Oklahoma Head Coach Bob Stoops

Opening Statement:
“I’m really excited to be here, again, after this win. I’m really proud of our players, the way they hung in there and played physical and played tough football to win a tough, hard-fought game. Congratulate Dana [Holgorsen], he’s got a tough team that plays hard, works hard. It’s kind of unusual from a year ago where everything was offense winning the game and lighting it all up. This year, it’s kind of switched and it was a defensive game by both sides. Still, to come out with a good win feels great. Some things that were really positive on the day: Brennan [Clay] rushing the football, averaged eight yards per carry, had 170 yards. You rush the ball for 316 yards it’s pretty special; that’s really positive. Some of the areas that weren’t were the turnovers. The turnovers were the biggest factor. We get a big play and we get stripped when you know everybody is chasing us from behind. It’s hard to win when you turn the ball over that way. I do believe we can get some of that corrected. Defensively, it was great up until the last series. With a minute to go in the game they had one play that was really significant, that was the long run. We had four different guys that had shots at him and missed tackles. For two games that hasn’t been us, and the rest of the game it wasn’t. I’m really proud and excited again at how the defense performed. At the end, you’re just being smart, using the clock, they need two scores. Yardage doesn’t really matter, points do. Make sure that if they do score, they’re out of time and fortunately we didn’t let them score. Jed Barnett averaged 44 yards per punt, did great. Michael [Hunnicutt], disappointed he missed that last field goal, he’s been better than that. Anyway, the rest of the day was pretty solid.”

On his decision to put in Blake Bell in the fourth quarter:
“I was talking to Josh [Heupel] and I’m not going to detail much of it but at the end of the day this was a tight competition and I just feel that it wasn’t as good as we needed to be in the throwing game so we gave him his chance." 

On the running game:
“I thought I did elaborate a minute ago but we ran it really well. I don’t know what that average is set at per carry but it’s pretty strong. Well over five yards per carry throughout the night. Brennan [Clay] averaged eight yards a carry, 7.7. That’s exciting when you can do that. The line blocked really well, and Trey Millard and Aaron Ripkowski out there with the offensive line.”

On how he will go forward with the quarterback situation:
“That will be something we will discuss, obviously, with the way we finished the game. That’s a factor now, so I’m not going to detail it here right after the game. That will be something as coaches that we need to talk through.”

On Kendal Thompson’s status:
“Kendal was throwing the ball, running around this week. Not in full uniform, but out and throwing and going through the motion. He’s getting closer. I’m going to say hopefully, maybe after the off week. But don’t hold me to that, that’s something that the trainers may scold me tomorrow for saying that.” 

On if how the defense was playing influenced his decision making on offense:
“We had so many red zone turnovers that sure, field goals matter. If we kick field goals through all of those, it’s a three-possession game. And we were running so well. Why not? I could see if we weren’t gaining anything, but we’re popping 10, 15 [yards] here and there. When you’re doing that you have confidence that you could pop another one.” 

On why Blake Bell only threw one pass:
“We were going to but then the situation dictated it with where we got the ball and then we get the first down running it. I mean, why? At that point in the game, the clock is the enemy. You don’t mess with as they say the football gods. You do what you’re supposed to do and burn the clock so that if they do get it they have minimal time to get the chance.”

Co-Offensive Coordinator Josh Heupel

On Blake Bell’s performance:
“He managed the game well...I thought he handled himself well.”

On Trevor Knight:
"I thought he did have a good week of execution. They did some things differently as far as the blitzes and coverages on the back end. I thought he had a really good grasp heading into the day’s game. I thought he played well. He did some positive things early. Some things happened in the third quarter that he just can’t do.”

“There is nothing better than time on task. Experience, certainly. The things that he did, he understands that he can’t do either. One was the run-pass option. The other one a wide receiver was supposed to convert a route, and he gets stuck holding the ball, which he can’t do. You’ve just got to throw it away and go play the next play.”

