Sooners Discuss Match-Up with Tech

Athletics Communications
By Athletics Communications
University of Oklahoma
NOVEMBER 13, 2007
 November 13th Press Conference
 Video  Coach Stoops Weekly Press Conference
 Video  Safety Nic Harris on Containing Texas Tech's Offense
 Video  Defensive Tackle Gerald McCoy on Pressuring the QB
 Video  Running Back Chris Brown on Playing at Texas Tech
 Sooner Gameday Central: Oklahoma at Texas Tech
 Comprehensive coverage of Saturday's match-up with the Red Raiders.
NORMAN, Okla. -- Head coach Bob Stoops previewed this week's game at Texas Tech during his weekly press conference in the Kerr-McGee Stadium Club. The No. 3 Sooners face Graham Harrell and Texas Tech's high-powered offense at 7 p.m. Saturday in Lubbock. ABC will broadcast the game nationally on Saturday Night Football.
View Coach Stoops' weekly press conference, along with interviews with junior safety Nic Harris, redshirt freshman defensive tackle Gerald McCoy and sophomore running back Chris Brown. Transcriptions of all interviews are available below, courtesy OU Athletics Media Relations.
  Head Coach Bob Stoops

Opening Comments:

“Last week against Baylor, some guys that played well were DeMarco Murray, who was just sensational in some of his big plays. His kickoff return was really exciting and he just continues to play well. Sam Bradford was exceptional. Some of the deep balls he is throwing are similar to what I was used to seeing with Jason White. He has such a knack for dropping the ball into tight coverage his yards per attempt are higher than most. Manual Johnson had another exceptional game, along with Malcolm Kelly.”

“Overall, Baylor’s big plays really made a difference in the game and made it a poor defensive performance because of those mistakes. They are the plays we have made throughout the year and are easily correctable and we have addressed them. We play a lot of football games where we haven’t done that and have been consistent for the most part. I feel we will be able to make those checks because we have done it before during the year.”

“I thought Garrett Hartley was again really strong. He hit all of his kickoffs really well. I was pleased our kickoff coverage was much better, both kickoff and punting return coverages improved. All of that was positive.”

On the game this week vs. Texas Tech:
“We are going down to Texas Tech, which is another big challenge. Offensively, like every year, they are very productive in moving and throwing the football. They are very consistent and very good. Their defensive structure is very sound. They play a 4-3 cover four. They make you really work the field to beat them. It is another big challenge going down there and another important game for us. Our guys had an excellent practice yesterday and know this is a big game and are working their way through the week getting ready for it.”

On if he would like to see DeMarco Murray as a punt returner and if his style matches anyone he has seen or coached in the past:
“I would like to see him return punts. He needs to just be more sure in catching the football. I would love to see him return punts, but he needs to catch it. There is a time or two in practice where he is still not totally comfortable doing that. I feel through another year of doing it through the spring and getting more comfortable, I hope that will be the case. Does he remind me of anyone? I guess through watching him in high school, preparing for Reggie Bush and watching him, I would look at him similar to that. He is similar in that Reggie caught the ball so well and ran routes. DeMarco could be an excellent receiver for us if we wanted him to be, he has great hands. I would say similar to that style because he can do so many things. He has got speed along with power, as well as the hands to go with it.”

On if Auston English will play this week after his injury suffered vs. Texas A&M:
“Yes, he practiced yesterday and took at least 50 percent of the snaps on defense and felt good. Yes, he’ll play.”

On it being important for Curtis Lofton to tackle well in space this weekend:
“It is huge; it is a big factor in the game. It is not only Curtis, but all of those underneath cover guys. They need to be in position to break things up or limit yards after a catch. It is a big factor. I look back at the Missouri game where he had a huge game, 16-18 tackles. Missouri is spread all over the place throwing the ball, as well. Those underneath guys are a big factor, not just Curtis, but all the underneath guys and secondary guys, together.”

On Texas Tech wide receiver Michael Crabtree:
“He is an excellent player, very explosive. They do a great job just going to him on screens, short passes, and long passes and of course he is the focal point of their offense. We have to be sure of where he is at. But like I said, they are a team like we are that wants to use all their players so if you get too concerned about him, someone else hurts you. So of course we have to be aware of where he is.

On the biggest factor in the Texas Tech game:
“It’s being able to tackle in space and being able to cover across the board because they’re not just throwing to one guy. Also we need to pressure the quarterback. I thought a big factor a week ago and every week is being great against the run game. If we allow them to sneak the run game in there and hurt us, it’s not what you want, so we’re focused there first.

On the importance of getting pressure from the defensive line:
“It’s critical. Last week we didn’t get as much pressure as we were used to getting. It’s important this week that we can get pressure and a blitz. I do believe having Auston (English) back will help that. He is a key part in getting pressure with us. It’s important.

