Offensive Media Session

Athletics Communications
By Athletics Communications
University of Oklahoma
NOVEMBER 04, 2013

Oklahoma Football
Co-Offensive Coordinator Josh Heupel
Nov. 3, 2013

On the Baylor defense:
“They’ve got a lot of guys that have played a lot of football. I think they’ve got like seven seniors on that football team. They are running around, playing with a lot of confidence, tackling well, not giving up a bunch of big plays, so we have to do the flip side of that. We have to make people miss and create some big plays. They’re probably playing a little more four-man front than they have. They’ve sprinkled in some three-man front so we’ll need to be ready for that, too.”

On the running game without Trey Millard:
“We’re going to find out how everyone performs and plays without him on the field. He’s the best in the business as what he did and that hurts us but the guys that step in for him and the guys around him just have to perform at a different level.”

On TE Brannon Green stepping up:
“He’s played some football for us and he’ll be ready to go. He’s looking forward to the opportunity.”

On the keys to the game for the Oklahoma offense:
“Throughout the entire ball game you have to convert on third downs, score touchdowns in the Red Zone because of how they’ve been able to play offensively, early in the ball game you’ve got to get off to a good start. They’ve been able to play from ahead in every ball game.”

On losing FB Trey Millard:
“I think anytime you lose a guy of his caliber it makes it more difficult. But we’ve got guys that have played and are going to be able to step up and play at a high level. It’s nothing extraordinary, it’s just guys doing their job at a high level.”

On the offense’s slow starts this season:
“We executed well on the first play a week ago and then we jumped offsides and we’re behind the chains. The quarterback runs outside the hole on second down and all of a sudden you’re in a third and long situation and we don’t execute as well as we’re capable of on the next play. It’s not any one guy; it’s everyone taking their turn at it. We just need to perform better early in the ball game, getting the flow right away.”

On playing on a Thursday:
“I think our guys are excited to play in a big ball game against a great opponent and play on the road. I think our guys look forward to that challenge. For the most part, we’ve played extremely well the past year and a half on the road and this will be a big test. The practice schedule is weird. I walked in the house last night thinking it was Monday. I think our guys are ready because they’ve had more time on Saturday and Sunday.”

On keeping up with Baylor:
“I think at the end of the day, you’ve got to stay in the game early. I think it’s important that we start fast and we score touchdowns in the Red Zone.”

On how the offense has been playing:
“They’ve done a good job. We’ve been efficient running the football. I think there is still more out there than what we’ve got. Our backs have to make guys miss and we’ve got to hit the hole.”

On replacing FB Trey Millard:
“It’s going to be a combination of a couple different things. Brannon Green is going to go in and he’s going to play. We’re going to do some things to hopefully give both Green and (Aaron) Ripkowski opportunities to be successful. At the end of the day, we’re going to put 11 out there and they have to go out and execute.”

On Baylor QB Bryce Petty:
“He was a good player coming out of high school. He had a strong arm, physically mature kid. He’s turned into a great player.”

Oklahoma Football
Co-Offensive Coordinator Jay Norvell
Nov. 3, 2013

On Trey Franks moving back to wide receiver:
“We’re just trying to squeeze everybody out of this roster, anybody that can help us in any way. Trey (Franks) has played a lot of football on offense at wideout. He wanted to try defense and he went and tried it and we can use him over here and he can do a lot of things. He’s played a lot of football. You look back a few years ago at some different games we’re playing and he’s in there a bunch showing those young guys how to do it. He’s got a lot of experience and another year left of eligibility, so we’re just trying to use him.”

On why Franks switched back to offense:
“There really wasn’t a whole lot to it. I just asked if he wanted to play offense and he said yeah, and that’s about it.”

On Baylor’s defense coverage wise:
“They do a little of both. They’ll pressure you and then play off and play coverage, but they’ve done an excellent job getting off the field on third down and in Red Zone. They’ve done an excellent job. It’s lot of the same guys we played against last year they’re just playing better. They’re more experienced and more confident. The defense is a big part of this success. I know offensively they’ve gotten a lot of notoriety for what they’ve done scoring a lot of points, but their success on defense is a big part of why they’re undefeated right now.”

On if QB Blake Bell has worked extra with the receivers:
“I think that’s just the way we work here. Blake (Bell) has had great examples in Landry (Jones) and the guys before them, so that’s just kind of the way we work here. When Coach blows it up practice isn’t over with. Those guys are playing catch when a lot of people are already off the field. And in between, we don’t waste a minute of practice. When we’re going special teams or field goals those guys aren’t standing around. They’re catching bubbles or running slants. They’re trying to use every moment of practice to get on the same page, so that’s just something we continue to work on. That’s just the way we do things here. Blake has taken it upon himself. He understands it. He has to be the guy to deliver those plays, so he makes sure he’s doing it. I just see a different level of confidence in him after last week. I think that’s a really competitive football game we played and I saw a lot of tempo , and that’s the way it’s got to be. We play a tough schedule at Oklahoma. We get tested early, and I think it benefits us this time of year. We understand that, and I think we’ve been in this situation before, and now I think we will benefit from having tough opponents.”

