block so it does not change what we do. When they call the play we just try to perform."
On whether there is a tougher defensive line to go against than Texas:
"It's always stiff competition between Texas and OU every year. I don't know about OU because we haven't gotten to them yet, but as of right now, Texas is the hardest we will go against."
On what Texas does defensively that makes it unique:
"They have a big blitz package and a lot of formations. They try to confuse you and get you off your normal points."
Quarterback J.W. Walsh
On how practice has gone the past week:
"The last week of practice has been really fun, with being able to get the reps with the first team and being able to form relationships with the starters. We look forward to connecting and building on those relationships this week. We're all looking forward to playing this week."
On growing up in Texas:
"Growing up, I really never had a school that I followed. I always just watched college football with my dad. It was one of those things where if a team was playing well at the time, that's who I wanted to play for. One week it could have been the University of Miami, the next week it could have been Oklahoma State."
On how his command and focus have changed since getting solid playing time last weekend:
"You have to prepare each day like you're the starter, no matter what. Before last weekend, I was really focused, but now that I've been taking reps with the starters, my focus has to grow even more. With every rep you take, you start to feel more comfortable with everything. That's what practice is for, is to help you get comfortable. We're taking it day by day."
On finally having a routine during practice as the first-team quarterback:
"A routine helps with studying opponents and getting into film study, too. We like to look at each opponent the same. That way, we can prepare in the same way and know that each team has the ability to beat us. We have to prepare for each day being a big day for us."
Receiver Josh Stewart
On J.W. Walsh:
"His ability to get out of the pocket is good. He's a hard-working guy. He's willing to work hard no matter what. He looks at all he reads. He does a good job of seeing the whole field. Not only that but when nothing's there, he's able to see that and take off running. His ability to get out of the pocket is good."
On going against the Longhorns after graduating from a Texas high school:
"I have a lot of friends back home who are against me right now because of the Texas game. I think it's an exciting game. We're going to approach it like any other game, though. I don't have any hatred toward another team, but I know when it's time to strap up and play."
On Texas's defense:
"We just started watching film on them so we'll know more later this week. I'm working on the same thing that I would work on any other week. I'll go hard every play. I think we'll be alright with that."
"Any team can be beat, especially in this crazy year we've got going. We're going to approach this game like we're a top-dog team. We're not going to take them lightly. We're going to play hard and play our game."
Running Back Joseph Randle
On his performance against Texas last year:
"I thought I had a pretty good game last year when you watch the tape. You have to take what the defense gives you. Sometimes, the big play isn't there for you."
On Texas defense
"We just have to go north and south with the ball rather than side to side. That's how you'll neutralize that speed that they have. After watching tape, we know that they're similar to what they were last year. They bring a lot of different blitzes. They'll be way more blitz-heavy than anything we've gone against so far."