Valero Alamo Bowl: Colorado vs Oklahoma State
Thursday, December 8, 2016
RICK HILL: Good morning. On behalf of the Valero Alamo Bowl, welcome to today’s press conference here in San Antonio. Proceeds from today’s event will benefit the Valero Alamo Bowl Scholarship Fund. This year we’re announcing the winnings on scholarships December 14th. We’re proud to announce we’re going to have one winner from every public San Antonio high school and established private school.
Today for the press conference, I’m joined by Valero Alamo Bowl chairman Lamont Jefferson, our president and CEO Derrick Fox, on the end we have Valero’s Gary Simmons, and the two head coaches from the participating universities, Mike Gundy from Oklahoma State and Coach MacIntyre from Colorado.
Lamont, if you could kick off the press conference.
LAMONT JEFFERSON: Thank you all for joining us here today for the Valero Alamo Bowl Golf Classic, on a perfect day for golf, of course.
We’re pleased to have some very distinguished guests with us here today. On behalf of the Valero Alamo Bowl, I’d like to welcome Coach Mike Gundy and Coach Mike MacIntyre. Welcome to San Antonio.
We’re excited, very excited, for this matchup. It’s going to be a great game. It’s what a lot of the media are calling a must-watch bowl game this season.
Three years ago, with the help of our title sponsor, Valero, we had the prescient idea of promoting a contract with the Big 12 and the Pac-12 conferences, which have for the last three years resulted in top-15 matchups, last year one of the most exciting in bowl history.
This year is going to be no different. This is going to be a great game between some very exciting especially offenses – I’m sure they’ll argue that defense is the key. We’re very proud to have them and thankful for our Valero title sponsor to promote all of this.
We’re joined this morning by Gary Simmons, the Valero senior vice president of marketing and strategy. So please join me in welcoming Gary and thanking him for his title sponsorship and Valero’s title sponsorship and promotion of our bowl game.
GARY SIMMONS: Thanks, Lamont. On behalf of Valero, I’d like to express how excited we are to be part of what should be a fantastic football game between these two top-15 schools.
This will mark our 15th year as the title sponsor. We’re proud to support the Valero Alamo Bowl and its mission to promote higher education while providing an economic boost to the city of San Antonio.
In addition to all the excitement going on inside the Alamodome on game day, we hope the fans have the opportunity to enjoy all that our city has to offer for the holidays during bowl week.
Thank you to everyone who contributes to the success of the Valero Alamo Bowl each year, the city of San Antonio, these two great schools, and most importantly the fans who travel by the thousands from across the country to support these teams.
Derrick, we’re certainly looking forward to another exciting bowl season. I’ll turn it over to you to introduce the coaches.
DERRICK FOX: How about another round of applause. 10 years as a title sponsor. Quite an accomplishment.
The 2016 Valero Alamo Bowl features two outstanding universities with two tremendous football coaches.
I’d first like to introduce Coach Gundy. This is Coach Gundy’s 12th season as the head coach of the Cowboys. He boasts a record of 103-50 while at the helm. This year was Oklahoma State’s seventh nine-plus win season in the past nine years. The 2016 Valero Alamo Bowl will be the 11th straight bowl game as the head coach. Of his six bowl wins, one came here in 2010 here at the Valero Alamo Bowl.
Coach Gundy, on behalf of the Valero Alamo Bowl, we’re thrilled to welcome you and the Cowboys back to San Antonio. I’ll turn it over to you for some opening comments.
COACH GUNDY: On behalf of President Hargis and the athletic director Mike Holder, our football team, and Oklahoma State University, we’re very excited to be here.
This is a tremendous bowl. We want to thank Valero for your support and all you do for college football. What more can you ask for. You’re in a great town, got a great setting, got great food, great weather, Texas high school football, and you’re in a community where people love to be involved with college football.
What a great matchup. I followed Mike’s career, Coach MacIntyre’s career. What a tremendous year. I appreciate what he’s accomplished with a great team. The little bit that I’ve watched from being out on the recruiting trail, what an exciting team, and a defense that’s been really good. A big 340-pound nose guard, and a rush end that sacks quarterbacks, corners that play good coverage. Got a fantastic quarterback, running back. Got a good returner. Overall just a really good team. You guys should be proud.
The one thing that coach’s team has done is they play hard. As an opponent coach, that’s not something we like to see. We like when guys take plays off. Colorado doesn’t take plays off.
