Offensive Media Session

Athletics Communications
By Athletics Communications
University of Oklahoma
NOVEMBER 26, 2013

Oklahoma Football
Co-Offensive Coordinator Jay Norvell
November 26, 2013

On WR Jalen Saunders:
“He’s ratcheting it up. He sees the end coming and he really is dialed in to how he can help this team. We’re moving him around a little bit more; we’re putting him in different spots. Sometimes when you’re a college football coach you start seeing the end with some guys and you want to get as much out of him as you can. But he’s a really good player he’s really tough for a little guy and we just are trying to use him up here these last few weeks and put him in good spots.”

On if WR Jalen Saunders is an NFL prospect:

“I don’t think there’s any question. There are a lot of categories; there’s a big guy category and kind of a slot receiver category. I think he’s really showing he can do a lot of things very well as a punt returner and a route runner. I think they like his toughness. He’s showing that he’ll mix it up. We use him in a lot of situations where you’d use a bigger receiver and he goes in there and throws his body around so I’m probably most proud about that of him and just how he’s played the physical part of the game.”

On how much opening up the running game impacts the passing game:

“Well, I mean you’ve got to do things on film. We play a lot of good coaches and teams in this league that are good defensive coaches and you’ve got to threaten people and make them respect different facets of your game. If you don’t, they’ll smother you. So we’ve got to be prepared again this week. Oklahoma State was very aggressive against Baylor. They tried to suffocate them with their safeties and getting people down in their running game and we’re going to have to respond the right way if we’re going to have success offensively. So we’ve got to be aggressive to meet that type of aggressive style and it’s going to be important for us to respond the same way this week.”

On going three-wide and using QB Trevor Knight’s athletic ability in the middle:
“We tried to use the field at times and get them to cover the whole field. Trevor (Knight) is a threat. He’s a threat in the open field, he’s got great outside speed, and that’s a real threat for the defense. We kind of tried to put them in position were they had to cover the field and we got a couple of schemes that we like when we do that and Trevor (Knight) made them play. And that’s the thing; I think we showed a lot of diversity. We showed a lot of outside plays. My favorite play of the game was (Aaron) Ripkowski on the old fashioned lead play in short yardage. I think I came out of my shoes on that play. You just don’t see a lot of isolation football anymore in college and to be able to run that play as well as we ran it was fun to watch. And (Aaron) Ripkowski is a tremendous fullback. He’s an old-school, downhill, bloody nose fullback and it’s just fun to see that because you don’t see it in football that much anymore.”

On the bye week:
“The bye week is very important. It’s important to build and play efficiently. We feel that we made some strides last week just in our total execution, and we need to continue that. The only way you do that is to get back on the practice field and keep working on the things that you need to get better at, so we’ve to continue to improve and get better and play our best football here this last weekend.”

On how they are preparing:
“We’re doing it just like a normal week, so we’re doing our daily preparation just like we would on a normal game week like if we were playing this weekend, so we’re trying to get the majority of it done. We’ll tweak it next week, but we really want to stay on pace like in a normal week.”

On if anything changed on offense:
“I don’t know. We’ve been trying to do a lot of that stuff over the course of the year. I jus think Trevor was really dialed in. I thought he was really focused. I thought he was really prepared to do those things that we were asking him to do and he was ready to do them. He felt very comfortable out there. I think that was obvious in his execution and I thought our team played with a lot of tempo and efficiency because of that. Everybody else just snapped into place and responded and that was a good thing. We’ve got to continue to do that. To be a good offense you’ve got to be able to run it. You’ve got to be able to run it inside and outside and you’ve got to be able to throw it short and deep and attack the field. We did all that the first drive. When you do that to a defense you get them on their heels a little bit and you can do some of the things you want to do offensively.”

On how big the first drive was against Kansas State:
“I think it just set a tone for the rest of the game, really. We hit some outside lanes. We spread the ball around to different receivers. Guys made third-down conversions. When you do that it sends a message of confidence to your whole unit, and I think that was really important to that game. That’s a tough environment. They do a great job with their student section and all of that. They’ve had a lot of success. It was important for us to start well. We hadn’t done that in the last few weeks, but it was really important for us to do that Saturday, and we did, and I think that momentum really carried on into the game.”

Oklahoma Football
Co-Offensive Coordinator Josh Heupel
Nov. 26, 2013

On the quarterback situation:
“I don’t know where we’ll be a week from today, but it gives you an opportunity to work both of those guys and see where they’ll be.”

On QB Trevor Knight now compared to earlier in the year in practice:
“I don’t see a lot of difference. He’s been pretty confident in the way he is and what he is as a person and as a player. He would like to have played better earlier in the year, but you just have to continue to push and be better.”

On the running backs:
“It’s important that all those guys are healthy and ready to play well. Whoever you think might be the guy during the course of a ball game, you never know, so you have to be ready. They all handle everything. The run game is obvious, but in pass protection they have to be good, too.”

