Offensive Media Session

Athletics Communications
By Athletics Communications
University of Oklahoma
OCTOBER 08, 2013

Oklahoma Football
Co-Offensive Coordinator Josh Heupel
Oct. 8, 2013

On Texas’s defense this year:
“They’re similar to what they’ve always been; big and athletic up front.”

On what Greg Robinson, Texas’s new defensive coordinator has changed in the defense:
“They’re playing extremely sound. They’re running the football, playing hard, trying to be more physical,  as well. They’re making you earn things in the run game.”

On the Texas blitz package:
“They have not been as blitz happy. They have more gap awareness.”

On Greg Robinson, Texas’ new defensive coordinator:
“You’re certainly going to pay attention to who he is and what he’s done in the past. In the short amount of time that he’s been there, you get a little chance to see how he wants to use his personnel He had a couple of extra days, so I’ll expect a couple of extra wrinkles.”

On FB Trey Millard’s game last year:
“I think we had some unique ways to get him the football. He had been playing well leading up to that game and he certainly made the most of his opportunities last year. We need to get him the football again and he needs to play in the same fashion that he did. Some of the runs he made with the football in his hands were special, absolutely.”

On Millard’s blocking ability:
“A lot of people are saying how productive he is with the ball not in his hands. He’s a huge part of what we’re doing offensively. He does a great job of blocking up the edges; he’s great down the middle as well. He catches the ball extremely well in the back field too, so he’s a threat there.”

On the development of the receivers:
“I think some of the young guys that haven’t had an opportunity to play are getting more comfortable being out there in game experiences. The guys like, Sterling (Shepard) and Jalen (Saunders), who have bounced around and been in multiple positions, they’re getting more comfortable in the different spots they’re playing, as well. They, as an entire group, are playing with better timing and better rhythm. We need to be more consistent in that.”

On the offense’s struggles in the third quarter vs. TCU:
“It’s all parts. It’s Blake (Bell) missing a couple of shots down the field against a defensive secondary like TCU, that you have to hit to back them up a little bit. We didn’t win enough competitive one-on-one  on the outside and some in the slot as well. Sometimes we were winning and the protection broke down. So it’s all the pieces of the puzzle coming together. We need to be better on third downs, third and long especially. We can’t be in as many as we were a week ago.”

On the importance of ball security:
“It’s critical to why we’ve won; penalties, as well. We have no turnovers in three games. We’re playing extremely smart and if we can continue that, we have a chance to win every game.

If Blake Bell’s athleticism has an advantage against the Texas defense:
“Some of what has happened to them has been third and long situations, where the quarterback has scrambled and made a play while they’re in coverage. Sometimes those present themselves and sometimes they don’t. Blake has to be able to throw the football down the field, first and foremost.”

On how the scramble ability has changed the offense:
“It has. It’s changed the dynamics of what you see on third down pressure and the way they rush.”

On the first offensive play during the TCU game:
“Each play has its own identity and impacts the game in a great way. So that play doesn’t change the entire game, no. But each series does.”

On the importance of OU-Texas:
“It’s a big game. It’s why kids come to Oklahoma; they want an opportunity to go down there and compete in this type of ball game. This is one of the most special events in college football. The atmosphere outside of the stadium, in the State Fair of Texas, and the atmosphere inside is electric. This is a fun game to play. You’ll remember it.”

On his feelings during his first OU-Texas game as a player:
“When you come here, that’s all players talk about when you’re being recruited and you’re like, ‘Yeah, okay.’ But it surpasses what they talk about, it’s special. It’s a special, special game.”

On RB Brennan Clay’s play in the fourth quarter:
“He’s been consistent, he’s taken care of the football, and he has run with a physical presence. All of those things are why he’s played well in the fourth.”

Oklahoma Football
Co-Offensive Coordinator Jay Norvell
Oct. 8, 2013

“It has been a good week. We have been getting all the packages in and we had a really crisp, fast practice tonight, showing them a bunch of different looks to get them ready for Wednesday.”

