Bob Stoops Press Conference

Athletics Communications
By Athletics Communications
University of Oklahoma
NOVEMBER 25, 2013

Oklahoma Football
Head Coach Bob Stoops – Press Conference
Nov. 25, 2013

Opening Comment:
“Going back through the Kansas State game, again, I was very pleased with just the overall competitiveness of our team and the focus we played. Kansas State is always a difficult place to play with their crowd and energy and all of that, and our guys really responded well along with the weather being cold and there was probably a 20 mile-per-hour wind that affected some things. For the most part I thought we handled it all pretty well.

“Offensively we ran the ball consistently throughout the day anytime you rush for 300 yards. Brennan Clay had 200 and we played really well in that part. I thought Trevor Knight coming in and starting again threw the ball really well and had a great start with our first drive with some really tight throws, and that was a big spark for us, too. The players of the game were our offensive line, Trevor Knight and Brennan Clay. I thought Aaron Ripkowski too with that offensive line did a great job blocking throughout the day.

“Defensively, we were great against the run. We felt that would be a major part in winning this game. We didn’t want to give up the big plays. I give their guy credit, Tyler Lockett, just beat us in coverage a couple of times and had some big plays. That’s the bad part of the day, but we felt like our opportunity to win would be in being great against the run game and they averaged one yard per rush. I think we averaged 6.0 yards per rush, so that’s always a big factor.

“We were great in third and fourth down conversions. On offense I think we were 10 of 17 and they were three of nine on third and fourth downs, so again, that’s another big part of the game. Then we got a turnover for touchdown on defense. Zack Sanchez made a huge play to really separate us in the game in the fourth quarter. Special teams I thought did another good job. Jalen Saunders with the huge punt return in an unusual way in that they were punting into the wind and the punt was so short and he realized there was a big hole up there he could get it. He took a great jump on the ball and made a huge play there to set up another touchdown.

“The turnover battle is always a big issue, and we won that. The one pick we throw was just a miscommunication with the receiver. The receiver needs to break in front of that defender and protect that ball, get it or protect it, and he broke off the route, so we had a miscommunication there. Again, I feel good to win a game there at Kansas State. They’re a team that had won four straight games. I’m proud of our guys and the way they responded. We were down seven starters in the game, so we had to overcome all of that and in special teams different guys had to step up. We were able to do it for the most part.

“This week leading into the following week’s game with Oklahoma State, we will practice Monday through Wednesday and then we’ll give the players off through the weekend to be with their families for Thanksgiving and then regroup here on Sunday late afternoon and then get into our normal Monday through Friday week.”

On whether the locker room celebration after his 158th victory caught him by surprise:
“I know people don’t believe that, but it truly was. I had forgot about it. I was just sitting there enjoying the win giving out game balls to my guys who played well, to the players you know, and then Joe (Castiglione) comes up and it hits you again. It isn’t something that I was at all focused on. It surprised me that Joe had a ball there, and then the players, I wanted to be able to celebrate it with them. It isn’t something you know I’m not comfortable with, but they deserve a chance to laugh and throw me around and toss me around a little bit, so hey have at it, and then it’s done.

“To acknowledge it I will say I feel incredibly fortunate and blessed to have been supported at a school like Oklahoma for these 15 years with the same administration all these years, a great group of young men I’ve been able to coach, the coaches and assistants that have all had a hand in this, my secretaries, our trainers, our managers, our team doctors. It’s a big team of people who helped get it done, and so many of them have also had a great hand in this. I’ll finish by saying there’s still only one King and that’s Coach Switzer. He’s the only one who knows how to wear that crown.”

On using the off-week to heal up:
“We need one about as much as anybody. Hopefully we can rest some guys up this week and get them back for the following week. I don’t know the status of really anyone today just yet, so we’ll see as we go through the week.”

On RB Damien Williams and WR Lacoltan Bester:
“Damien Williams has been removed from the football team, so he’s no longer a member of the team, and Lacoltan Bester served a one game suspension last week.”

On using the Kansas State game to build offensively:
“It’s just one game, but hopefully we can build on it. I think what’s been obvious through the whole year has been the inconsistency offensively, so we put a few here together now, and I think Kansas State is a good defensive football, too. They’ve showed that, but we executed well, and I think there isn’t any magic to offense. It’s the offense. It’s the blocking, the timing and the execution. The players have to make it happen, and they did that in a good way here this past weekend.”

On FB Aaron Ripkowski:
“Aaron (Ripkowski) is a little bit different style than Trey (Millard). Trey could do so many other things, but Aaron has been really, really physical and playing strong and playing well. He’s really stepped up and contributed in a great way.

“He was in in different ways with Trey (Millard). He was in the backfield with our three-back sets and Trey would be on the line and he’d be off the line, so he had been playing some. You just don’t have the two of them now together.”

On using TE Brannon Green more:
“It isn’t different. They’re just in different spots. Brannon (Green) goes in a little more now and Aaron (Ripkowski) is in some places that Trey (Millard) might have been in more. We’re trying to make it work with the two of them in some bigger sets where we’re trying to run play action.”

