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December 29, 2017
Q. Why necessarily is one better than the other, the SEC versus the Big 12?
CALE GUNDY: I'm not going to sit here and say one's better than the other. We like what we're doing in the Big 12 and we love our style of play. With feel like we can recruit well with our players in this part of the country.
Q. Is it okay to label this game that one team that outscored everybody on its way to a championship --
CALE GUNDY: I wouldn't go there. Again we're worried about playing Georgia Monday, and you know, we'll handle all that other stuff if that time comes. Again, you've got three teams out there. You've got your offense, your defense and special teams, and in regards, there's been times when we need to lean on our defense and there's been times they need to lean on us and vice versa. We don't get into any of that.
CALE GUNDY: That's up to Lincoln.
Q. What do you remember about Riley before he came to Oklahoma?
CALE GUNDY: Well, he's somebody that I started recruiting when he was a freshman in high school. He was the last running back that I recruited to our place. Comes from a great, great family.
Great mom, dad, two great brothers, and I knew that the school that he came from and the pride that they had as a football team and just knew how hard he works, and I knew it would be a great fit for us. Just to see what he's done over the last, you know, this season, and fighting through the injuries that he's had the last couple years, it's been a great story for him.
CALE GUNDY: Well, that's obviously up to Coach Boulware who coaches our running backs now and Coach Riley. Again, we want to stay as fresh and play as fast as we can, and there's going to be, you know, times throughout the course of the game where guys are going to step up and have the hotter hand and you just go with them.
But I think he's kind of been the guy that's kind of consistently continued to put himself in that position to be that guy. Obviously with Tre and Abdul, you've seen those other guys out there and we have got great confidence in them, as well.
CALE GUNDY: They have, they have a lot of returning starters ask again, they are just very athletic and can run all over the field. So it will be a challenge for us, obviously. Again I just think offensively, the package we're going to put together, the combination to be able to run the ball and throw the ball and some RPOs, hopefully things will go our way.
CALE GUNDY: Like everybody else, they will do a little bit of each.
Q. How has the offense evolved?
CALE GUNDY: A little bit. You know, it's the kind of foundation of this. It's where the family originated -- and there's bits and pieces but you know, so many of the coaches that have been in that system have broke off and kind of taken bits and pieces and created different concepts. People can come in from the outside and watch but things are called differently. They recognize things but they are not called the same. A little bit here and there.
Q. Do you ever look back at how he ingratiated himself with the staff when he got hired, spring of 2015, and what struck you when he came in?
CALE GUNDY: Well, obviously most of us knew who he was because of being at Texas Tech and growing up in Texas and then moving on to east Carolina and crossed paths. The coaching network is very tight knit. We been many different places.
You know, he came in and installed an offense and had a lot of energy as a young coach and you know, obviously as a new coach, you've got to come in and prove to your guys that I have something we can all benefit from and it was an easy transition.
Q. How did he do that?
CALE GUNDY: Just coming in every day and working. Building trust with the players and being there every morning and every night and working hard and being out there in practices and pulling guys in one-on-one and visiting with them and getting their leadership group together. It's just days go by and it's the only way that you can prove those things.
Q. He said he was capable of taking this huge leap, what did you see?
CALE GUNDY: I mean, I don't -- I wasn't in the hiring process.
Q. What did he do --
CALE GUNDY: What I told you, what I saw him doing every single day. I knew his history of our offense and our players bought in very early whenever he got here.
Q. Did you guys meet as a coaching staff --
CALE GUNDY: In the off-season, some of them came over to see us.
Q. What did you think?
CALE GUNDY: Not much. They came to see us and just talk a little football and just kind of how we do certain things. We didn't share anything with them that they are going -- telling their defense about that's important in this game.
Q. Have you seen them utilizing some RPO wisdom?
CALE GUNDY: I don't watch them on offense. Do they? I don't know if they do any of that. I think they run the ball and then occasionally pull it back and throw it deep, probably. (Laughter).
Q. Calling plays, what was that like, and were you there to support him or did did you let him come to you?
CALE GUNDY: I think most of us, that's what we probably did and we all wanted him to continue calling plays. He's extremely gifted at it. He's got a great offensive mind and he's very creative. But I think each of us probably individually went to him and said, hey, whatever you need us to do, we'll do. You know, we need to take some load off of you in some areas, being a head coach, you're going to get pulled in many different directions, let us know and we'll do that.
