Bob Stoops Press Conference

Athletics Communications
By Athletics Communications
University of Oklahoma
OCTOBER 21, 2013

Oklahoma Football
Head Coach Bob Stoops Press Conference
Oct. 21, 2013

Opening Statement:
“Going back and recapping the Kansas game, much like I thought after the game, initially Kansas did a good job of having us off balance defensively with some formations and adjustments. We didn’t do a very good job of handling them and getting ourselves in the right position and they took advantage of that when we weren’t. But we settled in and started to recognize them and adjust properly and from that point on we really played great defense. I think from that point on we gave up 28 or 29 yards the entire second half. Also, early on a time or two we might have overrun a couple of things and put ourselves out of position where we gave up a play or two. Again, overall that part of it settled down and we played great from about the mid-second quarter on.

“Offensively, I was really pleased again with how we ran the football. We averaged over five yards per carry. We got a couple of big plays with the reverse and played through a great third down off of the blitz for the touchdown to Jaz Reynolds. Still though, some things can be cleaner. We were better on third downs. We were seven of 14, they were two of 11 or 12, something like that. We picked it up, we were better executing our third downs. I still think we have some opportunities where we have some guys that we have got to be able to come up with a few more big plays that I think are out there. It’s just our execution in some of our opportunities where we’re not coming up with a few more big plays offensively. Some guys that played well, Gabe Ikard was the player of the game with Sterling Shepard. Sterling was making big plays but also continues to be a great blocker out on the perimeter and really is hustling. Other guys, Roy Finch I think had a really good day. Lacoltan Bester, Jaz Reynolds, Nila (Kasitati), Daryl Williams also up front, Aaron Ripkowski really did well.

“Special teams-wise, Matt Dimon had a big block and really did a nice job. On our block, our punter, I’m not sure what happens. We’ve got a young guy up front that doesn’t do his job blocking. He said he thought they were going to hold up. I’ve never heard that before. Then our punter walks away from his protectors, I haven’t seen that. That’s the first time that’s happened and I don’t know why he did it. We’ll get with him today. He’s totally away from the protectors. Even with the poor blocking up front, if he’s behind his protectors they’re still going to have a very, very difficult time getting to him.

“The rest of it, again, it’s still good to win on the road. It brings us to Texas Tech here, a team that is 7-0 and ranked, I believe, somewhere in the top 10 in the country. They’re really playing well. Kliff Kingsbury and his staff have done a great, great job on both sides of the ball. The way they’re playing offensively, regardless of who is at quarterback for them, they continue to be efficient and effective throwing and running the ball. These teams in this style of offense are still very good at running the football. We have to be very good at trying to stop their run game. Defensively, they’re very sound and disciplined. They play hard, play aggressive, and give you different looks trying to change things up. They’re very good defensively. They’re in the top half in the league in most defensive categories and very sound in the kicking game. So, big challenge here at home.”

On QB Blake Bell’s performance against Kansas:
“I thought he played okay. I still believe he can play better. We had some missed reads and a few missed opportunities on a few deep balls.”

On if big pass plays are the biggest thing that could open up the offense:
“Yes, but we had some of those opportunities and we missed them. We have got to be able to convert. We’ll keep going after them and I think we will. We had some opportunities the other day and we just weren’t able to complete them. It does to a degree. I still think there are some adjustments we can make as we move forward that will help us be a little more efficient.”

On the defense getting better in the second half against the run:
“We were lined up properly. I’m not going to sit here and point fingers but with the alignments we worked. We have got to be able to recognize it and react properly on the field and we’re working hard on that. It shouldn’t take a quarter and a half to figure it out.”

On if the alignment problems are a result of not having LB Corey Nelson out there:
“I don’t want to say yes because that’s an excuse and at the end of the day he’s not there and he’s not going to be. The other guys have got to be able to do it. I don’t believe it’s just that.”

