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Bob Stoops Press Conference
November 04, 2013

Oklahoma Football
Head Coach Bob Stoops
Nov. 4, 2013

Opening statement:
“There’s no game to recap but I thought our guys did a good job of working through the past off week. We had three practices, coaches went recruiting for a couple of days, players went to class, rested their legs for a couple of days and then we were back on the field Saturday and Sunday just like a Monday and Tuesday practice. Today is like a Wednesday of game week. Leading up to the Baylor game, everyone is excited about the opportunity to go down there and play an excellent football team. A team that has been great in every category offensively with big plays and the way run the football, the way they throw it, scoring points. Defense probably isn’t talked about near enough for them. They’re near the top of the league in just about every defensive category. It’s not surprising when look and they have seven seniors on that defense. They’re doing an excellent job that way as well. They have big play guys special teams-wise. It’s a big challenge for us. We recognize that. Everybody is working towards it and we’re excited for Thursday.

On if Baylor’s offense is looked at in the same regards as OU’s in 2008:
“Sure it does. Not only with their high pace tempo but with their skill. They space you out so far. They’ve got excellent speed all over the perimeter and that big offensive line with a great running back to run the football. They do a great job at how they space you out, running the ball and then getting big plays.”

On if he had any idea about how good Bryce Petty is:
“Yeah. In fact, talking to Art (Briles) in our meetings ahead of the season, he was really excited about Bryce Petty coming up. Those are the kinds of things the outside world doesn’t see where you as a coach are working with a young guy on a daily basis. I remember saying that about Sam Bradford running the scout team and I was shaking my head at the balls he was throwing and saying wait till this guy gets a chance. I’m sure Art saw that.”

On if Baylor’s defensive staff is still emphasizing pressure:
“Yeah. They still pick their spots where they’re going to come after you with all out blitzes and pressure you. It’s definitely something we have been working on and hopefully sometimes we can take advantage of it.”

On how much what Baylor does on defense helps them offensively:
“It makes a difference in that when their defense is getting people off the field and getting their offense more opportunities. Sometimes those big scores happen when they’re playing together that way or when the other team isn’t doing a good job of staying on the field.”

On if they can make any new wrinkles on defense to surprise Baylor:
“You can only do so much in that when you line two guys up all the way out there and all the way out the other way you have got to cover them and there’s only so many guys left. At the end of the day there’s only so much you can do. You have to be able to play. You have to be able to cover them out there and you have got to be able to cover the run game with what’s left in there.”

On what is vital this week:
“Turnovers and the kicking game are always a big deal. I think other factors, two things that a week ago in a similar type game, third downs are really critical. Offense being able to stay on the field, pick them up, gain yards, score points. Picking up third downs is a big deal, defense getting their third down stops. Both sides, throughout the game, will need the occasional fourth down pickups or stops. Red Zone scores and stops, those are always big factors.”

On if Oklahoma changed its base defense because of teams like Baylor:
“We did it for most of the teams we see in our league. Which is what we just saw with [Texas] Tech and Baylor is part of that. We felt it gave us our versatility, it played to our strengths better and it put more speed on the field.”

On LB Frank Shannon’s status:
“Frank has been practicing and improving daily. We’ll just have to see where is by Thursday. I believe that he is set to play.”

On how to quantify how well Oklahoma has played defense this season:
“Well, I don’t know how to say that. We have played pretty well. At the end of the day, I think the offense, and I keep saying this but it’s the truth, the offense has helped it play better by limiting opportunities for the other team. Overall, I think we have had a lot fewer mistakes and mental errors, we have played a lot more aggressively. We have a lot more pressure on the quarterbacks. We have covered really well. Our third downs have been really good. For the most part it’s very strong.”

On if the offense will be as important as ever on Thursday:
“It’s how it is in all of these games. We have to play well as a team.”

On how you stress playing together as a team:
“They’ll both work on their side of the ball on things they need to do to move the football and stop the other team. We talk about what are the important keys and how they’ve got to play.”

On if Baylor running wide splits on both sides puts more emphasis on the physical matchup:
“No question. Being able to cover people, tackle in space. Same thing inside - being able to make plays when you’re there to make plays.”

