Sooners Look to Rebound vs. OSU

Athletics Communications
By Athletics Communications
University of Oklahoma
NOVEMBER 20, 2007
 November 20th Press Conference
 Video  Coach Stoops Weekly Press Conference
 Video  Sophomore Running Back Chris Brown
 Video  Junior Offensive Tackle Phil Loadholt
 Video  Offensive Coordinator Kevin Wilson
 Sooner Gameday Central: Oklahoma vs. OSU
 Complete coverage of Saturday's Bedlam game against the Cowboys.
NORMAN, Okla. -- Head coach Bob Stoops previewed this weekend's matchup with in-state rival Oklahoma State during his weekly press conference Tuesday. The No. 10 Sooners have the opportunity to clinch a berth in the Big 12 Championship game with a win over the Cowboys. FSN will televise the game, which is scheduled to kick off at 2:30 p.m. at Owen Field.
View Coach Stoops' weekly press conference, along with interviews with running back Chris Brown, offensive tackle Phil Loadholt and offensive coordinator Kevin Wilson. Transcriptions of all interviews are available below, courtesy OU Athletics Media Relations.
  Head Coach Bob Stoops

Opening Comments:

“In last week’s game, Texas Tech played a good football game and beat us in many ways. I thought overall offensively, a big factor in the game was the first play when we had momentum and had a seven-point lead. We fumbled the snap and lost our quarterback for the rest of the game. To me, it is basic, fundamental football. We didn’t do a very good job. Later on, we had some personal fouls and some other issues that took us out of some drives. I felt we played with a lack of discipline.

“Defensively, we started off pretty strong and got an interception for a touchdown. We had a couple of three and outs. Even after the fumble, we forced them to a field goal. We were playing well, then we had a stretch where three straight drives we broke down in some areas.

“With the offense, we were not able to move the football and rest the defense for a while and change field position. We broke down from the middle of the first quarter until the middle of the second quarter. There was a period in the second quarter where we weren’t doing anything offensively. To beat them (Texas Tech) you have to move the ball as well as make plays defensively like we did early in the game. There was that stretch of time where they really took advantage of it. By the time they settled down and regrouped, it was too big of a hole to get out of. Again, compliments to Tech because they are an explosive team and played well. I felt we could have done things differently.

“That leads us into the game this week against Oklahoma State. They are a very good team. like I told our team, they are 6-5 but they are a better football team than that. Offensively, everyone recognizes all of the different weapons they have and how explosive they are. They do a really good job at all of their skill positions. I realize they have struggled defensively a little bit, but they have also stepped up and played well when they have had to at times. They are still very capable.

“We need to be a stronger and more disciplined team to be able to take care of the ball and execute in some areas where we broke down in last week. I am confident that there is a large body of work through 11 games where we have played really well. I have confidence in our players to be able to perform like we have most of the year and correct some of the mistakes that we have had and overcome the injuries.”

On the status of injured players:
“The guys that are out of the game this week are Adron Tennell, DeMarco Murray and Alan Davis. Sam Bradford, we will have to continue to see. I am not going to detail it from hour to hour. It is going to be one of those factors as he goes through the week and if he has any reoccurring symptoms and if he feels well. That is something the doctors will assess. We feel confident regardless who is in there. If we execute with players around that position and move the ball like we are capable, then we can overcome those injuries.”

“Auston (English) is going to do a little bit more. We will know more as he goes through the week and see if he can handle it.”

On if the team has their heads down by being out of the National Championship picture:
“To me, it was too far to think about anything else. We had a great week of practice last week. The defense came in and started lights out. I think we were all ready, but we got in there and didn’t execute like we are capable of. This week, there isn’t anyone hanging their heads. We had a very spirited and good practice yesterday. We have some huge goals out there for us that are major goals for this program. With an in-state rival coming to our place, an opportunity to win the South and play for a Big 12 Championship are major issues. There is a lot left for us out there.”

On if the offensive game plan changed when Joey Halzle entered the game against Texas Tech:
“You alter it a little bit, to some degree. The offensive coaches tried to focus on what were the best plays for Joey (Halzle) and what we were asking him to do. There is an adjustment in trying to tailor what was going to benefit him. We tried to pick and choose passing routes that fit him more. On top of that, I felt we needed to be able to run it better in that situation. We weren’t consistent running it.”

On Oklahoma State quarterback Zac Robinson:
“He is an excellent competitor. He is a dual-threat with good legs and the ability to run. He throws the ball well and makes good decisions for them. He does a really good job.”

On the offensive game plan this week versus Oklahoma State:
“We can’t go out there and just run the football, regardless of our situation. I always believe in balance, to some degree. I think you sometimes stick to what is working for you. We are not going to just strictly run the football, so we are going to try and do both and be efficient that way.”

On how they will defend Oklahoma State’s offense:
“For me, it begins with rushing because you have to be great at stopping the run. As you are doing that, they have a lot of play-action that you have to adapt to and play it and cover them and not give them big plays.”

