Co-Offensive Coordinator Josh Heupel

On the overall look of the offense going into Saturday:
“I feel like we need to play and find out where we are at. We have done some good things, but not played well at certain times. At the end of the day, on Saturday night, we need to play hard, play smart and play physical. If we do those things, we will have the chance to win. We got a lot of young skill players who haven’t been out under the lights, and were going to find out where they are at.”

On how the experience of the offensive line will benefit the season:
“They are big, strong, physical and have played a lot of football at a high level. Each Saturday is it’s own challenge though, but to be successful they are going to take us where we want to go. They will allow us to pound the football, make play-action-passes, make movement and at the end of the day, at third-and-long they need to give our quarterback the opportunity to drop back and throw the ball. So far, that’s what they have been able to do.”

On how Blake Bell has adapted to tight end position:
“At the end of the day, you have to be willing to stick your nose in there and block a 275-pound defensive end and he is willing. He plays with great technique and I think it surprised me how well fundamentally Blake played in early spring ball; certainly through training camp as well. Hopefully it will show on Saturday, as well.”

On seeing how the “skill” guys play in games vs. practice:
“I think for those guys, getting out there, in a live situation is completely different from practice. There are some things you have to work through and there is no substitute for real-live gam action at the end of the day. We expect those guys to play well and catch the football, hold on to the football when it’s in their hands. We believe in those guys but it will be a huge test for them and for us.”

On seeing Keith Ford and Alex Ross in game situations:
“I don’t really believe in guys that are just gamers, but there are some guys who transition what they do in practice, onto the game field and handle the stage, raising their game to another level. At the end of the day, those guys have a lot on their plate but they have a great pace, great vision, good in pass protection; especially in third-down situations. Those guys for the first time that they really get to carry a ball will have to handle all the responsibilities that come with it. It sounds easy but it is not an easy transition.”

On C Ty Darlington:
“Smart. Great leader. Competitive. Understands the game at a high level and has played, not a lot, but some at a high level. We expect him to take over and do a great job.”


Co-Offensive Coordinator Jay Norvell

On K.J. Young and Michiah Quick heading into the first game:
“(Young) didn’t play much last year as a freshman but really was a guy we felt like could be a good slot receiver for us. He’s made a ton of improvements since last year. He had a great spring and a great off-season. He’s starting to play at the speed we want him to play at. Him and Michiah Quick are doing a really good job in the slot.”

On Oklahoma’s passing game:
“I think every year offensively we want to establish the fact that we can throw the ball down the field and that we can throw for a high percentage, so both of those things are important whether it’s short passing or making people pay for down the field throws. So, it’s really important and we didn’t throw the ball well our first couple of games last year and we want to come out of the box throwing the ball much better. We want to prove that we’ve improved in that area of our game. We want to throw for higher percentage. We want to make plays down the field.”

On how Durron Neal is playing:
"Durron (Neal) is just playing with a lot of confidence. He’s always showing great ability—ability to run, to run after the catch, to go deep—all of those things. But he’s just kind of tying all loose ends of his game together and playing with a lot of confidence, you know. Football’s just like anything: when you play it with confidence you finish plays, you go after things with a lot more velocity, and he’s just carrying himself like a veteran player.”

On what to expect former Texas defensive coordinator Manny Diaz and Louisiana Tech:
“Obviously we have to be prepared for the things that they’ve done in the past and so having played him before gives us some history. It doesn’t mean they'll do the same things just because he’s coaching, but we have to be prepared for that and obviously he’s played us before so he is familiar with some of the things we like to do. That’s just part of coaching. You try to prepare for every scenario and as much from the past as you can helps you, but in an opening game, you never know what you’re going to get.”

On the play of TE Blake Bell:
“I think Blake is a guy that has always had a lot of respect from his teammates and coaches and I think the unselfish move, moving to tight end and doing all the things he’s had to do to prepare himself, it's just endeared himself to his teammates. I think if anyone deserves to have a great senior year, it’s him. He’s sacrificed a lot for this program, and I think he’s made a great transition. He’s a key to what we want to do this year and I’m excited to see him play probably as much as anybody.”


Running Back Keith Ford

On game week:
“It’s getting too close. I’ve been waiting for this for about nine months and it’s about that time to play football again. Everyone here is really excited, and I’m very excited as well.”

On what the running backs need to do in the game:
“The main thing is that we’re all young and we barely have any experience, so we have to work on the little things. It’s really a trust factor to test this group, so the first game to just see what we can do is going to be a big step for us to see what we can do as a running group corps. We’re young, but we have a lot of talent.”

On working with Alex Ross:
“It’s fun to work with each other. We compete every day and we try to get each other better. That’s the bond and the friendship that we have. We are just competing to get each other better.”

On getting his chance to get on the field:
“I’m very anxious. I’ve been waiting for this since last year just to have that chance to actually play and get actual reps and the experience that I need, so it’s a very big step for all of us to show the world what we can do as a whole.”


Junior Center Ty Darlington

On being physical:
“I think that the mentality is there. I think those guys up front, we were watching film in the offseason and some of the old OU offensive lines, guys like Jammal Brown and Duke Robinson and different guys who have dominated here, and we want to be that type of offensive line so that people will fear us. It’s also a huge help having so much more of a presence with the tight ends now with Blake (Bell) and T-Mac (Taylor McNamara) are a huge part of the run game, and Rip (Aaron Ripkowski) is a physical presence, he’s one of the most physical players on the team. So we have those guys back there, and when you have backs like Samaje (Perine) and Keith (Ford) and Alex Ross, all those guys are trucks. They might run you over in the process of getting into the end zone, and we’re completely fine with that. When you pair all of those and all that together with the tight ends, the fullbacks, the o-line and a physical backfield, I think you’re going to see a physical running game.”

On the energy in the locker room:
“There’s a whole new energy because it’s game week. There’s an energy around the locker room and around the team. We’re ready to go.”

On being a physical offensive line:
“We’ve talked about it amongst each other. I thought we were much more physical last year than we were the year before, and we want to continue to make those strides and be more physical this year than we were last year. I think we’re definitely going to be that. You’re going to see a physical offensive line out there on Saturday.”


Offensive Lineman Nila Kasitati

On preparing for Trevor Knight as the starting QB vs. Blake Bell:
“It’s just going out there and, whatever play it is that we’re running, just running it like if it was anybody back there."

On competing to be a starter with other guards:
"We’re all just going out there doing our best to make sure that we give every play everything that we’ve got. I think all the guards are really good and are able to start, but it’s all just up to coach.”

On intersquad competition:
“We all know as linemen or as football players that it goes week by week, and anybody can step up and start at whatever position.”