On if Baylor RB Lache Seastrunk is one of the most difficult players he has faced:
“Definitely. Not only quickness, elusiveness, but powerful. Strong runner as well. So he’s definitely a big challenge.”

On whether Baylor throws it to RB Lache Seastrunk:
“They don’t throw it to him a whole bunch, no. They don’t need to. They just hand it to him. Why take the chance of him dropping it?”

On if there are any lessons from the 2011 game at Baylor that he will take into this game:
“No. Just like last year, there wasn’t.  You want to talk about the previous four years, what do they matter?”

On if he looks at things Baylor did, scheme wise, in 2011 loss:
“That’s a long time ago. No. Not a factor.”

On if he likes Thursday night games:
“Heck yeah. Can’t wait.”

On if he would want a Thursday night game next year:
“Ask me on Friday.”

On if Kansas State gave a good blueprint on how to approach Baylor:
“To a degree. They (Kansas State) played very sound defensively; their offense stayed on the field a good amount of time – a lot of things we’ve been talking about.”

On if there is any benefit to telling his players that they are an underdog:
“Not that I know of. I don’t much care.”

On DB Zack Sanchez learning from a couple plays in the Texas Tech game:
“He has played well. Zack (Sanchez) has played very well for a long period of time for us here throughout this year so he had a tough few plays that he can learn from and that he bounced back from. He’s played really well.”

On the Baylor receiving corps:
“Really good. Their two leaders, (Antwan) Goodley and (Levi) Norwood, are great players. They all have excellent speed and ability to make big plays.

On how Brannon Green and Aaron Ripkowski are preparing to take over for Trey Millard:
“Those guys are all working in there and doing a nice job.”

On if anyone else will get playing time at that spot:
“We’ll see. I’m not sure how much we want to play in those sets or maybe we want to go to some other sets. We’ll just see what we like when we get out there.”

On how much Baylor defense helps what their offense does:
“Well it makes a difference in that their defense is getting people off the field.”  

On who has graded out the best on the Oklahoma offensive line:
“They’ve all been good the last few weeks. Gabe Ikard really has had a fabulous year. Daryl Williams has done really well also. I don’t know that anyone has played poor. They’re all evolving really well. Those guys just stuck out to Coach (Bill) Bedenbaugh a little more.”

On OU's defense progressing:
“We’ve had a lot fewer mistakes. Players are a lot more intense and focused on doing it right in practice and in meetings, and in getting it right. The execution in practice in how the compete is better and it carries over to the field. On the field our guys have competed really well. There’s been very little that we’ve given up that has been easy.”

On the investment of the defensive players this season:
“They’re working hard at it. Coming into the season there was a lot of inexperience there, but sometimes that lends to a sense of urgency where they are pushing themselves to make sure they’re prepared and can play at this level. They’ve been able to do that with eight new parts and guys who are doing it well. We’ve just got to keep pushing for more because almost all of them are back and we’ll just keep getting better.”

On the play of true freshman LB Jordan Evans:
“He’s a natural athlete. He’s got excellent quickness and change of direction. What’s pleasing when we put him in there is how natural it was for him to find the ball and to be where he needs to be. You guys have heard me say that with a safety and a linebacker if you have to tell them too many steps on where to be then you’re wasting your time because those guys just find the ball, and he has that natural ability and instinct to find the ball and be where he should be. He’s a bright guy so he understands what we’re asking him to do. Those two freshmen to go through that game a week ago and have as few mistakes as they had with all the plays they made is remarkable. For Jordan (Evans) to lead the team in tackles and play the way he did really says a lot for him and moving forward for how good he’s going to be.”

On fellow true freshman LB Dominique Alexander:
“It’s remarkable how well and how smart he played. He’s a bright guy. Usually there’s a lot going on in that linebacker position and he was figuring it out and was in the right spots and was getting the calls correct and he did a nice job.”

On the need to limit the Baylor running game:
“A huge part of this game is their run game and being able to control and limit it with linebackers and safeties and then the guys up front, they’ve got to do a good job of reading plays out and being where you’re supposed to be, being physical and not missing tackles.”

On who calls play on defense:
“We use signals, but the linebackers make sure the front four are on the same page. Half of the front four see the signal and know what we’re in, and the Will linebacker will call out a direction.”

