Oklahoma Football
National Signing Day - February 5, 2014
Director of Recruiting/Running Backs Coach Cale Gundy

On using Twitter for recruiting:
“It helps with everybody. That’s what I’m doing right now. I’m talking to younger kids about 365 days from now. Recruiting has changed so much and it’s so different from a few years ago when I came out. Nobody really took any unofficial visits. If any recruiting took place your sophomore or junior year, you went down to a game on a Saturday but you really didn’t do anything else. Recruiting never started until December and January. My visits in high school, I took four of them in January. These kids nowadays, they’re done in January. We’ve already had junior days and kids have been everywhere and they already know pretty much, what they want to do and where they want to go. Times have changed and with Twitter and Facebook, you have to work with it every single day. The good thing right now is that us coaches, we’re not traveling, but we’re still on it 24 hours a day.”

On keeping fresh recruiting ways:
“If you’re stagnant, you’re behind. I mean, obviously, I still feel like I’m a young guy, I’m 41 years old. I’ve been in this profession 15 years here, four at UAB so I’ve been doing this almost 20 years. You have to adapt, there’s no way around it. I think it has a lot to say about facilities. Look how college football changed in the last five years, it’s because of facilities. Some people have alumni and tap into their resources and have people giving $200 million and $300 million and building facilities before you know it, you get two or three good players a year. If you add that up over three or four years, you have a pretty good football team. Times have changed so you have to be willing to adapt in recruiting or facilities or however you have to as coaches. If not, you will get left behind. I think it’s even becoming more and more evident today.”

On what changes they’ve initiated in the last few years:
“I think for the most part we’ve adapted to Twitter and Facebook and social media. Obviously, Coach Stoops made some changes with some guys and what the new guys have done for us, they’ve done a tremendous job. We’ve all kind of jumped in and gone full speed ahead with social media, you just have to do it. It’s how you communicate. You see what we’ve done with Headington Hall. People want to talk about nice facilities and when you build something new, it makes a difference. It puts an extra topping on your cake. You have a good program, but they see something brand new and wow, it’s even better than they thought. Any time you can build something new, it is what it is with the players that we’re recruiting nowadays. They like to see things. They like to see helmets and jerseys and their names splashed across social media. We’re going to adapt as much as we can, but there are some things we won’t do.”

On the legacy helping with recruits today:
“When you look at the legacy of recruits they had here in the 80s in running backs, they had eight or nine of them deep in that position. This place has had running backs around here from the ‘50s and ‘60s as good as anybody has. I know people like to talk about Tailback U, some schools or Defensive Line U or Quarterback U, but this school has had a lot of great players at a lot of positions.

“But I am fortunate to have an Adrian Peterson, I am very fortunate to have had a DeMarco Murray. The best running back in the game right now is Adrian Peterson; everybody knows that and everybody talks about that. That helps me tremendously with recruiting. A guy like Joe Mixon, the intriguing thing about him from day one was that he saw the big picture. Joe wanted to go somewhere that was a great school, but he wanted to go somewhere that when he was done they would put him in a great position at the next level. He’s smart enough to look at a place like Oklahoma and see what we’ve done and the guys we’ve put out. We’ve got two guys that are starting in the NFL and one that is the best. So not all 17-year-olds look at that, but Joe did. Having an Adrian Peterson and Demarco Murray is priceless.”

On running back Joe Mixon:
“I said that he shows some aspects of both of them [Demarco Murray and Adrian Peterson]. And I also said let’s be careful of comparing anyone to Adrian Peterson. You can look at him in the sense that he’s a legit 6-2, he might even be taller. He is 215 pounds. There’s not a lot of those guys running around and playing high school football. When I watched him play basketball for his high school team, he reminded me a lot of Adrian Peterson. He’s just a football player running around on a basketball court, banging around and running into people. He’s going to have some dunks, grab some rebounds and probably foul out in the fourth quarter because he plays really physically. But he’s extremely explosive and extremely talented.