The reason they’ve had success, in our opinion watching them, is they play hard. They must have a great team concept. Coach has obviously done a great job.
We’re very excited about being here. As I mentioned, we’ve got a group of young men that are very committed to themselves, they’re very committed to our team concept. They’re unselfish. As a head coach, speaking for our staff, we couldn’t be any more proud of what these guys have committed themselves to.
This is a 365-day-a-year job. This is a great reward for them to come down here for six days and be at the Valero Alamo Bowl and play a great opponent like Colorado.
GARY SIMMONS: Now we’ll turn it over and talk about the Buffaloes with Coach MacIntyre.
This is his fourth season as the head coach of the Buffs. After a 10-27 mark in his first three years, he led Colorado to a 10-2 regular season on the way to the Pac-12 South championship. This season Colorado recorded the largest turnaround in the history of the Pac-12, going from 1-8, to 8-1.
Powered by a remarkable achievement, Coach MacIntyre was named the 2016 Pac-12 Coach of the Year and the Walter Camp Coach of the Year. Tonight you can tune in to ESPN and watch him accept The Home Depot National Coach of the Year.
The 2016 Valero Alamo Bowl will be Colorado’s first bowl appearance since 2007. They’re one win away from becoming the fourth Buffs team ever to win 11 games.
Coach MacIntyre, on behalf of the Valero Alamo Bowl, we’re excited to have you here. I’ll turn it over to you for some opening statements.
COACH MacINTYRE: Our team and university and program is excited to be in a bowl game, to be here at the Valero Alamo Bowl. We’re the last big major conference team to go to a bowl, so it’s been a long time.
Now we’re playing Oklahoma State. Watched them on film. Wow, Mike has done an incredible job. I’d just like to say I used to watch Mike when I was a little bitty kid when he was at Oklahoma State throwing the ball around (laughter).
But I’ve known Mike for a while. His defensive coordinator Glenn Spencer and I went to college together at Georgia Tech. Just admired what they’ve done.
To stay at Oklahoma States as he has and build a program, nine-plus wins that many times, he’s very respected in our profession as a family man, as a coach, as a person. It’s just an honor to be up here on the stage with him and be able to come here and play in this great bowl game.
It’s exciting what our team has done, but watching Oklahoma State on tape, their quarterback, wow, you need to make sure he stays in. He’s really good. He’s excellent. Their offense, they do everything. They can throw the deep ball so well. Their running back, a freshman, Hill, he is amazing. They do a great job there.
Defensively they cause turnovers right and left, aggressive on defense. They have big safeties that might scare our guys to death they hit so hard.
The one thing that I think is a great mark of coaching that they do is they take care of the ball and they cause turnovers. You coach that. They possess and understand how important the football is.
It’s going to be an excellent game, a tough battle for us. Should be a lot of fun for everybody to watch, except for Mike and I on the sidelines as it goes. But everybody else will have a great time watching the game.
Really appreciate being here. We’re excited about it. Our guys will look forward to go to a bowl game. They haven’t been to one. These guys are old hat at it. I got to make sure our guys do the right things and enjoy themselves.
RICK HILL: We’ll open it up to questions.
Q. This game marks the renewal of an old Big 12 rivalry between Oklahoma State and Colorado. Can you speak about the renewal of that rivalry?
COACH GUNDY: I go all the way back to the Big 8, sadly enough.
That question’s come up. Colorado, in my days of growing up, playing college ball, is a very traditional football program. When I was coming out, through the ’90s, they were winning a lot of games. The Buffalo, what it means to college football, it’s pretty cool.
The world we live in with these millennials that we coach, they follow things for about two days, then they move on to something new. We probably have to remind them of that.
As Lamont said earlier, this is a great matchup for the Valero Alamo Bowl. The final rankings were 10 and ours were 12. When you look at the games that these teams lost to, they were to really, really good teams. I think that will do more for the game than anything. I know both teams are going to be excited about playing in the game.
Q. The last time you played them was 2009. I don’t know if you remember that game. Brandon Weeden came off the bench and sparked you to a comeback. Pretty wild game. Do you have thoughts on that game, remember it, playing against Colorado back then?
COACH GUNDY: I remember it well because we started the game with our backup quarterback, who had never played a snap in college football. At halftime he had zero completions. Then we put Brandon Weeden in in the second half and we were able to come back and win. Wasn’t a very smart coaching move on our part for him not to play in the first half, obviously. A lot of things in coaching you remember. That’s certainly one of those games.