On Bell’s play vs. Texas Tech:
“When you talk quarterbacks you talk about slamming the ball on people, and he did that. On that third down ball he threw to (Sterling) Shepard on the out route on their boundary I thought was the same way. He did that up at Kansas and I think he understands that when he gets on top of the ball and he slams it on bodies, those balls catch you. If a quarterback throws a ball like that to you then you catch it. That’s the kind of conviction he has to play with to be on top of his game just like every player. I’ve seen that in him the last couple of weeks. I think he’s going to grow in that confidence. It’s really taken over the offense having that confidence that you have the reins over it all. When he does that he’s really in control out there and he’s just got to continue to play like that.”

On controlling the clock:
“They (Baylor) kind of have it going on like we did in 2008 where they get up on people early. What you have to do with them is control the clock obviously and you’ve got to start fast with them. You’ve got to control the clock very similar to what we did last week. We have to be balanced. We have to run the ball but we also have to execute throwing the ball when we have our opportunities. Any time we can  control the clock and keep them off the bench it’s a big plus. So the key is that they don’t need a lot of time to score. We’ve got to be efficient. If we can limit the opportunities they get by not turning it over and converting on third downs we help our cause. It’s not a complicated formula, but it’s important that we get the type of execution we had a week ago. I think we can do better in the first quarter of executing and getting more touchdowns. We’re going to need more touchdowns than field goals in this game. This team needs to be efficient offensively.”

On if Baylor blitzes:
“Not more, but they do zero blitz. They play a lot of cover four and they’re either going to come after you or back off and play coverage. It’s going to be important that we recognize that and that we pick up those blitzes and that we make them pay when they do come after us.”

On WR Jaz Reynolds and the seniors:
“Jaz (Reynolds) will be good. He got dinged a little bit in practice. It means a lot to him and our seniors. This is the time of the year when you feel your seniors every day. They lose another game every week for their college career, and they don’t have much, so it means a lot to Jaz. It means a lot to Lacoltan Bester. He begs me to go in the game, and he’s going to play a lot, but that’s what you want. You want that kind of passion to be in there and make something happen. Jalen Saunders you can really feel that it’s his last few games, and it means a lot to him and he wants to go out on top, so those seniors have to lead us with their passion and you always remember the games in November. We talk about it and we’re preparing that way. We’re out here on Sunday afternoon and our guys are running around and flying around getting ready for a big game.”

On turning short passes into big plays:
“The short passes have to be like runs. They’ve got to be catch the ball no nonsense and get up the field, no dancing, and that’s the mentality we have to play with. We’ve got to make a three-yard catch eight yards and a six yard catch nine yards. We’ve got to get the first down first and then worry about making something flashy happen. That’s kind of the mentality we have. This team has become a blue collar team. We kind of felt that way in the spring, and we’ve got a fighter’s mentality. We’re going to pound on you for four quarters and then try to win it in the fourth. That’s the way we’ve got to be, and that’s okay. It doesn’t matter how pretty it is. If we end up on the right side of the ledger that’s really all that matters.”

Oklahoma Football
Quarterback Blake Bell
Nov. 3, 2013

On if playing on a Thursday will disrupt anything:
“It’s going to be different, but not so much disrupting anything. We’re just treating it like we were going through a week. We started like we were practicing this weekend so I don’t think it will disrupt anything, I think it will be fun.”

On getting the urgency they need to be prepared with a short week:
“Well obviously school is before football but it’s a little different in the fact that all of a sudden you’re going to have to maybe miss class on Thursday or maybe even Wednesday for traveling so you have to kind of get your mind prepared for that.”

On if he feels good about the progress they have been making:
“I think so, I think for us, as an offense, kind of staying out of third and longs. We’re doing a lot better on third downs. But even if it is third and long I feel like we’re kind of coming along and hitting some shots and we obviously need to continue to do that.”

On if first downs are critical:
“Yeah, obviously first and second downs, it’s critical that we stay ahead of the chains and like I said, not get in third and longs.”

On the offense without FB Trey Millard:
“Having Trey (Millard) not out there is obviously a huge, huge loss for us but there are other guys that need to step up and make plays.”

