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Bob Stoops Press Conference
October 14, 2013

Oklahoma Football
Head Coach Bob Stoops – Press Conference
Oct. 14, 2013

Opening Statement:
“Going back to Texas this weekend, like I said before, compliments to Texas and congratulations to them on the way they played. They made the big plays that made the difference in the game and they generally do in this rivalry game. They made the two big pass plays on offense and the interception for the touchdown and the punt return for a touchdown. When you make plays like that and on the other side of it when you give up plays like that in these kinds of games it’s incredibly difficult to overcome, and obviously we weren’t able to do it. We didn’t have as many big plays, so to their credit they limited those. Offensively we were inconsistent. I thought we ran the football well. We were 5.8 per rush when you take away Blake’s (Bell) sacks.

“The running backs did really well, so that part of our game was solid. The passing game was really poor. We didn’t get open or complete. We dropped our first third down for a touchdown. It wasn’t precise enough. You’ve got to be able to make those kinds of plays. We overthrew it at times, and sometimes they defended better and we weren’t able to get open. All of it together wasn’t good enough. The turnovers, especially the one for the touchdown was crucial.

“Defensively, we allowed them to rush the ball 60 times. When you’re playing from a lead, like we have done in the past, they were able to continuously rush it and hand the ball off 60 times. For the most part, the difference in the game was two big pass plays. There was a third and long pass play that we were close to getting to them and he throws a great ball on the wheel route, and they got us on another pass later in the game just off a double move on the corner. Those were the big issues in the game. We’ve been solid on special teams and then we give up. They did a good job making us miss them and they made an 85-yard touchdown. That return was poor on our part because we had guys in position to make the play. They made the plays we didn’t.

“You move on to Kansas this week going on the road. They’re a team that played a heck of a game just last week at TCU. It was a very tight game. Their defense forced five turnovers. We continue just to try and improve. That’s what we’re going to do all week is try to correct some of the mistakes we feel we could have been better at last week. For instance, third downs were a big part of the game. Offensively we were poor on third downs. A lot of it because we have too many long-yardage third downs, and defensively where we’ve been really good on third downs, they executed their third downs in a better way than we defended. We’ve got to continue to work and that’s what we’re going to do all week.”

On using a different QB against Kansas:
“We’ll see, but that’s not something we’re looking to do.”

On whether OU’s offense needs more deep shots:
“We have and it’s not like we haven’t tried. We haven’t had a lot of success with it. Whether it’s with guys getting open or overthrowing it, but it’s something we have to continue to work at. I believe that Blake (Bell) throws a good deep ball. We’ve got to get more of them out there and hopefully find more space with them.”

On the QB run game with QB Blake Bell:
“Some of the times we had an opportunity to the other day were give reads where Blake (Bell) or no one is going to keep it when you hand it off. How much of it? With Blake is different than the other guys. The other guys are faster, quicker and can avoid things and operate better. In the end is it fair to say we need a little more? Probably. But how much more is probably not as much as Trevor (Knight) or Kendal (Thompson) because of their different running abilities.”

On whether RB Keith Ford has earned more playing time by his play in practice:
“He continues to. We need to keep trying to get Keith (Ford) more snaps. He’s a really good football player. The caution for us is that he fumbled. Luckily, he was close to out of bounds and the ball got out, but he’s got to show that he’s going to take care of the football.”

On QB Blake Bell’s pocket presence:
“It’s a little of everything. To a degree it would, but at times he’s holding the ball too long which leads to sacks. Another time or two on the blitz, our receiver wasn’t ready for the hot read. A guy comes and Blake (Bell) knows he’s hot and the receiver isn’t ready. Precision like that, it’s just one guy or another. Another time we got beat in the guard decision on a pass rush right off the bat, so the protection did break down in that case. It’s one thing or another and it adds up.”

On what defenses do when you’re not able to throw deep:
“They’ll naturally squeeze you and challenge the shorter throws more. Everything starts to squeeze.”

On the injury situation:
“Jordan Phillips is actually lining up to have surgery tomorrow which will end his season. He’s had a chronic back issue. It isn’t one specific injury; it’s just been something that’s bothered him for the last couple of years that just isn’t improving like they want it to. Corey (Nelson) is also scheduled to be operated on tomorrow. From the game everyone else has checked out okay yesterday and is expected to practice.”

On the play of the defensive line:
“The D-line played okay. Some of the guys, Geneo Grissom played really well. Chuka Ndulue had 15 or 16 tackles and played well. Charles (Tapper) was good. It wasn’t one of his better games, but he was solid. We played okay.”

