Story Poster
Photo by Brett Rojo | USA Today Sports
Notre Dame Football

Mike Gundy Notebook | Fiesta Bowl Selection

December 6, 2021

Oklahoma State head coach Mike Gundy spoke on Sunday evening as the Fiesta Bowl announced the matchup between the Cowboys and Fighting Irish.

On bowl selection:
We're very excited to be involved with the PlayStation Fiesta Bowl. Obviously, we had a tight game yesterday, lost there at the end. We talk about the games being inches and we ended up coming up an inch or two short. But very proud of our team, the way we competed. 

"Got home last night and went up to the office and worked for about four hours and headed home, got some sleep, and then went and got a haircut today, first thing I did. And then did a little bit more work and now just out on the road and trying to find some good players and good people to get back in our program. But I know that our staff and our team is very excited about being in the Fiesta Bowl."

On playing Notre Dame for the first time in school history: 
"I think it's cool. It's going to bring a lot of national recognition. We have a team that ended up fifth in the country. So just right there on being in the College Football Playoff. Obviously, the committee feels like that they're the team that's just right there. And it will draw a lot of recognition across the country because of their history. 

"But I'm excited about Oklahoma State and the way people recognize us now coast to coast. I think it will be a heck of a football game, a great matchup."

On if Oklahoma State and Notre Dame have tried to schedule each other during his tenure:
"Well, first off, years ago, we tried to work out a series. But what I was told is Notre Dame has been booked up for a long, long time. So it never worked out. I thought it would be great for our fans to be able to play a home-and-home with Notre Dame. And I didn't realize how far that they're booked with their schedules." 

On first impressions of Notre Dame:
"I've watched them a couple times, not the entire length of the game. I'm aware they've got a running back that's rushed for about 1,200 yards. Their quarterback has thrown for just under 3,000. 

"I know that they doubled their opponents in scoring average during the year. And they've got a fantastic defensive coordinator they named as the head coach. I think it's a really cool matchup, and we're looking forward to competing against Notre Dame."

More thoughts on Notre Dame: 
"We just found out a couple hours ago or so that we were playing them. And I had seen them--I don't remember--at some point, maybe watched a quarter or part of a quarter a couple of times. And I said earlier that, you know, I know they have a running back that's rushed for about1,200. Their quarterback(Jack Coan), he transferred from Wisconsin. I watched him play a little bit. You know, they used a lot of tight ends. 

"They're very skilled and they have good players. I mean, really good players go to Notre Dame. And I know Coach [Brian] Kelly left and went to LSU and I know Coach [Marcus] Freeman is there now. But, as all we know, essentially, players play in the games and not coaches. And with them hiring within, their system will stay pretty tight, would be my guess, up through the Fiesta Bowl. 

"We're going to be playing a really talented team. The committee voted them fifth. They were just right on the verge of being in the playoffs. So, you know, I guess the way you look at it, you're getting ready to play a team that could have been in the playoff." 

On heartbreak of losing B12 Championship Game not impacting team:
Well, with our team, I haven't really had to do much all year. This is a mature group. They've handled themselves the right way. They compete each week. We just came up a little short yesterday. But I told them I was proud of them. They've done everything that we've asked them to do since January. And that's all we can ask of them. When you put yourself in a situation like we were in yesterday, you had really two good football teams playing and, unfortunately, one of them had to come out. 

"If we had two more inches, Baylor would be in the same situation we are now. Sometimes that happens. But there's not anything that happened yesterday that can take away from what these guys have achieved this year.

"We're going to give them a week off, and I fully expect them to come back later this weekend and be ready to go and excited about playing Notre Dame." 

On health status of RB Jaylen Warren:
"I saw him after the game. I won't see him again until I get back off the road on Friday. And I know that he'll be in treatment, and we're hoping to get him better. It was difficult for him to not play yesterday, but we didn't feel like that he was full speed and we didn't feel like that he could protect himself. 

"Running backs need to be able to protect themselves when they're playing in games with all the hits they take. So hopefully, we can get him back."

On the chance to get healthier and get over the B12 Championship loss:
"Get back together Friday or Saturday. They'll be in a good frame of mind. We have enough leaders to get it rolling. And they'll be excited about playing Notre Dame. 

"I know all of us are and it will be cool for our fans. And we should have a lot of fans out in Phoenix and Glendale. In a matchup like this, with the No. 5 and No. 9 ranked team in the country in a big-time bowl like the PlayStation Fiesta Bowl, I expect that we'll have lots of orange out there. So we're all looking forward to it for the next few weeks." 

On his team:
"These guys are fun to coach. You have been at most of our practices. And you see that when I'm there, I don't very seldom talk to anybody for two hours. I don't have to. They take care of themselves. They enjoy the game. They like the Xs and Os. They like the grind of it. I would like to play a lot more games with this team. They're fun to be around. They've made my job enjoyable every day. They're a special group.

“They were in a lot of pain yesterday after the game. And that's the way you want it to be. But when we get back together on Friday or Saturday, they'll be in a good frame of mind. We have enough leaders to get it rolling. And they'll be excited about playing Notre Dame. I know all of us are. And I think it's cool for our fans. We should have a lot of fans out in Phoenix, in Glendale. 

"In a matchup like this with the No. 5 and No. 9 ranked team in the country in a big-time bowl like the PlayStation Fiesta Bowl, I'm expecting that we have lots of orange out there. We're all looking forward to it over the next few weeks."

On emphasis on defense:
"We made an adjustment four years ago, I believe. We moved over three scholarships from offense to defense to load up a little bit there. Felt like that would help us long-term in our conference. With all the fantastic quarterback, receiver, running back, offensive play that we've been getting the last 10 years. It was tough to slow people down. 

"We felt it could help our special teams. Now looking back, we felt like that was a really good move. 

"We hired Jim Knowles to be our defensive coordinator. We put our staff around him and our players have rallied around him and they've done a great job. And I'm satisfied with the move. I think it's certainly benefited our team and hope it can continue that way for the next few years." 


subscribe Verify your student status
See Subscription Benefits
Trial only available to users who have never subscribed or participated in a previous trial.