Bob Stoops Press Conference

Athletics Communications
By Athletics Communications
University of Oklahoma
OCTOBER 28, 2013

Oklahoma Football
Head Coach Bob Stoops – Press Conference
Oct. 28, 2013

Opening statement:
“Going back over the Texas Tech game, I feel much like I did after the game in that I’ve very pleased with our team’s ability to persevere throughout the game and come from behind in the third quarter after having the momentum, losing the momentum and gaining it back and finishing the game the way we did. Offensively we were really consistent. We threw the football, ran the football really well. We had almost 280 yards (rushing). We didn’t have any sacks. I thought all of our guys up front played really well. We had improvement in our passing game and in our drop-back passing game which hasn’t been quite as consistent and was much improved in this game. We picked up third downs when we needed them.

“Blake Bell threw the ball very well. Jalen Saunders, Sterling Shepard, on and on, Lacoltan Bester ran good routes, they all were getting open and were making big plays on third downs when we had to have them. That was a big part of the game. We were eight of 15 on third and fourth down while they were six of 17 so that was a big part of the game offensively, being able to convert those and run the ball. We had four drives over 70 yards. We had one for 90 something. Those are big because you’re not only chewing up clock, but also scoring points and that was a big factor.

“Defensively we had a bunch of really good stops on third and fourth downs and we came up with some turnovers. We had two true freshmen at the linebacker spot, and I’m really proud of those guys. They really played well. Jordan Evans came in and had about eight tackles and a couple of pass deflections. He was where he was supposed to be, and that’s the same with Dominique Alexander. Those young guys will have great, great futures and to get in the game like that and handle it the way they did, they really showed confidence. Other guys defensively, Aaron Colvin, Gabe Lynn both had a great game. Up front Eric Striker and Charles Tapper once again, Striker got great pressure to the quarterback and got some sacks and created disruption as did Charles. Chuka Ndulue had one of his best games up front along with a bunch of other guys. Jordan Wade had a really good game. Those were our players of the game though, Lynn, Colvin, Striker, Tapper and Chuka. Offensively, Blake Bell and Jalen Saunders were the players of the game along with special recognition to the whole offensive line. They really did a good job.

“Anyway, we’re really disappointed talking about losing Trey Millard for the year. He’s such a strong and important part of team as a person, a leader and a player. It’s going to be hard because also all of the things he does. He’s so versatile. It will be challenging working around all of the things he did.

“I also want to compliment our crowd for the game. With the hour-and-a-half rain delay and poor weather they could have easily cashed it in and not come back or participated in the game. I thought our fans and the atmosphere here was fantastic. They really made a difference to our team and our players just to feel that energy and excitement from the crowd. It really was a big part of the game in areas where we were able to steal back the momentum. They fans had a great hand in that, so we really want to thank them for their participation.

“Now we’ll get into Baylor. We’re going to practice Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday. Players will be in class on Thursday and Friday but not on the practice field. Our coaches will do some recruiting on Thursday and Friday. Saturday afternoon we will have our practice as we would on a game week Monday. So we’ll get three extra days out on the practice field. At this point in the year I think it’s positive. Hopefully our players can get their legs up under them and get a chance to recover going into this week. I realize Baylor is a top five team in the country with the way they’re playing. They’re scoring all kinds of points and they have speed everywhere. Offensively is where most of the talk is, but defensively they are a top part of the league in almost every category. They’ve done an excellent job, so it will be a big challenge. Fortunately I think it’s a positive that we get a few extra days for them.”

On RB Roy Finch’s play vs. Texas Tech:
“He was making great cuts and the timing was working really well. Roy had some really good plays in there, and again, the guys in front of him were giving him some nice space too.”

On FB Trey Millard’s role on the team:
“When you watch all those runs you talk all about Roy (Finch) or Damien (Williams), but look who is in front of them all the time knocking people down and clearing someone out of the way. No. 33, Trey Millard, is one of those guys out there in front clearing the path. He consistently is recognized as having a winning game with knock downs, blocks, and catching and running the ball. He does so many things and plays so many positions.”

On how many guys it will take to replace FB Trey Millard:
“It will take quite a few. He’s been our best special teams’ guys for three years.”

