OU 48, ISU 10 Postgame Quotes

Athletics Communications
By Athletics Communications
University of Oklahoma
NOVEMBER 16, 2013


Opening Statement:
Again, to start off, I want to compliment Coach Rhoads and his Iowa State team. It was a tight, obviously tough first half and a 10-10 game. Jalen (Saunders) really ignited us with that huge return at the end of the half. Fortunately, we made some positive adjustments at halftime and executed. More than anything we executed better. Some of the things in the early part of the game that hurt us defensively, just some of the spacing routes, or missing a tackle here or just being a little bit off in coverage and it doesn’t take much but you’re allowing them to move the football. We tightened things up in the second half and executed in a better way. Same thing offensively, we executed in our run blocking and the way we executed the run game was really good. The backs ran hard, the o-line blocked people up really well. Trevor (Knight) came in and did an excellent job of being ready for the moment. Executing and reading the zone read and some of those plays we went to. And Kendal (Thompson), Kendal came in there at the end and did a nice job. It’s exciting as a coach when you see guys come in who haven’t played a ton and they’re ready for the moment and they take advantage of it. We came into the game, as you could see, with all of the players we had out. We had three of the four senior captains out along with several other guys. We came down with three or four guys last night with the flu. It was challenging to get in our special teams with some of these guys to get together and coordinated. It just left us pretty thin in several areas overall but fortunately we got through it. With Blake’s (Bell) injury, we will see how that goes from here.”

On if Trevor’s speed opened up the rest of the running game:
“Yes and no. His ability to get to the perimeter is a factor. Some of it, what it continues to do, is press the defense to be absolutely correct. If they’re not, something pops in there and that’s what happened on some of those runs. Somebody is not where they’re supposed to be and some of those runs don’t look so good, they get two, they get one, they get zero, and all of a sudden it goes for 50. That’s why sometimes you have to keep running.”

On if they planned to get Trevor Knight in early:
“We were going to play Trevor regardless.”

On if there was a timetable on when Trevor Knight would play:
“No, there wasn’t an exact timetable. It was when Coach Heupel wanted to get some of those plays.”

On when Blake got hurt on that drive:
“It was the first play. Then we realized it.”

On if they realized it when the fumbled snap happened:
“That wasn’t really his fault at all. We just felt we needed to get him to the side to be sure.”

On how much working on the package for Trevor Knight has paid off:
“Well, it paid off. Again, a lot of those plays we have run and we have run with Blake (Bell) as well. Again, his unique ability to stretch people with his speed and quickness to the edge changes a play and makes it look quite a bit different.”

On if Trevor Knight looked more comfortable in the throwing game:
“He did. I know he would like to have the big shot back but that’s where we have got to keep getting better, is when we have some big plays out there that we have got to be able to execute and connect on. I thought overall he looked more comfortable and I kind of expected he would.”

On the quarterback situation in regards to Blake Bell’s injury:
“We’ll see. I’m not going to say anything here, a half hour after the game. We’ll look at what we feel is the best way moving forward.”

On what they changed defensively at halftime:
“We made some minor adjustments, but overall, no, we didn’t change our defense. We recognized things better and we just performed better in how we covered people and where we were on the run game and fortunately they got a little more predictable and we were able to get pressure to them.”

On the seniors having big plays in their final home game:
“It’s exciting to see. Those are all good guys that have worked hard and to see them making the big plays is always exciting. I’m glad for them and proud of the guys up front.They were blocking for them and creating some nice space. Aaron Ripkowski also had a really good game.”

On Roy Finch playing more in the first quarter:
“That was Coach (Cale) Gundy playing it the way he wanted to play.”

On tying Barry Switzer’s wins record:
“I’ve done my best to ignore that or be away from it. All I will do is compliment Coach Switzer. He was a special coach in his time. Not many coaches have a Super Bowl with three national championships and his unique ability to relate to his players. I appreciate his friendship. He has been a great friend to me, a great friend to everybody in this program. We’re fortunate that he still comes around and sees us. He’ll always be one of the most special and greatest coaches in all of college football.”

On what made them decide to return the punt when Jalen Saunders scored:
“I definitely had a feel that since they had a chance to outkick the coverage with the wind and it was 4th and long enough that I felt if they had a fake dialed up with only a minute and something to go that it wouldn’t be a good option for them. So I took the chance and told Coach (Jay) Boulware that I wanted to return it to give him a chance. Fortunately, it worked.”

On how he could expect the zone read to do against better teams:
“There’s no magic to it. Some other teams may stop it, and they may not. It’s something you have to deal with. It all gets down to execution too though, who you are blocking, who you’re creating space for. I think that’s the case for all offensive plays. There isn’t anything that everyone wants to say is the design of it. You still have to make them be correct over and over and over on where they’re fitting, they’re spacing, where they’re playing your blocks, and where you are spaced out.”

On if it is fair to say that he feels a lot better about his offense moving forward:
“I don’t ride the rollercoaster with everybody. You would have asked me the same thing after Texas Tech. That’s what everyone thinks now, is that everythings okay right? It’s never okay. We have got to go do it again next week. In the end, hopefully it gives us some momentum, some spark. We have got to tough road games to finish the year. If we can perform like this, or close to it, it’s going to give us a chance.”

