OU Quotes on Utah State Game

Athletics Communications
By Athletics Communications
University of Oklahoma
SEPTEMBER 11, 2007
September 11 | Press Conference
Video  Senior Kicker Garrett Hartley (Southlake, Texas)
Video  Senior Defensive End John Williams (Houston, Texas)
Video  Junior Free Safety Lendy Holmes (Dallas, Texas)
Video  Sophomore Tight End Brody Eldridge (La Cygne, Kan.)
Video  Offensive Coordinator Kevin Wilson
2007 Sooner Gameday Central
Access everything you need to know surrounding this week's OU-Utah State game...

NORMAN, Okla. -- Head coach Bob Stoops and select players met with the media at the weekly football press conference in the Kerr-McGee Stadium Club Tuesday. View video of interviews with offensive coordinator Kevin Wilson, seniors John Williams and Garrett Hartley, junior Lendy Holmes and sophomore Brody Eldridge.
Check Sooner Gameday Central for complete information on Oklahoma's game with Utah State. For more information on the Aggies, please view the SoonerSports.com scouting report.
Opening Comments:

“Last week we were pleased with a good, solid win.  We felt really positive how we competed and played.  We were asked a number of times leading up to the game why you schedule such quality teams.  There was great excitement for the week, I know our atmosphere here for the game was fantastic.  I know our fans really anticipated the game, and it really challenged our program.  We feel like we met that challenge and really competed in a positive way.  I think it helps develop you for the rest of the year.
“I felt defensively, we were excellent in all positions.  I thought we did well on the ball, tackling was great.  They had backs that were great and could make people miss them that we tackled well and really limited their rushing yards.  Our coverage was great and our pressure was really good.  Our two players of the game on defense outside of Reggie Smith were DeMarcus Granger and Austin English who both had excellent games up front.
“Offensively, I was really pleased with our balance. We rushed the ball with our running backs for 165 or so yards with around 40 carries which is really positive.  All of the backs did a nice job overall.  That set up a lot of good passing plays.  Malcolm Kelly and Sam Bradford were players of the game, along with Phil Loadholt who had an excellent game.  Our guys up front who started the games had great games and were recognized as having outstanding games against the challenging Miami front.  Miami has always been a great run defense, and I felt like we did some positive things well.
“Outside of one snap, I thought our kicking game was really positive.  I think we averaged returning kickoffs to around the 35 yard line, I think they averaged the 21 yard line on nine kickoffs.  So that part of the game was pretty good, outside of the one snap.”
On Utah State:
“There is a lot of build on, and that leads us to Utah State this week.  They are a team that we recognize that Coach Guy and his staff have done a really good job.  Both games, although they are 0-2, they were leading late in the fourth quarter and end up losing.  You look at a UNLV team where again, they were leading late in the game and end up losing.  UNLV had Wisconsin beat up until the last series of the game last week. We recognize that we have to be on top of our game and continue to build for the season and keep making improvements.
“Offensively, they give you a lot structural adjustments with wide receivers and backs.  They give you multiple formations and a lot of movement, so we have to be very smart defensively to counter that.  Their defense is similar to what Miami does with a 4-3 structure based out of the cover four.  Special teams, they have a great returner in Robinson who is a good player who is a great looking athlete.
" We have to keep making improvements, and I believe through the week we will do that.”
On if competition to play is having a positive effect on the team’s play:
“There had been competition at all positions.  If you are not playing at a level we feel you are capable of or we feel you need to be at, then maybe another guy needs the opportunity.  But I think more than that there is a pride factor and we have developed a lot of positive habits of going through the week of how we compete and how we get ready.  That has been the case since two-a-days and summer camp.  Even when the games were two and three weeks away the team was really going at it.  I am anticipating that to happen.”
On how the offense responded to Miami’s defense:
“They did cover us really well in a lot of instances, but we executed really well also and had a step or two here and there and Sam threw some great balls.  Sam stood in there tall and delivered the ball in a great way.   Not to take anything away from Sam, but his protection was outstanding and he was able to step into his throws.  The receivers did a nice job of separating, only if it was a step or two, that is all they needed and held onto the ball.  I thought Coach Wilson and the offensive staff did a nice job of play calling and game planning as well.  We did our best to keep them off-balance.”
On the play of Garrett Hartley:
“Garrett was our special teams player of the week, along with Lewis Baker who was all over the place. Garrett just kicked the ball so well.  When you can kick nine kickoffs and average them taking the ball over at the 21 yard line, then that is outstanding.  He had three touchbacks and the other ones were high and deep around the goal line.  He is hitting the ball really well and his field goal was really strong and hit it well.  With the missed PAT, he thought the handling of the ball was off which messed up the timing, but I told him not to worry about it.  It was at the end of the game and we can live with that.  He is really kicking the ball well and strong.  He has improved and his consistency has been great.  We have great confidence in him.”
On if the seniors are leading this team:
“I think it is more than just the seniors.  I think it all starts with the seniors, but I think we have a lot more maturity with the large group of juniors we have that have played a lot of football for us as well.  I think the overall improvements of the team is due to the natural maturity of the team, they are just so much more confident and sure of themselves.”

