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December 29, 2010
SAN ANTONIO, TEXAS
Oklahoma State Ã‚â€“ 36
Arizona - 10
THE MODERATOR: Oklahoma State press conference. Questions, please.
Q. Mike, your thoughts on not only how the game played out but how the season played out?
COACH GUNDY: I'm going to get to that question first. But I wanted to thank the Alamo Bowl and the people of San Antonio. I couldn't do it out there during the trophy presentation because of the delay. It was hard for me to talk.
But I want to thank the Alamo Bowl staff and everybody for what they've done. They've been tremendous.
We've been very fortunate to go to a number of Bowls now obviously the past five years and even past that when we took a year off for the three or four after that. These guys were awesome.
Our team had a great time. The people here and the facilities, we couldn't be more proud to be tied in with the Alamo Bowl. I wanted everybody to know how much we appreciate it. Oklahoma State would love to be in this Bowl again someday.
Reflecting back on the year, you know, I mentioned to the team in the hotel before we came over here that we started this back in January after we didn't play very well in the Cotton Bowl. When we came back we had a meeting as a team. The first thing that we talked about was there had been a lot of seniors that have left a legacy for the other guys to pick up where we left off.
These guys made a commitment to do it. I've talked about it all year. But I can't stress the importance of what those seniors and these key players on our football team were able to accomplish this year. They made their mind up all through winter conditioning and spring football, summer conditioning on their own.
Then when we started the season, things worked out very well for us. We played well against Washington State, caught Tulsa at the right time. We were able to get a great kick and win the A&M game. Then we go to Lafayette, don't play very well in the first half, get some big play by our key players; defense played well. Go to Tech and win, and so on and so forth. After the Tech game I thought this team must be a little bit better than what people really thought.
The key is the chemistry these guys have. For me as a coach, I couldn't give a better example than prior to the game when we were able to walk through that hotel, and there's probably 10,000 Oklahoma State people lined up in that hotel for our players. That's what college football is all about. To see young men have success on and off the field and be able to develop relationships with the fans and the people, it's really special.
So when you reflect back on it, there's game we won on offense this year, there's games that we won by our defense playing well, and then our special teams.
For example, tonight, we had a number of players make some plays, but I don't know if anybody was more important to our team than Dan Bailey tonight. He punted awesome. Had two long field goals in crucial situations. He kicked off very well. The reason I bring him up is that's an example of what this football team's all about. Another guy stepped up and made a play.
So I couldn't be more proud for the seniors, for the football team, and for Oklahoma State. Winning 11 games is very difficult. It's not easy. I'm very proud of them; looking forward to getting started again in January.
Q. Coach, your defense played really well this game. You had five sacks, three interceptions. Can you tell me what your game plan was going into the game and if you did anything different?
COACH GUNDY: Well, Coach Young on the defensive staff had been really good in the latter part of the season. We had a tough game against Nebraska. We had a couple tough plays against Oklahoma. We have a lot of confidence in the staff and their ability to, one, stop the run, and then two, rally in the red zone.
If we've given up some yards, this defense has forced turnovers and held our opponents to field goals. So they were able to do it again tonight.
But the interceptions that we made and the ability to hold them to field goals was obviously a big part of the game. We didn't play very well offensively in the second quarter and early in the third quarter. During that time, the defense had a lot of big stops.
Q. Mike, how special is this for a coach to come in with a team that has low expectations, a team that's put together kind of guys that you don't know what you're going to get from, and for them to gel the way they did and achieve the things they did this year?
COACH GUNDY: As I mentioned in the press conference yesterday, been doing this for six years. I'm convinced now that accountability, discipline, structure, character, and trust is more important than some of the plays that we draw up. I feel very confident in all the aspects of our football program, from the effort, the team chemistry, accountability, our academic support, strength and conditioning support, everything involved.
That's the reason why these guys are having success, because they're buying in. They're not doing it for theirselves, they're doing it for the guys next to them. It's a great team effort.
Q. Brandon, what has Coach Holgorsen meant to you guys this season, the numbers you were able to put up this year?
BRANDON WEEDEN: I think he came in and instilled confidence. He brought a different attitude. Obviously, he's a very laid-back guy. I think everybody just bought in. He's a fun guy to be around, but he's also a very good offensive mind.
Fortunately we had pieces in place to make this thing work. He's a great play caller. The guy can really call plays. You know, I'm happy for him. He's never won 11 games. For Coach Gundy, as well. Words can't describe it. I can't describe it. It's a special feeling we're feeling right now.
Q. Coach, you haven't wanted to talk about the offensive coordinator position. Can you give us some insight where you'll go on making that hire?
COACH GUNDY: I want to be able to enjoy the win. I want the team to enjoy the win.
When we come back from break, I want to set down with some of our players on offense. I want to hear what they have to say. I want to know how they feel about what we're doing on offense. I want to know how much they really know about the system. I want to set down with our coaches and visit with them and find out how much they really know.
I don't know a lot about it. I was planning on learning next year. But lesson learned for me. It's the same way that I dealt with Coach Fedora's offense. I sat back and watched it for a year, and then the second year I got in there and learned it.
I'm expecting to learn it from these guys. I'm expecting to learn it from our coaches, and then make the decision what's best for our football team. We're going to be very exciting on offense. We're going to throw it and we're going to run it and we're going to play fast, just like we have.