On WR Durron Neal:
“I really appreciate Durron. Durron he had a couple tough days in camp and took a step back to realize how hard he as worked and what a great attitude he has. He comes to practice every day and does everything we ask him to do. He has continued to practice and play well, which has showed in the snaps he is getting in the game. He is ready for his opportunities and I was really pleased with him Saturday night. The plays he played were really important for the momentum of the game and we really hadn’t made any completive plays until he made those ones on that drive. That was really important for us. We have a lot of good players who will have the chance to make plays over the course of the year. When your opportunity comes, you really have to take advantage of it like Durron has.”

On Neal getting open against a tough defense:
“He did a great job, he really did. He got into those guys and really separated and made two big plays. That fourth-down play was huge and then Blake (Bell) came right back to him and he made another big play. That is going to be important because we have to get off with tight coverage. Those guys did a good job last week and we have to continue to do a better job and make big plays.”

On the Texas defense:
“They are very talented. They have given up a lot of run yardage but they are very talented on the backend and they have several guys who played some corners inside with digs. They are talented, they can run, they have speed, they can cover, so we have to do a great job. They are doing a lot of man-to-man coverage and there should be a lot of opportunities to make big plays happen. This game is a fast game, it is a hard-hitting game and those big plays in the passing game are what make the difference. We have got to do a great job. We have to separate and get open and finish down field. It is something we have done at times but have to do more of.”

On whether he’s pleased with the consistency of the offense:
“No, we are never pleased. We have left a lot of yardage and points on the field. I don’t know if we have been as consistent as we would want to be. We have been balanced. We have shown our ability to run and throw the ball and make plays. When we can do both at a high level we will be where we want to be. I don’t know if we have done that in any game so far. We have run it well at times but not thrown it well or we have thrown it well but not run it well; we need to put that together. This is an important game. I think the most important thing about this game is it doesn’t really matter what we have done up to this point and it doesn’t matter what they have done up to this point. What matters is what happens Saturday and I think the kids have to have their focus. We will get their best game I am sure and we have to be at the top of our game. It is a huge challenge that we really have to work to make it our best football game.”

On whether other teams are adjusting to the OU offense:
“No, I think it is a consistent chess match as we go through the season. We play a lot of good teams with good defensive coached. That team we played last week, they are one of the best in the country as far the way they coach that defense and how they make you play. We have to respect the people we play. We have a good league, with good coaches and good players. Every week is going to be a chess match. We have to adjust and as we go through the season, we have to have ways to attack and counter what people show us. Mostly we have to execute and that is the challenge every week. If you ever think it is not going to be a challenge you are going to be awaken rudely by whomever you play. Anybody in our league can shut you down and play good defense. We have to do some things better than what we did a week ago because what happens when someone shows you something on film when it is slowed down, you are going to see it again. Just like when people have success against the defense, they are going to run that play against them. We have to do a good job of learning from last week and the areas we need to improve and do a better job.”

On whether Neal will be part of same rotation as last week:
“Yeah, I mean Durron has earned the right to play more and he will continue to play more. We will route and keep those guys going. We have guys always ready and as the season goes along, we get more repetitions in. I have confidence in these guys and we will continue to push them. We would like to get some of younger kids on the field; our younger running backs, Keith [Ford] and those kids. They are all good players. As the year goes along they will get more opportunities.”

On if the Texas game has become less important in recruiting:
“No. It is not and it has not. We have a lot of good teams in Texas. Tech is playing great and so is Baylor. It is as competitive as it has ever been for recruiting and just in this conference from these teams in Texas. We just beat TCU but this is another challenge for us playing Texas and we will have more down the road with Baylor and Tech. This is always a big game, it is the University of Texas, and we are the University of Oklahoma so this game is always big and this year will be no different. Regardless of the records, this will be a hard-fought game.”

“How we play is important. How we respond to challenge is important and that is how people recognize you.”

On playing a slower game offensively:
“The more plays you play the more you get work physically but we try to keep guys fresh. It is really about who is playing well and we like to play as many as we can. Sometimes in a close game though, the guys who are your starters are starters for a reason; they are playing better than other guys. So they get the first chance when the game is tight. We will play as many as we can and obviously when you have one hundred snaps, you play more people. Hopefully we will do that and play more up-tempo at times depending on the game and the circumstances. I imagine there will be games when we have 100 snaps, but some may not, and that’s okay. We are quite fine playing at a slow pace as long as we are running the ball, making plays, getting first downs and getting the defense open. We have had games this year where we have had a lot of ball control and been able to keep the defense off the field, which is a good thing. The drives we had at Notre Dame were really key. We finished the game last week on the field and that is really important because we can prove that we can run the ball. We have to keep our defense on the bench.”

