Oklahoma State running back Joseph Randle on Friday went through the ESPN “Car Wash,” a rapid series of interviews across all of ESPN’s platforms. Here’s a glimpse at some of his interviews.
Randle went 1-on-1 with ESPN.com senior writer Ivan Maisel for his Big 12 podcast that also featured Oklahoma coach Bob Stoops, Sooner quarterback Landry Jones, West Virginia quarterback Geno Smith, Texas defensive end Jackson Jeffcoat and Kansas State linebacker Arthur Brown.
Ivan Maisel: Let me just go over what you did last year, Joseph. All-Big 12, 24 rushing touchdowns, which is a whole lot, 1,216 rushing yards. You also had 43 catches for nearly 300 yards. And that was last year. Now there’s no Brandon Weeden. There’s no Justin Blackmon. There’s just, not just you, but it’s gotta feel a little different last spring and as you think about the month to come.
Joseph Randle: Yeah, it’s a little different, but we definitely are going to have guys step up. We’ve still a stable of running backs like Jeremy Smith and Desmond Roland, and Kye Staley has always been my right-hand man at fullback. We’ve got a veteran offensive line, guys who have played a long time like Jonathan Rush and Lane Taylor and Parker Graham and Michael Bowie.
IM: Well, I noticed that. two starters back, but the guys stepping in have a lot of experience. So that’s got to be a little comforting.
JR: They’ve all been in the program at least four years (note: this is actually only Bowie’s second year in the program). So they know the program, they know their assignments. And that’s what I think people don’t really realize.
IM: Sure, sure. Now, you have a freshman quarterback, Wes Lunt. That usually makes people scared to death, a true freshman quarterback. Why shouldn’t Cowpoke fans be scared to death about Wes Lunt.
JR: Well, it’s scaring everybody but us. We’re in the program and we see him every day and he’s working really hard and he’s very mature for a young guy. He keeps his composure. Even during the spring last year, everybody was like in astonishment it was like, ‘Man, this guy is really going on drives and leading drives and all kinds of stuff.’
IM: So you guys were surprised?
JR: Yeah, we were surprised because he was so young. And then it was like, ‘Well, he deserves it,’ when they made the decision. And we got two guys behind him who are really good and they’re all competing, so it’s a really good competition going on right now.
IM: And (in the) locker room, if you get it done on the field, you’re accepted, right?
IM: Still, there’s got to be a few ways you see that he’s a freshman.
JR: Well, yeah. He won the spot and then went back to prom. So we definitely knew he was a young guy from that.
IM: Was (there), perhaps, maybe just a little bit of teasing there?
JR: Yeah. It was cool, though. It was cute. (Laughs)
IM: Did you insist that you get pictures of him in his tux or anything like that?
JR: No, I didn’t bother him like that. It was cool, though.
IM: That’s actually very funny. Now, Wichita. A lot of running backs have come out of Wichita through the years. Barry Sanders the most prominent. How much of a sense of pride do you carry that you’ve got that title of a Wichita running back?
JR: It’s not so much pride. When I first decided I was going to go to Oklahoma State and I started looking at all the records and I was like, ‘Wow.’ Above 35 touchdowns, however many yards he had. And that was pretty much in two seasons. It’s going to be pretty tough to break those records. That’s what I was thinking when I first decided to go there, but it’s definitely an honor that people have been even putting me in the same sentence as Barry Sanders, I mean, seeing that he’s one of the all-time greats, arguably one of the best running backs of all time.
IM: Now, when you’re growing up in Wichita, was he a presence in your mind in high school football?
JR: Well, yeah. We played little league football at Barry Sanders Football Field. Arthur (Brown) played on the same field. All those kids growing up played at Barry Sanders Football Field. He’s definitely mentioned everywhere and still a legend around our area.
IM: That’s a lot of fun. In your mind, it’s a new season, as we’ve just discussed. And you’ve got some very good players (that) are gone, and yet, you’re the defending Big 12 champions. How much do you take into account the fact that people are coming after you this year?
JR: Well, that’s fine. We feel like people are still, even though we won the Big 12 last year, it seems like people are still kind looking over us a little bit, because of the type of talent we lost. But I mean, I feel like our program has really come a long way. Even when we lost a lot when Dez Bryant was there and those guys left, Zac Robinson, we still found guys to step in and make plays like Brandon Weeden and Justin Blackmon. I feel like we the kind of guys we still have in the program like Charlie Moore, Tracy Moore, Josh Stewart, Torrance Carr, we have a lot of guys who can come in and make a lot of plays. They might be a little under the radar, but we know what we have in our program, so we’re not really worried about it.
Randle and Brown, the two Wichita guys, were live in studio for a joint interview with Todd Grisham.
Todd Grisham: Both you guys are from the same city, Wichita, Kan. Joseph, what was it like growing up near this guy? Did you know who he was?
Joseph Randle: You always recognize talent, it’s not that big of a town, so when somebody’s playing football good, you’ll kind of know about them. And then you’ll bump into them and create a relationship.
TG: (to Brown) He’s two years younger than you. Did you hear about this little guy doing some damage on the field?
Arthur Brown: Yeah. He was one of the younger guys coming up that was known for his ability and his talent and his potential. Like he said, talent is well-recognized throughout the city. Once we ran into each other, it was a great relationship from then on out.
TG: As for your offense last year, Joseph, you guys were almost unstoppable (with) Brandon Weeden, Justin Blackmon. But those two guys aren’t here anymore. How much of the pressure are you feeling to carry the load this season?
JR: We don’t really play with pressure in our program. We always find guys to step up and make plays. We’ve got a lot of guys coming back that can make a lot of plays, like our wide receiving corps is still really good with Tracy (Moore) and Blake Jackson and Josh Stewart and Ike Anderson. And our offense line is still veteran and everything. But we’ve got a young quarterback. We’ll bring him along and he’ll be just fine.
TG: You’ll take care of him right?
TG: You’ll say hey give me the ball when you’re in doubt.
JR: (Laughs) No.
TG: You had 24 touchdowns last year, that’s the second-best regular season in Oklahoma State history behind a man named Barry Sanders. What is it like to hear his name and your name in the same sentence?
JR: It’s definitely an honor, because he’s a legend where we’re from and definitely a legend all over the country, because he’s one of the greatest. So it’s an honor to be mentioned in the same sentence as him, really.
TG: I understand you enjoy salsa dancing. So what we’re going to do is we’re going to show you Victor Cruz’s touchdown dance. You know he’s the Giants’ wide receiver. Let’s see what you think of his moves when he scores a touchdown. Here he is (video footage of Cruz shows up on screen). Break this down for us. It’s all in the hips, isn’t it?
JR: It’s not really all in the hips.
TG: What is it?
JR: It’s in the knees. You just move your knees. The girl is for the hips.
TG: Well, Shakira says the hips don’t lie.
JR: (Laughs) Yeah, he’s doing his thing. He’s got some moves.
To end the segment, they cranked up some salsa music and tried to get Randle to dance. No dice. He said, “nah, I’m good” and leaned back in his chair. But after some pestering from Graham, Randle did show some shoulder moves. But he honestly didn’t look too excited to be talking about salsa dancing on national television.
Randle also apparently taped an interview for College Football Live, but it didn’t air Friday. I’m told it may air next week, however.