On using TE Brannon Green more:
“Brannon is going to have to have more of a role now, but he’s been doing really well. He’s a guy that works hard and has really come along. He has good hands. He’ll be one of the guys that will have to get more opportunities in there. I’m proud of the way we took the ball over and didn’t give it back for seven minutes. I was really excited to see us do that again in the game.”

On comparing FB Trey Millard to previous Oklahoma fullbacks in terms of versatility:
“To be honest with you none of those guys are like Trey (Millard) in how talented he was. You could hand him the ball in the backfield and feel good about it. He had great hands and was elusive out on the perimeter. So we’re always looking for those types of guys to do those kinds of things whether it’s to block or protect edges, slip out on play action passes. They’re hard to find. We’re always searching for them.”

On LB Frank Shannon’s injury:
“I believe Frank (Shannon) is going to be okay. They initially thought when they took him to the hospital that it was a spleen injury. That checked out okay, so the last I heard it was just a deep tissue bruise and he should be okay here today or tomorrow if nothing has changed.”

On WR Jaz Reynolds’ status:
“Jaz should be ready to practice here this week. He had an accident practicing last week which sat him out.”

On preparing for Baylor:
“They’re great, but we have our work to do. I’ve been looking and what they’re doing against like opponents, so it will be challenging.”

On if this Baylor teams is similar to the 2011 Baylor team:
“Very similar. Their quarterback is very efficient with what they want him to do. They spread you out to run it and then they find space to throw it. They do a nice job, and (Bryce) Petty is doing it as well as anyone they’ve had.”

If the reason he brought back Mike Stoops was for games like this:
“No. You’re making a story. I brought Mike (Stoops) back to coach all of the games last year and all of the games this year and all the games next year, so not for any one game. We’re all excited, as we were last week. We played another top 10 team a week ago. We were excited. We’re excited about this one and we’ll be excited about Iowa State and everyone else coming up. We do our work the same every week.”

On if Baylor’s offense is a matter of defenses not knowing what to do, or defenses knowing what to do but still not being able to stop them:
“I’d say the second. It’s hard to stop them; there’s so much speed in the way they space you out. A lot of times it isn’t real complicated, it’s being able to match up and run with them and cover them and eliminate so many big plays.”

On Baylor’s spread offense and RB Lache Seastrunk:
“Yeah, that’s a big part of it. They space you out so far and then they have such a great running back when he gets the ball with any kind of space. He’s strong to run through you, he’s fast to run by you or around you, so that’s a big part of the challenge, being able to be in position to tackle him and to have your feet and hips in position to tackle him.”

On why special teams has not been playing as well the past couple of games:
“Yeah, just some of our alertness I think as much as anything. An onside kick – we have to deflect guys. We kick it to them and we show them it and talk about it and get in the game and they’re not ready to react to it so we’ve just got to keep doing a better job teaching it and they’ve got to do a better job reacting to the surprise plays that we’ve had as much as anything.”

On if they will keep WR Trey Franks on offense:
“You know, we are. We just feel that Trey (Franks) wasn’t in a position to do as much defensively now, and some of those young players have come along that we feel there is more opportunity for him to contribute out there at the receiver position so hopefully we’ll be able to get him more and more work.”

On if he would put three out of the final four games on the road:
“Oh I mean, hey, you’re going to have to go on the road at some point. That’s just how it played out.”

On if there is anything he hasn’t seen WR Lacoltan Bester do:
“I guess not. Special teams touchdown, maybe.”

On WR Lacoltan Bester potentially throwing it to QB Blake Bell on his TD run vs. Texas Tech:
“He said he had the confidence he could put it there but he was worried about having to lead Blake (Bell) too far that it’d turn him into a receiver. I was talking to him Sunday and he said, ‘Oh coach, I would have made the throw, I was worried about Blake (Bell).’”

On his thoughts when Lacoltan Bester pulled the ball down to run it instead of throw it:
“He did it right, in that if there’s any question it’s always a good play to pull it down and take off and get what you can and he sure did that. He did a great job cutting back and I thought the entire team hustling down field really did a great job blocking for him.”

On if it took Lacoltan Bester a while to catch up last year, being a late transfer:
“It did a little bit. The light kind of came on for Lacoltan (Bester) late spring last year and that’s when you knew you’d start to see that, hey, he’s going to have a chance to make and impact. And he had a great summer. How I could tell is when we got to two-a-days he was in a lot better shape than he had been.”