On the lack of turnovers by the OU offense:
“I think it is a character of your quarterback and a character of your players. It is also a character of your execution. When a team is confident in their execution they are going to protect the ball. Our ball carriers have protected the ball and our quarterback has protected the ball. Blake has done a great job and I think that just comes from his experience and his competitiveness. He is not afraid to tuck the ball and run it or to throw it, all of that is extremely important. We need to continue that because it is huge. Last year this game was Kansas State. If we turn the ball over we lose and I think that is a big credit to our kids protecting the football. We had a tight game last year and we turned it over and were beat so we have reborn from that and you have to credit all of our skill players but Blake (Bell) in particular.”

On “carrying the torch” in the Big 12:
“Yeah I think that is kind of a residue or whatever of wanting to be the best. We want to be that team every year. Quite frankly since Coach Stoops has been here, we have been that team. That is important to us, especially the non-conference games when we play at Notre Dame because we are carrying the torch for the whole conference. We want to play well. It is important now that we are into our conference that we play and prove every week that we are the best team. It a stepping stone week-by-week but we have to continue to mature as a team and be the best that we can be. We really feel like we are just scratching the surface of what we can be as a football team. To answer your question, yes we want to be the best team in this league, we want to be recognized as a national power every year and if we continue to do to the things we do, I think we will.

“I think when the traditional powers struggle, the conference looks like it is not as strong and I don’t know if that is the case. I know maybe Texas hasn’t been what it has been in the past or in the national spotlight but you have to look at Baylor and Tech are doing; they are strong teams right now. We will see as the season goes along how it all unfolds but I think by the end of the year, we are going to really get a feel that maybe the Big 12 is better than what people are giving it credit for.”

Oklahoma Football
Quarterback Blake Bell
Oct. 8, 2013

On starting his first OU-Texas game:
“We’re doing a good job preparing. We’re not close yet, it’s still Tuesday. It’s a good thing. We’ve still got some stuff to work out, but I know everyone’s excited for the opportunity.”

On Texas’ defense:
“They’re good. They’ve got a lot of talent over there. We’re just worried about their defense. They’re showing a lot of good looks on defense and, as an offense, that’s all we can worry about and giving them our best shot.”

On being able to exploit Texas’ defense using the run game:
“I think we’re just going to attack them with the same game plan we always have or what Coach (Josh) Heupel or Coach (Jay) Norvell give us. All the guys will just be excited about the opportunity just because it’s a rivalry game. We’ll go out there and execute.”

On the consistency of offense:
“Obviously, last week against TCU, there were some drives where it was us more than anything. We got into some third-and-longs. You don’t want that as a offense, leaving it on third-and-long all the time.”

On importance of having playing in last year’s OU-Texas matchup versus this year’s OU-Notre Dame matchup:
“Just being out there, seeing the atmosphere and what it’s like, seeing the half crimson, half burnt orange. Notre Dame being a big game helped for certain situations, but I think I’ll be ready.”

On having confidence after scoring four rushing touchdowns against Texas last year:
“It does. I credit the offensive line and Rip (Aaron Ripkowski) and Trey (Millard) and the guys blocking for me. They made it easy for me. And Landry, marching the ball down the field for me. He had a lot to do with it. Give those guys credit, but it helped a lot.”

On establishing a connection with WR Durron Neal:
“A lot of those guys have done a great job of stepping in when it’s their time. For example, Durron, when things are going his way, when he gets an opportunity, he comes in and does a good job. Fourth and three or four, he comes in a catches that slant route and gets the first down. You gotta love when guys like that come in and step up when someone else is down.”

On what statistic he likes more: completion percentage or lack of interceptions:
“Lack of interceptions. That’s one thing we pride in the quarterback room is taking care of the football. That goes a long ways as a quarterback and as the offense. You take care of the football and not turn it over, you’ve got a lot better chance of winning.”