There haven't been any decisions made on this position at this time.
Q. Who is the young man that came in and sat down right there?
JUSTIN BLACKMON: Justin Blackmon.
MARKELLE MARTIN: Markelle Martin.
Q. Markelle, you gave up some passing yards. Were you worried about Foles and Arizona's passing game coming in?
MARKELLE MARTIN: I think the main thing is we was concerned about what we could do. We knew they were going to catch some passes, run the ball a lot. For us to be physical, come up, attack the ball, continue to buy into our plan was going to work well for us.
The defense did that. They attacked the ball and forced turnovers.
Q. Justin, the long touchdown in the first quarter, what do you think that did to the tone of the game? Was it botched coverage on their part?
JUSTIN BLACKMON: I mean, you know, it was a big play. It was a great play called by Holgorsen. I think it changed momentum, gave us a lot of spark as far as offense. Kind of made us want to come out, get it more.
I think it gave us a lot of momentum.
Q. Markelle, when you had that 61-yard pick, could you take me through that play, what you saw on the coverage, how you felt after you took it to the house?
MARKELLE MARTIN: We was in a man coverage deal. We had made some tweaks to it during the week. That route actually gave us problems during the week just trying to plan for it. Our corners and our coaches trusted the safeties could make the play.
I just broke on it. We had good pressure from the D-line. It was kind of like a dream.
Q. Dan Bailey, your coach propped you up here a second ago. Talk about your mindset coming in.
DAN BAILEY: Well, I mean, one thing that Coach DeForest and Coach Gundy always tell us is, You're only one play away from starting. Just because I started on kicks doesn't mean I'm one play away from punting. You have to be ready at all times.
Luckily I've been kind of practicing with Quinn all year and kind of just hanging in there. It really wasn't a big deal. I mean, kind of caught me off guard a little bit. But, you know, I didn't really have time to think about it.
I just went in with the mindset to have fun with it, enjoy it, it's my last game. Not everybody gets the opportunity to do all three in their career, so it was kind of a fun way to end my career.
Q. Justin, the long touchdown pass, you got to the goal line and decided to take the long route into the end zone. What was going through your mind?
JUSTIN BLACKMON: I just went out there having fun. You know, it's a Bowl game. We practiced three weeks with our own team. I was just happy to be out there with another color jersey lined up across from us. I wanted to have a little fun. That's all it was.
Q. Brandon, you have been playing so well this year, seem to be having so much fun. Kind of disappointed it's all over now?
BRANDON WEEDEN: Yeah, I mean, I'm kind of having a hard time taking my pads off. It's been a rollercoaster, the way we started. Like Coach Gundy was talking about, ups and downs as expected. We just kept the course, stayed focused on what we were trying to do one week at a time.
Yeah, I mean, coming in here thinking you're going to win 11 games, I'll be honest, I don't think there's many guys in the locker room that did. But we all knew that if we came together as a team, anything could happen. We could even beat anybody on our schedule.
Yeah, this feeling right now, like I said, it's pretty special. It's a special group of guys. I think the reason we had so much success, one, is we don't have any distractions; two, is there's no "I" guys. It's all about us as a team. There's nobody that's worried about themselves individually. That's the reason we won 11 games.
Q. Brandon, what Justin did today, is that what's happened in every game this season?
JUSTIN BLACKMON: I mean, yeah, absolutely. If not more. He's a special player. I think he kind of got mad at me a minute because I wasn't throwing the ball early on. He said, Throw me the daggum ball. I was like, Okay, we'll see what happens. I think the next play we threw the bomb.
He is just a competitor; he's a very smart football player. He's made me better; he's made this offense obviously a lot better. Guy is an excellent player. He's done it all 13 games. He's probably been the most consistent player in the country. That's why he won the Biletnikoff Award.
Q. Justin, can you talk about the season as a whole, where you've come from to where you are now.
JUSTIN BLACKMON: You know, it's the whole offense really because it starts with the offensive line, then it goes to Brandon just trusting me, giving me the opportunity to get the ball and make plays. It even goes back to Holgorsen to calling the plays. It's the whole offensive group. It's a team effort.
The defense pushes me every week in practice. The hardest coverage I've seen have been in defense, against our own defense in practice all week. It's really just a team effort. They push me; I push them.
Q. Markelle, you seemed to get a few personal foul penalties here and there to keep their drives going. How did you rally from that and keep focused?
MARKELLE MARTIN: We just kind of brushed it off. When you're trying to be physical defensively, those kind of penalties just happen. Brush it off, line up, play the next play.
Q. Coach, Justin told us what he was thinking when he ran across the field on that touchdown. What was going through your head?
COACH GUNDY: To be honest with you, I didn't know he did it. Somebody came up and told me later. I was unaware of it. But, you know, we've always played the game with class. When you practice for a month, you get in a game, sometimes you do things like that.
I'm for him doing more of that for us. I like touchdowns. So the one thing, we don't taunt players. I don't like to taunt. He's just cutting across the field, having a little fun, proving his ankle was back to normal (laughter).
Q. Justin, you kept saying you were going to wait till after the Bowl game to think about NFL. The Bowl game is over. Any announcements?
JUSTIN BLACKMON: I still have to talk with my family. We'll talk about it and we'll make a decision here pretty quick.
THE MODERATOR: Thank you.
End of FastScripts