On Kansas being physical in the first quarter-and-a-half:
“It’s easy to be physical when you’re out of position. It didn’t change the second two and a half quarters. They ran the same guys, the same plays and the same formations. It had nothing to do with being physical, it had everything to do with getting in the proper positions.”

On what they have to do to get off to a faster start offensively:
“We have to play well as a team and just as you said offense is part of the defense. When you play teams that have these high-powered offenses you have to stay on the field too. I look back last year at playing (Texas) A&M in the Cotton Bowl. It’s a 14-13 game at halftime and we hadn’t punted. That was part of the game. We come out in the second half and have three or four three-and-outs in a row and it’s part of it. I’m not saying the defense doesn’t have to get their stops too. You play together as a team. Field position, you stay on the field, get third downs, you get stopped and hopefully you’re close to midfield and you punt it and they’re on the 10 or 15. It’s all part of it. You have to complement each other, offensively and defensively.”

On the injury situation:
“Julian (Wilson), I don’t think he will practice today but he will practice tomorrow because he was much better on Sunday. Unsure about Adam (Shead). I believe he’s okay from the last word I got.”

On if DT Torrea Peterson will play this week:
“Yes, provided he does what he needs to do academically.”

On what he has learned about his defensive front with DT Jordan Phillips out:
“Jordan (Wade) played really good there this week. They’ll keep getting better. I feel that our front has played pretty well really. Some of what the other day is that the linebackers are scraping too wide and doesn’t stay inside the guard on the power. There’s a big hole when that happens and there will be every time that happens. When he stays, all of a sudden we are where we should be and we stop them on third and short. The d-line I believe is doing a nice job. Jordan and the other guys in there are getting better.”

On if it is too much to ask DL Chuka Ndulue to play defensive tackle full-time:
“No, I don’t believe it is. I think when he has he has more than helped us out. He has done a nice job.”

On if RB Keith Ford didn’t play anymore because of the fumble:
“Obviously. It’s from the outside world to think it’s just a fumble, let him play again. It’s not when you’re on the field competing and all of a sudden you’re on the 30-yard line in scoring position and you get nothing. In these kinds of games, any kind of game, it doesn’t work. You have to take care of the ball.”

On if there is a certain amount of time players stay out when they fumble:
“We don’t have a penance period. When we feel that he has earned his right to be out there and take care of the ball he will play. It’s not the end of the world for Keith (Ford), he’s a great young man, works hard and he’s a great player. He just has to learn to take care of the football. That’s two games in a row he’s in and doesn’t have that many carries and two of them are on the ground.”

On the way the team is finishing games:
“Yeah, I thought the other day, again, the fourth quarter they really controlled the ball and controlled the pace and a good part of that is running the football. I thought the line, and those guys, really ran it well in the way we did it. I thought Blake (Bell) did a nice job with his part of it too. So part of that, some of the screen game off of the runs have been executed well. When you can get those screens and gain six, gain seven, gain eight, those are again, I’ve said it before, they’re like long hand-offs. So hopefully we’ve just got to keep getting better with it.”

On if DT Charles Tapper has been improving throughout the season:
“Absolutely. He continues to play really well. He had a sack or two the other day. Charles (Tapper) is playing really strong and playing well.”

On why they finally decided to play the LaColtan Bester to Sterling Shepard reverse play:
“Coach (Josh) Heupel and coach (Jay) Norvell finally decided it was oiled up enough to let it go. After I saw LaColtan (Bester) throw it, I’m wondering why we don’t throw them a couple times a game. He can just pull up in the pocket and find somebody. Sterling (Shepard) was dead in front of me. I saw it coming down and I had a comment, wow, it was perfect.”

On if the play surprised him:
“Yeah, that it was that clean. I knew he could throw it but not quite that well.”

On if the QB run game at Kansas was due to their defensive alignment or predetermined:
“It’s a little of both. We want to continue to give him more opportunities and hopefully keep executing it better and finding the right places and get up in those seams.”