On the Big 12’s various offensive styles on what kind of linebackers you need:
“You get both styles. In this league with the way people spread out you need to be athletic and play in space. Then when you play other teams like Kansas State or Notre Dame you need some bigger guys, so you’re always trying to find that balance.”

On LB Jordan Evans being from Norman:
“We’ve been watching him for a long time and every time I watched him I loved what I saw.”

On if LB Jordan Evans has some similar football instincts like former OU WR Ryan Broyles:
“It’s fair to say that, yes. One on the offensive side and one on the defensive side, but they’re just ball players. They play well wherever they’re at and they continually make plays wherever they’re at. Yeah, it’s fair to say that.”

On if LB Jordan Evans has something you can’t coach:
“Yeah. It’s kind of like how I was saying how natural he is wherever you put him. Truthfully, you can tell he’d be comfortable in a short time. He just gets it.”

On if LB Jordan Evans will ever return a kickoff:
“Yeah. I’ve thought about it, but we need him so much at linebacker right now.”

On whether a high volume of offensive plays is important this week:
“As long as you’re getting points it’s good. But yeah, more is better. I’d love to have 90 plays and five more minutes of possession than we had a week ago, that’d probably help us. But it just matters with the pace of the game.”

On Baylor’s recent success and parity in the Big 12:
“I don’t believe there are lesser teams, and I don’t believe it’s been that way for quite a while. They’re right down there in the middle of Texas and they’ve had great football players. Art (Briles) and his staff are doing a good job of not only developing players but in recruiting them as well. I’ve said this for 10 years now. There are more and more players out of high school for everybody. When you have to play all of these people, I believe everyone we play has talent and has good players. It’s that way I believe around the country.”

On how important coaching well is:
“Yeah you better. I’ve known that for 15 years, too.”

On whether this weekend’s health episodes with NFL coaches John Fox and Gary Kubiak:
“That’s just part of how we live. It’s always been that way.”

On whether Bill Synder slept at the office:
“I never said anything about Bill Snyder sleeping at the office. He doesn’t sleep at the office. We went home late. So do a lot of coaches.

“I said when I was a graduate assistant I would feel bad and bring him something to eat. He’d laugh at me and sit it on the edge of his desk, and I don’t think he ever touched it.”

On the schedule and lifestyles of football coaches:
“This lifestyle is different. Not everyone understands it and not all spouses understand it. I don’t think the general public gets it. From late July to January it’s seven days a week of getting home at 8, 9, 10, 11 (o’clock) sometimes midnight or 1 a.m. depending on how you’re scheming things. It’s a different lifestyle that isn’t for everybody, but the guys who are in it, we love it.

“I just encourage people to find the balance. I think it’s important to get checked routinely. I have a bad history health-wise. I lost my father at 54 years old on the sideline after a game. I know the stresses of it. I’m checked by my doctor routinely. I’ve got a lot of issues that I’ve got to manage. That’s one of the great positive things about coaching, we’re around great medical teams, so use them to make sure you’re in as good a position as you can be. It still doesn’t mean we can prevent it. Hopefully, you lessen your percentage.

“My guys (assistant coaches) know my philosophy. I don’t tell them when but let’s make sure we’re smart about it. Do what you need to, make sure our plan is what it needs to be, but don’t guard your desk just to guard it. Make sure you’re productive and I think we all try and do that. There’s a comfort level with different coaches. Some coaches say ‘Hey I know what I want and I’m done’ and some second-guess it and want to watch it a little more. You have to do what you feel is right.

“It’s different for everybody. Everybody is a little different on whether they feel they are in the right place when they go home and when I see my players I know this is exactly what I want done and this is what they’re going to understand and this is what we’re going to practice and we’re in good shape. Again, it’s always a little different for everybody. I’ll be honest, from week to week it’s a little different with who you’re playing and how long it takes you to feel in the right place.”

On tying for the winningest coach in Oklahoma history with a win Thursday:
“No. I haven’t thought about it all. You’ll say that I’m lying but why would I? I haven’t picked up a paper since a week before the first game. I watch national news and CNN isn’t talking about. I try to keep up with what’s happening in the world, but that stuff has no place for me just because it’s not what’s important.”