On the off-tackle runs tonight:
“We had a couple negative plays that got us in some long situations. But for the most part, their techniques and the front blitzes we were seeing, we thought that needed to be something that was going to be key for us. Our guys did a really good job of combination and getting the ball out on the perimeter. I think our edge blockers did a really good job, too. Whether it’s in our three back sets, (Aaron) Ripkowski or Trey Millard or some of our 11 personnel sets.”

On the offense as a whole:
“We want our guys to play extremely well. Trevor did play better tonight than he did in Week 1, I think except for the critical turnovers. You can’t do that at that position. But moving forward, do we need to run the football efficiently? Absolutely. While you’re doing that, you should be really good at play-action pass in some of your one-on-one game because you’re dropping against the safeties in the box. We are going to need to throw it better, too.”

On wide receiver play affecting quarterback play:
“When the quarterback’s playing good, the guys around him are playing at a higher level, typically. A quarterback’s going to get too much of the credit and probably too much of the blame. That’s consistent of playing that position.”

Defensive Coordinator Mike Stoops

On the defense’s performance.
“They didn’t line up in 10 personnel the whole game, and that tells you we’re changing people’s philosophy against us. That’s the first thing I noticed. They weren’t going to let us get to the quarterback when they were going to slide protection to (Eric) Striker all the time. That’s something we’re going to have to adjust to, and we will. We learn. He (Striker) did some good things. And then when they did have short edges, he was getting to the ball quicker when they were doing screens. We at least made it uncomfortable and different for their offense, so that was a positive.”

On the defenses’s pressure on the WVU offense:
“I was just disappointed in our tackling. I didn’t think our tackling was great all night. We went in, we weren’t going to let them get comfortable regardless. We felt like we wanted to put pressure on the quarterback, make the quarterback work throughout the course of the game and not let him sit back there and go deep on us. We tried to keep him off balance, and we did a pretty good job of that throughout the course of the night. We didn’t have a bunch of sacks -- that’s two weeks in a row we’ve only had one sack I think in both games -- but there’s a lot of pressure. We’re making it uncomfortable in the pocket for the quarterback to get the ball out. That’s just as effective.”

On the safeties:
“Gabe (Lynn) has really worked hard. He’s a very versatile player. He does a lot of things well. And I think we finally got the right position for him where he’s really comfortable. He’s in a position to make plays. I’m really pleased with how Gabe’s played. And Quentin Hayes has played really well, too.”

On Aaron Colvin’s injury:
“That was scary. You’re taking virtually one of our best players against a team that can throw the ball. That made it hard. It was scary. We miss him. We miss his leadership. We miss he presence. They kind of went over there, we missed a screen on third-and-12, where he’s going to make that play. Cortez (Johnson) was just soft and just didn’t recognize it like Aaron would have. So it was hard playing without him. But the other guys, they picked on Zack (Sanchez) a little bit tonight, and that’s what going to happen. But he’s getting more experience, and just needs to keep playing. It was good to see both those guys get some playing time.”

On the defense through two games:
“I really like this group. I like the players. I like their attitudes. I like their toughness. It’s definitely something we can build on. We keep bringing in new wrinkles to the package. We’ll keep expanding the package each week. We’ll see if these trends stay consistent in the way we’re approaching our attacking style of defense. Each week is a little bit of a chess match. What’s great about it is that we put stuff in. It’s controlled chaos in a way, but our players, it keeps them thinking all the time, it keeps them working, and that’s what I like about it, too. We’re not stagnant.”

Oklahoma Players

Senior RB Brennan Clay

On his production:
“I’ve been confident about my production throughout my career. I’ve had a few nicks here and there, but the past few weeks I’ve felt healthy and strong. Our staff has done a great job, and it’s just finally coming together.”

On getting in a rhythm:
It feels a lot better when you get 20 carries like this. You really get a feel for the defense, and you’re able to get in a rhythm. It helps with the no-huddle, too, because you just get going and you’re able to be productive.”