On if Texas Tech looks different with Kliff Kingsbury as the head coach:
“Of course they’re different. They have a new head coach, entirely new coaching staff. Offense is similar in that Neal Brown, the (offensive) coordinator that was at Tech, comes from the same tree – Hal Mumme, Mike Leach and all of those guys. So, in that regard, the offense has a lot of similarities. But, Kliff (Kingsbury) is doing his thing and defensively are much different so they’re doing a great job.”

On if he feels like Texas Tech has made good use of TE Jace Amaro:
“Absolutely. Their big tight end. Great receiver, blocker, and they feed it to him so he’s a big part of what they do.”

On how important it is for the defense to be ready for the Texas Tech offensive pace:
“Well you’ve got to be ready for the tempo. And part of that many plays is, the offense needs to stay on the field. Our offense needs to stay on the field and it’s hard to make that many plays when you’re offense is on the field hopefully a good number of plays. That’s what I said to start with, you’ve got to play each other well as a team.”

On the play of linebacker Dominique Alexander:
“It’s not fair to pick on (Dominique Alexander) in that he wasn’t in the right spot a time or two, but that’s part of it. But he’s in the right spot a good part of the day and he’s doing better and better. He sure, physically, isn’t out of place. He’s a strong, fast guy that again, is just going to continue to get better the more he sees things and he’ll learn from the other day. On some of the inside plays, he’s just scraping and getting too wide and not staying tight to where he needs to be. But other times, later in the day, he did. So he’s getting it, and he’s doing great. We’re excited about (Dominique) for sure.”

On if Texas Tech's offense affects what he wants to do offensively:
“I want to convert third downs, stay on the field and score. Sometimes it may be fast; sometimes it may be slower, as long as we’re productive.”

On what he has seen from LB P.L. Lindley:
“P.L. (Lindley) is doing a really good job at the SAM backer, just on how he’s playing physical, he’s doing what we need him to at the point of attack there and played well. He also was one of the guys that had a really good game defensively.”

On what has to happen defensively without linebacker Corey Nelson:
“Well what has to happen without Corey (Nelson) is that the other backers, between Frank (Shannon) and Dominique (Alexander) they’ve got to be able to do that. And the safeties, the safeties are a big part of it too, so the four of those guys together have to get everybody on the same page. And, you know, for the most part we’ve done it fairly well. Obviously when we don’t, we give up some plays and we’ve got to make them.”

On how the TE position is doing with Trey Millard and Aaron Ripkowski:
“They’re doing really well. They’re playing good football.”

On throwing it to the TEs:
“We tried on fourth and two and we didn’t see them. Everyone else did. Except I guess Kansas, they didn’t see them either. But Blake (Bell) will get that, we just have to keep snapping it and keep reading it right and he’ll get it.”

On what he’s seen from Texas Tech QB Baker Mayfield:
“Poise, arm - excellent arm, accurate. Just the poise, you can tell he’s just comfortable. Very comfortable in what they’re asking him to do.”

On if he feels that Texas Tech continues to improve after each victory:
“It’s fair to say. They continue to play very confidently, aggressively, with good discipline. You don’t see many mistakes. It’s hard to say when you’re not on in the building with them but they’re playing good football.”

On the atmosphere when Texas Tech came to Norman in 2008:
“Yeah it would be awesome if we could re-create that atmosphere and everybody jump in and do their best to try to affect the game, build some excitement and all. We’ve got to do our part, it’s a lot easier to be excited when you’re playing well so we’ve got to hopefully give them some things to cheer about and jump in the game.”

On if he's excited after preparing schemes for these types of offenses in the off-season:
“Yeah, sure. It’s going to be challenging. I say it all the time, maybe not all the time, but I mean, there’s no magical scheme. You still have to make plays when you have opportunities. Heck, we had three balls hit us in the hands the other night and we dropped three interceptions. So you’ve got to make plays when you get opportunities, regardless of what kind of scheme you’re in. So hopefully we’ll be able to.”