On the offensive line:
“They’re doing a great job up front. They have a great camaraderie - they really communicate well with each other. It all starts with Gabe (Ikard), the leader out there and recognizing things - getting it communicated. So it’s very pleasing to see and it gives you a lot of confidence when you’re in those games and it’s late like that and you’re able to run it and keep moving chains and burning time outs and still get points. The first drive in the third quarter we had one pass the whole drive, we go right down running the football. So hopefully we can keep doing that.”

On how much the 76-yard touchdown helped offensively:
“It always helps – those big chunks. And even if they’re not touchdowns, you get those 30, 40-yard chunks that usually lead to at least a field goal and get you into scoring position; they change the field position - all of that. So getting a big strike like that always ignites you.”

On if they ever do comparative studies on player’s injuries:
“No. Elaborate studies? No. Our trainers and doctors evaluate all of our injuries; they’re always unusual in how they happen. Jordan (Phillips) has a back that’s genetic – I don’t know what kind of study would do anything there. Interior cruciate ligaments are torn every week on every team, including even Adrian Peterson who probably trains better than anybody in the world. So, they happen. It’s part of this game. I’m sure the NFL is as meticulous and detailed and trained as anyone can be and they seem to have a whole bunch of them – can’t keep the quarterback in the game. So it’s just part of playing football.”

On if DB Gabe Lynn has found a “home” on defense and that’s why he’s playing so well:
“Yes. He’s playing great, great football and the free safety position is best for him. He had a really good year a year ago and he’s again, having a great year again this year for us. Had a ton of tackles – I think led the team in tackles the other day along with another interception. And as I’ve been saying, is really a strong leader out there – getting people on the same page and getting things communicated.”

On if he reminds the offensive line of the success against great defensive lines:
“Well, I don’t feel the need to. They have confidence and know that they are capable of playing well.”

On if he can talk about how much change people can expect to see without FB Trey Millard:
“Well, I can’t just yet. It will be just offensive coaches sitting down and deciding personnel wise, how much, if any, we want to change. It’s not like you go draft somebody – we have the guys we have. There’s no sense in me talking about which personnel groupings we would rather go to, so that’ll be something we’ll have to be looking at here this week.”

Oklahoma Football
Head Coach Bob Stoops – Big 12 Conference Call
Oct. 28, 2013

On the impact of Trey Millard’s injury:
“We’ll miss him everywhere. He’s been our best special teams’ guy for three years. He gives us so many different dimensions on offense with being able to move him around and play him in so many different spots; being able to throw it to him, run with him so you lose a lot with that guy. On top of it, he’s just been a great, great leader and a guy the players have always looked to for that leadership and that toughness. It’s just hard to overcome it.”

On if it will take multiple guys to fill Millard’s role:
“Yeah, probably. He just does so many things, he’s not easy to replace.”

On if he likes the timing of the bye week:
“I do. I think it allows our guys, hopefully before this stretch run, to get their legs under them a little more and then a little more time preparing for Baylor.”

On Baylor’s offense:
“The speed, the way they spread you out from, literally, sideline to sideline. They have excellent personnel and they mix their run and pass with talented guys.”

On the emotional impact of Trey Millard’s injury:
“It’s devastating. The kid is broken hearted. He loves being on the field playing. It’s just really,  really difficult.”

On what impresses him about Baylor QB Bryce Petty:
“Everything really. Great arm, great poise, throws a great ball. You can tell he has a great understanding of their offense and where he wants to go with everything so he does a great job.”

On players being targeted by fans on social media after games:
“I don’t know about any of that. We don’t have any particular policy other than players aren’t allowed to tweet about or put anything out there publicly about the team, what we’re doing, our meetings and that kind of thing and if they do then maybe I tell that one individual they can’t have that social media for whatever. We don’t have a policy.”

On players being targeted directly after a game:
“There are small people in this world everywhere. They are going to do what they do and hopefully the players are smart enough not read it, not to look at it or to ignore it. There are going to be little people that don’t compete and aren’t in the arena and have something to say about it. That’s always been the case; they just have different ways to do it now.”

On the offensive performance on Saturday:
“We were more consistent with our drop back passing game was the difference. We have been really good through the year running the football and the other day we were better in our third down, in our drop back game, executing our receivers, quarterback, our protection all of it together and we were a little better in some of our play action. Picking up some plays with our play action off of our running game.”



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