2017 Spring Game Quotes

Athletics Communications
By Athletics Communications
University of Oklahoma
APRIL 08, 2017

Head Coach Bob Stoops

Opening statement:

“Really just overall, I’m just really pleased with the way the guys played. I thought there was good execution and we met all assignments. Positive. Guys played hard, played well. I’m just really pleased. Nobody’s seriously hurt whatsoever, and we got right what we’d hoped for – right around 90 to 100 snaps, I think it was right around 90, pretty close, and that’s what we were shooting for.

"By position, I liked what the quarterbacks did, overall, had smart play, took care of the ball, good throws. It was a windy day – it’s tough to get the receivers a little bit of a break because the ball’s getting blown all over on a few occasions.

"I thought the running backs did a nice job. Abdul (Adams) had a nice play down the field catching the ball. They ran nice, ran well.

"I thought defensively – I was excited to see Parnell Motley make a competitive catch early in the game, make that interception.

"Just thought overall our assignments and positioning was really good. Showed some pressure a good number of times to the quarterback and tackled for the most part pretty well. Thought some of the young inside and outside linebackers did a good job in there, in particular Jon-Michael [Terry] and Addison Gumbs had a really good day. Kenneth Murray competed for us. We’re moving him around trying to find the best spot for him is what we’re doing, but I like what he’s doing.”

On where his team is at heading into the summer:

“I love it. I think we’ve got a lot of experience back. What I really try to focus on this time of year is developing more depth, more players that can play at a championship level and the mental responsibilities along with the physical play that it takes and the ability of more of those guys. Of course, these are the guys that are returning to focus on making improvement. I love the team ... I love where we’re at, keeping guys healthy, and I think we’re progressing in a really positive way.”

On competition for starting spots:

“That’s natural any time you lose some guys that have been consistent starters for a few years. That’s the case every year. But, yeah, those guys will be competing throughout the summer and fall.”

On the performances of quarterbacks Austin Kendall and Kyler Murray:

“I thought they looked good. They didn’t put the ball in harm’s way. They were smart and went through their reads, I thought, in a really good way. I thought they made some nice plays where they threw to people open. As I mentioned earlier, Kyler (Murray) had a drop on the goal line that was a great throw. They’ve both got all the arms to make all the throws. They’re doing a good job.”

On the timing of naming a backup quarterback:

“That would be up to Coach (Lincoln) Riley, but I would imagine … there’s too much that’s going to happen this summer, all through two-a-days, for us to do that now. I don’t see why we would.”

On how today’s scrimmage will help with the remaining spring practices:

“It will help. This will be a great learning tool … It’s kind of neat in that we get to go out and have five more practices and go over some of the mistakes made that we saw today. Again, I’m just elated that nobody’s injured. I’m really pleased with the overall execution, and we’re just a little over halfway through spring ball, so I think we can really add on in the next—I think we have three practices this week and two the following week, so it’ll be good to learn more from this.”

On the mental focus throughout the game:

“I think it does to a point. You’re right—a lot of times the fourth quarter gets out of hand, guys start quitting. Very few mental errors across the board, even with all the young guys. There are… 11 new guys with only 10 practices, or nine practices ahead of this. So, real pleased with them.”

Defensive Coordinator Mike Stoops

Opening statement:
“I thought the defense looked OK. We played a little bit of our 'Okie' one but tried to keep it pretty simple. I still think it was to our benefit obviously playing in these types of atmospheres and situations. It was good to see our guys come out. We need guys to step up and be play makers. You are not going to see success defensively if you do not have play makers. That has been our thing developing the Erik Strikers and Zack Sanchezes. You have to have players like that on the field. We are playing without some of our main players in Steven (Parker) and Obo (Okoronkwo) so we are trying to put players in those positions. We are headed in the right direction but still have a lot of work to do.”

On the excitement of competing in a spring game:
“We are trying to be a more physical, explosive defense but as a group our physicality and ability to tackle in space are as good as they needed to be a year ago. So we need more things to put our players in that place and more prepared.”

