Aug. 3, 2007
NORMAN, Okla. - Quarterbacks Joey Halzle, Sam Bradford and Keith Nichol met with the media on Friday morning at a press conference during OU's annual media day. Below is a transcript:
Junior Quarterback Joey Halzle
On what he has been working on:
"We have all been working really hard, competing everyday this summer, working together and doing everything thing we can to make sure we are ready to go on Sept. 1. We work hard to get more athletic and working in the film room to get smarter. I have been working really hard on the mental game, understanding defenses and reading recognitions. That is the main thing I have been working on. And then of course like everybody I have been working at getting bigger, stronger, trying to gain weight and speed."
On the summer:
"We had a great summer this year. We went in every single day trying to do footwork and ball drills; just anything we could to get better. Everyone worked really hard and was really enthusiastic and ready to go. We know what kind of opportunity we have this year to make another run for a championship."
On what it will take to earn the starting spot:
"I couldn't exactly say what one specific thing could be. For me I am just trying to make sure that I know exactly what is going on and that I am ready to go and that I understand what the defense is trying to do before I even snap the ball so that I can get a good idea where I want to go quick and make a smart decision and get the ball out of my hands. Like everybody says, it takes leadership and courage on the field and just getting reps out there and getting yourself better every single day. As of now, none of us have really played at this level so we have to take every rep and make sure we are ready to go on Sept. 1."
On developing leadership in this situation:
"It's just what you have to do with your reps when you get in there. You can't waste a rep. Every rep you waste another guy gets. So every time you get in the huddle you're talking in way that the team is focused on you and you're ready to go and that your letting them know right now this is my group."
On the advantage of serving as the backup quarterback last year:
"Paul Thompson was an amazing leader on the field and off the field. That was one of his best aspects. So I learned a lot just sitting back and watching him. When things went bad he didn't let it sway him or make him timid, he just kept competing."
On what it would mean to be the starter:
"It would be great. This is what I have been working at my whole life. I have always wanted to get to this level and then when I got here play. So this would be one of my dreams come true."
On the pressure of the quarterback competition: "I don't want to feel too much pressure because it's part of the game, it's how we play, it's what we do. I try not to take it off the field. Once I get away from it, I'm done; I'm focused on something else. While I'm on the field I'm thinking about the defenses, my protection, where I am going with the ball. I don't think about whose watching or trying to throw the ball perfect. Once you do that you start getting tight and you're not making the throws you need to make."
On being a playmaker vs. not making a mistake:
"I think you can worry about throwing interceptions. If you do that's when you start getting tight and not playing your game. You just have to be smart and that is where film study comes in so you know tendencies."
On his relationship with fellow quarterbacks Sam Bradford and Keith Nichol:
"We spend almost every single day together, almost 10 hours a day. We are all good friends. Off the field we hang out. The competition stays on the field."
On Sam Bradford and Keith Nichol:
"Well everybody here is a good quarterback which obviously goes without saying. Everybody here can play the position and everybody is out here working really hard. They are both good players. They are athletic, good players."
On the advantage of being older:
"I don't know if it helps me, but I feel far more comfortable then I did last summer. Last summer I was nervous and everything felt as though it was going 100 mph and now things have definitely slowed down."
On the quarterback competition:
"It has been a great time. It's hard work but it's what I love to do, so I have had a great time doing it."
On the pros and cons of using two quarterbacks:
"Obviously everyone wants to be on the field. No one wants to be taken off, but if that's what is going to give us the best opportunity to win, then that's what we will do."
On the talent surrounding him:
"We have some of the best specialties in the country. All of our receivers and everybody knows about our talented running backs. And then the offensive line is just huge and you have all day in the pocket to throw. So as a quarterback when you step in it is really exciting because we just have amazing talent all around us."
Redshirt Freshman Quarterback Sam Bradford
On how he sees himself as a quarterback:
"I can see myself almost like Jason White. A drop-back passer who likes to stay in the pocket. If I need to I can make plays with my feet. I'm comfortable throwing on the run."
On summer practices:
"I think all of us have worked really hard. We have been in the film room a lot this winter and have learned a lot. Coach Heupel has done a great job with us and I think we are going to be ready when the season starts."
On the changes from high school:
"It is definitely a lot faster. I know last summer when I got here the pace was just unbelievable. It seemed like everything was just flying by me. But over the past year, having the chance to play against our defense, I feel like the pace has really slowed down and that I am really adjusting."
On the difference now of being able to focus on one sport:
"I think it has helped a lot. Until I got here I played many sports so I was just jumping from one sport to the other. I didn't really put a lot of focus into one sport, I just put a few months into it. Since I have been here I have seen a big difference. I have learned a lot about football. Before I got here it was more of a play on instinct, make plays, do what you do. Now it's more learning about defenses, coverages, learning the system. I think it has been big just focusing on football. But, my golf game is pretty non-existent now."
On the first time they will take full contact hits:
"Well when we were on scout team, they didn't light us up every time but they would rough us up a little bit. But I would say the first time that we will go full contact will be the first game."
On how often he is approached about the quarterback situation:
"It's constant , but not people I am real close to. My family and close friends understand that it is what I deal with all day and they don't ask about it so much. So people that I don't know well will bring it up, but for the most part my friends and family have been really good about leaving it be and not saying much."
On the talent surrounding him:
"It's unbelievable. Have you guys seen those guys? We have so many weapons. Coach says it everyday, take care of the ball and get it into the playmakers hands and let them make you look good. Having that is a great help. We have so many playmakers, sometimes I look out there and am in awe. I watch people do things and I'm like, `man how did you just do that.' That is definitely a great help."