On the play of the linebackers:
“Dominique (Alexander) had 19 tackles. He’s a young guy in there that’s really doing well. Early on he was out of position on a third down, and on an early run a time or two, but he’s going to keep getting better. Frank (Shannon) is the same way. They’re playing really hard and doing well. A time or two they missed where the needed to be. They got a little wide on a blocking scheme and need to stay a little tighter, but those are some things we’ve got to keep getting better at.”

On the success of the Texas running game:
“Part of it is because of the big plays. When you’re playing with a couple possession lead you’re allowed to run the football and you’re not pressed to throw. We got pressed to throw it more, so it plays out that way. In the end, it’s something you’re always aware of, but the circumstances of the game are going to dictate that.”

On the difference in time of possession for Texas:
“I think that a lot of it is that we had three three-and-outs. When that happens you aren’t keeping the ball very long.”

On not making a switch at QB in the second half of the Texas game:
“It’s because of what we’ve seen in the last two or three games and the way he’s practiced. We also realize it isn’t all on thing. It doesn’t matter who the quarterback is if guys aren’t open, looking for the hot read or protecting him you’re not going to have a lot of success.”

On if Texas did anything different defensively:
“They were a little in the 50 front a little more than they had been, so that was a change when they were in that. Also, just on how they executed the zone read, they were sitting there making sure the read was getting ball and waiting on you.”

On whether the ability of Texas to run the ball was the difference in the game:
“I don’t feel that was the difference in the game. They had the one run of 38 yards when we missed the tackle. The rest of the day, the plays that won the game were the two bombs on the two big passing plays. The rest of it you can live with. Through 60 runs they averaged 4.2 yards per carry. When you run the ball 60 times you’re going to have a lot of rushing yards, but I don’t think that was the difference in the game.”

On the play of the young defensive linemen:
“They played hard, but they need to play better. They had some technique issues. They haven’t played as much as the other guys, so hopefully they’ll keep improving.”

On whether DT Quincy Russell will be an option in the defensive line rotation:
“If he continues to practice well, then yes he’ll be an issue.”

On whether QB Blake Bell missed any open receivers:
“There was some of that. There was time or two when we had guys open and you’d have like to hit them. We had a couple of occasions late in the game when we had a corner route open and we overthrew it or threw it late, so we’ve got to keep pushing for better execution.”

On trickle-down effect of not converting in the passing game:
“The trickle down when you’re having those inconsistencies is being better on third down. We’ve got to continually do a better job. I thought the running backs did really well. We’ve got to be in a position to run it more and hopefully play action more, and hopefully that will limit the number of longs that we get in.”

On going away from the running game in the fourth quarter:
“At the end of the fourth quarter after the punt return it seemed like we closed the gap. It gets hard to stay in those run formations when you know you need quicker scores, so the score sometimes dictates the way you have to play.”

On the explanation of Eric Striker’s hit on QB Case McCoy that was ruled a penalty:
“They felt that they hit him too high. I don’t know. That’s what they said. We’ve got to get them to try to hit lower. I thought he made a good play, but they didn’t.”

On the team’s pass rush against Texas and if it seemed like they just couldn’t finish:
“Well at times, at times we didn’t. The first touchdown they throw, he lets go before the receiver’s even out of his break. So give it to him, he threw a great ball and we were going to hit him a step later. So at times it was there, at times they protected with seven people with two backs or a tight end and a back, and then you’re not going to come free as much or as quick. We’ve got to do a better job when there are fewer people in the route covering. So those are in the game you play.”

On talking to the players about coming back after a loss to Texas and winning the Big 12:
“I’ve talked to our guys about playing this week against Kansas. Everybody wants to project the end of year and we’ve been doing it for the last couple of weeks and you can’t do it. All we can do is be as prepared as we can be and as good as we can be for Kansas and that’s it. And then take it the following week.”

On if the team that wants to come out and make a statement after the loss:
“I haven’t been with the players yet. They’re off on Sundays and they’re in class all day today so I’m sure we’ll have a good sense of getting back to work and continuing on with the year. For everybody across the country, it’s a tough year. As you go through all these games and you see that there’s so much parody around it, you see people win and lose. Anyone can beat you, you can beat about anybody, and it’s always that way.”

On what happened on the Texas punt return that went for a TD:
“We had a guy or two right there to make a play that stop and don’t make it. You’ve got to go tackle him. We didn’t.”