On the pressure from the four-man front:
“It was OK. Not as much this spring as we would have liked. We still have not developed pass rushers but it is a starting point. We are developing and our players are young across the board. For example, Neville (Gallimore) — he is a freshman  — and Caleb (Kelly) is a freshman and we have to two seniors in DJ (Ward) and (Matt) Romar. DJ has done a lot of great things this spring. He is really good in the front. Addison Gums keeps pointing in the right direction but has a long way to go just like Kenneth Murray. We have moved Kenneth a lot, he has only had three practices in the linebacker position. We are just trying to put him in a position where he can be a factor. We have developed quality depth and developing competition against our offensive has helped tremendously. We are starting to develop some really good rotations but we need to do a better job defensively as a group to push our players.”

On Parnell Motley’s performance:
“He had some great plays. Coming in there making plays against Baker show his positive steps. I am sure he wants to start too so it is his opportunity and he made the most of his chances tonight.”

On the aggressiveness of the defensive backs:
“I thought our position was good. We let the ball get behind us a few times. Will Sunderland still has to keep finding the football. He has a great a range but it still is anticipation and seeing the quarterbacks throws. He certainly has the athleticism and safeties have to get their hands on the ball. But from sideline to sideline there is many factors in the game.”

Offensive Coordinator Lincoln Riley

Opening Statement:
“I think that there were a lot of positives. A lot of our young guys did some really good things. We had some inconsistencies at times, we missed some throws, which the conditions were a part of that. We were really, really, really vanilla which is something we decided to do with so many young guys.

“There’s going to be a lot of competition. We were missing two or three guys today who were out for various reasons and obviously, we are getting ready to add two or three more guys here in June so the competition level is going to go up.”

On Kyler Murray and Austin Kendall:
“Those guys are going to be quarterbacks first and foremost. That’s what they are, that’s what they came here to do. Now, if a situation presented itself and a guy could help us make a play to win a game would we do it? Of course we would, but we’re not going to put Kyler Murray in at wide receiver in a game for 20 snaps next year. That’s not going to happen.”

On comparing Grant Calcaterra to Mark Andrews:
“For Mark, to be able to run and do some of the things he can do as a tight end is rare. He has rare ability. But Grant is a better player as a young player. Mark had already redshirted when I got here, but Grant is a better player right now than Mark was when I got here. Grant’s got a little better feel and I think he catches the ball a little better naturally.”

On quarterback Chris Robison’s performance:
“He’s finally starting to loosen up and throw the ball the way he can. He had a good day at practice yesterday. Mentally, it’s starting to make sense a little bit, but out there for the first time there were some nerves.  He had a couple mistakes out there, but he made some nice throws. He’s going be a good player and he’s had a good spring so far.”

On the offensive line’s focus with high expectations:
“Coach (Bill) Bedenbaugh, he’s only going to let it go one speed. But they’re competing because it’s the same deal as with the receivers: regardless of what they did last year, if they don’t play they’re going to be sitting with us on the sideline. When you’ve got your top eight guys back, you’ve got some impact young guys like Creed Humphrey here, but there’s so much competition. Look at it like last year, (Jonathan) Alvarez started the year and then he ends up standing over by us for part of the year and it’s because we had so much competition. He is a really good player and he might end up winning it again next year.

“That’s the level we’ve created there. Bill’s done a great job developing that group, recruiting those guys and there’s so much depth and so much competition that it’s fun to watch. We sit there and talk about it. I’m just glad I don’t have to make that decision right now, it’d be tough.”

RS-Senior Quarterback Baker Mayfield

On today’s performance as a whole:
“I needed to execute better. I think everybody else had a good game. I think we ran the ball well, even though we didn’t do it much. Just have to translate it from the practice field to the game situation. I think the defense played well. I continue to get higher respect for Parnell Motley. He’s making a lot of plays right now. The defense is looking good and the linebackers are playing well.”

