Oklahoma State Cowboys
Glenn Spencer – Defensive Coordinator
Ramon Richards – Jr., CB
Vincent Taylor – Jr., DT
Jordan Sterns – Sr., FS
Tre Flowers – Jr., SS
THE MODERATOR: Welcome to the Oklahoma State defensive press conference. It’s my pleasure to introduce Oklahoma State Defensive Coordinator Glenn Spencer.
GLENN SPENCER: Just in general, we had another good practice today. It’s special, I know, for all of these guys. It’s back home for them, but I want you to know we didn’t prop these guys up here just because they were from a few-mile radius of here. All these are great players for us and have been since they arrived in Stillwater, took a chance on us when we were down here recruiting them, and very proud of these guys, probably more for how they handle themselves off the field just as much as how they love to play defense and play with a passion on the field.
I’ll introduce them to the left and go all the way down the row. Vincent Taylor to my left. As you know, you just look at the stat sheet, he’s been very productive, good leader, very quiet young man, but he’s always handled himself great, and I’m just glad he’s had the recognition this year just because of a lot of production that he’s had. He’ll be the first one to tell you a lot of times his production comes off of other people doing their job, but he’s got the innate ability to snatch off a block and make plays with his arm. Very glad he’s up here with me and down here with us.
Next to him, Jordan Sterns from down here, another young man that I remember going in and recruiting him. Actually I was recruiting Ryan Simmons and there was a little sophomore running around the field just tagging people left and right, and the coach said, you’ll be back for him, and I said, he might be kind of small. He said, Coach, you’ll be back for him. Jordan has been an impact player since the day he came on campus with us, a very productive, great leader, probably one of the emotional backbone guys of our team and definitely of our unit. Definitely be sorry to see him go this year.
Next to him we’ve got Ramon, Ramon from down here in Brackenridge. Again, the day he got here and played as a freshman, threw him out here on the field and he has the great ability to mix a love of playing the game with competing. You just spend around two minutes around him and you can see that gleam in his eye, and he’s what you need out there. Those guys got a lot of pressure on them on the corner, and just from meeting him in high school, he’s an unbelievable, misdirection, make-you-miss kind of quarterback and a great track guy, tremendous academic young man, and he’s one that I was amazed when we came in here he wasn’t getting recruited real highly at the time. He’s been a great addition, a great productive player for us, and I’m glad that he’s going to be back around with us.
Last one down at the end, Tre Flowers, Slim. He is from Judson High School. I had all those still guys on the team in Madison that I didn’t know if I could get a Judson guy because they’re supposed to be rivals but I’m glad he took a chance on us. Tre is a very quiet young man and wants to be great. He loves football, has great length, which enables him to cover a lot of space, and great attitude.
All these young men have been a great reason we’ve had some success on our side of the ball causing turnovers and creating havoc and creating short fields for our offense. It’s nothing to do with Xs and Os, it has to do with the character of these young men and playing unselfish and them playing for the guy beside them. So I’m proud to be associated with them, and I’m glad they’re here to represent us.
Q. Glenn and Jordan, could you two talk about just the significance of the chance to win 10 games this year and sort of add to the run of really impressive seasons that this program has put together, what that means to you guys individually but also the program as a whole?
GLENN SPENCER: You know, it’s kind of — until the season is over, with me, it’s always been — I don’t like to reflect and I don’t like to kind of summarize things until it’s all said and done, because if we don’t do it, we’ll be sitting back and saying, why couldn’t we get 10. But without skirting your question, we’ve had a string of success around here, and I try to get these guys just to think about the next game, and maybe when their career is over, look back and kind of see the superlatives.
But yes, I mean, it’s — and because of these guys we’re in a position where that’s the expectation in Stillwater now. Maybe when those first guys were around, it wasn’t, just to be able to get to the Alamo Bowl was something special. Now that we’re here again, it’s my second time around, I don’t — yeah, these guys weren’t here the last time. That was ’10.
I guess we just love to do things right. We love to win the right way. I loved for these guys to leave our program knowing that they’ve gained a lot about life, about being a brother, about sacrifice, and then if you can win 10 games and win bowl games, that’s an awesome thing, too. So I don’t want to diminish that at all. But I just love the process to go through with these young men.
JORDAN STERNS: Yeah, like Coach was saying, just enjoying the process with your teammates. We work hard all off-season with winter conditioning with Coach Glass and then just to be able to go out there with your brothers and just have fun, you know, and enjoy the moment, enjoy each of these games, especially being my last game as a Cowboy, I’ve been taking in every last second with these guys up here and with the guys that aren’t in here, as well. But you know, it’s just fun to win games.