On accomplishing goals this season:
“They’re all out there. That’s the challenge to our team is to continue to play well to accomplish those goals. I say it all the time. The more you win, the more important games become and so they’ve become very important here.”

  Junior Safety Nic Harris

On what went wrong against Baylor:

“We just got to the point where we started playing bad football. We just had to come out and recap what happened in the first half and do better in the second half. Basically we just played bad football in the first half. We came back the second half and we had to pretty much bite down and play a better half. It wasn’t necessarily communication problems, but we just weren’t connecting on all cylinders- that’s what it came down to. We just have to come out and play better football.”

On Texas Tech wide receiver Michael Crabtree and the Texas Tech offense:
“He’s a great receiver and having a great year. We just have to disrupt him and we can’t let him get into a groove. He’s a big, physical guy and he’ll make plays out in space and he’ll make you miss. What we have to do is if he gets his hand on the ball we have to stop him, gang tackle him and make sure to get pressure on the quarterback. You just have to get after him anytime you have a spread offense like this. They’re pretty much going to throw the ball all over the field. We have to make sure we have great communication. We understand what we have to do this week. We have to have great preparation, great film work and just make sure that we know what’s coming before they throw it at us.”

On playing in Lubbock:
“It’s extremely hectic to come out and have a team like that. They’re going to try and come out on all cylinders. We have to disrupt them from early on and get them out of their routine. They come out and put on extreme yards and put a lot of points on guys, and we just can’t allow them to do that. You really don’t know until you get yourself into that situation. So we’re going to go down there and have a great game.”

  R-Freshman DT Gerald McCoy

On playing defensive end:

“It was kind of fun. It was different. There is a lot more space out there, too much for me. It seems like you are out there alone. I like it better in the middle. It will be nice to have Auston (English) back and not just because I won’t have to play defensive end, but because we need him out there on the field.”

On Auston English:
“It was clear to see that he wasn’t out there Saturday and it is going to be great to have him back. His dominance on the field is apparent when he is out there. When he is out there, they know he is there and it allows our defense to be more versatile. He is so fast, but has the strength of an inside player. He is just talented.”

On the first half against Baylor:
“It shouldn’t have been that way. We came out flat. That is probably the worst defensive game we have played and we have to improve on that if we want to get to where we want to be.”

On being fired up for Texas Tech:
“We are fired up. We have to be. We have to play better on the road. That is one of the goals we have, we said it at the beginning of the year, to play good on the road, and thus far we haven’t done that, so we are real fired up. We know what our goal is.”

On the expectations against Texas Tech’s offense:
“Basically we have to get to the quarterback. He (Junior Graham Harrell) is passing for 445 yards a game or so and Coach Venables told us there is no reason we can’t keep him from doing that. Just because he is has done it every game, doesn’t mean we can’t stop him. So it’s about getting to the passer. We aren’t intimidated. We are just going to go out there and play Sooner football.”

On whether the game has now slowed down to him:
“Oh yes. It is just playing another game now. At the beginning of the season it was different. But now I have adjusted to the speed and everything.”

On whether he has been as dominant as he thought he would be:
“Every now and then. It will get better. It is my first season and I have done okay, but it will get better as time goes by.”

  Sophomore RB Chris Brown

On whether or not they should ever switch to a two-back system if one underachieves:

“I don’t think if any of us underachieves it should go to a two-back system. We have made it this far with the three-back system, so I think that we should continue what is successful.”

On playing this week at Texas Tech:
“As you know, this is an exciting game for us. It Is another opportunity for us to get close to the Big 12 championship. We are all excited about this week and all of the players are focused and getting ready to play.”

On the emphasis on clinching the Big 12 South with a win this week:
“We have a lot of emphasis on this game. It is an opportunity to clinch the South, and everyone is focusing in, not taking anything lightly, and getting ready to go out to Lubbock.”

On getting an opportunity to prove that the team can play well on the road:
“This is a game where we feel like we need to go out and prove that we are a good road team. We can play well on the road, and just because we have had two road games that weren’t very good, that doesn’t mean that we can’t play well on the road.”

On Texas Tech’s run defense:
“I don’t know a whole lot about their run defense right now, because we just started watching film on them. I’m sure they are going to come out and play hard, because that’s what they do every year against us.”

On the differences in style between running backs:
“It really is the differences between us that makes us good. DeMarco is kind of like the speed guy. When he gets on the outside it is almost impossible to catch up to him. Allen is a hard runner. I am a patient runner and kind of in between. Between the three of us it kind of mixes them up and that’s why it works so well.”

On Brody Eldridge:
“He means a lot as a blocker. Brody is a key component to this offense. He brings another dimension, and creates some things that other guys can’t. He is great at what he has to do.”



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