Q. You brought up the CU defense a little bit ago. Can you compare them to any group that you faced in league play this year, and what makes them kind of a difficult fit?
COACH GUNDY: With Coach Leavitt and his history, their style of play would be somewhat like TCU. Again, nobody’s exactly. Trying to take away throws. They have skill in the secondary.
We’ve had a brief meeting, but feel like this could be the best secondary that we may have faced as a group throughout the year. They have a tremendous pass-rusher with pressure inside. Three-down look most of the time, some four-down versus a heavy set.
Overall the closest would be, over the last three or four years, TCU’s style of play in our league.
Q. Coach MacIntyre, the Pac-12 Network said the last five Pac-12 championship game losers went on to lose the bowl game. Do you think having such a young team that has never been to a game would be an asset for you to try to break that streak?
COACH MacINTYRE: I definitely hope so (laughter).
Our young men will be excited about playing in the game. We haven’t been to one, so they’re going to be excited about playing, excited about practicing, all those type of things. But we’re playing an excellent football team. They’ll be ready to play.
Q. Coach MacIntyre, walking by Rashaan Salaam’s trophy most days in the legacy hall, what is your impression of what he meant to the program?
COACH MacINTYRE: Rashaan always had a great smile. I always loved talking to Rashaan and being around him. He meant a tremendous amount to our program. He’s a young man that came out of San Diego. He came out of eight-man football. Three years later he won the Heisman Trophy. Pretty amazing.
He means a lot. We have a locker that we’ve always had in our locker room that is Rashaan Salaam’s locker from him winning the Heisman. It means a great deal to our program. A lot of our guys know him.
Definitely a sad day losing Rashaan. But I always think of him. I choose to think of him with his big smile, his great personality.
Q. Coach Gundy, can you talk about your recruiting pitch to get all these players out of San Antonio to Stillwater? How has that market developed for producing Division I talent?
COACH GUNDY: About six years ago, we started really looking at this area. We realized that there were players here that could be very competitive in the Big 12. We were fortunate enough to get a start with some of them.
In recruiting, if you take care of the ones you have now, they’ll become your best recruiters in the future. That’s what’s happened here in central Texas, the San Antonio area.
When you look at the guys, it’s either seven or eight that are with us. Five or six of those guys played a huge role in the success we’ve had the last three years.
The one advantage is you’re recruiting good people that have been raised right. They understand hard work. Texas high school coaches understand commitment. When we get them, they’re so polished. That plays a huge role in our success in getting young men that understand the commitment it takes to play and graduate from college.
Q. Coach Gundy, I know you’re on the road recruiting this week. There’s been some reports you were speaking with Baylor officials in regard to their head coaching vacancy. I’m sure your focus is on the game, but are those reports accurate?
COACH GUNDY: I didn’t hear half of what he said. No, I’m joking (laughter). That was pretty good, wasn’t it?
As everybody knows, I’m fully committed to Oklahoma State. Fortunately enough I’ve been around really good players. When you win games, your name gets brought up. I’ve read about Coach MacIntyre’s name, so I’m going to push this off on him.
There’s not any distraction. The question Coach Mac just answered about the history of games, PAC-12 champions, where they win or lose. It’s interesting. The millennials we coach now, they live day-to-day. They stay on their phones. The news for the day is the news for the day. Whatever happened yesterday, they don’t pay a lot of attention to it.
Distraction is not really a big issue. Our players will be excited about practicing and getting back together as a group for another 10 or 12 days and being at a great location at the Valero Alamo Bowl for a week.
Q. Coach MacIntyre, San Jose State, one-win team, 10-2, now coming to Colorado and doing the same thing. What are the important things in rebuilding the program?
COACH MacINTYRE: Number one, it’s to have a staff that’s totally committed. You have the same picture, you’re going the same direction.
The second thing is making sure that staff gets a lot of good football players that care about football, want to be successful. You set your expectations high. Young people push for that. They all want to be pushed. They all want to try to reach goals and dreams that they have to see themselves doing.
That’s what’s been so awesome about this team, is they’ve looked adversity right in the face for a few years and didn’t let it break them, they let it make them. That’s why we’ve achieved.
We have a lot of good, talented football players. Every football team that’s 12th or 10th in the country has got to have good football players, and we do.
