Sooners Prepare for Big 12 Opener

Athletics Communications
By Athletics Communications
University of Oklahoma
SEPTEMBER 25, 2007
 September 25 Press Conference
 Video  Coach Stoops Weekly Press Conference
Junior Defensive End Alan Davis (Colleyville, Texas)
 Video  Junior Free Safety Nic Harris (Alexandria, La.)
 Video  Junior Center Jon Cooper (Fort Collins, Colo.)
 Video  R-Freshman RB DeMarco Murray (Las Vegas, Nev.)
 Sooner Gameday Central: Oklahoma at Colorado
 Access everything you need to know surrounding Saturday's game at Folsom Field...

NORMAN, Okla. -- Head Coach Bob Stoops previewed Oklahoma's Big 12 opener at Colorado during his weekly press conference Tuesday in the Kerr-McGee Stadium Club. The Sooners face the Buffaloes at Folsom Field Saturday at 11:30 a.m. (MT). The game will be televised live on FSN.
View video of interviews with juniors Alan Davis, Nic Harris and Jon Cooper, along with redshirt freshman DeMarco Murray by clicking on the links above.
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Opening Comments:
"After going over last week’s game, just really pleased overall with the way this team is playing.  Offensively, we showed the balance we want with strong running and throwing the football.   Some guys that were players of the game for us were Allen Patrick, Juaquin Iglesias and Brandon Walker.  Brody Eldridge also, he had an excellent day. 

"Defensively, I thought early on we made some mistakes when we gave up some plays.  To Tulsa’s credit, their quarterback, Paul Smith, did a great job scrambling around and creating some plays and took advantage of times we were not in the positions we needed to be in.  In the end, we settled down in the second half and saw things better, had better reads.  Some of the factors (where the defense broke down) are simple, and our guys saw that.  In the second half we played pretty well.

"Defensively, the players of the game for us were Curtis Lofton, who had an outstanding game, and Auston English who really played well.

"Special teams-wise, I thought on coverages we were outstanding.  Mike Cohen hit the ball over 42 or 43 yards, and had no yards returning.  The same goes for our kick coverage.  When you kick the ball 10 times, then that is a lot of covering.  I think they averaged around 19 yards per return, which is really good.  We had some big returns, outside of the one dropped ball.  Other than that, we had some great returns, and DeMarco Murray taking one back late was really good to see."

On Colorado:
"Coach Dan Hawkins and his staff have a really good team.  They have played a lot harder schedule than a lot of people.  That is obvious when you are on the road at Arizona State and hosting Florida State.  There are not a lot of teams willing to do that.  I think they are a very tough team, and last year I thought they were one of the better defenses in our league and in the country.  This team does a really good job of being a tough, physical team defensively.

"Offensively, their quarterback situation with Cody Hawkins is different from a year ago.  He is much more of a threat throwing the football and they are doing that more and more.  They have good running backs and they have a lot of motion.  They are a very disciplined offense.  Defensively, we have to handle all of their motion and be in the proper positions.  We have had a lot of training for it leading into this game. 

"They are a very solid football team.  Going on the road, you have to have the focus and the toughness and the mental toughness to go on the road.  That is what we are going to work towards this week."

On the depth at defensive end with the season-ending injury to John Williams:
"With John, that is one of the poor things about the game and he was really playing well.  He covered a wheel-route up the boundary as good as a defensive back could have.  He didn’t even interfere with him when the ball was in the air. I thought it was a great play to stay on his feet.  It is really unfortunate for John.  Some of our other guys are going to have to step up and play.  We have other guys who are used to playing like Alonzo Dotson and Auston English, who is playing great.  Alan Davis, Jeremy Beal have to step up and take over in those spots, and they are more than capable."

On if he notices an increase in points scored from offenses across the country:
"I see it happening, scoring is up everywhere in all leagues.  I think people are spreading teams out and using their talents better maybe.  Maybe they are snapping the ball quicker, throwing the football more and using less time.  If you are completing it, then the clock stops for first downs.  There might be more snaps and bigger plays from throwing the football a little bit more."

On the successful play of OU’s wide receivers:
"They are coming into their own, and you would expect that being true juniors.  As true freshman and sophomores, I think they are still trying to figure things out, although they did make a lot of good plays for us.  They are now making more special plays now that we thought they could make when we were recruiting them.  They are really stepping up and making the big plays we want them to make.  I said earlier in the year that it needed to happen, and fortunately it is."

On if Sam Bradford is equally as talented in practice as he is during games:
"He is very solid in practice.  He is very smooth and throws a good ball, a catchable ball.  He is not trying to beat someone up with it.  He has good anticipation.  Sometimes he brings a receiver back across a defender and that ball is let go before even a receiver makes that move.  You see that kind of consistency in practice too." 

On the play of the defensive backs against Tulsa:
"I thought about 90 to 95% of it went really well.  There was another three or four plays where we broke down that show up.  I think we will be better for it, they will learn from it.  There are some discipline and technique issues there that they could get better at, and I think they will."

