2011 Football Media Day Quotes

Athletics Communications
By Athletics Communications
University of Oklahoma
AUGUST 06, 2011
Return to Preseason Central
  Head Coach Bob Stoops

Opening statement:
"It's hard to find anything new to say, we've had so many media days now but we've had a few days of practice now. Welcome, and (it's) another opportunity here to kick of the 2011 season. It was really fun the last few days seeing how much our guys have been able to retain just from last spring.
"The new guys are picking things well and working well. The change of schedule has really been positive. We went this morning at 6:45 a.m. and we were finished by 9 a.m.; got in my car to drive back and it was about 84 degrees. You know compared to what it is now, we have not had any heat issues whatsoever. I think it's been really good for the players. They are staying fresh and healthy. It's really been a positive. Tomorrow, we will get into our normal schedule now that school is over and our fan day is behind us. Our practices on one-a-days are in the morning. They are a little bit later we have meetings from 8:00 a.m. until 9:30 a.m., but we will be off the field by noon though. That's how we are going to proceed from here.
"The fan day today was really great. We probably took care of 10 times more children today, than we would have done the other way. That was really positive, and we had the children out of the heat and under the stadium that made a big difference for them. It came across in a real positive way.
"With the team we've had three good days. Today was the first day with shoulder pads on and the guys are performing well. We haven't had any injuries. Kenny (Stills) had a strained hamstring, but it isn't too bad and other than that we have been really fortunate to have everyone on the field and working. It's really gone well."

On how Kenny Stills and the other receivers are looking:
"He looks good. You know I really believe that with experience we will only get better. You know Kenny is no longer a freshman. Dejuan Miller is back healthy. Trey Franks has been back and made a couple of great plays the past couple of days, and Ryan Broyles is Ryan Broyles. We have some exceptional guys out there. Jazz Reynolds has also been progressing. I have been really impressed with him."

On defense:
"I expect us to be significantly better than we were a year ago - just with the added experience. I believe our added experience up front will help as well. Our defensive lines are better than they've been built to be. It's natural they are a year older and a year stronger than they were in the weight room. They have more experience on the field and they've had two good days already. The linebackers and secondary have talent there and there is more experience. I really believe that the defense will have fewer mistakes, and fewer mistakes usually means we are playing pretty well. You know our better defenses that we've had here are usually more experienced and smart and sharp about making mistakes."

On the middle linebackers:
"Those guys are doing a good job. You know Tom Wort is night and day compared to what he was a year ago. You saw him last year as a true freshman because he missed the year before. With his knee injury, he was not able to practice and with a knee injury I don't think you are really able to totally play back the way you did until maybe the second year. It has been exciting being able to watch him. Just today out at stretching I told him that I could tell just from watching tape that he is more comfortable. He's understanding where to be and what to do better. Just his confidence and his knee is better, so Tom has really changed. The other guys are doing well. Jaydan Bird looks great and we have been rotating a couple of guys in there. We could always bring Corey Nelson back in there if we need to."

On the players the are moving around on defense:
"We've been experimenting with Tony Jefferson. The past couple of days he has been out at the same nickle position. He is doing well with it, and we've been working him some at the free safety position. It's going well. He is looking pretty good. He and Daryl Williams are both playing well. We are just looking at it to see. We obviously believe in Tony's ability. It's the right thing to do, and how it goes we will see, but that is an important positive with plays up the middle. Tony has already proved himself as he did a year ago."

On the transition from Kevin Wilson to Josh Heupel:
"It's always been our philosophy to move coaches into positions we feel they are ready for and I've been pleased with the way the transition has gone. Our players really haven't missed a beat. The transition has really been seamless. I feel really good about it. It's never been one guy though. Kevin may have been out there calling plays, but Josh and the other guys were in there working on strategy. So, you really shouldn't notice a difference in style for the most part with Heupel.

On how Jamell Fleming will transition back in after missing the spring semester:

"He really looks great. He has the same speed he did before and he's lost a couple of pounds. He is in great shape, so we anticipate for him to do really well."
  Co-Offensive Coordinator Josh Heupel

On what to look for in terms of player improvement:
"I think every year, it's a new entity. It's a new process that you've got to invest in. You've got to continue to grow fundamentally and in technique. When you start two-a-days, you're starting from scratch. You're trying to build from where you're at. You're really trying to build up steam and momentum as you head into the year. So for us, scheme changes, different identifications, some of the tweaks we've made during the offseason, it's important for us to continue to build on those changes. I'm comfortable in what we are doing to find players we feel confident to put out there and operate as a cohesive unit to give us an opportunity to be successful and an explosive offense."

On players picking up and retaining instructions over the summer:
"We're building. We didn't implement everything day one, so the communication up front, identification, understanding who we are working to, getting lined up in the right formation and other responsibilities. There are a lot of things that we haven't done well the first couple of days, but in some respects, we're pleased with the growth some of those guys have had over the summer. Up front, I think we've continued to grow just in understanding who and what we want to be and understanding our scheme. Throughout the summer's progress, we're excited about it."

On Landry Jones' improvement over the summer:
"It's funny to me that people say that [Landry Jones cannot improve his game]. You look at guys playing in the NFL for 10 years and they still have to invest in fall camp and in training camp. How you invest, how you work, your mentality, your preparation every single day is going to really have a big implication on how you continue to play throughout the entire year. He's a guy that's really only in his second year as a starter. There are still a lot of things he wants to get better at. He makes mistake every single day. The thing that we like and are excited about Landry, since the time he got here, is that he continues to push and get better every single day. He has a great performance on a Saturday night and when he comes in on Monday, he's still trying to find a way to continue to get better. He's very focused on continuing to build fundamentally, in his reads, his progressions, taking better care of the football, maybe getting into a check down with the tailback in the flat in certain situations, and just having a better command of our offense. At that position, everything is understanding what you're doing and how the defense dictates where we are going with the football. So if he can get better at recognition defenses, we are going to continue to get better as well."