On if QB Trevor Knight is more comfortable in the run game:
“Definitely. It’s like anything. The more you do it the more comfortable you become at it and confident with it in that there’s a time or two where, like I said, the read may be to give it, but he feels the guy is tight enough where he has confidence to run away from him even if he is giving a give read. Those are some things where the more he does it the better he’s getting at it.”

On using QB Trevor Knight in the option:
“He’s a great athlete. I think it’s obvious as soon as you see him pull the ball down and run is how fast he is. He has great speed and quickness, and those are some things that allow him to separate from people and make big plays like he’s made. We’ve just got to continue to work the consistency of it all.”

On if QB Trevor Knight’s abilities to run change the defense:
“Yes, because he has the ability to pull the ball and make something happen on the edge and it puts more stress on the defensive players in their spacing and where they’re going to defend. Like I said, they may have a guy there for him, but if there’s enough room it’s a foot race, and a good bit of the time he’s going to win that foot race. It does put pressure on them, and it changes things for the defense. With him in there we go to it more because he’s more effective with it.”

On if he thinks he will go into the off-season with a starting quarterback:
“I’m just trying to get to Thanksgiving, so I don’t know.”

On if having a chance at the Big 12 Conference title is any extra motivation:
“You know you’re just fighting every week the same, so win or lose you’re constantly just trying to win the next one, so that’s what we’ll do this week.”

On if having a chance at the Big 12 Conference title is any extra motivation:
“Yeah, but does it make you want it any more. You want it as much as you can want it, right? And we want to win, so there’s still games to be played, so we’ll see what happens.”

On adjustments to cover Kansas State WR Tyler Lockett:
“When you’re Kansas State with all their run game and all the quarterback run game and all, you don’t have a chance to double cover people, and so no. We just had Aaron (Colvin) on him more in the second half, and did our best to match him up with him. Aaron was playing banged up, but he still really fought. I’m really proud of him. He really made a big difference in the game.”

On CB Aaron Colvin's playing time in the second half:
“We kind of told him [he needed to play more]. Some of the players of the game on defense, Gabe Lynn was our player of the game. Special teams was Jalen Saunders and Michael Hunnicutt again was perfect on the day with wind conditions, and I told you the offensive guys I guess, so.”

On S Gabe Lynn’s progression:
“He’s played great, definitely. Gabe (Lynn) has had a great year tackling and being physical. He has, what, I want to say three interceptions maybe. Gabe, our cornerback back there, has really been getting everybody on the same page. He had another really good game this weekend.”

On QB Blake Bell’s availability:
“Unsure yet I’d say, so we’ll see … We’ll find out once he’s healthy. I won’t know that until after Thanksgiving.”

On Oklahoma State’s defense:
“Excellent defense. They’re very sound structurally in how they see through everything. They make you work. They play tight coverage in the secondary. They’ve got good players that are making plays. I appreciate good, sound, fundamental football and it’s what you see. It isn’t some magic scheme. They’re playing strong, fundamental football in how they’re playing their positions.”

On the play of Oklahoma’s offensive line:
“They were the players of the game. Nila Kasitati came in and played more, so all those guys came in and did a nice job. Derek Farniok came in at tackle and did well for his time in there.”

On whether he’s ever had a bigger offensive lineman that OL Dionte Savage:
“Dionte? Yeah he’s massive.”

On the evolution of this year’s offense with different quarterbacks:
“Well it’s been because our quarterbacks are a little bit different in how they run the ball. It needed to be a little different. In the end Blake (Bell) came in when he got his opportunity and threw the ball really well in the early part of the year, so that was a little more of what we’re used to here, or maybe what the fans have been. But, that was a little inconsistent. There were some games where we didn’t play so well, and then Trevor (Knight) gets back in there and he can do a few different things with his feet, and we took advantage of it. Now it’s working a little bit, so we’re trying to play to our players’ strengths. It’s not always easy to do when you’re in the middle of the year and going through the year, but again, I still feel each of them. I still feel confident in Trevor’s ability to throw the football in our traditional passing game and Blake’s ability to do it, as well. We just have to keep trying to find what they’re comfortable with the most.”

On why Blake Bell warmed up at Kansas State:
“I told him not to, but I guess Coach Heupel wanted him to. I said, no we got to Saturday just get warm and then I looked and he was going out in warmups, so it’s not a big deal.”

On if Coach Snyder asked who the starting quarterback would be:
“No, I’m sure he probably figured it out.”

On why Oklahoma State beat Baylor:
“They played good, fundamental defense. They were great on possession downs and they’re offense stayed on the field I think 10 minutes longer than they did. That will win for you.”