On what the offense has learned:
“As much as anything, a lot of it gets down to execution and performance. As I said earlier, there’s no magic to it, sometimes, to what you’re calling. You have to block people, you have to move people, you have to take care of the football, you have to run precise routes, the timing of it needs to be there, the ball needs to be there, it all goes together. A lot of it is how we perform.”

On if it was good to get Kendal Thompson in the game:
“It was. I have wanted to and everybody has wanted to get him more opportunities. I was pleased to get him in.”

On how he would evalute Trooper Orr’s tackle of a fan:
“I’m surprised he didn’t get called for targeting. The official and I were having a chuckle about that. He said ‘I almost threw targeting there’, so I got a good kick out of that. I wouldn’t want to be tackled by him after that.”

On what this does for Trevor Knight going forward:
“It should only help him. He’s a positive guy. He has been working really hard. I don’t think it’s a surprise for anyone in our locker room that he went out and had success. I think through this time he has grown more, he has grown more mature, and ready for it. It showed some of what we have been watching for the last year.”

On there being talk after Blake Bell replaced Trevor Knight that Trevor couldn’t replicate what he was doing in practice:
“I’ll never believe that. I believe all guys can do that. Sometimes it just happens a little sooner than others. Anybody who can do it over and over in practice against good people is bound to do it in games too.”

On how important it was for the seniors to go out with a win:
“It’s important. It’s always for them to leave like that in their last game here and have those kinds of memories. I’m pleased that they were able to do that.”

On if they didn’t change quarterback the last few weeks due to continuity:
“That’s always an issue. The continuity of it, just as I had answered to Dean, a couple of weeks ago you feel like you’re getting over the hump against Texas Tech with how we played and how we were moving the ball. You get to feeling alright. To not play so well and start all over again at this point in the year it fields a great percentage in it. It’s just not the way I wanted to operate.”

Co-Offensive Coordinator Josh Heupel

On Trevor Knight:
"I thought he did a great job coming in the middle of drive. He played with poise, took care of the football. He missed a couple of things in the pass, but he handled himself well.” 

On if Trevor Knight grew:
“I think all of those guys, even Kendal is a guy who’s continued to grow. He hasn’t had a lot of time out on the game field, but all of those guys continue to get better. Certainly, Trevor, just within the flow of the game, playing within himself. Early in the season, everything was happening real fast for him. He was rushing through things in the run game and in the pass game, and today he played within himself a little bit more.” 

On the offensive line:
“They have continued to grow throughout the entire year. We have gotten better. We’ve got a more physical mentality and presence in everything we are doing. Obviously, a week ago that wasn’t true. We are continuing to grow and getting better and better. You look at what we have to do down the stretch here. We’re going to need to be efficient running the football.”

On the quarterbacks:
“All of those guys are doing a great job in the meeting room and trying to prepare themselves for when the opportunity came. I told them in the beginning of the season that the strength of this position can’t be one guy. It’s going to need to be the strength of the group and that all of them were going to get their opportunity, I didn’t know when it was going to come, but they’d better be ready for it. Today, Trevor and Kendal were ready for it.” 

On Jalen Saunders’ punt return:
“Certainly, the last week and a half hasn’t been easy around here when you go and play the way we did at Baylor. Things didn’t go great early. I think his play ignited us, gave us some momentum, just a little positive energy.” 

Defensive Coordinator Mike Stoops

On the second half defense:
“I just thought we executed better. We saw the plays, and we reacted better. They didn’t do anything really we hadn’t prepared for, but we just weren’t very sharp. I didn’t think we tackled very well. We just didn’t play with a lot of force. The whole first half was really uncomfortable. I thought as the game went on, we got more engaged in the game and our whole positioning on the football improved. Our pressure improved on the quarterback." 

On the running game helping the defense:
“From a defensive perspective, it just takes pressure off of you. It loosens you up a little bit as a defensive play caller to give your guys a little bit of freedom to play with more aggression. Your play calling might get a little bit more aggressive as the situation dictates it.”

On playing younger players today:
“It’s the inexperience and non-recognition of the plays that make it a little bit harder, and then we started seeing once or twice they started reacting better to the plays. Your reactions aren’t going to be what they are of a fifth-year senior with the young freshman. They’re playing a lot of minutes, and it just takes time. The plus side of this is they gained a lot of experience, and that’s how we look at it." 

On Stanvon Taylor and Cortez Johnson:
“They’re young. They make a lot of inexperienced plays, but that’s just how it is. They’ve got to see things better. They’ve got to react to things better. The screen got us out there. That’s just what it is when you lack experience. That’s all it is. They have all the movements and the desire to be good, and it just becomes more of a recognition thing.”

Redshirt Senior Offensive Lineman Gabe Ikard

On the importance of winning on Senior Day:
“It was a great win, but we obviously struggled in the first half. But to be able to put that half together on both sides of the football, putting up 48 points and holding them only to ten--it was a really good performance by our team and I think it showed what this team could be. We just have to carry this momentum to finish out this season.”