On younger quarterbacks:
"Coming out of spring ball, Blake Bell and Drew Allen, l am excited about how both of them finished on high notes. They continued to get better each and every Saturday. They progressed during spring ball. That's what you want out of your young players. When you end your spring ball with a guy who just finished his first spring, typically you think there's going to be a big growth going into fall camp. A lot of development takes place during the summer. They have to go to 7-on-7 and team sessions. They get a chance to sit back and watch film and learn from their mistakes. I think we've seen a lot of that growth in the first couple of practices with Blake. We're excited about the progress he's made. Drew has continued to really take command of our offense, understanding what he needs to do with the football, taking care of it, communication and playing in tempo as well."

On back-up players:
"There are a lot of spots that are open for competition. This time of year is about your young players finding out who can help you on the football field, which you can trust with the ball, which's going to handle their responsibilities, and who's going to allow you to play smart football on Saturday afternoon. We've got a couple weeks here where we are implementing our schemes throughout that time and you're looking for guys who can conceptually grasp what they need to do and play at a high level."

On comparisons with former offensive coordinator Kevin Wilson:
"Comparing the two, I can't do that, but whom and what we are as and offense isn't going to dramatically change. We want to play with multiple personnel groups, maintain some form of balance, being able to run the ball effectively and play action pass. We want to move the pocket. We want to play up tempo. Some of those things are similarities. But during the course of preparation, game planning during the week and what type of situations you want to put your players in on game days, there's going to be some differences in that. Ultimately, we have a great offensive staff. We've got a great chemistry and I'm really excited about the way we are working together and trying to build as an offensive unit."

  Defensive Coordinator Brent Venables

On moving players around on defense like Tony Jefferson and Corey Nelson:
"What we are looking for more than anything is to find players that in the last year have shown us the knack for showing up for football-making plays, you know they are instinctive guys. They are good football players,and I think we would be negligent not to find ways to get them on the field, find what they are comfortable with and what they can do and what they can't do, what they are really good at and what they are not so good at. I mean it's a whole step right now.

"Good defense is built up the middle. You know that free safety position has to be really good up the middle. That position has to be the most consistent position on our team. We have got to make sure that we've got a guy that is consistently making plays and a guy that is consistently on the football. Tony is still getting some reps at that position as well as Joseph Ibiloye and Sam Proctor. We really feel that the test of time at fall camp will show us the most consistent players."

On dealing with the absence of Austin Box:
"There's been talk of him [Austin Box]. We are reminded of him daily. He is all over the teaching tape that we have for our defense. There are clips of him from 2008, 2009 and last year, so you are constantly reminded of him that way. There hasn't been a quote-on-quote plan on how to handle this, but to be supportive and open to discussing and leaning on each other, helping each other cope.

"We are constantly reminded of him in a positive way. His birthday is coming up-August 10, it's not easy. What you have to manage is trying to deal with it without compartmentalizing it, because it is easy to do. He meant a lot to this team and he was close to a lot of guys. It wouldn't be right to just brush it aside, but we are trying to move forward and deal with it as best as we can. There are some ways that we are going to honor him this year and I think we are still working through that right now as an administration right now."

On Tony Jefferson:
"He is working at free safety and the nickle position. We have been fortunate enough to have a lot of players that have been very successful at moving positions. We are trying to get them into play-making positions. I wouldn't call Tony great at his position yet either. The position he was at last year he did do well as a true freshman but there was lot he needed to get better at.

"The only way you can experiment with that is having other players that can play that position pretty well as well, like Corey Nelson. We feel like that gives you the best opportunity. It's an easy position on this defense to learn. We haven't had Roy Williams at that position, but I think Tony is a special player and really has a knack for the position. That free safety position is incredibly important, because it's the last line of defense up the middle. It's a play-making position. Tony has proven himself to us. It shows the trust that we have in Tony and his ability."

On Corey Nelson:
"He has the ability to flip and play several different positions. It's the good players that you don't have to over coach. That's not to minimize responsibilities within the defense, but it's not real hard to play many different positions. He played four different positions in the spring and played them all pretty well. He has the ability to cope with that and do well."

  Junior QB Landry Jones

On possibly being considered for the Heisman:
"It would be a huge honor. That is the biggest award they can give out to a college football player. It's a huge honor and it's pretty cool that people would put me in that conversation. So I am excited to see how our year turns out."
  Senior LB Travis Lewis

On his overall performance:
"I feel good flying around. We look great at practice. It's a good sign because no one is complacent. Everybody is flying around and excited to be out there, so I am pretty satisfied so far."

On Tom Wort's performance:
"Tom Wort has really grown up a lot from spring until now. He is flying around and making a lot of plays. He is just doing a great job. He has really made a lot of improvement and I have the utmost confidence in his play right now.

"I think it all started with the summer workouts. He showed up from day one and had his best summer since he has been here. I think he is totally healthy, no issues, and he is excited and extremely motivated. I am happy to see that because he is just another guy who is going to make plays on this defense."

On OU's number one pre-season ranking:
"We still have to win every game. It really means nothing. I would be happy if we were ranked number one at the end of the season, then you could ask me. But, right now I am not worried about it. We have to go out there and win 12 games. I am not scared. People say you have a bigger 'X' on your chest or you're circled. We are always circled by every team, nothing changes. Of course everybody wants to beat number one, but I don't shy away from it. It doesn't matter to me (if we're) number one or not."




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