Valero Alamo Bowl: Oklahoma State Team Arrival Interviews with Head Coach Mike Gundy, Junior Corner Ramon Richards (Brackenridge HS) and Senior Safety Jordan Sterns (Steele HS).
Head Coach Mike Gundy:
On recruiting student-athletes from San Antonio:
“About five or six years ago we felt like there was quite a few players in this area that were somewhat under recruited. We jumped in and have had tremendous success. And when I’ve looked at the impact that the young men that are from the San Antonio area have made on our team, I was a little surprised myself. I guess I haven’t paid as close of attention to where they were all from, but there’s been a tremendous impact on our team. Not only this year, but for the last five years from San Antonio players.”
Is San Antonio under-recruited?
“We think so. There’s so much hype around Houston and Dallas, and in general the state of Texas, you’re talking about 350 Division 1 players a year on average. It’s a little more remote when you get outside of San Antonio you’ve got to drive around a little bit to find some guys. But we feel it’s been somewhat under recruited the last six or eight years.”
Is it nice when you have that many players who can point you in the right direction in San Antonio?
“They know where to go, I’ve heard them talking to the players. The age we live in with social media we can get instant information. Of course I’ve got three boys, two are 12 and 15 so they’re pretty good at working those phones. We’ve been here a number of times not only in bowl games, but this has been a vacation site for my family and ever since I’ve been a little kid. So, we know a lot about San Antonio, we have our favorite places to eat at.”
How do you rate San Antonio as a bowl city?
“San Antonio has a great location for a bowl, because they have the city and the River Walk. The hotels are awesome, the players can walk and get to places for them to have entertainment, same thing with the families, the children, it’s just a great place. And we have a terrific place to play a game, we know were playing in an awesome environment, its going to be 72 degrees so we’re looking forward to playing the game in the Dome.”
On the attitude of the players coming into Bowl Week:
“I like our attitude. You know what’s interesting, both teams played in the conference championship game, and I’m sure they wanted to win just as much as we did. And you go through a week or so after you lose what would be a conference championship game, to get the guys back up and going. Our first couple practices, as I shared with local media back home were pretty average, but since that point the leadership and the chemistry of the team has taken over and they’ve been tremendous.”
On balancing a business trip while having some fun:
“It’s not difficult, but what we’ve always done is the first couple days we’ll work out and practice but they’re on their own. We give them a time that we think they should be in at night, but were not going to check them, that’s their responsibility, they’re big boys that need to learn to take care of themselves. As we get closer to the game, our curfews run right up until 11 o’clock and we kind of corral them in. But they’ve earned this, there’s 365 days of hard work and this is a great opportunity, and it should be one of the best weeks of their life as a college football player. To be here, and be part of a team, and be in a bowl setting. So, we want them to enjoy the experience, and then as we get closer to the bowl we’ll kind of bring them in.”
What do you make of some student-athletes skipping their bowl games?
“That’s a great question and I know someone was going to bring that up. I can only go on my history, and I would have never bypassed a bowl game to miss one more opportunity to play with my teammates. Everybody is different, I was not a first round pick, so I can’t speak for others but at some point it looks like this is going to increase and this is going to grow, I think it’s sad from the standpoint that you’re only in college once. We all know that when we’re in college we don’t realize it’s the time of our life, we get out and we’re in a hurry, we’re in a rush, if you get married you have kids and things start to really move fast. So, I would always encourage the young people to enjoy the college life. The NFL, again I have not been in it, but I know people who are, is definitely a business, and college is so much more about the spirit and love for the game. So, not that I would say that I’m against it, I would just say that in my opinion when I was in college there’s no way I would have missed an opportunity to be in a bowl game.”
What do you make of the focus of the Top 4 teams and the College Football Playoff?
“We all want to be in the playoffs. But, if you fall short and get to come to the Alamo Bowl – are you kidding me? You’re talking about a big time bowl, a #10 team vs. a #12 team in a dome, to be in San Antonio for a week. For me, I’ve been in college football since 1986 and I don’t think the bowls have lost any luster based on the CFP playoff system, in my opinion.”
Junior Corner Ramon Richards:
On being home in San Antonio:
“It feels good to be back home. I ran into a lot of friends when I was downtown last night, and it feels good to be back in San Antonio. I got back two days ago. The city is exciting, and there’s people who might even see me in my Oklahoma State gear, and they’re excited to go to the Alamo Bowl. This city is a big sports city, they love the Spurs, they love whatever sports are played here, so they’re excited for the Alamo Bowl.”
On playing Colorado:
“Colorado’s a good team. I’m excited to play against them. They have some good receivers, and that will be a good challenge for us. They have a quarterback who can make the wheels turn, a running back who can make guys miss, and I heard they have a great defense. I’m excited to play against them.”
What was your reaction when you found out you were going to the Valero Alamo Bowl?
“I started texting people. After the game we lost, you obviously don’t want to lose, but at the end of the day there’s always another game and we heard we get to come down here to San Antonio and it’s always exciting to play in front of family and friends.”
On your season so far:
“I think I’ve matured throughout the season. I think I’ve had more fun as the season progressed. I’ve had my ups and downs, like any other player would, but at the end of the day I think I’ve continued to get better and continue to mature. I feel like this game is a great game to show who we are and set us up for next season. I’m proud of my progression and my maturity as I’ve grown throughout the year.”
On San Antonio being an under-recruited area:
“I believe that San Antonio has a lot of athletes that I feel are overlooked, guys such as myself and Jordan Sterns and Tre Flowers who will have an opportunity to go the next level. I feel like there are a lot of guys in this city that can play at the next level. There are guys that I graduated with and guys that I’ve played with who can play at the next level.”
On playing for the city of San Antonio:
“Everyone knows, there’s no secret about it. I let the guys know that I play for everybody in the city. I don’t just do this for myself, I do this for my family, my friends and guys who didn’t get the opportunity to play.”
On having teammates from San Antonio:
“They played a great role as far as me being comfortable at Oklahoma State. I remember on my visit the first guy I met with was Austin Hays, and he welcomed me. Guys like Jordan Sterns and Tre Flowers who I kind of knew in high school but I didn’t really talk to, I ran into those guys and they took me in and they helped me mature, especially since all of us had to play our freshmen year. They’ve helped me, and they still help me to this day.”
Senior Safety Jordan Sterns:
On playing at home in San Antonio:
“I was happy, getting to come home one last time for my last college game, playing in front of the people that I love and the city that I love [means a lot].”
On playing in the Alamodome:
“It’s just fun, the dome obviously and the stadium and all the people who come out and watch you play. I played in it a few times in high school, and I had some of my best games there. It’s just fun, like I said, the atmosphere, the crowd and the support you get when you play in the Alamodome.”
On San Antonio being under-recruited:
“I would say so, but over the last couple of years it’s definitely picked up. My little brother was heavily recruited and guys all over the place are starting to get the exposure, and I think that has a lot to do with social media and guys being able to show what they can do through social media.”
How does it feel to be home?
“I’ve been home since the 21st, and all I’ve really done is lay at home and chill with the family. I’ll probably go after practice today too. I really look forward to showing off the city. I brag about my city all the time, so it’s going to be fun to show the guys around.”