On if sacks are acceptable as long as it doesn’t put team in a bad spot:
“Sacks, as a quarterback, you don’t want to take. You want to try to throw the ball away or get it out on time. A little bit on me, a little bit on the offensive line. Maybe a little bit on the receivers not doing it. It has a little bit of everyone. That’s what this week is about. We wanted to get in there and correct some of the things we did against TCU.”

On being able to do more passing against Texas:
“There’s a lot of places we can do that. Coach (Josh) Heupel and Coach (Jay) Norvell, it’s on them. They’ll put the best game plan out there for us.”

On being ahead and seeing Texas fans leave the stadium:
“It’s a rivalry game. To go out there and to execute is the main thing. Coach is always talking about going out there individually and doing their job, 100 miles per hour, 100 percent and we’ll be all right. So if everyone does their job, that’s when you can win ball games.”

On if he’s nervous for OU-Texas:
“I have a little nerves before every game. People always say if you’re not nervous, something’s wrong. It’s just another game, another game for preparation, going out there and executing and taking care of the ball.”

On becoming more patient with more experience:
“Once you start playing with a group of guys enough, practicing with them. If it’s a route to Shep (Sterling Shepard), or Jalen (Saunders), or Lacoltan (Bester) or even knowing the offensive lineman is going to block this way or that way, it helps a lot as a quarterback. It’s just knowing you can trust them and they can trust you.”

On FB Trey Millard’s big plays last year, particularly the 70+ yard run:
“It helps a lot, especially a guy like Trey. You can always talk to him about that long run he had. I just wanted him to finish it, get that next three yards and get in the end zone. It’s big time having Trey making plays everywhere. He can block, he can run it, he can catch it out of the backfield. With a guy like that, you definitely can’t complain about him as a quarterback.”

On why FB Trey Millard ran out of bounds on that run as opposed to scoring:
“That guy [chasing him] was pretty fast and I think big boy was running out of gas at the end.”

On how OU has beaten Texas by a large margin in recent years:
“It’s a new year. They have different guys, we have different guys. Each year, it’s going to be tough. We have a lot of talent, they have a lot of talent. We’re going to come out there and give them our best shot and we’re going to be ready. That starts with preparation this week and we’re going to have fun with it, too.”

On when FB Trey Millard simultaneously jumped through two Texas defenders last year:
“You see it all the time. It seemed like last year, it happened almost once a game. It catches you by surprise. You see how big he is and how much he weighs and how high he gets in the air, you’re like ‘Wow!’”

On bringing back the ‘Belldozer’ package against TCU:
“I’ve always loved that package and getting in it. They bring in that extra, big o lineman. You got Rip (Aaron RIpkowski) and Trey (Millard) back there. You take a couple steps and you go in the whole and you feel like, with so many big guys in there, you can’t get touched.”

On physicality of last year’s game against Texas and how important it was:
“It was big time. Coach Stoops and all the coaches always talk about being the more physical team. I felt like we did go in there and be more physical with the run game and the package. With Damien’s (Williams) run and Kenny (Stills) coming across and making that great play, that’s the kind of stuff you want to see out of an offense, everyone hustling around and making plays.”

On if plays like that can wear down the opponent:
“Yeah, once you start getting big plays like that and getting after those guys and getting tempo, that does wear on them.”

Oklahoma Football

Wide Receiver Durron Neal
Oct. 8, 2013

On how he came to having such a big impact on TCU game:
“I needed to come here, work hard and make the best of the opportunities given to me. Things didn’t go so well during the camp but I stayed with it and put in the work at practice and the extra work and it paid off.”

On getting it going during the TCU game:
“Yeah, I finally found my groove, and my confidence has been growing everyday and I have been focusing on the ball and taking it all in.

“I always envision myself making big plays, I mean that is the first step to make big plays. When big plays do come, you have to envision them first and that is what I have been doing. I have also been watching the other guys, like my roommate Sterling [Shepard], Jaz [Reynolds] and Jalen [Saunders] and seeing them all contributing. My time came and I just tried to make the best of it and get involved with the offense as much as possible.”

On if he would say he's on the same page with Blake Bell:
“I would, yes. I have been getting more throws from him and going through routines.”

On Texas' defense:
“They switch it up. They still play some of the defense they played last year but they have some new guys coming in as well as their veterans. It is some of the similar things from last year and we need to stick with our game plan that we have been working on.