We've just been here to support him and try to make it as easy a transition. You know, the good thing, it's not like it was his first year. He's been here for a few years, so our players were very comfortable. We're very comfortable in what we're doing in our offense we're running. It was an easier transition.
Q. Did he rely on you --
CALE GUNDY: Probably a little bit, just the ins and outs of how things are done and how they have been done in the past and who to go to about certain things.
Obviously he knows where I am and he asks me at times about certain things like that but it hasn't taken him long to sink his teeth into everything and handle everything on his own.
Q. Do you talk about the journey, since you last won a championship --
CALE GUNDY: No, we really haven't. We've just been living our year. This is a new football team. These guys have been doing the same exact thing that any team that wins championships has to do and I'd probably venture to say that so has Georgia and so has Clemson and so has Alabama.
It's difficult to stay on a level consistently throughout the course of a year and throughout the course of many years back-to-back-to-back that there's a few teams in college football are doing, and we are one of them. I don't think people know how challenging that is, especially today.
Q. Getting over the hump --
CALE GUNDY: We've won a lot of championships around here and we've been in a lot of national championships. This program has that. Everybody knows when you come into our program, anything that has anything to do with our football players and our football team, it's about winning championships, and that's the end goal every single season.
Q. Fourth team in to All Big 12 Captain; how did that happen?
CALE GUNDY: I don't -- I didn't see a depth chart that he was the fourth team.
Q. Going back to the Ohio State game, he was the fourth-most-used tailback.
CALE GUNDY: I don't know why he -- again, the playing time, just for Jay Boulware and Coach Riley, I don't decide when those guys go in. So I didn't -- I don't recall him being 14 but testify was, he was. I can't tell -- I can't tell you.
CALE GUNDY: I think most people think I do still coach running backs. You know, Jay has taken over those guys the last couple years and he's done a great job with them.
Q. How much are you expected to communicate verbally?
CALE GUNDY: Not very much. We're a hand signal team.
It's just how we run our offense. If you watch us play, you'll see there's not very much of it.
CALE GUNDY: You need to talk to Coach Lincoln Riley about that.
Q. Can you get him on the horn for me real quick?
CALE GUNDY: I don't think so. Somebody's buzzing me.
Q. This game -- the Playoffs, does it say anything about them or the players -- inaudible.
CALE GUNDY: Well, I think college football has changed. We're kind of going through a process where there's been some coaches that's been in this profession for a lot of years that were head coaches and you're starting to see some young guys kind of come through the ranks as coordinators.
I think that you look at your athletic directors and your presidents to give some of these guys some opportunities, and to see what they can do with them. I think more and more probably people across the country are seeing these guys have success and just not so concerned that, hey, I've got to go out and get a guy that's been a head coach at some schools for 20, 30 years. You know, more so than just going out and trying to find the best dang person for your job.
Q. I know you said you didn't watch Bowl games often but what do you think of Coach Strong (ph) --
CALE GUNDY: I haven't watched them. I haven't followed them one bit.
Q. Orlando -- I know you want to recruit well in north Texas, but how important is -- inaudible.
CALE GUNDY: Well, there's good players everywhere and that part of the country has always had really good football talent and still continues, has them. We recruited there for a lot of years.
Obviously I've been here for 18 years, so a lot of years ago we started going in there, Kevin Sumlin and myself and another coach, I forgot his name. But any ways, we started going there years ago. It's an easy place to get back and forth. You can get on a direct flight. Any time you can get on a direct flight and recruit somebody to get to your place, it's a good place to be.
Q. What's it like when you have eclipsed -- and also a three Heisman Trophy winner quarterback since --
CALE GUNDY: Well, they eclipsed a long time ago. I don't think I have anymore records as quarterbacks. That was gone after our third year whenever we brought this new system in in 1999.
It would have been obviously really fun to play in a system like this. This is definitely a very fun offensive football system that we play in, and everybody is excited about it. Our offensive linemen are excited about it. Our receivers are excited about it. It would have been good to play in.
RODNEY ANDERSON: Well, when you have good football teams that win a bunch of games and you know you've got offenses that can move the ball down the field and you're going to have, you know, more guys win national awards like this --
CALE GUNDY: No, watching Brown was, yeah, so another offensive coordinator who is calling plays.
Q. If you got a chance would you like to play call?
CALE GUNDY: Oh, I'd love to. I feel like I could do it. I'm sure there are guys on our staff feel like they could it.