On Trey Millard’s involvement since the injury:
“He’s doing a great job. Obviously he’s out there; he’s still getting a break and breaking us down. He’s out there riding around on a cart and staying with us and listening to the calls and he’s still out there with us so it’s all good.”

On if he has been in TE Brandon Green’s ear:
“Yeah, he’s been in all those guys’ ears because he even helps (Aaron) Ripkowski out. (Aaron Ripkowski) and Brandon (Green), telling them kind of what to do on run stuff and maybe in a pass play and helping them with their assignments.”

On the possibilities that WR Trey Franks brings to the offense:
“I remember coming here and throwing to him freshman year when he first came here as a receiver and I would love throwing to him just because he’s so fast. You can kind of throw it out there and he might just run under it so obviously bringing him back and throwing in some go-balls and posts and stuff and getting on the same page and hooking up with him a little bit. It’s always nice as a quarterback having one of those guys out there.”

On his accuracy throwing deep balls:
“Yeah, I would say it’s just a work in progress. You throw some, you throw some, and you don’t hit them, you know it obviously makes you mad and then all of a sudden you hit that one to Jalen (Saunders) and that’s obviously what you practice for during the week and stuff like that so when you hit those it always feels good.”

On approaching being the underdog at Baylor:
“You don’t listen to any of that stuff. You go out and do your job, play your game, and that’ll take care of itself.”

Oklahoma Football
Wide Receiver Sterling Shepard
Nov. 3, 2013

On the media attention for Thursday’s game:
“I think we’re the only game on that night. Everybody’s going to be watching and it’ll be great playing against those guys.”

On Trey Franks switch back to wide receiver:
“He’s bringing speed. He’s a really speedy guy and he has good hands, too. He has a knack for the ball and it’s great having him there, getting open.”

On Baylor’s secondary:
They’re a very physical defense. I feel like we can play with these guys and show them what we have.”

On losing FB Trey Millard:
“We just have to keep chugging along. Things like that are going to happen and you can’t let them get in the way of what we’re trying to accomplish. I think some of the guys are just sad that we lost him but we have to continue with our season.”

Oklahoma Football
Offensive Lineman Bronson Irwin
Nov. 3, 2013

On keeping the offense on the field:
“Staying on the field obviously comes down to your first and second-down plays. I think getting yards on those plays puts you at third-and-manageable, whereas if you’re at third-and-long your percentages for staying on the field are going to be a little lower. I think being effective and efficient on first and second downs is going to be a huge part of this game.”

On the run game:
“I think it’s extremely high right now. Being an offensive lineman, you love to impose your will on your opponent. I think the fact that we’ve been able to establish that, especially in the last few games, has been a huge confidence boost for us.”

On having a different practice schedule this week with a Thursday night game:
“It’s strange because I keep thinking it’s Tuesday and then I get home and there’s all these NFL games on. I kind of like it. It’s something different and kind of mixing it up a little bit. I think everyone is enjoying it. It’s really great that we didn’t have to play Saturday. Coming off a real physical game, it takes a couple days to get back where you’re feeling comfortable again. I’m very thankful to get that week off.”

Oklahoma Football
Running Back Damien Williams
Nov. 3, 2013

On what the Baylor defense is doing different this year to play better:
"I don’t quite know. I’m not in their defensive room, but I know they are playing really hard. They’re more feisty on defense, they’re getting after it, and they’re also on the hype right now. They’re undefeated and that’s what kind of happens.”

On if he thinks that Baylor hasn’t been tested as much as OU can test them:
“Nobody has the type of players we have. They haven’t seen anybody like us. We’re an explosive offense, we have a lot of weapons on offense and we’re ready to get after it.”

On the extra days off due to the bye week:
“Just getting more work in, getting more film work in, getting in the training room – just getting that extra little work in.”

On how much the running game changes without FB Trey Millard:
“It’s going to change. That’s Trey [Millard]; nobody can do what Trey does. But we have guys behind him that can play the game just as well.”

On if every time the defense gets a stop if they have to capitalize on offense and get points:
“That’s what you want to do period when you get the ball, especially after a stop you want to capitalize on. You want to get those points.”

On the momentum going into this game:
“I just feel like guys are more confident. Guys are getting in their places. We had a few spots that were kind of inexperienced – guys feeling themselves – and we were able to move the ball more and be more physical. The guys up front are being more physical. That’s the thing, it’s been more physical and we’re able to just get after it.”

On if OU has gained a true identity on offense in the past few games moving the ball:
“Definitely. We want to pound them, but we can’t forget about those fast receivers we have on the outside to go over the top.”

On if he feels like they can run the ball against anybody:
“I feel like we can do that against anybody. That’s this game, that’s what we do at Oklahoma – we run the ball and we pass the ball and I think we’ve come a long way.”



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