On Kyler Murray and Austin Kendall’s performances:
“They’re two completely different players. I think you could run two different types of stuff when they’re in. Kyler played well. I think he gave his guys a really good chance for the ball and put it in a good spot, and he’s obviously pretty fast so he was running around making plays. Austin played well I think, nothing too special, but I think he played well.”

On having a new set of running backs:
“We have a lot of depth. It’s not just two or three guys this year. We really have a lot of guys. Marcelias (Sutton) isn’t completely healthy and Rodney’s (Anderson) still not full contact, so we’ve got a lot of guys who can make plays. Trey Sermon keeps getting better and better, and Abdul (Adams) and Rodney just need to continue to step up.”

On this year’s receiving corps:
“I think it’s more spread evenly. I would’ve said it was spread evenly at this point last year too, so you never know. We’ll continue to figure out what type of offense we’re going to be, and come fall camp we’ll see if we have a go-to guy or if we’ll be a more balanced team.”

RS-Sophomore Quarterback Kyler Murray

On performance today:
“I feel like I played okay today. Just being out there with the guys and tossing a little bit and running around a little bit. I thought that we performed well today. Not too flashy. I tried to keep it simple today and I felt that I played pretty good when we were going out there running today. I wasn’t trying to do too much.”

On throwing with the wind:
“Honestly, I think the one ball to Marquise might had been held up a little bit. Other than that I don’t think the wind really affected me.

On quarterback competition:
“I just go in there every day and just work… go out to practice ready to work and just have fun with it. I really don’t pay attention to that. Like I said just having fun with it.”

Freshman Tight End Grant Calcaterra

On performance today:
“Overall I thought I did pretty well. I thought overall the offense executed pretty well. I’m pretty happy with it.”

On weight transition:
“For the most part is has been pretty smooth. I came in around 216 lbs. and now I’m 237-238lbs. I don’t feel much lower or less athletic. I think I handled the weight gain pretty well.”

On Mark Andrews’ mentorship:
“It’s been fantastic. Mark is a really good friend to begin with. He’s a great player and he helps me out on and off the field with anything I need. He’s been great.”

Freshman Linebacker Kenneth Murray

On learning new position:
“Yeah, it is definitely something different. I mean my first day inside was Wednesday. I mean trying to learn it all… it’s kind of fast. Today, it was definitely fast out there for me. Just trying to learn all this new stuff. It’s definitely different from outside. I had outside down pretty good.”

On the biggest difference playing inside:
“I’m used to standing on the edge, coming off the edge, and coming after the quarterback. Now I’m inside and now I have to worry about guards coming at me and centers coming at me. I have to see the whole thing. The other thing is that I have to open my vision up. Sometimes a guard and a tackle will pull and I wouldn’t even see it because of my vision. Inside I have to see the whole field.”

RS-Freshman Linebacker Jon-Michael Terry

On how it felt to get on the field in front of fans again:
“It felt great. I felt good about the defense out there flying around and making plays.”

On being familiar with the system after being here last year:
“It helped a lot. The defense has changed a little bit, but it’s still just football. You just have to pick your gap and play ball.”

On how tough redshirting was last year:
“Redshirting is hard, but you’ve just got to put in work just like you’re on the field every day. Playing the scout team and helping the offense get better – you just have to do your job, know your role and fill it.”

Junior Running Back Marcelias Sutton

On fitting into the system:
“It’s all I expected and more. I feel at home here. Coach (Lincoln) Riley and everybody here have embraced me. I feel good out here in the offense and feel like it’s going to be a good year.”

On meeting his childhood idol, Adrian Peterson:
“I met Adrian Peterson today. I’m from a small town with one stoplight, so meeting Adrian Peterson was like the highlight of my life. (His handshake) was crazy, it felt like I broke my hand. I had to walk away for a minute.”

On how he fits in the running back rotation:
“Coach Boulware, he suits me up a lot. Really, right now we don’t know. He’s just doing a good job of getting everybody carries.”




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