OU Quotes on North Texas Game

Athletics Communications
By Athletics Communications
University of Oklahoma
AUGUST 28, 2007
OU vs. North Texas Press Conference
Video  Head Coach Bob Stoops Press Conference
Video  Junior Wide Receiver Malcolm Kelly (Longview, Texas)
Video  Senior Cornerback Marcus Walker (Waco, Texas)
Video  Senior Running Back Jacob Gutierrez (San Antonio, Texas)
Video  Defensive Coordinator Brent Venables

Sooner Gameday Central

NORMAN, Okla. -- Head coach Bob Stoops and select players met with the media in the first weekly press conference of the season Tuesday.
Oklahoma hosts North Texas in the season opener on Saturday at Owen Field. Fox Sports Net has the telecast beginning at 6 p.m.
Please visit Sooner Gameday Central for complete broadcast options including TV, radio and internet in addition to useful information for fans attending the game in Norman.
Opening Comment:

"It is exciting to be here and starting the year. At this point in the year you are tired of running into yourself and we are excited to be playing in these games. We have an exciting game coming up this week with North Texas coming to town.

"I think when you look at Todd Dodge and his track record of success, it is really quite amazing. He has had 79 wins and only one loss in the last five years. I don't care where you are coaching, that is doing an excellent and great job. He and his assistants are obviously doing a fantastic job of communicating and relating to their players and getting them to understand what they want. North Texas is a program that has had success. They had four conference championships in a row at one point. I know they struggled a little bit last year, but they are still a program with a lot of pride and has played well.

"The focus for us is to always play as well as we can play. We have to play to our potential and be as good as we can be. I really feel good about this team and their overall work ethic and their attitude and the way they have competed all through summer since we have been back. It is really been outstanding, and one of the better groups we have had. Overall, this is one of the best conditioned groups we have had. We have been able to run and keep pace on the field at practice. It is time to go out there and play. The guys with experience need to pick up where they left off and improve, and the guys who are getting their opportunities need to make the most of them and play to the level we are used to. I am excited about this group and the direction we are going. I am really looking forward to this Saturday and starting the year off."

On some national media picking his team to win the national championship this year:
"It is early, you have to earn that. I feel really good about the team. If the players will improve that have had experience here and will play better with a year more maturity, then we should have a strong team. But we still have to go out and do it. I like the team, and I am excited about it. It is time to go out and start earning it."

On the importance of having balance on offense with the running and passing games:
"We feel our best teams have been pretty solid at doing both. I felt last year we were able to do both, and that is what we will aim for this year. Depending on what people are doing, we may emphasize one or the other. If one gets hot more than the other then you have to go with it a little more. For the most part, we want to be able to be strong in both."

On the strength of the kicking game:
"It has been very solid. Garrett Hartley kicked in the rain a 57 and 61 yarder back-to-back. He has been very good. With our punters, Mike Knall has come on and pushed Mike Cohen. That has a chance to change field hopefully for us and be a factor for us like it was a year ago."

On the potential of the secondary:
"They have the potential to be very good. We have got experience now, the past couple of years we have been fighting that issue. Last year they really came on and played well. Any time you can lead the league in both total defense and scoring defense then you are doing something right, particularly in the secondary because that is where points are held and given up. We expect those guys to play well. They have really performed well in our camp and have been making a lot of plays and are more sure of themselves with their adjustments. You can just see the experience when we practice. We expect to see it on the field, and hopefully they will do it."

On the running back rotation for Saturday:
"We will continue to work Allen Patrick. Each day he is a little better and has less soreness. It is all about him getting his strength back. Hopefully, it is our intention to work him through the week and get him prepared to play. Each day he has been better. We will see. We have already talked about the suspension for Chris (Brown). The other guys are set to play. The last time Jacob Gutierrez was out there, he rushed for over 170 yards. We have seen what DeMarco Murray can do against a pretty good defense out there. We are really excited to see him play. Mossis Madu has been awfully good as well. All those guys will play, and we will see how far along we can get Allen. It is our intention to work him to be prepared to play."

On if starting quarterback Sam Bradford's inexperience is a worry:
"I don't think so just because I have watched him year for a full year and have seen what he has been doing against our defense every day. I think he needs to take some comfort in that he sees a pretty good defense across from his all spring and summer. Those snaps have been good experiences for him. Ultimately, you do have to get out there and do it. I have all the confidence he will."

