Stoops Kicks Off Spring Practice

Athletics Communications
By Athletics Communications
University of Oklahoma
MARCH 04, 2008

NORMAN, Okla. -- Head coach Bob Stoops led off the 2008 spring season with a noon press conference Tuesday in the Kerr-McGee Stadium Club. Stoops addressed a variety of topics and answered questions from the media relating to OU's goals for spring practice, which begins Wednesday.
Visit 2008 Spring Practice Central for exclusive coverage of OU's spring workouts including video highlights, interviews, photo galleries and more!
The annual Red/White Spring Football game is scheduled for Saturday, April 12. Tickets for the Red/White game go on sale Wednesday, March 5.
Following is a complete transcription of Tuesday's press conference.

  Head Coach Bob Stoops

Opening comments:
"We are all excited to start spring ball tomorrow. We have finished about a six week period here in the weight room and in the indoor, doing speed training and lifting. We're trying to build our team up physically; more speed, more strength and more explosiveness. Coach Schmidt is really pleased with how all that has gone. The conditioning exercises have been really strong and positive. Now is a good time of year to start practicing again. We will have to work in the indoor some, Wednesday and Friday for sure, but we have great room in there and the ability to have a great practice. We are looking forward to starting that tomorrow.

"Everyone always wonders what you work on; we work on building our team. More than anything, I think it is critical this time of year to build your depth. Building your team and building players, preparing them to play at any time. We want all players to perform better and play more consistent. Every position needs to improve and needs to work. There are no positions ever guaranteed, guys have to continue to earn them by how they play and their performance. But again, I look at it as an opportunity to get more players ready to play so that when we start next year we've got a group of players we know we can win with. So that is where our focus is. We will have some good competition, long and competitive practices. Hopefully we can improve and make ourselves better."

On building depth at running back:
"There is a perfect chance to build depth with Mossis Madu and Justin Johnson. They will get the bulk of it; we will give Matt Clapp some back there as well. But those guys have not played much at all and it will be a great opportunity. We already know what the other guys can do, so it is perfect."

On whether or not there is time to add wrinkles in the spring:
"We constantly tinker with everything that we do. Now is a perfect time to do it. Once we get into the practices and get comfortable with what we are doing initially, we will keep adding things."

On the offensive line:
"There is still going to be some great competition there. There are a lot of guys that are coming on that are going to have their chance to compete. Cory Brandon, Brian Simmons and Donald Stephenson are all coming back. There are a number guys who have a chance. We just have to get them out there and get them working."

On the fullback and tight end positions:
"Brody Eldridge, I have said all along, has always been one of our best and most consistent players. We really like Matt Clapp, the way he has worked and the size and quickness he has. Jermaine Gresham is one of the best there is out there. We will always try to work those guys to take advantage of the things they do well."

On the secondary:
"Nic Harris won't be in there because of his shoulder surgery, but he has played a lot of football and will be fine and back once the summer comes. Other guys will get a lot of snaps. Quinton Carter, Dominique Franks, Jamell Fleming and Brian Jackson have had a great winter. They will be competitive and we will pay very close attention to them all the way through, because there is a lot of potential there."

On where DB Lendy Holmes will play:
"I think it depends on who plays the best out of the other guys. Lendy has the unusual ability to really be solid at corner or at safety and he has been that way for us. So I think that is a plus that he has the ability to do either one. We will just see how the other guys do and see what is best for him."

On QB Sam Bradford's development:
"He had an amazing year. All you have to do is compare his statistics to the All-Americans or offensive players of the year in our league and he is there. When you look at wins and losses, you look at touchdowns and interceptions, you look at all that and he is right there with anybody in the country. He is an exceptional player. He did everything we asked him to do; direct the team and direct the offense. The things you may take for granted, we don't. Things like command of the huddle, command of the line of scrimmage, we were very clean in all those areas.

"Everything we have asked him to do he has been exceptional, so I think you have to be careful that he doesn't go out there and try to be superman. That is not what we ask our guys to do. We rely on everybody; do your job, do what you're asked to do, direct in a positive way. I think with another year under his belt he will be more of a leader vocally. He was a great leader in his actions last year, but now with more experience I think more of that will come. In everything he is doing I think he will just get stronger with his arm and more precise with his steps. He has a lot of room for improvement but I am sure he will make it."

On Asst. Offensive Coordinator/WR Coach Jay Norvell:
"Jay has a lot of excellent experience that I am excited about. He is a very positive, team-oriented guy who is incredibly competitive and passionate about the game. That is something I love about all the assistant coaches. I am excited about all of that combined with an excellent knowledge of offense. Just look at where he has been with UCLA and Nebraska and before that. I am excited about his work when he was in Indianapolis and Oakland. He brings a lot of experience in that particular position and a lot of experience in his overall knowledge of offensive schemes. So he fits in perfectly and he has been fun to work with the last month or so."

On WR Ryan Broyles:
"He is real shifty guy that has that ability to stop and start and make people miss him. What we saw early on is that he just one of those guys that is really competitive on the field and will make plays. We are hoping he will continue to come along that way and that we can work with him on that inside position. He definitely has a chance to make a difference."

On DE John Williams returning for another year:
"It is good to have him back. He has had two back-to-back years of really unfortunate incidents that are really unusual as well. It is positive in that he gets the chance to play a full year and it makes a huge difference to have him and Auston English, both starters last year, back."

On how the Fiesta Bowl loss affects spring practice:
"Each year is a new team. I've never seen one year tie to the next. We have won the National Championship before and it didn't have anything to with the next year and we have lost in it and it didn't have anything to do with the next year. Each year is a different team, with different players. In the end you have to go at it again. I will say we have been pretty consistent in going after the Big 12 Championship and we look to do that again next year. Hopefully, we can finish the year a little bit better."



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