On why it has been more difficult to get the ball to WR Jalen Saunders:
“Coverage, I guess. They’re trying to get him the ball, trying to break him open. At times we had him and didn’t get it to him. On the second interception, he’s open and we just didn’t get it to him quick enough.”

On how important it is to get WRs Jalen Saunders and Sterling Shepard the ball:
“It’s important. We need those guys that are capable of making big plays, need to make them, and we’re trying to put them in position to make those plays.”

On if he questions the team's intangibles he thought he had answered prior to Texas:
“No I don’t. Just because you lose a game, everyone all of a sudden now everything’s wrong. We’ve got to keep getting better and these guys have had a positive, good attitude about everything they’ve done and that won’t change today, I’m sure. They’ll come back to work and push to make improvement in areas we need it.”

On what he will say to the team today:
“We’ll go through this tape and acknowledge what was positive and what wasn’t and ‘here are the areas where we got beat’. We’re going to work on here through the week and the message will be really, strictly, how can we be better in everything that we’re doing when we play Kansas this week?“

On the benefits to having just one running back vs. having several RBs split the carries:
“At times, that’s fine. You’ve got guys like Adrian Peterson, that’s what you do. Other times, I think it’s been successful for us when we’ve had two. I think back to 2008, we had DeMarco Murray and Chris Brown - both 1,000-yard rushers. So what was wrong with that? In the end, I’ve had Quintin Griffin be a 1,900-yard rusher and Adrian (Peterson). So we’ve done it both ways and it’s been equally effective.”

On how QB Kendal Thompson is doing:
“He’s doing really well. It’s just getting him caught up after missing so many practices, but he’s working at it and he’s doing great.”

On philosophy on why he likes to stick with one guy at the QB position:
“I don’t have any philosophy other than, generally, the guys we have stayed with have done well. I think back to Nate Hybl who was criticized here, but he’s a Big 12 Champion quarterback, Rose Bowl MVP – it’s not all bad. So in the end, heck, we removed a quarterback the day we started camp and put another guy in there, and he won a Big 12 Championship. So other times we’ve had competition, with Nate (Hybl) and Jason (White), one guy he gets hurt. So there isn’t any particular strategy other than you continually grow them, you want them all prepared to play, and if you feel the need at different times through injury or other reasons to make a change, you do it. And it’s different from year to year; I guess is where I’m going with all of this. “

On if he will consider going with another QB if things aren’t going right:
“Sure, that can happen.”

Oklahoma Football
Head Coach Bob Stoops – Big 12 Conference Call
Oct. 14, 2013

On the coaches’ poll being a part of the BCS and how much time he spends on it:
“I am in favor of it. How much time… you do your best. It’s always difficult when you have away games. You get back and catch as many scores and highlights and try to find out what happened in most games and try to figure out who played at home or away. Everybody I think does their best.”

On if his thoughts on the game changed after watching film of the Texas game:
“It was about how I thought after the game. Give Texas credit, they made all the big plays in the game that usually make the difference in this rivalry. They made the interception for the touchdown, the punt return for the touchdown and those are always difficult to overcome. They made the big plays and we didn’t.”

On how he gets his team ready to play the week after the Texas game each year:
“That’s what you have to do. Our season, win or lose this game, isn’t the end all and it never is. We go back to doing our work like we always do and we have six more conference games to go so that’s what you have to do.”

On how close the race for the Big 12 championship will be:
“It’s always that way. We always play them (Texas) about the same time every year and so it’s the same message every year. We have to keep playing and try to get better and you know, keep pushing each week to make improvement.”

On the top five teams in the Big 12 still having to play each other:
“Yeah, it’s difficult and it’ll be challenging and it was kind of like that a year ago as well so it’ll be tough.”

On what he’s seen from Kansas:
“They look good in that, offensively they are going to try to run the football and get their play-action passes from it. They do a good job of that. Defensively, the biggest thing you notice watching them a week ago is all the turnovers. I think they got five turnovers a week ago. They play very sound and very aggressive in the way they play defensively.”

On the decline in passing numbers in the Big 12 this year:
“I think what you’re missing is the quarterback situation for everybody is different. You’re talking about in the last few years we had Landry Jones, Sam Bradford, Geno Smith and on and on and on. All these guys are mostly still in the NFL, Bradford, (Colt) McCoy and on and on and on. I think people played more to their strengths when they had those kinds of quarterbacks. Now some of these guys may end up being those kind of guys as they develop but I think that’s a big part of it.”

On if defenses are changing to emphasize stopping the pass:
“I think it’s more because of quarterbacks.”

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