Senior LB Corey Nelson

On the defensive mentality:
Our mentality has just been to play hard and play as a family out there. It’s not a defense out there. It’s a “We-fense”, and we all have to play as a family out there. That’s been our mindset. When it was down to the wire out there, we just have to all play together.”

On what is different from last year:
Everyone is just buying in to what the coaches are teaching us, and everyone is just buying in to each other. A lot of people are being selfless out there, and when you’re selfless on defense you can make big plays happen. That’s how defenses are formed.”

Senior FB Trey Millard

On the quarterbacks:
I think both of those guys can play back there, and it doesn’t matter who we have behind us. We still have to execute the same.”

Redshirt Senior Offensive Lineman Gabe Ikard

On the team’s performance:
“First of all, really great performance by our defense, especially our defensive line. I thought they played a great game, holding a very talented offense. I was very impressed by them. I thought we ran the ball pretty well. There were a lot of uncharacteristic turnovers, just some bad ones by all of us. We missed some things. But overall, you get a conference win, watch some tape and get better. But I’m just glad that we got out here and got a win.”

On the quarterback change:
“We were all aware of the quarterback battle before the year and we knew that it would go into the season. We were struggling a little bit. The coaches have been evaluating; they just wanted to evaluate the two guys and let Blake (Bell) get out there and play a little bit. Things went well when he went out there. Trevor did some great things and got a little banged up. We just have to get him healthy and those two guys will continue to battle each other in practice. That decision is up to the coaches but the rest of the offense is behind whatever guy they put out there.” 

Redshirt Senior Defensive Back Gabe Lynn

On his and the team’s performance:
Yeah, we played really well, defensively we did really well. We missed some tackles early on, myself included, so we’ll have to work on that. Besides that, we played really well tonight.”

On how the defense bailed the offense out last year:
Especially in this game last year, offense bailed us out. Coming into this game, we had a lot of motivation after last year. We definitely want to prove everybody wrong. Everybody was counting the defense out earlier, so it definitely felt good to get that win.”

West Virginia Head Coach Dana Holgorsen

Opening Statement:
“Obviously disappointed with the loss, but I was proud of how our guys fought. We played hard. I think each and every guy that went out there played, coaches and players, I think, played with a lot of effort and I am proud of that. We want to continue to get better on all three sides of the ball. Give Oklahoma a lot of credit, they don’t lose very many games here. Like in 15 years here they have lost five games or something like that. They are obviously a great program, great players, well coached, that sort of thing, so congratulations to them. We will learn a lot from this and we will get better. I’m looking forward to playing next week.”

On what special teams’ mistakes did for WVU’s momentum:
“Those are the two that everyone is going to see. Last week I would have guessed that it was going to be about the same number this week. But, we are looking at about 40 percent of the team that has never played in a Big 12 football game. Couple that with it being week two in Oklahoma and it is tough. Those guys that are put into position to make plays have got to make plays. Those are the two that standout, but there is a lot of things that we can pinpoint. Just guys that are inexperienced, that are going to continue to get better and better and better.” 

On the possibility of inserting Clint Trickett :
“Yeah, I did (think about it). I almost did it. The thing is that we did some different stuff offensively that we have not done before. I alluded to it earlier in the week that no one knows our offense better than Bob (Stoops) and Mike (Stoops). They know all of our signals, and they know all of our route combinations, and we had to be smart with that. We had to put our guys in position offensively to where you aren’t just going against a defense that knows exactly what you are going to do. So, we felt like it was in the best interest of our team to do some specific things, with that means the communication on the field had to be spot-on, and Paul (Millard) is the best we got at that. Because Clint is inexperienced in our offense I didn’t feel comfortable doing that. I thought about it a bunch. It’s open come competition and it is going to remain that way. We’ll evaluate Paul and see where we are at with it. I’m not happy with seven points, but felt we did some good things periodically. Guys have got to make plays too. He put the ball there for some guys to make some plays and we didn’t. So, we have got to take all of those things into consideration and evaluate it and see where we are at. Maybe Ford (Childress) gets reps next week, maybe Clint gets reps next week, I don’t know -- that is why we practice and that is what we’ll do.”