On the running backs’ performances:
“A couple of those guys were running too far and they were too tired to go back in. Those guys did a great job, Damien [Williams] and Brennan [Clay] with those long runs and Roy [Finch] too. They made plays and I’m really pleased with the way they played. We all know it starts up front and I’m really pleased with the way my guys played up front. I thought we did a great job in the second half, opening up seams for those guys to make plays. That’s the key to putting points up on the board.”

On Jalen Saunder’s punt return:
That was huge. There was low energy amongst the team and the fans, so getting that punt return was huge in the game and it really got things rolling. We came out in the second half and really got things going.”

Freshman Linebacker Dominque Alexander


On the difference in the defense between the first and second half:
“We had a few blips in the run game and in the second half we saw, made corrections and slowed the run game down.”

On the adjustments made:
“We just had to go out there and execute the defense. Some plays we were executing and others we weren’t. We had to go out there and make them one-dimensional by stopping the run game. We came in and made corrections at halftime and we were able to shut them down in the second.”

Redshirt Sophomore Linebacker Frank Shannon


On Jalen Saunders’s punt return:
“Anytime a team makes big plays like that, it’s always a guaranteed energy boost. When he did that, everybody got live. ”

On the touchdown catch:
“They help us out a lot, just like when we get three-and-outs. When they go out there and get long drives, it gives us a lot of time to rest. That gives us enough to go out, refocused and make the plays that we need to make. It benefits us both ways.”

Junior Defensive Back Quentin Hayes


On the difference in the second half:
“We just got into the right places. We were out of place a lot in the first half and we made some corrections at halftime to get our linebackers and defensive linemen in the right place. We just started making plays.”

On Stanvon Taylor and Cortez Johnson playing for Aaron Colvin:
“I think they did really well. Things like that are going to happen throughout the season and the second string has to be ready to step up. I think they played a good game.”

Senior Running Back Damien Williams

On going over 400 yards:
“That’s what we came in today to do, to run the ball. The run game was working a little bit better. It was just all about practice and what we did to get ready for this moment. Being a senior in my last home game, I tried to give it all I have.”

On his long touchdown:
“All I did was run. Mostly that was the line, they got every guy they were supposed to get and all I had to do was get one guy to miss. After that, it was my speed getting me to the endzone.”

On Stoops tying Switzer’s win record:
“It was great to be a part of something like that. Coach Switzer was a great coach and what he did was great. Being a part of the Coach Stoops era and getting that win for him feels great, especially on my senior day.”

Iowa State Head Coach Paul Rhoads

Opening Statement:
“Certainly a tale of two halves, and I give our kids praise and credit for coming ready to play against a top-25 football team. I’m very pleased with that. I am very pleased with their preparation that put them in position to do that. I give a lot of praise to Oklahoma for responding to adversity. After playing a half they probably feel they did not play very well and for coming out in the second half and making nice adjustments, playing with another level of energy and execution, they competed exceptionally well on both sides of the ball. Congratulations to Bob Stoops. I said as much to him, but Bud Wilkinson and Barry Switzer, wow! To pass one and tie the other and certainly will move past Barry as the season comes to a close. Big congratulations to Bob.” 

On gathering the team following Jalen Saunders’ punt return:
“They were downtrodden in their faces. When you are 1-8 and you are playing a top 25-team off their feet with great success, and then all of the sudden something like that goes so wrong. We had the guy surrounded a long way from the goal line, and then he escapes and makes a great play. ‘Woe is me. Why us? I can’t believe this is happening again.’ That was the look and the expression I saw. We were an extremely, fittingly, loose and relaxed, ready to play team leading up to the game and that is how we played for 29 minutes of football. I wanted to make sure -- the locker room here is not very conducive to addressing the whole football team -- I wanted to make sure, very similar to as I did against Texas Tech in 2010, I believe, that we were going to relax, let it go, stay energized, stay upbeat and keep playing the style of football that we had played for 29 minutes of that first half.” 

On whether his team moved on from giving up the punt return before the half:
“No. That was our post-game conversation. Certainly, they made every conscious effort to get past it, and then the second play from scrimmage you get ripped for a touchdown, now it gets even harder to get past it. We didn’t. I think I have already addressed it. We’re 0-for, and I’ll look at this game differently than you and differently than a lot of people will. We were 10-3 over Oklahoma and they had 111 yards of total offense with 29 minutes into the football game. We went into halftime 10-10, and then it turned into a blowout. I don’t see it that way. Texas is, or was undefeated. I don’t know when they play today, but a one-point loss that we all know -- my point is, the top teams in this league, we are not drastically behind. Our kids realize that, but we don’t do enough things right physically or even with the mindset like in a situation like this to overcome that. There is great teachable moment. I love teaching. I think they get it. I don’t think it will be a big hurdle to overcome because they get it. They know exactly what I am talking about and what happened in that second thirty minutes. You kick the ground and say, ‘why did I let that happen?”, and then you learn from it and work hard to not let it happen again.”



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