“It’s one thing to watch guys on film, but when you see them in person, I can remember watching A.D. [Adrian Peterson] on the basketball court and he’d be the first one to tell you. When I talked to him about Joe he said, ‘I hope he was better than me on the basketball court,’ and I said, ‘He’s really not.’ He reminded me a lot of him. He’s just explosive and the speed of getting from this place to this place and being able to jump out of the gym as big as he is. In that sense, he reminds me a little bit of AD, and then also he reminds me a little bit of DeMarco because of how athletic he is. You can put him in the slot, you can run him down the field and catch the ball on verticals and seams and smashes and Demarco Murray can do that. He has a combination of both of those guys and obviously once he gets here this summer, we’ll see how good he wants to be. Can you be as good as both of those guys? He has some of the attributes that some of those guys have.”

On his excitement for the running back competition:
“I love it every year. All of these guys here, we haven’t even talked about Samaje Perine. Samaje is 5-11, 235 pounds and he’s not a fullback. Last summer and the summer before he went to some of these camps and he was MVP. He was MVP because of not only what he did in the back field, but what he did running routes. At 235 pounds, he’s a very athletic guy for such a big guy. He’s got great feet and great hands and a super person. He benches over 385 pounds and he squats over 500 pounds. This place should have a competition, and that’s what it’s all about. I tell my guys all the time, I’m honest about everything. I tell them, you may not like what I’m going to tell you, but I’m always going to tell you the truth. They know when I go out recruiting, I’m looking for people to beat them out next year. They know that. We had a junior day and a mom wanted to know if her son could play next year and I said, ’Ask your son. That’s up to him, it’s not up to me.’ And the competition is what makes it the best. It’s Oklahoma and you should have competition, but I’m very excited.”

On keeping Joe Mixon after he committed:
“Nobody from Freedom High School or Oakley, California ever diverted away from him coming here. Now, there’s a lot of articles and a lot of people thinking things. It was 100 percent OU from the day that he committed. I knew he was coming here from the day that he committed. I knew he was coming here before we went to the Sugar Bowl; he was always committed. He was always locked into it. It’s for people to continue to stir up the recruiting part of it and some programs are really doing a good job, but nobody really knows the truly deep story. It’s hard to read into things unless you really know. Was I nervous? Yes, I was nervous but you have to fall back on the mom, the dad, the principal, the coach, the counselor and everybody associated with Joe Mixon and Joe Mixon. But every single day, the guy was on there talking about OU and wanting to recruit for OU so I felt pretty good about that.”

On RB Alex Ross:
“He’s talented, very talented. He’s a beast and he ran a 4.4 the other day, weighs 221 pounds and he’s as strong as an ox. But there’s more to it than that. You have to take care of the football, keep people off the quarterback, know your assignments, so there’s much more to it than that. This will be a huge spring for Alex. Alex got so much better at the bowl game because for one month he was with me. He wasn’t flip flopping and going back on the scout team to go against the defense. Some guys need consistent reps and he got really, really good and started showing some signs of what we thought he was going to be. We’ve had a couple of scrimmages here before when he was a freshman, sophomore when he was out here against the defense and he lit it up. He made some plays and some big runs so I expect to see him on the field and staying healthy. Whoever wants it, somebody’s got to go out there and earn it.”

On finishing our after the Sugar Bowl:
“We finished. Obviously, going out and playing in the Sugar Bowl and winning and beating an Alabama, that helps. If anything, it solidifies and helps you finish out on some recruits. At the end of the day, you look at a team like Alabama, they’ve been as strong as anybody the last few years; not only in recruiting but in winning national championships. For us to go out there and play like we did with some guys out and our younger players, if you recruit the right type of people that see what this program can do in a hurry, I think it excites a lot of people.”

On keeping Orlando Brown a secret:
“I don’t know, you’ll have to ask Coach Stoops and Coach Bedenbaugh about that.”