On if he feels confident with his matchups in the secondary going into games:
“Yeah, we feel good about those but you still have to make your plays when you have the opportunities.”

On how linebacker Eric Striker has been playing:
“Great. Eric (Striker) was again, very disruptive the other day getting pressure. I know one of the sacks that Charles (Tapper) gets, is because he’s flushed up in the pocket because of Eric (Striker) coming around the corner so he continues to play well.”

On what was working defensively when defeating Texas Tech at home in the past:
“You know, just everything. Coverage, pressure; more than anything eliminating the run game. I know people find that hard to believe but it’s a big part of stopping them – being a great with their run game screens. The stuff that happens on the line of scrimmage and back is a big part of defending them.”

On what he wants the identity of the offense to be and if he feels that it has been achieved:
“We’re not looking for anything in particular. We want to be effective in running and throwing the football, and I think the obvious part is that we need to be a little more effective throwing the football – or consistent. We’ve had our times where we’ve been pretty good with it and we’ve had our times when we haven’t, so we’ve got to get that part of our game more consistent.”

On what his message to the fans about getting involved on Saturday would be:
“I kind of just said that. Just hopefully they’ll take an interest in helping affect the game and hopefully we give them something to cheer about where it can get exciting.”

Oklahoma Football
Head Coach Bob Stoops – Big 12 Conference Call
Oct. 21, 2013

On if Kliff Kingsbury’s offense at Texas Tech is similar to what the Sooners faced against Texas A&M in the Cotton Bowl last year:
“Very similar as far as plays and formations. Very very similar, just minus number two back there.”

On if that familiarity helps the Sooners prepare for Texas Tech this week:
“I think as much as anything we are very familiar with this type of offense because its roots are with Mike Leach, Hal Mumme and all those guys and we still have elements of it in our offense. It’s that same system that Tech has had for a good number of years now. Kliff has his wrinkles to it and all but again, all those principles you can see, you know, Kliff was taught by Mike Leach. So we recognize it. It’s still difficult to stop though.”

On what has made Texas Tech’s offense so good to this point in the season:
“The discipline and how they work it. Both their quarterbacks have done well and you can tell they are really disciplined in how they work it.”

On if he thought Kingsbury would make a good coach when Kingsbury was a player:
“Oh sure. All these quarterbacks, you know it’s just like Josh Heupel for us. These quarterbacks are always bright football guys. So sure you’d always take one. They are usually very good.”

On the injury status of DB Julian Wilson:
“He was much better Sunday so they are anticipating he should practice probably tomorrow. Probably won’t today but should tomorrow.”

On Texas Tech dealing with multiple players at the quarterback position:
“Yeah, but they’ve dealt with it very well and again I credit it to Kliff and their staff. They run their offense with a lot of discipline and all those guys have been able to throw the ball well. They’ve done a good job of being able to handle it.”

On his defense responding in the second half against Kansas:
“Give Kansas credit. They gave us some different formations but to be honest we had practiced those and we were anticipating them but we didn’t react well to them. Sometimes our guys just need to do a better job of recognizing some things and getting adjusted. As much as we talk to them about it we still have to do it. Eventually we did, we settled down somewhere there kind of mid second quarter and at half time we made sure we went through it again and then we came out in the second half with all the same plays and formations and gave up, I think, 28 or 29 yards the whole second half. It’s just recognizing it and getting it handled.”

On the big picture of the Big 12 race:
“We’re only midway through the year. You have five games left you have to try and win and hopefully a bowl game from there.”

On the advantages of having coaches on staff that played at that school:
“You know how important it is when it’s your school but as coaches we are all fighting for our lives every day. It’s hard to care more. You’re sitting there the doing your best and I guess those guys know your culture, the culture of the school, they know a lot of alumni and in those areas it gives you some advantages, too.”



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