On what he expects out of North Texas' offense:
"They are a wide open, spread team. You get all of the zone and zone-read stuff. They have the quarterback run plays. I think as much as anything they are a team with a good running back that will spread you out and try to run it. Like all spread teams, they are going to spread you out and try to get their throws in. We are used to seeing this style of play. Everyone has their wrinkles and I am not going to say everyone is the same, but we are used to seeing them."

On how this team compares mentally to last year's:
"I feel there is more maturity and we have stronger expectations of ourselves. I feel we have a tighter bond and a greater value of team. Being out there every day, I just see it. I think there are more juniors and seniors that are out there saying how we need to be and how things are supposed to be. We have just been stronger overall in practice and paying attention and being a good, solid teammate."
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On the new optimism for the secondary:

"We are out there working hard every day at practice, but it does not count until Saturday. Everybody in the secondary has been playing for a while like D.J. Wolfe, Darien Williams and myself. A lot of our guys have experience and that's definitely a factor."

On reaching his own potential:
"I don't feel like I've reached my potential. I go to practice every day with the mindset of getting better and that I need to improve on things. That's the mindset that you have to have being a good football player. I'm never completely satisfied with the things I'm doing out there. I'm always trying to get better every day."

On being a captain:
"It's special just to know that all of the team member look up to me and respect me. I'll take that with me for the rest of my life. I'm not a very big vocal guy, I just like to lead by example. I will be a little more vocal, but with these guys you only have to be you. I don't have to change too much, and I was voted team captain for the way I am and that's my attitude."

On DJ Wolfe moving to safety:
"D.J. has been playing spectacular football ever since he came back to camp. He's been doing a lot of good things and making good plays with the ball. He's just a good football player."
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On the comfort level of the secondary:

"I am not worried at all. The secondary is strong. There are guys all the way across that can make plays."

On D.J. Wolfe adjusting from the move from cornerback to safety:
"He is a great athlete that has great talent. It has been a good adjustment. It gives him more mobility being back there instead of being on one person. I think it was a good move; I am not surprised at all at the good transition."

On Sam's (Bradford) demeanor since he was named starting QB:
"He is carrying himself a little different now. Now when he gets into the huddle he tries to be leader and take charge, rather than trying to find himself in the offense. He is an all-around good athlete; he is good at golf, basketball and football. He has talent and can do anything out there. Some think he can't run, but he has speed and can throw any kind of ball, even on the run. He throws a very catchable ball."

On the receivers:
"It's really just about confidence. Now that we all have some years under our belt we are more comfortable. The game slows down a lot when you get experience."

On the playing time being rotated:
"I don't think any player wants to come off the field. But there comes a time when you can't control it. I would much rather get 50 hits and be able to go hard on all 50 then get all 70 and be sluggish those last 20 or so."

On his excitement to be back from injury:
"I am ready. It was very hard to sit and watch. It will be good to get out and play instead of watching."
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On the special teams:

"I am excited about what the special teams can do. Obviously special teams are a big part of my role here. I am excited about the possibility of what an impact we can make on kick-off. Coach always stresses kick-off being an attitude and no matter what we are just going to be us. We have some great athletes and the possibility to do great things."

On his thoughts about being named special teams captain and his duties:
"It was something that was special because it is something that the team votes on. It means a lot when the guys you call family choose you. As for responsibility, I am the organizer; making sure guys are where they need to be and getting everybody ready. Special teams can be a huge part of the game so we want to be ready."

On the offense:
"I think we have the potential to be great. The talent is there. There are so many great athletes. But that is just half of the battle. We just have to keep working on the little things."

On Sam's (Bradford) demeanor since he was named starting QB:
"He hasn't changed much. Sam has been Sam since he was a freshman. He is a good kid, fun to be around, humble and a great athlete."

On the younger running backs:
"They are a very talented group. They have matured a lot in the past year too. They have caught on to the system and learned about the game. I have no concerns about the way they will play. They are extremely talented."

On being 100% recovered:
"I definitely think I am 100% recovered. I thought I was last season, but when I go back and look at games last season I definitely wasn't comfortable making some of the cuts I made. I feel a lot more comfortable now and I feel like I can make those cuts with no problem."



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