2008 Fiesta Bowl Quotes

Athletics Communications
By Athletics Communications
University of Oklahoma
JANUARY 02, 2008
Untitled Document
  Head Coach Bob Stoops

Congratulations to Bill Stewart and the whole staff at West Virginia and their team. They played an excellent football game, really beat us in the offense and defense side of the ball and, you know, in every part of the game.
Just definitely outcoached us and outplayed us, more physical, more disciplined in all parts of the game. They are to be credited and we're not. Again, very disappointing to finish the season this way and after such a solid year to come out and play as we did.

Q. Bob, I guess you guys got some momentum back in the second half with two three and outs and the first touchdown and then a two point conversion failed and the onside kick failed. Can you talk about the decision to do that and how they impacted the game?
Obviously, you are in a tight situation. If they work you know, the two point conversion gets you from within three. That's what you need to do. We had the momentum, and if you get the onside kick, you got a chance to really make to give them a blow. And, obviously, we don't kick it far enough and there you have it. In the end, you don't do those kind of things when you don't have momentum. I felt we had the momentum, the opportunity was there. We just didn't execute it. And, you know, who knows? There were still a lot of plays after that that we didn't they played a heck of a lot better and executed a heck of a lot better than we did in a lot of other areas.

Q. Coach, I know you are disappointed with the loss, about 13 penalties for 113 yards. What happened?
Embarrassing, absolutely embarrassing. No discipline whatsoever. That has to be a reflection on me. I am obviously not doing a good enough job of getting our players to understand how to play smart, and I think we had 12 or 13 in the Big 12 championship game. It is embarrassing and just guys just making a lot of poor choices in what they're doing. Anyway, just poor.

Q. Bob, it looked like on defense you probably gave up the big play. I think they hit you in the five snap span. They hit you with four runs. What was opening up to hit you with big plays?
Yeah, I could go through really about all of them. You know, that was the case, too, because early in the first half, I thought we had a lot of good series defensively. We give up the full back belly. We have a zone blitz on and the blitz off the corner goes too deep, runs past it and the linebacker doesn't scrape outside. So they get the long run off the blitz.
The other one, we don't cover the route down the middle. We get sucked up with the play action fake. And then in the second half trying to think oh, the pass over to Walker on the first play, just in a man coverage. That's the first route we looked for. He gets caught, doesn't stay inside and gets guy ends up getting behind and dives for the ball and gets up and plays.
The second play from the series, you know, they run the toss sweep and we overrun it. There was nobody to tax it downhill. We end up scraping everybody. I don't know, about four or five guys were outside the ball, doesn't get in a position to touch them and it is out the gate. Anyway, they played well and they made them miss them, made the plays when they were there and our guys didn't do a good enough job to be in position. And even things we did cover, they didn't do a good enough job playing.

Q. Coach, great season this year. Obviously a let down tonight. Now you look towards next year. With so many players coming back, how do you get them to get this loss out of their minds and look forward?
They don't need to get it out of their minds too soon. We need to be to really look at what we need to do differently. Obviously, I need to do things differently as a head coach and players, we need to have some discipline to us. The last two games we got about 26, 27, 28 penalties. You just can't play like that.

Q. 349 yards rushing, I'm sure one guy is not responsible for all that. The lack of DeMarcus Granger, early on they had some success rushing the ball.
I think that's highly overstating his importance, no. That's not the deal. There was a lot of missed tackles, a lot of guys not being in position, discipline containing the ball, just different issues and different occasions. Rarely was it up inside; I'll say that.

Q. Coach, a great accomplishment to get to a BCS Bowl. Your thoughts to reflect on the Sooners are 0 for the last 4 BCS appearances.
Yeah, it's it is not very positive. You get to this position. Obviously you are doing a lot of things positive and good. But you need to finish out and play well in these games.

Q. The offensive line has been one of the strong points of your team all season; yet tonight it really seemed like Brad didn't Sam Bradford, I'm sorry, didn't have the time he had all season. Three sacks and definitely in the first half seemed hurried a lot more. Can you talk about how the protection broke down?
Absolutely, they really outplayed us big time through the first half of the game, getting to the quarterback and not being able to protect him and even not being able to run the football. Going into halftime, we had two field goals, and they had stopped us on multiple occasions. There was pressure.

Q. How impressed were you with White tonight, their quarterback?
He is an excellent player. Very impressed. I was coming in. We knew he was an excellent player, and he did a great job of seeing what was there. We had some it's like in the second half we had him on the third and 5, I believe it was, going in and we just we had somebody that was supposed to be outside and comes inside. He is the kind of guy that if you do, he will see it and avoids the whole rush that we have and picks up a first down. I think they scored on the next play.

Q. Coach, for you and for Sam, just 12 plays, just one yard on offense in the first quarter. Talk about the slow start, some of the reasons for it.
Again, their defense just whipped us; plain and simple. We, again, certainly didn't have our guys prepared to handle all of it and stuff maybe that we did, they executed it, were more physical and pressured us when we tried to throw. You can't run it and you are getting pressure throwing it. There is not a lot to go to.

Q. Bob, when did you know Malcolm was going to be largely unavailable?
I didn't feel great about it coming in because the reps he was getting at practice were very minimal. Every time we thought he was making some progress, he just had a hard time of opening it up all the way. We had hoped once he got out there and the adrenalin gets going that he would start to feel better and just wasn't the case.

Q. The followup to that is, without him, we saw the same thing happen last year, no Malcolm Kelly early. The offense doesn't get going until later on.
Malcolm is a great player and huge presence on our offense. So it sure doesn't help.

Q. Bob, you had mentioned that you didn't get the onside kick executed, didn't kick it far enough. Were there some things in film study that you saw?
We felt the way they lined up and they didn't have a guy in the center and they were 15 yards deep with their other two guys, that we had a good chance at it. Again, I felt with the way the momentum was, those aren't things you do when you don't have momentum. I felt like it is a chance to give them a blow and their defense was tired and to try and capitalize on it and didn't work. So ...

Q. Did West Virginia show any new wrinkles you didn't see on tape?
Not really. There's some slight ones, but for the most part, you know, the things that we saw were what we prepared for. Had a couple little wrinkles with running the ball but overall, you know, it was pretty similar to what we were prepared for.

  Curtis Lofton

Q. Curtis, your defense gave up over 500 yards, 48 points, 350 yards rushing. Talk about what happened from your perspective defensively.
The No. 1 thing was definitely tackling. I mean, the credit goes to Pat White and Noel Devine. They are great players and make a lot of guys miss. Everybody took their turn, gap off here, gap off there and we increased a couple times and then made plays.

Q. Curtis, you said earlier in the week that you wanted to get last year's loss the taste of last year's loss out of your mouth and now this year's comes. What do you do with this now?
Well, you just got to go on to the next season. It will stick with us throughout the next year and it is a hard loss to take. Credit goes to West Virginia. They came out and outplayed us and outhustled us. You got to take what you can from it.

  Sam Bradford

Q. Sam, another solid night for you, but obviously you got pressured a little bit more. What do you think you can take away from this personally to move on the next season?

I just think I come out better prepared, you know, in the first half. I just wasn't myself, wasn't going through the reads, just forcing things, didn't hit the throws when I had the throw, I didn't make it. I just got to come out better prepared.



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