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Sooners Arrive in NOLA
December 27, 2013

The Sooners arrived in New Orleans for the 2014 Allstate Sugar Bowl, Thursday afternoon. Head coach Bob Stoops, along with offensive lineman Gabe Ikard and defensive back Aaron Colvin met with the media to discuss the week ahead.


Head Coach Bob Stoops

“All of us at the University of Oklahoma are excited to be participating this week at the Sugar Bowl, we’re excited to be here and ready to go to work. We recognize that we have a great opponent in Alabama, a team that was number one in the country for two or three years now, up until that last play of the game against Auburn so we’re very aware of what a great team they are. Coach Saban has done a great job building and coaching their team and they have a bunch of great athletes so it’s a big challenge but an exciting challenge as well. I’m really proud of our football team and how we’ve responded through the year, in particular the second half of the year where the guys have really held it together and played hard and played well together and put us in this position. We’re excited about the opportunity to be in New Orleans for the next five or six days.”

On rules and keeping players out of trouble
“These young guys could find trouble if they wanted to just about anywhere. Oklahoma City is a big town right up the road from us and we’ve seemed to manage that. I trust their character, not just this year—we haven’t been a team that has had a lot of trouble so in the end, I trust them like I always do.”

On quarterback decision
“Well we intend to be unsettled about quarterback all the way up until the game. I wouldn’t say it’s unsettled I would say that it’s purposeful. And let’s face it, both those guys in different situations have really done well so we have to have both of them ready to go.”

On conference pride going against an SEC school
“That’s something that everybody talks about but in the end how do you have more pride than for your own program? So we have enough to worry about with Oklahoma.”

(On senior class leadership
“I expect them to provide great leadership like they have all year. They are a great group of seniors. The captains, seniors and all of these guys are what you really want in a football team. We are excited to go to work and prepare to have a great game.”

OL Gabe Ikard

On curfew negotiations
“I will not reveal the curfew negotiations but that was the easiest negotiation I’ve ever had with Coach Stoops, he asked me what time I thought we should be in and I told him and he said OK…he realizes we have a lot of senior leadership on this team and we’re going to do whatever is best for the team, the main focus is practice obviously and it’s not hard to keep these guys out of trouble.  We’ve got a lot of great character guys on this team.”

On being in New Orleans on NYE
“We’ll all be in our hotel rooms watching that ball drop don’t worry about that.”

On being a team captain and managing curfew
“We’ll talk to the team and Coach Stoops gives us a little leniency the first couple of days when we get here, he expects us to be responsible and the players represent the University so we’ll all stay out of trouble and that’s something he’s always done so he makes it clear that if the young guys want that the next bowl game and the bowl game after that, they’ll stay out of trouble and do what they need to do to make curfew or else he’ll send you on a Greyhound home.”

“Coach Stoops is very reasonable in what he lets us do. We’re going to be able to have some fun but we need to make sure that everyone knows that we’re here for one reason and that’s to win a football game. But we’ll enjoy New Orleans and as far as I can see we’re staying on Bourbon Street so that should be nice and interesting.”

On being more excited now that the team is in New Orleans
“We’re very excited to be here, we got a great welcome from these guys and it’s our first time in New Orleans, most excited for the game obviously but it should be a great experience all around.”

On the season as a whole
“With a little adversity with injuries and losing some other guys it’s been different-- with instability with a quarterback , we’ve had a lot of variables factor into the season. To win 10 games is special to go to the BCS game is special, but you always want to end the year with a win, especially against a great team like Alabama.”

On playing Alabama in the Sugar Bowl, NOT the National Championship
“I would have thought we’d be in Pasadena but that’s not how it worked out. Obviously, they’re a great team, still probably the best in the country except for one crazy play, so we’re very excited for the opportunity to see how talented they are and the success they’ve had in the last five years. We have a lot to prove in this game.”

On quarterback decision
“You see two quarterback systems all over the country and you have two guys that are very talented, but talented in different things. It’s not a problem when you have two guys as talented as Blake (Bell) and Trevor (Knight).”

On keeping the season together after moments where it could have unraveled
“We lost some guys and we had some guys step up and make plays, young guys coming in and playing well, so a lot of things going in to this season but the togetherness of this team is one of those things where you really see some character from people in this program and our coaches have done a great job at putting us in place to succeed and we’ve really played to our strengths this year especially since we’ve lost some guys. I just think it’s one of those things where we’ve handled adversity very well and for us to go 10-2 is pretty special.”

DB Aaron Colvin

On what he thinks and knows already about the city of New Orleans
“I heard it’s a pretty exciting place but we have some good character guys on this team and you know being a leader that is my job to kind of keep that under control.”

On how much of this is a business trip and how much of this is a reward
“This is a 100% business trip. Yes, it’s nice we made it to New Orleans, it’s a beautiful city but at the same time we came here to finish business. That’s part of why I came back for my senior year to finish business.”

On what he thinks of when he thinks of Alabama
“I think powerhouse. They’ve been on top for a long time since I’ve been at Oklahoma they’ve been one of the top teams.”

On what he sees on film of Alabama
“They are very disciplined. You see the reason why they win ballgames. But any opponent you play, you cannot be scared of them. They are a good team but so are we.”

On how ready the guys are to get back to work after the Christmas break
“It’s all business now. Being able to spend time with your family is great. I love my family and love being in Tulsa but now I am in New Orleans and its almost game time and time to roll.”

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