“I would say they are pretty much the same except for some of the guys. They just have a new unit in.”

On the Red River Rivalry from his perspective as a native of Missouri:
“Yes I have gotten into this game; I got into last year. The atmosphere is just amazing and coming from Missouri where football isn’t as big, coming to school like this and seeing how Texas football and Oklahoma football is big. I am ready to walk into that stadium.”

On using OU/TX for recruiting:
“That is one of the things they say when they try and recruit you. They tell you, you get to play in some of the most historical rivalries like Bedlam and the Red River Rivalry. They never lie. It’s a special game; both games are."

On telling the new OU players:
“A lot of the other guys have been talking about it a lot but in the receiving room, Coach [Norvell] is always showing videos of the Red River Rivalry. We tell them to get ready because it is going to be exciting, it might be an early game but you are also going to see 100,000 people there for that 11 a.m. game.”

Oklahoma Football
Offensive Lineman Adam Shead
Oct. 8, 2013

On getting ready for OU-Texas week:
“Everybody is on edge. Everyone knows this is a big game, a big week and what this rivalry means to each one of these programs.”

On pressure helping in the game:
“Definitely because everyone knows, once again, how big this game is. We all know the meaning of this game to Oklahoma fans, to this university, to recruitment and to Texas fans.”

On having an edge over UT:
“Not at all. Last year was last year; this year there are two completely different teams.”

On UT’s front:
“They are really good, I have to say that. Texas is known for their talent.”

On growing up with the Red River Rivalry:
“It was always big. I remember this weekend and being the student from that area and a kid in that area. I remember people would always talk about how “I got Oklahoma” or “I got Texas”. It was a big deal and I always remember that. I didn’t really understand it more until I got into middle school and started getting into football but I always knew about it growing up.”

Oklahoma Football
Offensive Lineman Bronson Irwin
Oct. 8, 2013

On Brennan Clay’s running style:
“He gets downhill; he gets yards and gets what he can. He’s going to stick his nose in there and find the hole and get all he yards that he can. In the short yardage and those situations where we’re running the ball, he’s a good guy to have back there. He’s going to get vertical and get down and protect the ball.”

On the importance of this year’s OU/Texas game:
“It would be pretty cool to go 4-0 against Texas. It’s important to win every game, but being that this is one of the biggest, if not the biggest rivalry we have, it’s important for everyone involved. I’m looking forward to it, I’m excited. I’m a little sad that this’ll be my last time for the experience, there’s really nothing like it, as far as playing college ball goes. I’m looking forward to it and I’m looking forward to being 4-0.”

If OU has a mental edge on Texas:
“This is a new year. You see it every year; teams turn around and have different offensive or defensive styles. We got the best of them the last three years, but they’re going to give us their best on Saturday.”

Oklahoma Football
Running Back Brennan Clay
Oct. 8, 2013

On his mindset during OU/Texas week:
“We know it’s a big rivalry. We take pride. There’s a lot of tradition that goes into this game, a lot of preparation. The coaches really harp on us being the more physical team and being the more complete team, whether that be running the ball or completing passes. That’s what we really harp on. The big thing is turnovers. We’re going to focus on protecting the ball and making plays.”

On turnovers and if the character of a team affects them:
“Character is being able to protect the ball, being able to tuck it, not letting anyone take it from you. For the quarterback, it’s making smart decisions with the ball down the field and that goes on the o-line as well, being able to put pressure in the pocket. That makes them a little bit antsy.”

On differences in his game:
“It’s me being healthy. I’m so blessed to be able to play this game and I’ve fought through a lot of injuries. It’s just perseverance, hard work and determination. Nothing can really keep me off that field. God-willing, I’m making good plays and I’ll continue to do so.”

On new uniforms:
“It’s something different. It could be a little gold and everybody was in that locker room fired up. It’s just something different. Us younger cats like that fashion sense, so it’s something that we look forward to. Especially the cleats with the gold bottoms, those are nice. They did a great job.”

On OU/Texas living up to expectations he had coming here as a freshman:
“Absolutely, 100 percent. Coming down that tunnel and they’re right beside us… you get those chants going… the atmosphere is so live. It’s wild. For my last go around, I just want to go out with a bang. It’s going to be a good game.”



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