NORMAN, Okla. -- Head coach Bob Stoops previewed Saturday's season opener against Chattanooga during his weekly press conference on Tuesday. The No. 4 Sooners host the Mocs at Owen Field at 6 p.m. FOX Sports will provide the pay-per-view telecast.
Quarterback Sam Bradford, receiver Quentin Chaney, defensive tackle Cory Bennett and linebacker Keenan Clayton also met with the media. Transcriptions of Coach Stoops' weekly press conference and player interviews are available below, courtesy OU Athletics Media Relations.
|Head Coach Bob Stoops|
"It's good to be back here again and I am really excited to start the season here in Oklahoma and around the nation on Thursday. Like everyone this time of year, after a long pre-season, our players are anxious to start the season. They just get tired of going up against each other every day and now we finally get to face another team here at home this weekend. Hopefully we can start the season in a positive, sharp way. Eliminate penalties and turnovers, and just play smart. I am excited to be starting at home this weekend and we are looking forward to starting the year."
On what the special teams will look like:
"Well, we lost a few guys, but Mike Knall is back punting the ball for us. Derek Shaw has had an Achilles injury, and we have had a couple of young guys, Ben Hampton and James Winchester, come in and snap the ball well. Jimmy Stevens has been kicking the ball well. He has been really good and consistent and solid and I have really been pleased with his play. Then there are others guys in Matt Moreland and Tress Way that have a little bit bigger legs than Jimmy, but Jimmy is really good from 50 yards in. Carter Whitson is going to be replacing Hays McEachern holding for kicks, and he has been very solid through camp as well."
On the secondary:
"There is always competition, beginning with Sam Proctor at safety. If he keeps coming on like he has been, he has a chance to get up there with Lendy Holmes. Some other guys have been looking good and solid, but they way they play on Saturday will dictate a lot."
On the defensive line:
"We expect a lot from them. We expect them to be very physical and pressure the quarterback without having to blitz the whole time. We will definitely challenge those guys to play to the level we know they are capable of."
On Ryan Reynolds:
"He is healthy. He made it through all of our practices and I think for him and for everyone, the weekend off allowed them to come back ready to go for game week."
On the new rules:
"Some of the rules will be interesting to see how everything works. For example, when the ball goes out of bounds and the second the ball is spotted, they will start the clock; I think that will speed things up. I think more than anything though that you will see a more consistent pace of play. I think the ball will be spotted quicker too, which will allow the offense to dictate when they want to snap the ball. It's going to be a little different, but I think you will just see a more consistent pace of play more than anything."
On this weekend's game against UTC:
"Offensively, they are a team that tries to get you off balance with both the run and the pass. They run a lot of two-back, two-tight end sets where they run the ball, but then they also have play action off of that to throw the defense off guard a bit. Defensively, they changed from a 3-4 to a 4-3 defense with a lot of four deep and three deep zone blitzes. We have watched tape on both them and their new coordinator."
|Quarterback Sam Bradford|
On throwing ability:
"That is one thing that I did work on in the off-season. Coach Heupel came up with a couple of drills to emphasize that and we spent some extra time with some wide receivers during spring ball working on that. I think that my arm seems a little bit stronger, so I feel that I am able to put a little bit more air on the ball and still get it there."
On leadership skills:
"It really is a great honor to be voted by your teammates to be a captain and it is something that just adds to the experience and it is something that I really didn't think was going to happen this year. I tried to be more vocal and I tried to step up and it's something that I wanted to be, but I still felt it was something that I had a ways to go. I guess they saw it in me and they feel comfortable with me as a captain. It is a big honor."
On the versatility of receivers:
"Our wide receiver core is very versatile, they can play almost anywhere we want them to play, and I think that is really going to be a benefit to us. Teams that scout us are going to have a hard time because we can put our guys in different formations and in different areas that it will be hard to key in on one guy and where he is located. I think it will just add to our offense, the versatility and the ability we have to create new plays each week."
On game week preparation:
"Obviously, I feel more comfortable with the offense with the things we are doing, but another thing is I feel more prepared. I know what to expect from game week, I have been there. I know what it takes to get prepared and know what it takes to get our team prepared. I think that is one of the things that will really help our team this year."