On if his legacy is something he worries about:
“Why would I? My legacy hopefully is that my players like me, like playing for me, care about me, know I care about them and whenever we see each other we will be glad to see each other. That’s what I care about my legacy to be. And the university felt like I did it the right way with character and integrity.”

On what produces a great defensive effort against a great offense:
“I think both. First, the players; players making plays. They do it. There’s only so many ways you can align them or put them. You can be in great position and they outfight you for the ball or outrun you even though you’re right with them. It doesn’t matter what you’re schemes are but you still have to give them a chance with how you’re trying to deploy them and what you’re asking them to do is definitely always a part of it, too.”

On if the Big 12 is starting to regain respect:
“It should be but in the end I can’t govern that. Again, I haven’t been reading the papers or following what the pulse is.”

On having Big 12 schools winning more and drawing more attendance than in the past:
“We do have excellent teams and stadiums, excellent coaching throughout the league. We’re going to continue to be a top conference and a tough conference.”

On if it’s harder than ever to win the Big 12:
“No, I think it has always been hard. Evidence that there’s not a whole bunch of people that have a whole bunch of them (titles). It’s never been easy.”

Oklahoma Football
Head Coach Bob Stoops – Big 12 Conference Call
Nov. 4, 2013

On the development of QB Blake Bell as the year has progressed:
“Well here lately, in particular our last game, our drop back passing game has been a little inconsistent but we were much better here in the game against Texas Tech. Just in our precision and picking up some third downs and executing some of the drop back game but not all Blake’s fault - receivers being on the same page with him, protection being there, that kind of thing. You know he threw a great deep ball, we’ve had some shots in some earlier games that we didn’t complete where we had a shot with some guys open off of play-action. He threw a great deep ball in a first-and-10 situation. It also helps when you can pick up some big chunks.”

On how much Baylor’s defense has improved from last year:
“A lot. It’s the part of their team that hasn’t been talked about nearly as much as it deserves. It’s not surprising, they have like seven seniors on their defense and they are in the top part of the league in about every category. They are very aggressive and very disciplined in how they play you so they are playing well.”

On how talented Baylor is:
“They aren’t trying to fool you a whole lot. They are just going to stretch you. They are going to space you out and then they have a very big and physical offensive line with two great backs so they do a great job of running the football. Then you get so enamored with trying to stop that and they have great speed on the perimeter and they do such a great job of getting behind you and they make big plays that way. It’s the speed and the spacing and the ability to run the ball. All of it combined.”

On the consistency of having teams compete for and win Big 12 championships:
“First, players. Having good players and schemes and good coaches that put it all together. I’m talking assistant coaches. I think just the methodical way we approach the spring, the summer and go through the season. I think how we try to build the team and how we try and prepare and how we try and work to make ourselves better is a big part of it as well. Just trying to get better as we go through the year with the way we practice and go against each other.”

On his team’s third-down defense this year:
“Well, it’s been improved. I think mostly we have more speed on the field. I think the players do a better job practicing and in meeting and being better at paying attention to detail and playing with the intensity we need. We have been better at stopping third downs with better coverage overall and then just a better pass rush and a better ability, even on some run stops, of being in position to stop people even running the ball, so I think we’ve been a little bit better that way.”

On how the Big 12's contending teams still have to play each other:
“This last month there are a lot of great games and everyone is very aware of that and it’ll be important for everyone and for us to continue to play well and to hopefully rise up and be able to win in those games.”

On how much different it is to play Baylor now versus in the past:
“Well obviously, when you look at what they’re doing and the way they are scoring and the quality of defense they are playing, it’s a challenge.”

On if coaching is inherently hazardous, given recent health problems coaches have had:
“I think coaches need to be very aware. I lost my father on the sidelines at 54 years old so if anyone knows the hazards of it, it is myself and my family. It’s the reason why every year, twice a year I am very aware of being checked thoroughly by doctors. Not that that can prevent it but you want to use science and the medicine and the doctors as much as you can because they are available to us. There is no getting around it, it’s part of the job. The stress of it, the way we push ourselves, whether it be the lack of sleep or the lack of eating, the daily grind of trying to find ways to improve and push your team but it is part of what we do. I just encourage all coaches to be sure you’re using the medical staffs that we are all around as much as we are able to.”

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