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PRESS RELEASES

Monday, December 29th, 2003

OKLAHOMA STATE OFFENSIVE PRESS CONFERENCE

MIKE GUNDY, ASSISTANT HEAD COACH/DEFENSIVE COORDINATOR

On how defeating Kansas State helped the season:

“We had somewhat stumbled in our opinion at Lincoln to open the season and then we came back and played well against four non-conference opponents. But we had a better team physically than those four opponents, so we didn’t know really where we were at. And then we play Kansas State at home and played very well and won that game. We as a coaching staff felt like when that game was over, that was a huge win for us because we had watched them enough and known that they were a very good football team. Later on, the rest of the country found out how good they were. So that was a big win for us, and that kind of fell into Tech and we went on to have a good season. That was a huge win for us, because at that point, we had won some games but not won games against a nationally ranked team.”

On ribbing Josh Fields about the OSU quarterback records:

“Josh is a unique person. He is kind of a goofball to be honest with you. He is a guy that is ultimately probably going to end up in the minor league baseball circuit. That will be perfect for him as far as pulling pranks on Greyhound buses. He and I have a good relationship, and I had an experience and background in baseball, so we relate well to each other. We don’t really talk a lot about it (the records). I get more from the Oklahoma State people that I am more familiar with from going to school there more so than from him. He really doesn’t care about stuff like that. Rashaun and Josh and those guys who are breaking records like crazy, they don’t really care much about that, but my comment to them and how I can kind of justify is that when I was in school, we threw 20-22 times a game. These guys throw 35-45 times a game. They really don’t say much about it. I am thrilled about the success that Josh has had. He is a junior but he has really only played two years because he didn’t play all of his freshman year until the last two games of the season. All of these guys are very deserving, but we don’t talk much about the records, but hopefully he will break them.”

On giving Fields advice about pursuing baseball:

“I don’t have much input in that. His mom and dad and him and Coach Miles will sit down and work that through, but he ultimately will have to make that decision on whether he thinks baseball or football hopefully can be his future.”

What does a healthy Tatum Bell mean to the offense?

“It means a lot. (Vernand) Morency has played well for us, but they are two different styles of runners. Tatum is extremely fast. When he gets into the open field, there are not many people who can catch him. He will slash and get out there, and then he is gone. He means a lot to us, because as an offensive staff, we try to pinpoint which plays he is better at which plays Morency is better at and try and get them in on those plays. We are lucky that if one of them is not there Ð they can execute all of them Ð there are certainly some plays, styles and schemes that we use that he is better with than the other guys.”

On how Ole Miss is going to defend the running game and how are they going to guard Woods:

“I don’t know. They are an eight-man front. They haven’t put two people on anybody this year, and LSU had a good receiver. We just never know how people are going to defend him. They have had a month to prepare, so they are certainly going to have the capability that they want too. They may feel like their scheme is good enough, sound enough.”

JOSH FIELDS, QB

On the Ole Miss defense:

“They look like a couple of teams we have faced. They are real athletic. They all fire around the ball and are really quick. That is one thing that we realize is that they are really, really quick. They have a couple of things that we are definitely going to have to work on in practice to try and attack them better, but they are going to pose a little bit of a problem for us.”

On facing Ole Miss’ 8-man defensive front:

“If definitely excites Rashaun (Woods, WR) and me to see eight me up there and hopefully get single coverage for him and anything to where we can hopefully complete a couple of balls. We think that we have kind of a two dimensional offense where hopefully we can run and throw, and hopefully if we throw a good enough ball to get them out of it, then we start running more. We’ve had a lot of success running the ball this year, and I don’t imagine us changing anything that we have done so far.”

On running the ball more this year:

“We are running better because they are taking away things in the passing game. Our offensive line has done a great job at run blocking all year long, and to have Rashaun over there with two guys on him, then it is great for Tatum (Bell, RB) and Vernand Morency to run with because that is an extra guy we don’t have to worry about blocking or an extra guy they don’t have to worry about missing whenever they do break into the open field. It has definitely helped us in the running game with them putting two people on Rashaun.”

On Tatum Bell, RB

“I really don’t see how people can’t play eight men in the box against us just because of him. But then again, when we have Rashaun, they just have to pick one and go with it. We are excited that they are going to play eight men up there, but I guarantee we will keep running at it regardless of how many guys they put up there.”

On comparison between Fields and Ole Miss quarterback Eli Manning:

“I really don’t see it as any competition. He has won the Maxwell Award and he is probably the best quarterback in the country. I don’t know how I can compare with him. Just give the ball to Tatum and get the ball to Rashaun, that is all I can do.”

On possibility that this could be last college football game:

“I haven’t really thought about it. We get out of practice and are walking off the field, sometimes I think this maybe could be one of my last times to practice or walk off the field. But as far as the game, I’m pretty much focused on the game. We know that we want to go in and win it just to get Oklahoma State a little more recognition, which we feel hopefully that we deserve on a national kind of level. That is our main focus right now.”

On factors that would go in decision to go with stricty baseball:

“There are a bunch of things really. How good of a season I have in the spring would probably be first of all, and weighing all the things that I came to college for. The friendships that I have made with all of the players on the team and different things like that. It is going to be a tough decision.”

On having three weeks off:

“I think those three weeks were not only good for myself but for the whole team. The last two games for sure and probably three, we’ve played really banged up and pretty bruised. Those three weeks gave me a little bit of a rest. I didn’t throw for most of the time, so my arm is really refreshed right now. We have been having some pretty good practices considering all of that, and everyone is back fresh. That was the main thing was we needed to get everyone back fresh.”