But the commitment level they have to each other is exceptional. They did that through all the tough times they went through. No conflict, no story. That’s why I think our story is so good, because we had a lot of conflict. People like to see people overcome things. These are great life lessons for our young men as they go on with their families and future jobs, that they can reach back and realize they can overcome things people don’t think they can.
Q. Coach Gundy, when you look back on Saturday’s game, given the stakes and the opponent, was that a tougher one to get over than perhaps some of the other losses this season and in past years?
COACH GUNDY: Every game that you end up on the wrong side of the scoreboard are tough to get over for players. As coaches, we understand the commitment.
We ask our players to absorb information, to be fully committed, to take care of their bodies, do everything they can possibly do Sunday through Friday to go out and play a game on Saturday and have fun.
There’s about 132 teams that play at our level. Unfortunately half of them don’t win on Saturday. So if we were to ever hang our hat on a win or a loss every Saturday, this would be a sad profession, and it wouldn’t be a fun game to play for the players.
We want to win them all. But as a coach, as I said earlier, and what Coach Mac said, I think he’s stealing some of my thunder a little bit, but we teach life lessons. We’re committed to taking young men and in four to five years putting them out there in the real world. Hopefully we’ve prepared them to be successful socially, be good fathers, husbands, commit to society.
There’s a bigger picture. Not to discredit, we want to win them all. But I get over the games really fast because I believe if we think one second about the past, that keeps us from thinking about being positive in the future, then that’s one second that doesn’t give us an opportunity to be successful the next day.
Q. Coach MacIntyre, you have a whirlwind schedule this week with recruiting, you’re down there in San Antonio, you’re going to Atlanta tonight. Your thoughts on how big of a deal is this for the Colorado program, for you to be able to travel around the country, get Colorado’s name out there again?
COACH MacINTYRE: It’s extremely important. It’s a lot better than sitting home, for sure. It’s exciting for our program and does get our name out there. This game being televised on a Thursday night, national television against a great opponent, it will be exceptional for our football program and for our school.
That’s the first thing that they said what we were playing Oklahoma State. This is the first Big 12 team that they’ve played since Colorado left the Big 12. I wasn’t there at the time. Of course, Mike has been. So our people, the Colorado people, are very excited about playing a Big 12, Big 8 opponent.
I think that also adds more fervor to our fan base and to the people that are following the game. It makes it a lot more exciting.
Q. Coach Gundy, Derrick Fox mentioned this is your 11th straight bowl game as a head coach. You always talk about sometimes you and your team need a break from each other. This has been a natural break for you and your team. You go recruiting the week after the final. They go to final exams. What is your philosophy about how you welcome the team back when you get them back for bowl prep? You’ve been successful with preparing for bowl games. How do you look at this break, the time you come back together?
COACH GUNDY: Well, for us as coaches, we finished the game on Saturday at 4:00. The next morning most of us were on a plane by 7:00 a.m. A break from football maybe, but from the real world of coaching, not much of a break.
The players were back at it lifting today, so they had a few days off. But our approach, you’ve known me for a long time, when we get them together Saturday, the first thing that I’m going to tell them is how much I appreciate the commitment to Oklahoma State football. These guys are warriors. They put their bodies on the line throughout the year. They go out Saturdays, bang heads to play the game for each other, a game they love.
We thank them for their commitment to Oklahoma State football. We correct mistakes from the last game. We tell them about the positives from the last game. They will be excited about playing Colorado because of what they’ve done, their success, as coach said. They’ll look forward to preparation.
Then we get back into the role of what life is all about: the commitment that we’re going to make prior to this game. That makes it fun. You get into the chess match against two really good coaching staffs that understand and have played to the strengths of their talent, their personnel, and had a lot of success. That just makes it that much more fun.
RICK HILL: I’ll let Derrick close the press conference.
DERRICK FOX: I’d like to thank both coaches. Tremendous football season so far. We really, really are excited. I think the word ‘commitment’ is so appropriate. We’re committed to make sure you guys have a great time. I can’t control what happens in the game, you guys will take it from there, but we’ll make sure your student-athletes and fans will have a great time in San Antonio. You have that commitment from us.
Gary, thank you. You’re committed to us for 10 years, at least three more, and hopefully more beyond that. We couldn’t do it without you. Thank you, Valero.
Colorado, Oklahoma State, best of luck. Media, thanks for coming. Have a great day.