I think back to my sophomore year when I think we were 6-6 or whatever it was, and it’s not very fun, but at the end of the day, we came so far as a team and bonded so much that it’s fun to look back and just reminisce on those days that we were struggling.
Q. Glenn, now that you’ve had a chance to look at their running back Phillip Lindsay on tape, does he compare to someone that you’ve played in the Big 12, and what do you see as sort of his major strengths?
GLENN SPENCER: How about you guys? Baylor had Chafin that was good like that, slashy guy. Reminds me a lot of Justice, going against him in practice. I’ll tell you, he’s so tough for his size, people will bring pressure and he doesn’t give it a second thought putting his chin on the linebacker in pass pro. I know talking to Coach MacIntyre, they said he’s a really emotional leader for them, and you can see how he plays.
Boy, I’m trying to think of any other players that might be that slashy guy and can bust. He’s his own guy. We respect him a lot, and mostly I always tell these guys to respect authentic toughness, and I think he’s a real guy. I think he’s an authentic tough guy, and that’s why I respect him a lot, and they’ll be a great challenge to try to win this game.
Q. Glenn, obviously you’ve got your four guys from the San Antonio area who have been a big part of your defense. How much did the last Alamo Bowl trip influence these guys being here now, and just coming back, could there be a new wave of San Antonio players?
GLENN SPENCER: Yeah, I don’t know how old these guys were. Was that in ’10? I’m sure that you just ride from the airport to our hotel, and I see the billboard, so it’s all about branding, right, and it’s all about these guys. When Coach Spencer comes into their school, hopefully we’re not just another school. I think success breeds success. That didn’t hurt.
These high school coaches around here are very good coaches, but they’re also very protective of their kids, and when you get — even the guys before them, the Zach Craigs and Ryan Simmons and the Kris Catlins up there and you treat them right, right? You push them to get their degree and they live with a degree, and they leave with some substance besides just tackling right, and getting off blocks. Now, I think there’s a good word there. And these guys are a credit. These guys are continuing the exposure of us down here by their success, so when we come down here now, it’s not even like it was then. It was like, wow, Vince Taylor, Ramon, Tre, Jordan. That’s where these guys are balling at, and they’re having fun and they’re having success. So I think that’s just a textbook way to entrench yourself in an area, these kids doing right, these kids doing what they’re supposed to, these kids leaving Oklahoma State with a degree and handling themselves on and off the field that all of the Oklahoma State people are proud of.
Q. Along those lines, I’m asking this as you’re flanked by four guys from greater San Antonio, but Coach Gundy was saying Monday when you got here that he always thought this area was kind of under-recruited. Obviously I know Dallas and Houston has got more people, but what do you think of the talent pool here in San Antonio, and do you think it might be an under-recruited area?
GLENN SPENCER: It might be, and I hope it stays that way because I’ll take these guys every year. It’s funny, I told a story the other day when I first got to Oklahoma State nine, 10 years ago, I’m the new guy on the block, I’m from the East Coast. I’ve very rarely been across the Mississippi River. They threw me down here I think because there would be players — that Houston area, that DFW area, that East Texas, but it took a couple years. Now I think it’s getting recruited a lot more now, and these four guys to my left are the reason why. They’re saying, geez, these guys from San Antonio are beating our tail every year. Last time I checked, our record against Texas schools was pretty stout, and I think they’re all getting smart, which is bad for me, bad for us. But it’s these guys that have — they made the reputation.
Q. Vincent, last year in the bowl game you were kind of the hometown guy, you had that New Orleans connection from back before Katrina. Now you kind of get to relive that. What was your reaction to finding out you get to do it two years in a row?
VINCENT TAYLOR: Well, one of the things my dad always mentioned to me is it’s just a sign from God. He took me back home last year to play in the Superdome for the Sugar Bowl, and now he’s taking me back home this year to my second home to play in the Alamo Bowl. It’s a great experience I get to share with these guys and my teammates and my coaches, and I’m looking forward to it.
Q. Ramon and Tre, if you guys could just talk about coming back out on the field after the Bedlam game. You guys had played 11 pretty solid game and then the big plays, for the secondary to come out and have a chance to get a little redemption, is that something y’all have talked about, and how much is that part of the psyche heading into this game?
RAMON RICHARDS: The big thing that Coach Spencer and Coach Gundy stresses, we learn from the past but we never really look back at the previous games. So we learn from our mistakes, we correct what we didn’t do right the first time, and we just move forward. We don’t need any losses to fuel us. We’re the type of guys that come out there and we create our own field and our own motivation. We don’t need to create fuel on a kind of rivalry. We’ve been grinding the last couple weeks. I think we’re ready to go ahead and get a W.