On the back-up running backs:
“I feel like whoever has the opportunity to play will play well. You’ve seen Keith (Ford) a little bit and Alex (Ross) may have an opportunity, too.”

On RB David Smith:
“He’s practiced well. He’s prepared well. So whoever gets their opportunity will play well.”

On FB Aaron Ripkowski at Kansas State:
“He did a good job. We played him in line quite a bit a week ago. He can still be so much better fundamentally at that as he continues to grow, but he did a good job. He handled everything. He’s playing a lot more snaps, and he’s managed that extremely well.”

On WR Sterling Shepard:
“Sterling played well before he got hurt. When you lose Sterling you have to shuffle around more than you want to. Having him back was a big help for us just his consistency and his ability to make plays inside and the way he competes in the run game. He changes a five yard run into a 15 or bigger than that.”

On putting in new offense during the off week:
“You’ve got to be who you are. We’re playing an opponent who has a really good defense and is playing well as a team. It’s a hostile environment and a big game, so you’ve got to be who you are. You can always add wrinkles and things that you think give you an opportunity against their schemes. But for the most part you are who you are at this point in the year.”

On how important execution is:
“At the end of the day, I don’t care what you draw up. It comes down to execution. That’s the name of the game. You have to put your kids in the position to be successful against the schemes they’re seeing, but you have to be able to execute.”

On having a dual-threat quarterback:
“It helps some of your play actions and some of your boots early in the ball game. I thought we executed better and made competitive plays out wide as well, so all of those things come together.”

On how comfortable he feels in his play calling:
“I was pretty comfortable early in the year, too. We’ve performed better is why they think it’s better.”

On the injury situation:
“We’ll see where we’re at here at the end of the week with everybody. We’ve been pretty banged up and trying to get healthy.”

On offensive linemen like Derek Farniok stepping into the lineup:
“We felt like Derek (Farniok) has progressed and has handled himself and prepared in a good way. At this point in the year it doesn’t matter who you put out there. You’re playing a rival opponent. Nobody cares who’s out there and who’s not. You just want to go out there and win, and that’s what we expect to do.”

On TE Brannon Green:
“He’s done a good job. We’ve asked him to go in there and play in some of our wing sets and he’s been doing good.”

Oklahoma Football
Quarterback Trevor Knight
Nov. 26, 2013

On working with RB Brennan Clay against KSU:
“Anytime you rush for 200 yards, and then I added 82 or 84, it all starts up front. Those guys made big holes all day and we were just decisive with the football. When it was there I gave it to him and when it wasn’t there I pulled it. It just worked all day for us.”

On being more comfortable with RB Brennan Clay than the other running backs:
“That’s not necessarily true. It worked on that day because he got the majority of the carries but any of those guys can do that stuff.”

On how losing a key running back will impact practice:
“When somebody goes down, guys have got to step up and make those plays. Brennan (Clay) did a great job carrying the ball 30 plus times. He took advantage of it.”

On if the chemistry with running backs is even more important running the read option:
“Absolutely. With a mesh, you’ve got to be in tact with each other, you’ve got to be in tune or else the ball will be on the ground and that’s not what you want. It takes a lot of practice, but I think all of our guys do a great job of having pace back there and running it well.”

On if the key with RB Brennan Clay is having trust in each other:
“Yeah. He’s been one of those guys that’s been going with the first team the whole year so he’s gotten more reps than the other guys. He’s done a good job with being patient, he’s not clamping down on the ball and he’s making it easier on us.”

On his ability to pitch the ball:
“Oh yeah. We’ve had that stuff in all year. Whether or not we bring it out – I don’t know. That’s for the coaches to decide. But yeah, if we want to pitch the ball I think we’re capable of doing that.”

On the importance of the early completion to WR Jalen Saunders in the KSU game:
“It was. Just at the beginning of the game coming out and getting a completion. Whether it’s that throw or any other throw, it’s a confidence builder. I know I’m capable of making all the throws, it’s just going out there and doing it week in and week out. I do it in practice but it’s what you do in the games. Not everybody in the outside world can see that but all three of us – me, Kendal (Thompson) and Blake (Bell) – we can make all the throws its just a matter of are we going to do it and who can show up on game day.”

On if it is exciting that he is executing what he does in practice on the field:
“Absolutely. You play this game as a competitor to go and show up on game day. You can go out and practice all you want, you can be a great practice player but if you don’t show up on game day you’re not going to be the guy so to go out there and play well, that’s what you work for every single day.”



Sooner Sports Properties, LLC, is the multimedia rights holder for athletics at the University of Oklahoma.
Sooner Sports Properties is a joint venture of Learfield Communications and Tyler Media, LLC.


Sooner Sports Powered by FOX Sports is a multi-platform network that provides distribution of 1,000+ hours of Sooner sports programming annually on a variety of FOX Sports outlets, including FOX Sports Oklahoma, FOX Sports Southwest, and FOX College Sports.