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“We’ve got to make a decision on Jalen McCleskey this week”: Quick hits from Mike Gundys Monday press conference

“We’ve got to make a decision on Jalen McCleskey this week”: Quick hits from Mike Gundys Monday press conference

Mike Gundy spent an hour with the media early Monday afternoon prior to the Cowboys matchup with the Texas Longhorns in Austin Saturday.

  • Texas has had success having a quarterback who can run and throw, Gundy acknowledged they will need to tackle better in open field.
  • The Cowboys used a wildcat formation. They used it after struggles in the red zone against Texas Tech. “We felt like we needed some improvement in that area for the last month,” Gundy said. “Mason’s been tremendous in what we’ve asked him to do…but he’s obviously not going to be a guy that’s going to carry it like J.W. did.”
    • Gundy does not know if it’s a long term answer, but he liked it against Baylor.
  • Marcel Ateman has arguably been the most reliable Cowboy receiver. Gundy praised his hands, body control and the roll he’s played.
    • The pairing of Ateman and Washington is dangerous, because James can beat you with speed while Ateman gets single coverage and catch just about anything.
    • Gundy believes the year off due to injury helped Ateman realize how much he loves footall.
      • “Ateman is going to have a chance to play the game beyond this level,” Gundy said. “Because he’s got a body that is hard to defend in man coverage and then he blocks very well. He’s been really good without the ball in his hands…”
  • Mason Rudolph misses a few throws high at times, but Gundy deflected this. He says it’s because of the offense, as they ask him to throw further than most guys throw in a season. Said at times, he wants to get the ball over defensive players, which causes the occasional overthrow.
    • “Your accuracy isn’t going to look as good as a guy in a west coast offense…”
    • Asks Rudolph to not throw during the open week, tries to reduce number of throws during the week to lower injury risk. But Mason is a workaholic and doesn’t like to do this.
  • Gundy acknowledged that Texas may be the most athletic team in the conference, because they don’t bring in men who can develop, they bring in someone who is already developed.
  • The Pokes have won their last four games in Austin.
    • “You certainly have to get over the hump at some points,”  Gundy said. “When we won down there a couple of years ago, I think that kind of helped our players realize it was possible.”
  • Jalen McCleskey has had a pretty bad year at punting. Gundy said he was going to ask for advice from anyone.
    • “Prior to his year he had been flawless,” Gundy said. “He has not been good this year.” He’s been bad four of nine times. The Cowboys have thought about it, but don’t have an answer yet.
      • “We have to make a decision this week. We leave McCleskey on the field, let him play, or we take him off the field and let somebody else play.”
      • Says they’ve asked people before if they have returned punts, usually get a about four people they feel comfortable with.
  • ICYMI: Gundy took his shirt off at Oklahoma States homecoming. Said he got the idea because of pep rallies in high school. Didn’t plan on doing it, but remembered an old high school coach did crazy things, but was hard to get Mason to do it.
    • “That’s not his nature… he’d prefer to be on a lake somewhere, throwing a football to someone on a jet ski.”
    • Gundy’s wife said it made her sick and his kids said he was on SnapChat next to Kim Kardashian.

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