On Allen Patrick feeling 100 percent for the first time this season:
"Not only is he getting more of a feel for the game, he is getting his conditioning back, his legs back and getting back his game conditioning.  I am sure he felt that the other night, that he was catching his rhythm and seeing the holes and finding them.  Getting that live action will continue to help him."
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On his roll after John Williams injury:
"It is really unfortunate John got hurt.  But like we always say we are brothers.  I am going to have to come in and pick up the slack.  Like I said it is really unfortunate that he got hurt, but I am looking forward to the opportunity I am ready.  I am ready and prepared for everything."

On what he has seen of Colorado:
"I was actually just down in the film room watching Colorado and getting a feel for their tackles and what they do and how they set.  I feel that being prepared early is going to help me a lot in this game this weekend."

On the Colorado offense:
"Their offense is kind of like Miami’s.  They try to get you on the ground on cuts and everything.  That is one thing you always want to be prepared for.  You always want to play out the cuts."

On feeling comfortable at defensive end:
"I feel very comfortable at defensive end.  I played two roles in high school.  I was tight end and defensive end and I feel that I can adapt to either one well.  I feel like I can make a play at defensive end.  I think this is my best position because I have always felt that is what I was meant to play.  I came in as a defensive end and that is where I have trained at."

On the difference in preparation this week:
"It is a different week of preparation.  I know that I am going to have to live up to some standards that people might have for me and I have to live up to my own standards.  Knowing that John Williams went down I know that I am going to have to step up and play a much bigger role than I have been playing as backup.  I am going to have step up, more film study, coaches are going to be on me more, but that is alright, I am going to need that criticism.  John and I have had a couple conversations and he just told me that it is my time to step up and play."  

On starting Big 12 play:
"We are always excited to start Big 12 play. I always look forward to the Big 12 season because you know you are working towards that Big 12 Championship.  We are just going to take one game at a time.  We are excited for Colorado."

On Colorado:
"They are a good team with good backs.  They have a quarterback who scrambles well and a solid defense.  We will have to step up and play."

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On what the offensive line needs to improve:
"I would say the biggest needs for improvement is that we feel Sam (Bradford) is getting hit a little too much.  We have only given up a few sacks in four games, which we are proud of.  But if he gets hit once, we think that is too much."

On how an experienced O-line has helped QB Sam Bradford:
"He is very appreciative of us.  He will compliment in all of his interviews and he will come up to us and say ‘hey that was great protection; I wouldn’t have been able to get that pass without it.’  He is definitely appreciative of us."

On how Sam Bradford has matured:
"He definitely matures every game.  But I think everybody does.  You can tell he is getting used to it and the atmosphere.  He has been mature in the huddle since day one."

On the weapons of the offense:
"We have a bunch of weapons.  In the backfield, at tight end, at wide receiver, we have weapons all over the place.  It’s kind of like pick your poison.  We feel like as an offensive line we contribute to that by giving Sam (Bradford) time and giving him a hole for the running backs."

On going home to play this weekend:
"I am excited.  I haven’t played there since high school so I am ready for this game.  I have been waiting for it.  There will be a bunch of people with my tickets."

On how they keep focus on Colorado with Texas coming up:
"It’s not hard for us.  Colorado has a great defense and if we overlook that they are going to come and hit us in the mouth and give us all we want.  So we have to focus every bit of energy on them this week."

On junior offensive lineman Phil Loadholt:
"He has played great and stepped up. This is his first year and he’s gotten into the system and he’s got great feet. He is a big guy obviously and he uses his arms to his advantage. He has been pass protecting great and he comes off the ball real well."

On Colorado’s defense:
"They are real good up front and their front seven are great. They are flying around the ball and getting 11 guys to the ball every time. They really know how to make plays. They will get off blocks and avoid you just to a make a play. They are very good and they will be one of the top defenses we will play all year."

On playing at Colorado:
"I don’t know how different it is. Tulsa was a road game for us and we had a lot of fans there but Tulsa did a good job of making noise.  It might be a little louder this week but we will use the silent count it won’t be too bad."

On whether he considered going to Colorado to play football:
"I considered a lot of people and it will be kind of fun getting to play teams that you were recruited by and teams that you were considering. The coaches that I was recruited by aren’t there anymore."

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On the offense and working behind offensive lineman Phil Loadholt:
"We just need to keep working hard and don’t make mistakes and don’t get any penalties or fumbles.  Phil’s a big guy with a big heart.  He works hard throughout every practice and we all have a lot of confidence in him.  He’s just going to come out and block every play and he’s just a hard working guy.  With Coop (Senior offensive lineman Jon Cooper)and the fullbacks they have been doing really great and they’ve been putting up a good offense."

On media hype:
"We don’t read anything and we just don’t make a big deal out of anything.  Coach Stoops just tells us not to listen to the media.  We just have to keep our heads straight and focus on our goals as a team."

On playing away games:
"It’s going to be fun being at someone else’s house.  This is going to be my first time playing outside of the state of Oklahoma, so I just can’t wait to get going.  Last week at Tulsa was our first time for an away game.  It was a little loud at first but got used to it. During the week we would use silent count and we used it at the Tulsa game.  So it ended up working pretty well."

On Freshman quarterback Sam Bradford:
"Sam is just a confident guy.  He’s not too loose.  He speaks loud in the huddle and is very laid back and clear.  He never puts too much pressure on himself or the team.  He just gets himself out there and throws the ball really well."



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