It's been a transition for me to go in the box. It's something that Lincoln and Bob asked me to do when they came in with the system because the system has two wide receiver coaches, so we knew we had to make an adjustment, and then the inside guy is the guy that always goes up in the box.
You guys know the history of this coaching tree and different schools and my brother was in it -- they all kind of coached the same position and that's the guy that goes in the box and typically sometimes has a chance to move on to be coordinators or play callers.
Q. The behind the scenes -- were you just happy with --
CALE GUNDY: Of course. Of course. And I've had a few interviews. But it's just not easy. It's just not an easy thing to become a head coach.
But I'm probably one that's been well known, I love where I'm at. We're at a place that wins a bunch of football games and my family is still around, my mom, dad, sister, my wife's family, my kids have been raised in one place. I look back at coaches I started with in '99 that have been to seven or eight different places. I never wanted to be that coach.
Now, I've been fortunate that I've never had to have been let go and maybe had to be that guy but I wouldn't trade it for anything. If I could continue to stay here and coach the next 20 years and keep coaching and winning championships and being around my family, I'm completely happy.
Q. Are you staying or open to --
CALE GUNDY: Oh, I've been open for a long time, but I'm not going to jump to some school over here just to call plays.
Q. Did you see --
CALE GUNDY: No, that's a bad look. I saw him last night. I can't believe -- he didn't shave, either.
Q. What was that all about?
CALE GUNDY: I don't know -- no. Shoot, no. I'd never do that. We're totally different. I don't know which side he's on but I'm on the other side. He's really good at what he does.
Q. When you look -- what's the first thing that goes through your mind?
CALE GUNDY: That's behind us and I'm not going to talk about it. We're just happy we're here in the Rose Bowl looking forward to this game. That's something that's behind us right now.
Q. Offensive line cares very much about winning the award -- do those guys get the recognition they deserve?
CALE GUNDY: I think so. They get that when opposing teams turn on the film and watch them play. I think, you know, when fans watch them play on Saturdays, on TV, and you know, that's a special honor.
But again, it all starts with our offensive line coach and coach between bow. He's the best in the country. In our profession, I think most people know how good he is.
Q. How quickly did he --
CALE GUNDY: Bill? From day one. Of course, I knew him for a lot of years before he came to Norman, recruited together, saw the success and things he did at his place before and it was a smooth transition into ours.
CALE GUNDY: You've got to keep playing. It's a four quarter game and it's going to -- you know, both teams are going to have success and you've just got to keep grinding it out and you know, being in a bunch of these big games over the years, I've been there, being in National Championship games, being in conference championship games, being in the biggest Bowl games all I've been in, there hasn't been very many where it's just been one-sided. There's a turnover, things are happening. Just got to keep playing football. When you play two great teams like this, that's the most important thing is keep playing hard, keep playing fast until the last second goes off the clock.
Q. Do you think it's really important -- the assumption you're going to have to run --
CALE GUNDY: There's no doubt. You'd better not be thinking anything else because if you're thinking anything else and you get out there and then that happens, you're in trouble. They are a great football team. They have got great players across the board. They have great offense. We understand the challenge that we're going to have.
Q. Is there a common theme between the earlier national title runs?
CALE GUNDY: You know, I don't, just a whole bunch of great players, you know, and obviously you go throughout the course of the season, there's got to be, you know, some -- the ball's got to bounce your way a time or two. But everybody can say that.
But I think we're just surrounded, we've got -- obviously we've got a great quarterback. We've got a great offensive line. We've got great skill players. Defense has been playing really, really well. Great coaching staff. It's just a great combination of everything.
Q. Baker in practice --
CALE GUNDY: Well, we work on it every day through practice because he scrambles a bunch. You know, we have -- we've got to keep our eyes on him and keep working across the field and try to cross his face because he -- I mean, there's no telling where the ball is going and when it's coming. I mean, as long as he's not on the ground, you'd better keep fighting to get open.
Q. A lot of guys scramble --
CALE GUNDY: That's the sign of a good quarterback if a guy can move around the pocket and keep his eyes down the field. A lot of guys, when they see something that's not right, they take off running. The really good quarterbacks keep their eyes open downfield and find those big plays. That's typically when the defensive backs take their eyes off the receivers.
Q. Throughout this spring, people are going to be debating Baker's NFL potential. What are you going to say when coaches come to you?
CALE GUNDY: They just turn the film on. I play the position. I'm a firm believer, you either have it or you don't. I think he's proved that he has it. There's nothing he doesn't have and I think that's been proved day-in and day-out.
FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports