Head Coach Bob Stoops
Post-Practice Highlights
Aug. 12, 2013

On Saturday’s scrimmage:
“It was good. The guys got 98 plays and no one was hurt. I felt good about it. We were pretty good and didn’t have many penalties. Big 12 officials were there so that’s another good part of it, especially in your first scrimmage. I was pleased.”

On getting referees in the preseason:
“Well, generally what we usually get is Big 12 officials a couple of times through our major scrimmages and outside of that we get some guys who come out about three or four other days and try to call it like they would a game.”

On whether they have held a seminar about the new targeting rules:
“Not yet. That’s coming on Thursday. I have a DVD from the Big 12 office along with having Big 12 officials that day and have them explain to the players how they see it and how they will judge it.”

On whether DT Quincy Russell will be here this week:
“Yes. From what I understand, all work is finished and handed in and just waiting for the schools to make sure and process it all so we’re hopeful that that’s any day now. It’s really just their school, his school. We’re close.”

On whether Russell is behind at his position:
“Not very. I don’t want to say it’s easy to learn, but basically it’s just about technique. The learning part of it, what he’s going to need to do, he’ll learn that fairly quickly. From what we understand visiting with him and people he has worked with he has worked really hard and is in really good shape. If that’s the case, then he will pick it up rather quickly.”

On how he'll announce the starting quarterback to the team:
“We visit with the individual players. Then the players start realizing who is getting all the number one reps. We don’t do that (announce to the team). That would be treating that position different than any other. We don’t tell them who is going to start at defensive end or linebacker or wide receiver so there is no sense in doing it with them.”

On if the players are anxious to know the starting quarterback:
“No.”

On the chance that two quarterbacks play:
“Hey, there’s always that chance.”

On the positives of having a quarterback competition:
“They are both (Blake Bell and Trevor Knight) being prepared to play, Cody Thomas as well. At the end of the day, and I keep saying this, it’s not our first rodeo. We have done this a lot. We have won eight Big 12 Championships with six different quarterbacks. It hasn’t really hurt us a lot. We are trying to get them all ready to play.”

On a 2001 media report that the Hybl-White QB competition caused dissension among the staff, a report that was laughed off by the coaches:
“Well, sure, because that wasn’t the case. Just because it’s written doesn’t mean it’s true. Or just because it’s said doesn’t mean it’s true either. In this room, they know that’s not the case. You would be surprised at how little these guys (players) and us hear and read. You look through the years with us, our quarterbacks in these kinds of situations have been great friends and support one another. We’re not at all worried about any of that.”

On any injuries that may have occurred:
“No one got injured. In the scrimmage we got a few sprains, but nothing serious, nothing to speak about.”

On WR Trey Metoyer’s status:
“He will be okay, just a sprain.”

On DJ Ward and his family’s decision (regarding his spleen issue):
“I’ll announce that tomorrow or Wednesday.”

On WR Lacoltan Bester:
“Lacoltan has really made a big move. He’s making plays, playing strong, and playing really well. Really excited about what he is doing. He is going to have an impact for sure.”  

On whether running back is the deepest position on the team:
“It’s a good group. The deepest? I don’t know about that. Like I said, I brought up the situation a few years ago when we had four or five guys and a couple decided to quit because a young guy was moved up in front of him because of how he played. Then he ended up transferring. You never know where that’s going to all go.”

On RB Alex Ross’ impact in fall camp:
“He was a guy that really stood out in the scrimmage with speed and being powerful. He’s doing really well. He’s playing well, so hopefully that will continue.”

On Alex Ross being a running back and wearing Adrian Peterson’s old number:
“We are one of those places, and I say this modestly, where if we go retire numbers or take numbers of the shelf we won’t have many to choose from. There’s a lot of great players through here who have worn a lot of numbers. You see 14 everywhere. I remember kidding when I give my talk to the players about having some humility when Sam was here. You see the whole place is wearing 14 but it isn’t just because of you. There is probably some still wearing it because of Coach Heupel. Anyway, A.D. he’s glad to see someone wearing it. We don’t look at it that way, I don’t think anyone on the team does. Not just his, but any number.”

On CB Zach Sanchez being brought up as a positive after the scrimmage:
“Zach played really well. He continues to do a really good job. I couldn’t be more pleased. The young DBs are all really good, young backers are good, the young defensive linemen are good. It’s a really good class, and offensively they are showing up really well too.”

On if the defensive tackles did well in the scrimmage:
“They did for the most part, yes. I’m excited with how they are all playing and keep making good improvement.”

On DB Gabe Lynn:
“Gabe has a lot of experience now playing in a deep position and is really comfortable doing it. He’s playing smart, making good tackles and he had a good day the other day.”

On whether Geneo Grissom and Charles Tapper will start at defensive end:
“We’re rotating a bunch of guys in there for the most part. They can change out too. Sometimes Chuka (Ndulue) can play out there, sometimes inside, but those guys are playing pretty well.”

On being settled at punter:
“Yeah, I say I am. Jed went out there the other day and it hit great. He probably averaged 41, 42 with well over a four-second hang time. You’ll take that every punt. I think we punted 17 times. Jack Steed went out there, a young guy, and he averaged 40 or 41 with a lot of good hang time. It was really good to see them both hit it so well. I’d say Jed, timing-wise and all, is probably more ahead for sure and has more experience, but I was really excited to see Jack do well.”

On whether Trevor Knight is playing at a higher level compared to last spring:
“Definitely, and that’s not uncommon for a young guy. Having a big summer, they throw the ball all summer and now that he’s so many more practices into it he’s just more settled in and more sure of himself and he’s definitely playing that way. When you’re really young I think that second year is when you make the biggest jump. That’s why you have to keep giving them opportunities and snaps.”

On challenges that people outside the Big 12 might take for granted:
“Well, the obvious one is the quarterbacks, the offenses, and the tempo. Those are challenging in this league. The NFL has got a whole bunch of guys who have been through this league that are quarterbacks. Again, you look at the way people spread it out and the tempo they use it’s tough to deal with.”

On how all the new quarterbacks will affect the Big 12 race:
“We’ll see. You never know. There could be a bunch of names you are talking about next year that are all back, all these guys that are going to show up this year. It will be a factor, whatever quarterback plays the best, most consistent, and avoids those bad plays will probably really stick out and give their team a better chance to win.”


Wide Receiver Sterling Shepard
Post-Practice Highlights
Aug. 12, 2013

On the performance of the WR group in the scrimmage on Saturday:
“They did really well. We got some guys, we got Derrick Woods, he’s another guy that’s shown a lot of juice and he’s getting some balls caught. Lacoltan Bester, he scored about three or four times during the scrimmage, so he’s looking really good too.

On Lacoltan Bester and what makes him special:
“He goes up and gets it, he’s not afraid to go get the ball. He’ll catch it in traffic, too, and after the catch he’s really good.”

On how much he has improved:
“I’ve gotten bigger. I’m playing at 190 [pounds] now, I was at 185 so hopefully I can break some tackles and get some yards after catch.”

On if he will notice his strength gains the most in the open field:
“Definitely, I feel like I went down a little easy last year, and I’m trying to get past that.”

On which freshman corner has impressed him the most:
“I’d have to say they all look good to be honest but in the slot I’m going against [Hatari] Byrd and he’s looking really good, a real big guy, and Ahmad [Thomas], he’s another big freshman. I’ve never seen guys that big; you know they’re looking really good at practice.

On how much Ahmad Thomas benefited from being here in the spring:
“He’s getting everything done, he knows a lot of stuff already and now he’s just getting to that point where he can just play his game and he doesn’t have to worry about busting a coverage or anything like that.”

On who else is working in the slot besides Jalen Saunders:
“Derrick Woods and K.J. [Young].”

On how K.J. Young has been playing:
“He’s doing well, too. He’s a freshman, he’s just trying to get the plays down and I think he is still in that process where he has to get the plays down and then when he gets the plays down he will be comfortable and just start playing his game.

On what has impressed him the most about K.J. Young:
“He has a knack for the ball, getting open he can find space, that’s what you need in the slot, somebody that’s going to find the open gaps in the zone and he does a really good job of that.”

On if he has to be more aware of blocking with a running quarterback:
“I think Coach Jay [Norvell] always tells us, we pride ourselves on making blocks when we’re not getting the ball as a receiver, we turn into a blocker. So I don’t think that’s a big issue and the quarterbacks now, they’re a lot more mobile so you always have to keep your eyes on a swivel and they could be anywhere on the field. You just got to get your block and square them up and let the quarterback decide which way to go.”

On if he watched the quarterback to know if he is running with the ball:
“You just kind of feel it. You can see the way the defense is going, the way they are moving which way they’re going and go and block.”

On the difference in his role this year versus last year:
“Just any way I can to help the team and just make plays. That’s what we talk about in the meeting room every day, just make plays. Even if you bust just keep going and try to get open.”

On his role in helping to replace Kenny Stills and Justin Brown:
“I really had two big guys that were really good so somebody has to take the weight and I feel like I’ve stepped into that role a little bit.”

On his role in the return game:
“I think last year I just had to work on a lot of stuff with that area and I feel like I’ve gotten it down now and hopefully I can get back and return some.”

On if he is on the kickoff return team:
“Yeah, I’m on kickoff. You have to play special teams and be able to do all that stuff. Especially if you want to go to the next level, you have to be a special teams player. Anyway I can get on the field and help the team, I’m going to do it.”

On if he likes returning kickoffs more than punts:
“I wouldn’t say I like one or the other more. I feel like they are all a way to get in the end zone and make plays. So, whichever one Coach [Cale] Gundy decides to put me on, I’m ready.”


Running Back Alex Ross
Post-Practice Highlights
Aug. 12, 2013

On how Saturday’s scrimmage went for him:
“It went well; I got a couple carries, tried my hardest, tried to make as many plays as I could make.”

On what he has changed since coming in last year:
“I was just young and I was being redshirted regardless, so I really wasn’t being heard of and then this year is different because I’m older and just trying to get better. I just got more practice, more carries, knowing what I am doing, just getting better than last year.”

On if he feels unlucky with regard to injuries:
“Oh no, I don’t feel unlucky. No, everything happens for a reason I feel.”

On how crowded it is in the RB meeting room:
“There are a lot of guys. Everyone is working hard in there, competing to better the team.”

On how hard it is to be a young guy competing with four seniors:
“It’s not that hard, you’re just working hard. We’re all just out there working. So regardless of how many people it is we’re all there for the same reason. We want to get better for the team.”

On if he notices any difference in the way the offensive line is blocking:
“Yeah, they have gotten bigger and stronger, they’ve been doing better. They were always good, though.”

On what part of his game he has improved the most:
“Probably my pass blocking. Knowing schemes and knowing what’s coming and getting used to all that.”

On if pass blocking was the toughest adjustment from high school to college:
“Coming out of high school it’s always tough, learning the college ways and whatnot.”

On who has stood out on defense so far:
“Hatari [Byrd], has stood out. Zack [Sanchez] stands out. Striker, Eric Striker.”

On Zack Sanchez:
“Zack is just getting older and better, more confident. He’s having more confidence and as a corner, having one on one most of the time, just having confidence is actually better and I think he’s getting there.”

On how he got why he wears No. 28:
“Just because I probably wore it in high school they gave it to me. I wasn’t coming here like, “I want 28, give me the number.”

On if he wore No. 28 in high school because of Adrian Peterson:
“They gave it to me in high school, I didn’t ask for it either… He’s probably one of my top favorite running backs but no I don’t wear it just because he wore it.”

On which linebacker gives him the most trouble in pass blocking drills:
“[Eric] Striker. Striker is one of the best pass rushers. He’s just like a big guy and he is strong. There’s a young guy, Obo [Ogbonnia Okoronwko], he’s getting good too. And Corey [Nelson] always does good. Frank [Shannon] is always good, too. It’s always a good competition between us and them.”

On if he expected to play last year:
“I kind of knew I was going to redshirt when I got here.”

On if he had to clear the mental hurdle of knowing he would be inactive for a year:
“Yeah, it was kind of tough sometimes.”

On what he did to deal with the challenge of sitting out:
“Every day I came out to practice knowing I wasn’t going to play I just still tried to make the other guys who were playing better by just going hard. That was the only thing I could do.”

On if he thinks he will get to play this year:
“I think I’m going to get some plays in. Whatever I do I am going to go hard.”

On if he is getting any reps in special teams:
“Yeah, I am. I’m trying to get into everything. So wherever there is an opening for me to go hard and make plays, I’m going to do it.

On Roy Finch:
“Roy has gotten way better from last year. He’s getting stronger, reading holes, just getting older. That’s usually what happens when you get older.”

On learning from the older guys:
“Yeah, you get Coach [Cale] Gundy’s teachings and then you get the older guys’ teachings.

On if the older guys see him as the future:
“I hope so because they’re leaving. There’s just the younger generation coming up.”

On why he feels better about playing this year:
“I was smaller last year. I probably just wasn’t as confident as I am this year because I was just young and I didn’t know what I was doing out there. It’s different now because I am older.”

On his physical change from last year:
“Coming in I was like 206 [pounds]. Now I’m like 217. That’s usually all the time. So I just got bigger and stronger.”

On Keith Ford:
“Keith plays hard all the time. He’s picking up the offense quick, he just knows what’s going on and that’s really good for a young guy.”