On game day emotions compared to last year:
"I think anyone going on the field for the first time will be anxious to get on the field and a little bit nervous, but that is normal. I have been there before and I try to treat it as any normal football game that I have played in and go out and have fun."
|Wide Receiver Quentin Chaney|
On being named a starter:
“I’ve just been patiently waiting my time, and now the time is here so I’m going to make sure that I step into that position and keep that starting drive. To me, starting is a good accomplishment, but as long as I’m able to finish the game and be on the field in the fourth quarter, I’ll be feeling good about that.
“I look forward to taking it one play at a time and not getting too far ahead of myself. I’ll just look at each play and if that play goes wrong, I won’t worry about it and just get to the next play. I need to make sure that I play consistent each down of each game.”
On the wide receivers this season:
“A lot of people have their doubts because we lost Malcolm [Kelly] last year. The thing about OU is that you always have many receivers. You always have a slot that’s going to step up, you have two outside receivers and there are always back up receivers that can always play possibly better than the person that was there the year before.
“[Coach Norvell] keeps the receivers fresh. They help us gas the defensive backs. Once we get a deep route we get some fresh legs in there and keep the rotation going.”
On his own improvements since the spring:
“Catching the balls consistently and being able to make plays down the field. Those are the things that I’ve really worked on and also blocking. I really plan on having those things that will set me aside from other receivers this year.”
On his confidence level since the Fiesta Bowl:
“The game at the Fiesta Bowl gave me a lot of confidence, but at the same time, I knew that just because I had a great game, we didn’t have a great game as a team. My confidence level was there, but as far as the team confidence, I didn’t have it then. But I really have it now.”
|Defensive Tackle Cory Bennett|
On the team being fueled by last year’s Fiesta Bowl:
“After the last game we got a bad taste in our mouth. The last couple of BCS games we’ve played in we’ve gotten a bad taste in our mouths. We just want to finish strong, especially with this being my senior year. I want to leave with a feeling of satisfaction. All of us do. We don’t want to go into the summer knowing that on the last game we didn’t get the job done.
"It’s one thing like you’re feeling like you’re ready to give up, you just think back to the last game. It’s something that just burns inside of you. You want to go out there and prove everybody wrong, because for the most part, we’re labeled as people who can’t finish. That’s what we say about ourselves, so we’re ready to prove ourselves wrong.”
On Gerald McCoy’s status as team captain:
"Gerald is a great leader and he’s very mature for his age. He’s one person who you’re out there on the field with and you know he’s going to give it his all. You just want to be able to keep up with him. For the most part, he earned it. You already see what he does on the field and for the most part he earned every nomination he got.”
On this year’s defense making a statement:
“There’s always room for improvement. So far we’re trying not to listen to anything that’s said about us because that’s when you get complacent and you say ‘we were robbed’ and we know we’re far from where we want to be. So for the most part we just go out there and practice and do what we have to do to become not just a good defensive line, but try and become a great defensive line.
"We’re just going to go out there and do what we need to do and establish the tempo that we need to set for the rest of the season. [Chattanooga] is a good team and we’re not taking anything away from them, but we have something to prove and we’re going to start it this weekend."
|Linebacker Keenan Clayton|
On mental aspect of changing positions:
"I have started to think like a linebacker in some aspects. But when you are covering a player you have to think like a safety and then whenever I have to play in the box and go against linemen I have to think like a linebacker. So, it is ok to have both mindsets."
On being comfortable at the new position:
"I am a lot more comfortable then I was when I started last season and at the end of camp. I have come a long way and Coach Venables has worked with me and has got me to the point where I understand what is going on. So I am real comfortable with it."
On the defensive line:
"I like playing behind them. They have a great two-deep rotation and if they do their job, they will draw a lot of double teams and it will free the linebackers and the safeties up to make a lot of plays in the back field. You can't ask for anything better than that.
"They will make our jobs a lot easier and hopefully we can make their jobs easier by making plays. Other teams can't just have their offensive line block the defensive line, they have to worry about the linebackers too."
On Oklahoma linebacker Mike Balogun:
"I have seen a lot from Mike. There have been a couple bad days for Mike were he could have just given up on himself, but he showed a lot of maturity to keep fighting, to keep playing and to keep trying. For what Mike understands and what he knows, this being his first semester on campus, he has come a long way. Just watching him in practice and in the scrimmages, he is a guy that is going to run to the ball every play. I don't have a problem playing with a guy that does that every play."