  Sophomore RB Chris Brown

On the attitude change of the team after Sam Bradford went out:
“I could feel the change. Just watching the Oregon game, I saw a change in their attitude and I think the same thing happened to us until Joey got into a rhythm. I think after he started completing some intermediate passes his confidence built. He just needed to build confidence. I just tried to talk to him. Coaches wanted us to calm him down and get him in the rhythm. It is kind of hard to come into an environment like that and I think he handled it great.”

On getting over the chance to play for a National Championship:
“You just have to do it. Now we have to play to win the Big 12 south and go to the Big 12 and hopefully win that.”

On how the offense will change Saturday if Sam Bradford does not play:
“I really can’t say how it will change. He is a leader, and that is a big part missing. But somebody has to step up and I think Joey or Keith is ready to do it.”

On the difference between Sam Bradford and Joey Halzle in the huddle:
“A play call is just a play call. Joey can do some great things too. We just have to build his confidence this week, so if Sam is not ready to come back he is ready to go. He has some of the same attributes as Sam. He is a leader on the practice field and that carries over to the game.”

On Oklahoma State:
“They always play hard, especially against us. We have to move past the Tech loss and get ready for them. I think they play harder than anybody. It is a rivalry and they are going to play us very hard and we have to play them the same way. We have a lot of respect for those guys.”

On the running backs without DeMarco Murray:
“That is the key. With DeMarco (Murray) out, that is a big part missing and we just have to step up. We have to take a lot of stress of Joey (Halzle). We have to create field for him and we can’t put him in situations that they may try to overwhelm him. We all have to step up; Allen, Jacob, Mossis and me; we all have to.

On the frustrations of the Texas Tech loss:
“The one thing the whole team was most frustrated about was the silly penalties, the turnovers and the stuff that can be controlled. It was just bad football on our part and we just have to fix that and get ready for Saturday. We have to focus on a great team or it could happen to us again.”

On the difference in playing at home and on the road:
“Everybody talks about us playing on the road. But we can’t make any excuses for why we have been playing the way we have on the road. It’s all focus, it’s mental. Last year we won at Texas A&M, Oklahoma State and other places. This year it’s like it’s not clicking with us on the road. We just have to focus.”

  Junior OT Phil Loadholt

On rebounding after the disappointing loss:

“Just coming out excited and ready to play the greatest state rivalry game. We have to get hyped for a game like this. It’s another rivalry game, so it should be easy to bounce back on this one. We still have a lot to play for still. It’s a great opportunity to come out and do some things with the Big 12, so we still have a lot to play for.”

On getting the running game going with quarterback Joey Halzle instead of Sam Bradford:
“It’s going to be very important just like every game. You have to run the ball every single game you play, so it’s going to be really important.

“There’s not much difference at all. We have as much faith in Joey as we do with Sam. Joey works just as hard as Sam does every day at practice, so we’ve got faith in those guys. He came in ready to go.”

On Oklahoma State:
“They have a good defense. They have some guys flying around and guys on the other side (the defensive line) so we’re going to have to take care of business.”

On the Oklahoma running game:
“We have to execute better to give Coach the confidence to do some stuff. If we want to run more running plays we need to execute better.

On playing against OSU’s Peterson:
“It’s just going to be one of those games where I’m going to have to keep moving my feet and keep my hands on him.”

On the frustrations during the Texas Tech game:
“It was very frustrating. We didn’t play very smart football. We can’t have that, especially on the road, we can’t play that way. We have to play smart football to win games and we proved that.”

On the team’s attitude during practice:
“Right now, we are just motivated. We are just going out there every day and working to improve. We can’t wait to get out there and have the chance to get out there again.”

On the difference of a home crowd:
“It’s a major boost when the crowd is going for you, as opposed to against you. I think that’s obvious, but it’s great to play out here and we have great fans who love it just as much as we do. It’s definitely easier to get momentum that way. On the road you have a little section of the stands and at home everyone’s going for you. It’s definitely easier to gain momentum.”

  Offensive Coordinator Kevin Wilson

On the running game:
“It wasn’t as good as it has been all year. It was okay, we blocked okay but we haven’t totally demolished the line of scrimmage, which is tough to do. I think we’ve thrown the ball well enough. It would be nice to be more efficient in our run game. It would be nice to have 250 or 300 yards a game rushing but that’s not our motive. The disappointing thing to us is that these guys a year ago are basically the same offensive unit. A year ago they were good enough to win at some tough places, to go to Stillwater, to go to College Station, to go Missouri. Those guys were tough enough and played smart enough to get it done. Right now we haven’t been tough enough and smart enough on the road to be an efficient offense.”

On Halzle:
“All of a sudden he’s in on the road, down 20 points 27-7. The way we played on the road, he probably handled it as well and played as well as anybody has in the previous games as we talked about all of our trials and tribulations. “

On the offensive leadership:
“Like I said in the preseason, this offense is a senior non-dominated group. It’s a bunch of juniors and bunch of good players but guys step it up. Sam’s probably been the best because he’s the guy making plays, and he’s a freshman. So if we’re missing anything it’s coming out with a greater sense of urgency. As many experiences as those guys have, as much as they’ve played, some of these guys have played three years, you’d like to think that they would take some ownership a little bit too and be a little bit tougher and a little bit more complete on the road. That’s what the great teams do and that’s something we need to get down the stretch of the rest of the season and for next year.”




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