TRE FLOWERS: Just to piggyback off that, that’s what we reached off the secondary, just having the DB mindset, just having a short-term memory. That’s one thing we’ve got to get over, and there’s big plays to be made on Thursday.
Q. Tre, what do you see as the biggest challenges that Colorado’s offense is going to present for you guys as a defense?
TRE FLOWERS: Just it’s kind of a different style, but in the same, they play like a Big 12 offense. They do tempo stuff and they’re real physical, so that’s always a challenge to us. We always want to be the most physical team on the field, and we’ve just got to make plays.
Q. Jordan, you recalled what year you were in the last time OSU was in the Alamo Bowl. Do you recall seeing the name brand or do you recall that game when it was played down here?
JORDAN STERNS: Honestly, no. I’m just being honest. But I’ve always liked Oklahoma State for some reason just growing up because of the colors and then just different things. I used to be a running back. I used to like Barry Sanders. When Oklahoma State offered me, I thought — I mean, I was really excited. I remember calling my mom and just being pretty emotional about it. I mean, it was a pretty easy decision. They’ve been winning games ever since Coach Gundy got here, and the year they offered me they just won the Fiesta Bowl. It was a no-brainer for me.
Q. Ramon, you played quarterback in high school; how have you transferred those skills, that skill set to playing defensive back at a college level?
RAMON RICHARDS: I kind of use it — I see a lot of things, try to anticipate a lot. Sometimes it gets the best of me, but at the same time some big plays come out of that. Playing quarterback back in high school, that’s when I started to expose my leadership skills and abilities, and then when I got here to Oklahoma State, my role kind of progressed as a leader in the secondary and then it was starting to progress as a leader on the defense. But a lot of them skill sets, just kind of anticipating what the offense is thinking, what the quarterback sees, so I can anticipate what kind of routes are coming my way.
Q. Ramon, I know you’re a Brackenridge graduate. Do you take that with you and does that kind of motivate you, especially early on in your career, the fact that you’re one of just a few?
RAMON RICHARDS: Yes, sir. That’s something that we talk about a lot, I talk about with my friends back home from San Antonio. I think before me, as far as Brackenridge goes, Sam Hurd was probably the only person to come out of Brackenridge, just the area, the inner city of San Antonio. Not a lot of people come out of there so when I got my offer, it was really a big thing just for the area, and my friends back home. I still talk to them. And my family, they know I’m not doing this for myself. I’ve got a lot of people that I’m carrying with me. I do this first of all for God. I’ve got to give him all the glory, but at the same time I do this for the guys that don’t get the opportunity because it doesn’t come often.
Q. Ramon, back in July is when Mike Gundy mullet mania began and here we are six months later and that thing is still flowing. Are you surprised it’s gone on this long and will you suggest he cut it at any point?
RAMON RICHARDS: Him wearing a mullet? I’m not going to say nothing. But if we continue to have success, if he has the mullet, let him keep the mullet. Coach Smith might be next. I might get me a mull let.
Q. Glenn, Ramon was talking himself about his growth as a player. He’s always been a vocal guy since his freshman year, but how have you seen him mature this season taking on the starting role?
GLENN SPENCER: Well, I mean, I never want to quell a young man’s personality, and you’re right, you spend a few minutes with Ramon and you’re attracted to him. That’s just him, that’s going to take him a long way in life. You just try to keep it channeled, and I think it’s the older guys. I’m sure he’ll tell you, the Gilberts and the Petersons and the guys those who came in front of him, Brodrick Brown, Perrish Cox, he wasn’t around then I don’t think, but anyway, there’s a culture, I think, that we have there, and so it’s their personality, and then over time it gets intertwined with what we as a group believe in and what we stand for and what we stand against while we play the game, so it just kind of melds together. And he has done that. He’s to the point now, I think, where when he gets corrected on something, he knows why, and it’s not like I’ve just got to make this grand play every snap, I’ve got to do my job first, and then as I do that, I’m going to do what’s best for the team, and if I do it like I’m supposed to in my role, I’m going to end up making some good plays, big plays, too, like Vince has this year.
I think it just melds together over time, and it’s more of the culture that these guys set. They know I don’t have to get ticked off too many times, they’ll know it, and they try to police everything before I reach a boiling point in some areas. So the expectations are there, and he has grasped a hold of that, and now he’s got those young corners around him now, so the roles get reversed through time.
I think they’re going to start picking up the dos and the don’ts and the expectations from Ramon.