On which coaches still call him Bobby as opposed to Bob Stoops:
“Coach Snyder, Coach Spurrier, Coach Frye, Barry Alvarez, Dan Carney. When I was a player that was actually on my shirt, believe it or not. My wife said when I took the job here, ‘why did all of a sudden you become Bob Stoops?’ My wife calls me Bobby, my family; most of them call me Bobby. When I’m up here (at the podium in front of the media) I’m a different guy.”

On RB Brennan Clay:
“Brennan is a fabulous, fabulous student-athlete and player. He’s consistent, positive in every way. You can always rely on him, and he’s shown that this year. I think he’s in the top two or three in our league in yards-per-carry, and he’s done it over and over. He’s got a great pace to him and great vision to find the spaces. He had some great ones the other night where he just waited long enough and there it was. He’s had a great year.”

On RB Brennan Clay and blocking for big plays:
“You don’t see him get caught. He had excellent speed. I think we’ve done a better job as a team of blocking downfield. And some of the design of our runs too with the quarterback’s ability to run to help split people a little bit and it has given people some opportunities.”

On the relationship between QB Trevor Knight and RB Brennan Clay in running the option:
“There’s a feel to it with the two of them. They did a great job of being responsible with the ball. In a few of them you see Trevor (Knight) pull it out late and make a play with it, so it’s fair to say there is a little bit of feel to it with guys.”

On QB Trevor Knight’s touchdown:
“It was down on the north goal line. I think he was shocked that they guy was still there. The guy didn’t believe what he saw and chased and Trevor (Knight) went around the corner.  We got fortunate on that one.”

On Oklahoma State’s offense:
“They’re throwing it well, too. QB Clint (Chelf) is throwing it well. They’ve got excellent receivers out wide. They try to space you out, but they’re doing a great job running and then the play action game off it. Those two things I think they get a lot of big plays that way. They’re doing a really good job.”

On defending Big 12 quarterbacks this year as opposed to previous years:
“It’s been different, but I’ve always said, I think in any league the quarterbacks are the toughest to defend. When you’re facing really good quarterbacks it’s going to strain the defense, and we just had a transition here with a lot of new ones. And you see all of them, they’ll continue to get better, and next year and the year after it gets harder and harder the more experience they get.”

On playing Oklahoma State with a rash of O-line injuries in 2008:
“We moved our third team tight end to offensive tackle for the game. He’s never played tackle. On Thursday. Trent got hurt on a Wednesday. It was like you’ve got to be kidding me.”

On having momentum going into Oklahoma State:
“Absolutely. We’re excited about it and going to do all we can to finish strong and be ready to play of course, and that win last week only helped that to show that we can overcome this and we’re excited about it, definitely.”

On outside opinion’s about the quarterback competition:
“I don’t have any opinions on other people’s opinion. At the end of the day we watch these guys every single day, and now maybe some people are seeing some of what we’ve seen through these years working with these guys. In the end we’ll do what we feel is right for the team and give us the best opportunity to win. The opinions of the outside world change on a weekly basis.”

On OL Tyler Evans returning next season:
“Tyler is going to be able to return next year. They granted him another one (redshirt) because he’s had back-to-back years (with season-ending injuries). He wants to come back and finish next year.”

On Corey Nelson’s medical redshirt:
“Hopefully we’ll know sometime around the holidays or right after. That’s what we’re hoping for.”

Oklahoma Football
Head Coach Bob Stoops – Big 12 Conference Call
Nov. 25, 2013

On if he was satisfied with his team’s complete performance at Kansas State:
“Definitely. Just in all phases of the game we responded. Offensively, throughout the day we were consistent. The defense came up with some big stops; a turnover for a touchdown. As you said, some of the special teams’ plays made a difference, as well. All of that on the road was very pleasing definitely.”

On whether it was too cold to get a Gatorade bath after the game:
“Absolutely. It was cold and they would have had to have snuck up on me. I’m not going to sit around and let them get me if I can help it. Not on that day.”

On if RB Brennan Clay’s success Saturday came from a rhythm due to a lot of carries:
“Yes and no. Sometimes yes and sometimes no. In the end, Brennan has had a lot of big games this year. It’s not the first time and I think just a couple weeks ago he and Damien (Williams) both had over 100 yards and averaged 10 yards per carry with two of them. I think it has to do with blocking and the space available more than anything.”

On being able to lean on the running game the past few weeks:
“Well, it’s been the whole year really, except for a few games when we were defended well and didn’t run it well. For the most part, through most all the games that we’ve won we have run the ball pretty well. That’s nine of them, not just recently.”

On the team’s schedule for this week:
“We’re just going to practice Monday through Wednesday and give them Thanksgiving through the weekend off. As much as anything we have got to get some guys healed up hopefully and try to get some guys back. We’re without eight or nine starters and I’m not sure who will get back and who won’t but we’ll use that time to get rest and hopefully a little healthier.”

On what has impressed him about OSU:
“They have been consistent in every part of the game. Defensively, they are playing really well. Offensively, they are executing well. (Clint) Chelf has really come on and is throwing the ball and they have made some big plays in special teams as well, so they have been really solid.”



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