On communcation leading to huddling on offense:
“Yeah we had to. I’ve been down that road before with these guys and they’re as good as anybody at picking that stuff, and it was the best thing to do. I planned, we did it, and it slowed us down sometimes, it hurt our rhythm at times  but I felt like it was the best thing to do and I would do it again if we were playing them tomorrow.”

On Dreamius Smith’s carries in the second half:
“We kept rotating guys. We feel like we have four backs that can run the ball. So, we didn’t just specifically say that we want to get the ball to him. All four do a good job and they all four run with the ball good. Just fresh bodies is the most important thing for me. He made a great play. You can’t just sit there and try to call perfect plays or put those guys in perfect situations to go untouched to the endzone, that’s not football. He broke some tackles, made some guys miss and did a good job. We need more guys to do that. Kevin White finally started doing some things. We had the fumble, which was devestating, but he did catch the ball and slipped a tackle or two every now and then, and we need that to happen more. I told guys all week about picking your feet up and having some yards after the catch and having some yards after contact.”

On Oklahoma’s run game making the defense tired:
“It wore us down a little bit but we kept fighting. We kept fighting at the end of drives too. How many turnovers did we get there at the end of drives? I was pleased with how our defense played. They got turnovers, and they didn’t quit playing. They played with effort and it was physical. OU has got a big, physical offensive line and we battled away with them. They have got good running backs. You need more than one. I don’t know how many they ran with. They had one guy get 21 carries and one guy get 21 carries, so you’ve got to play running backs. The same thing with us.”

On Doug Rigg’s Injury:
“Yeah, he was out cold. He was moving his hands and his feet, so, that is obviously scary. He collided with one of our own guys and was out cold. He started responding and was moving his hands and feet, so that was a good sign. I haven’t heard anything since then.”

On injuries on defense:
“Wes (Tonkery) went in and played good snaps. I thought Isaiah (Bruce) was playing terrrible at the time too. He just looked slow and was hestitating. I don’t know why. But Tonkery went in and played good snaps. Marvin Gross went in and played good snaps. That guy has been on campus for a month and a half and has never played that position. I thought he played OK, it looked like to me. He was running around a little bit. I am excited about this football team, we are going to keep getting better. It’s not a positive that we didn’t win the game, there is nothing positive about it, but I feel good about the guys and I feel good about continuing to get better and better each week.” 

On the feeling of the game in the second half:
“In the fourth quarter I feel like it could have went either way. There was a point in the fourth quarter where we are about to go score and cut it to what, two? I would say that could go either way. I never felt we were out of the game. Until about five minutes to go, and then we had to get a big stop.” 

On using all three timeouts early:
“It’s tough, you know. We did not do a good job managing our timeouts. There were a couple of them we were trying to get a review, I can’t remember which one it was though. I thought Kevin (White) looked like to me like he was potentially down, I didn’t have the challenge so I burned a timeout to see if they would take a look at it because I thought it was close. But then Paul’s, it was a fumble, we challenged that. I thought his arm was moving forward, but they looked at it and they had a better look at it than I did.”

West Virginia Players

West Virginia QB Paul Millard

On the OU’s defensive scheme and how they slowed WVU’s offense down:
“They did what they thought they were gonna do. They came out and played the defense we saw on film last week and it’s hard. They played well, they played hard. We just didn’t get enough plays. We just didn’t make plays. The throws I missed, the things we missed out there. This [loss] is hard because I fell like we left a lot of stuff out there that we had, so it’s gonna be hard to swallow, but we’ll be back and ready to go tomorrow.” 

West Virginia DB Darwin Cook

On the atmosphere of the game:
“I’ve played in big games here, so the atmosphere wasn’t a big deal to me. I was in my zone so I didn’t feel the heat.” 

On the loss:
“I feel like it slipped away. I feel like I let the team down, I could’ve caught the pick and scored.”