RASHAUN WOODS, WR

On the highlights of his career:

“The biggest thing that I will take with me from my career is probably the guys that I am around. All the guys who have been with me on the football team over the last two years and all the heartaches and everything about the football game with the guys. That is probably the biggest thing is the friendships you gained through it. Maybe not even what I did on the field but just the guys around me when I was there. That is probably the biggest thing I take from the game.”

On this possibly being the last time for he and his brothers, D’Juan and Donovan to be on the same team and how special it is:

“It is a lot of fun to have your brothers out there with you. You can joke around and laugh around. You always have two of your best friends out on the field with you. If the day is going a little slow, they are there to pick you up. If their day is going a little slow, you can pick them up. It is great to have them.”

On Ole Miss’ 8-man front:

“It opens up more opportunities in the passing game, so hopefully, as a team if we execute, we will have a chance.”

“I don’t think about how many catches I am going to get. I think about what I can do to help the team win. That is all I can think about. There is one thing that I know I can do for the team, and I know what I’m going to do when Friday rolls around and that’s play hard.”

On what a healthy Tatum Bell means to the team:

“It means a lot to have Tatum Bell in the offense. Obviously we are a lot more explosive in the running game with him. And add to it the guys we have behind him, to have a running game like that just done wonders for us.”

SAM MAYES, OL

“When I think about the turning point in Oklahoma State football, I think Rashaun Woods is going to be one of the major people they think about. He is the face of Oklahoma State and is one of the major ones who helped us turn the program around. He is doing a great job being our spokesperson. He really is one of the major players as far as us being in the Cotton Bowl. He leads by example, but when he gets vocal, you know its time for you to either step it up or get off the field because he is a very emotional man, and when you hear something out of Rashaun’s mouth as far as being upset or picking it up, you better pick it up.

“I wasn’t really that highly recruited by the Big Ten. You look at the Big Ten and they have great athletes, but I think the best competition is in the Big 12.

“This is just another stepping stone for Oklahoma State. We have to go out and get No. 10 (10 wins), come out and play this game and prove to people that we are legit and that the Big 12 is one of the best conferences in the country.”

On Ole Miss’ defensive front:

“I really can’t compare them to anybody, but they are going to be one of the best defensive fronts we have faced all year. They have great athletes with their hands and their feet and they move well. I’m excited to go out and play these guys. It is going to be a different look as far as this certain type of athlete.”

On having Tatum Bell back and healthy:

“I think having Tatum back is more of a mental aspect more than anything, because you know that he will get the job done. We do not have to worry about having a back who is going to run for us, because we know we have one who is going to. Having Tatum back just kind of seals the deal having the whole starting offense back in the lineup.”

How does playing in your second bowl game help you get ready?

“It’s like tasting a little bit of ice cream. You want the whole thing after you have tasted a little bit of it. It’s like a little bit of blood in the water. We got to see what it was like to go to a bowl game last year, and we wanted to go to a better one this year, and next year we want to go to a better one than this one.”

TATUM BELL, RB

On practicing at Texas Stadium:

“It is real exciting. I played there every year in high school so I wasn’t too thrilled about seeing the big hole like some of my teammates who were in awe.”

How do you want to be remembered at Oklahoma State?

“As one of the best backs in Oklahoma State history. I’m trying to bring that tradition of ‘Tailback U’ back to Oklahoma State, so hopefully I am on the right track.”

How does it feel being able to help OSU make a turnaround?

“My first two seasons we won only three of four games, and I’ve been here when we have been on the rise. So I have been enjoying the rise since Coach Miles came and helped turn the program around. It is exciting that I know that I had something to do with it. We have always had the talent, but we didn’t have the discipline and players just going out and competing in practice. We have competition in practice now so it makes you come to practice to play; otherwise you are going to lose your spot.”

On the Ole Miss defense:

“They are pretty fast, good tackles. One of the things is stopping the run, and they are pretty good at it and we are pretty good at running so it is going to be a dogfight, a nip-and-tuck game, three and four yards here and there. It is going to be a challenge.”

GABE LINDSAY, WR

On helping turn the OSU program around:

“This is my sixth year, so I have been here through the rough times. This year has been a good year for us. The last two years, we have been winning and it has been fun. We got the team and the program on track again like it was under Barry Sanders and them. It has been a great year. You look back and to be right there with them, it feels good. Coach Gundy brings a lot of it. He is a fun dude to be around. He isn’t that old, so he is still in between and jokes around with us, but you know when he gets serious. Coach Gundy is a fun guy.”

How to you want to be remembered?

I just want to be remembered as a guy who is going to go out there and work hard and give it his best every down. Whenever it is my time to be called on, I will try to make the big plays.”

On the Ole Miss defense:

“We are just going to go our there and play and execute. As long as we go out and execute the plays our coaches put in our game plan, we should be alright. Just go out and play hard.”

On Ole Miss’ 8-man front:

“It helps the receivers a lot. It’s like putting their DBs on an island and going one-on-one. That’s fun. That is what every receiver craves.”

On Josh Fields:

“I wish everybody could be around Josh. He is a fun guy to be around. He is a jokester. He is a playmaker and makes things happen. Sometimes stuff looks like it is not going right, and he will make a big play. He is a fun guy to be around. I am going to miss being around Josh.”
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