On the offensive line:
"That is just another weapon we have. Those guys are all huge and they are moving good right now. It's going to be really exciting to see what they do and the holes they open up and the time they allow the quarterback to see the field. I think it is going to be amazing to have those guys back this year."
On Joey Halzle and Keith Nichol:
"Everyone here worked hard this summer. I think they are both great players and great guys. We spent a lot of time together this summer and developed a close friendship. I think they have all the skills, all the tools necessary to be a great quarterback."
On the competition of the quarterback spot:
"I really like the competition. I think it is good. I think it really pushes all of us. I think if someone was named the starting quarterback everyone might go into a lull. As of now, every day, every step you are pushing each other to get better, so I think it is really good."
On the pressure that is brought on:
"You really can't think of that. You just have to go out there and play every snap as you can play it and play to the best of your ability. If something goes wrong just let it go and play the next play."
On his age as a challenge:
"I really don't think so. All three of us are pretty close in age so I don't think it is a big deal."
On what it would mean to him to be the starting quarterback:
"It would mean a lot. Growing up here, my dad played here, coming to the games as a kid. It's been one of my dreams growing up and it would mean a lot to me to walk out there and play in front of 85,000."
On whether or not being an Oklahoma native helps:
"I know more of the history. I know what goes on. I know how big of a game OU/Texas is and I know how important to the state it is to win that game, but as far as going out there and making the plays I don't think it is much of a help."
On developing leadership:
"I think this summer was a great time. We were around each other a lot. Just being around the guys, talking to them every day, gaining confidence and gaining trust with each of those guys I think that's really helped with just getting familiar with them. I think that by the time the season gets here that won't be a problem."
Freshman Quarterback Keith Nichol
On learning the playbook over the summer:
"In spring practice everything seemed so fast and the playbook was new. Now, confidence is rising and everything seems a little slower. I can tell a big difference between the first spring practice and yesterday. I feel confident in all the plays, Coach Heupel has been a tremendous help in developing my progress and Coach Wilson has been there and Coach Stoops. I feel like the whole team is behind my back and the other two quarterbacks no matter who is in."
On his arm strength:
"Arm strength is just something I have had since I was a little kid. I can't really explain it. I have been trying to work on accuracy a lot more. I have also been working on footwork and all the other little things that aren't really there."
On whether or not he trusts himself:
"Obviously I have a lot of confidence in myself but I have a lot of confidence in my teammates, I have a lot of confidence in the coaches and I have a lot of confidence in Sam (Bradford) and Joey (Halzle). I am confident that whoever starts is going to be able to bring us to a Big 12 Championship and National Championship contention."
On if he is more comfortable staying in the pocket now:
"Yes. The running was just an instinct in the spring. In high school if you didn't see what you liked you just took off. It's a high school thing. But I've matured a little more, I've realized you have to sit in there, take your second pick or third pick, do these little things. That's just learning the playbook too. When you are confused you tend to just do what comes instinct. But now I feel much more comfortable with the playbook and my confidence is much higher. Now my feet will only be used to get yards when I can and take off when I have to."
On being in competition for the starting spot as a freshman:
"It's going well. The guys have really made me feel like a part of the family. I feel like I have been here two or three years just from that first semester. So I don't feel like a young guy. Everybody brings it up as a big thing. But in my mind I don't feel young, I feel very mature. But it also brings down to earth when I look at things and I am 18 years old."
On the differences at the college level:
"You can't explain the speed until you put yourself in there. Everything is just so much faster than it was. But that is again just confidence. Everybody is so much bigger and faster. But the coaches and the players have made me feel like this is where I belong and I feel very comfortable with everybody. And I am thankful for them making the transition easier."
On what it would mean to earn the starting spot:
"I think every little kid dreams of that moment. You watch college football at home on Saturdays. Just a year ago I was watching pre-season stuff and dreaming about what it would be like. To say I wasn't doing it now would be a lie and I think everybody on our team does. I am just excited to be out with the team, wearing this jersey and representing a great school and tradition. I am just excited about everything that is going on right now. I couldn't dream of a better opportunity."
On there being less pressure as a true freshman:
"Since we are so close it doesn't really feel like there is a lot of pressure. It is hard to explain, but it doesn't feel like a lot. And like I said I feel like I have been here for a couple of years for some reason. I feel like an old guy even though I'm not. I guess the best answer would be that the pressure is pretty evenly distributed."
On if he would be okay with a two-quarterback system:
"I would be okay with whatever gets a W at the end of the day. I trust that Coach Stoops, Coach Wilson and Coach Heupel are going to do what it takes to win and a National Championship and a Big 12 Championship so whatever it takes to win."
On if he would want to redshirt if he doesn't start:
"Like I said I trust the coaches and if they say I need to redshirt to develop a little more than that's fine and if they say hey were not going to red shirt you that is fine. Whatever they do I trust that it will be the right decision."
On the talent surrounding him:
"It is overwhelming. I don't know what another team is like, but you hear things and I know how great our receivers are and the offense line. I think this team has a lot of potential a lot of greatness ahead of them."
On his relationship with Sam Bradford and Joey Halzle:
"It's like a family. We do everything together. I feel like they are some of my best friends and really don't see much of the competitive side. I trust the other two. I really feel fortunate that although this is so competitive you are so close that it doesn't need to be said. You understand, but you are also doing what is best for the team not yourself."
On the strengths of the other two quarterbacks:
"They are great at sitting in the pocket, making decisions, and being consistent. They have been here, they have learned the system very well. I think everybody has some great strengths and I think whoever it is is going to bring this team to a level we are capable of which is a Big 12 Championship and I think we can get to the National Championship and win. We just have to all play within ourselves and live up to all of our potential."