On the quality and quantity of the OU running backs:
“A lot of people have the number of guys we have.  But what has been really positive for us is the quality of what we have got with the young guys that are productive, along with the old guys.  To me it is more the number of guys we have is not out of the ordinary, it is the quality of the guys we have is really positive for us.  What is really neat about these guys is they all root for another, they love to see the other guys do well.  They are very unselfish and really get a kick out of one of them getting a big play and they are the first to give them a high five when they get to the sidelines.  Then, they get a break and they are excited to be going in and being the next guy.  We have 83, 84 or 85 snaps the other night, and that is a lot of snaps.  One of those guys are in there all the time.  Some of the time, we are in a formation where two of them are in there at the same time.”
On the play of the tight ends:
“We felt they were great players a year ago.  We are just finding ways to get them the ball.  Again, we feel if you are going to do something to our wide-outs, then we have the opportunity to take advantage of these guys or run.  We are making the defense have to deal with them.  Coach Wilson and the offensive staff are doing a nice job of making those guys compliment what else is going on.  I promise you, I wouldn’t change that group for anyone in the country.  They all do a really, really good job.”
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On how he has adjusted to the new rule:
“All summer I just tried to get my leg stronger, knowing that this new rule was going to be in effect.  But you know I have to give credit to my kick-off coverage guys.  They do one heck of a job getting down there and covering the ball and I think that is why we have been so good the last couple of years, because the guys out there.  I am just one of 11 out there just trying to do my job like everyone else is trying to do theirs.”
On the team:
“I believe this is the best group of guys I have been around since I have been here.  Talent wise the guys are amazing.  We are stacked on offense, our line is massive.  Especially when I am standing next to them you can definitely tell that.  Our wide receivers, the quarterback situation has come through very nicely with Sam back there, the running backs and of course on defensive they are stout as well.”
On the team being more cohesive than any in the past:
“I would absolutely agree with that.  We get that bonding through the summer and winter workouts.  Just working together as a unit is what I think is going to put us above everybody else.”
On whether or not he is surprised by the teams scoring thus far:
“I don’t think it is surprising at all.  It is just a matter of us going out there and doing our jobs.  I guess putting up those points is going to surprise people not in our organization, but me no.”
On missing the extra point against Miami:
“It definitely rattled me a little bit.  I try to be perfect with everything regardless of it’s a field goal or extra point and whenever it hit off the left upright I kind of was in shock at first, but I have moved on.  I watched film and I know what happened and it was just a timing issue.”
On how to keep from having a let down after a game like Miami:
“We have to attack things one game at a time.  We have to go out there and try to make ourselves better, not worry about the other team and that is what we are going to try to do.”
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On how the team has been developing:
“It’s been a process which started back in the spring during two a days and everything like that and we have gotten used to it.  We feel really good right now.”
On the difference between this season and last season:
“Like I said last year we didn’t have the positive attitude last year like we wanted to.  We took it upon ourselves to make it better this season with every game.”
On sophomore defensive end Auston English:
“He’s going to be a great player for the team.  He doesn’t take a play off, and that’s one thing I’ve noticed.  He gives his best effort and putting in your best effort gets you plays.  He has a very quick step.”
On the defensive tackles:
“The whole D-line as a whole has been playing really well right now.  The defensive tackles have been giving pressure in the middle and have been giving the collapse in the pocket.  We’ve just been playing really well.
“We practice every day and we take it upon ourselves to give our best effort every day at every practice.  We’ve felt only a little pressure, but pressure is something that comes with football.  It’s up to us to have a better season this year.  Last year we didn’t have the productivity or the tackles that we wanted mainly due to injuries and other circumstances.  This year is a whole new year and has God blessed us this year and we’re just going to make the best of it.”
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On the move to free safety:
“It has been pretty good for me.  I played it in high school, so it isn’t new to me. I like being able to see everything.  During two-a-days I didn’t feel like I was ready for it.  I didn’t feel comfortable with all the plays, but as we continue on with game planning and all I feel more comfortable.  It just comes down to knowing what you have to do.”
On the team being more cohesive:
“We all feel like this is our year.  We all set a goal.  Everybody came together in a team meeting and we have a goal for what we want to do and what we want to happen.  Our focus is just a lot better.  Everyone just came together and we are just playing.”
On what they will do to prepare for Utah State:
“I know they like to throw a lot of motion to try to get us out of position, so we will just have to stay focused and play our game."
On how the team has played thus far:
“We have played real good.  But we are not where we want to be at now.  We need to fix the minor things like messing up the coverage call or the formation, the little things.”
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On Saturday’s game against Miami:
“We did alright.  We still left a lot of points out there that we should have gotten a lot of runs and we had a few blocks that weren’t long enough.  We played alright though.”
On dividing playing time with the other tight ends, Senior Joe Jon Finley and Sophomore Jermaine Gresham:
“We all three bring different things to the table, so it depends on where we are on the field and what kind of position we’re in.  It doesn’t matter; we’ll all get our time.”
On Redshirt freshman Sam Bradford:
“He’s done a great job.  The people around him make him shine and he’s a great quarterback like we knew he could be and I’m not at all surprised about that.  We all respect him a lot.  We all respect each other.  That’s what makes the team so great.
“You see his stats and you don’t see a lot of freshman coming in doing that.  It’s unreal.  He’s got great poise and great leadership.  He doesn’t get flustered if he makes a bad choice; he comes back and hits it.  He’s always giving us praise when we do something good.”
On moving on to the next game after Miami:
“We respect all of our opponents.  We just go out there and practice all week like we do every week.  We just can’t let down.  We have to look at every week as another big challenge, so we play our best every time.”
On having more pressure after beating Miami:
“No. We know what we can do so we’re not worried about pressure. We have our own pressure on ourselves to go out and do what we know we can do.”
On how good Oklahoma can be:
“We have an opportunity to be a great team. Right now we’re still leaving the points out on the field, but we’re doing alright. We could do a lot better but we’re pretty good right now.  I know we can be a lot better. There’s some stuff we’re not picking up right. We need to get the run game going more, so yeah, we can get better.”



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