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Bob Stoops Press Conference
December 02, 2013

Oklahoma Football
Head Coach Bob Stoops – Press Conference
Dec. 2, 2013

Opening Comment:
“We’re all excited for the opportunity to go up to Stillwater this weekend to play Oklahoma State. They’re a team that’s had an excellent year, and we understand that it’s a big challenge. We’ve had a great week of practice last week, three days, Monday-Wednesday and we gave the players off for the weekend. As coaches we did some recruiting through Sunday. The coordinators have been in place all day this morning and through the day getting ready for practice, so I feel like we’re in good shape getting ready for the end of this Monday. So hopefully I’ll get with the trainers here shortly and we’ll get some guys back that have been nicked up the last week. I feel like that week off should have hopefully helped us just with some of those nagging injuries and hopefully we’ll be stronger coming into this game. From there I’ll open it up for questions.”

On offense in the past two games:
“I do feel good about what we’ve done in the last two games in the way we’ve moved the football offensively, definitely. Especially, building on two games ago going on the road against a good Kansas State team that’s been playing really well and execute like we did. Hopefully we can carry that over and improve a little bit more.”

On the importance of winning:
“Obviously every game you win helps, and so that goes without saying.”

On the Kansas State win:
“Well the one two weeks ago also was positive and helped, so they all help … Every game we win helps and improves our position and our situation, as I said. That’s always the case, and that’s pretty simple to understand.”

On dealing with injuries, especially to quarterbacks:
“Those are the circumstances with which you’re dealt. They (QBs Blake Bell & Trevor Knight) were both dealt injuries and we had to deal. It’s fair to say in each case at different times it makes you adjust offensively, yes definitely. One guy may do a little bit better than the other guy and then practicing that more and polishing it up more to get the execution that you need. There is some of that with each guy, and it’s been a challenge to manage it over all.”

On if Blake Bell will be healthy this weekend:
“I will see today, but I assume he will be, yes.”

On whether specific running plays geared toward a specific quarterback:
“No doubt with the speed to make somebody miss them or to go by somebody that’s in the position to make a play and can’t. It’s fair to say with both of those guys what’s been obvious through these games you go to it more certain plays more often because of what they’re able to do overall, so no it’s not the same offense in that these plays are always in play. When you get ready for games you go to certain plays when you see the effectiveness more often. You go to the back more when you feel it’s being productive.”

On RB Brennan Clay:
“Brennan (Clay) has great vision and timing. I think timing is so important. I think time is talked over so much with running backs that it’s all speed or power, but timing to allow certain seams to open and feel that timing, I think he has a great sense of it to allow things to open before he tries to go make his play.”

On the possibility of adverse weather conditions on Saturday:
“In the end, our view is that both teams have to deal with it, so it isn’t like it’s bad for one and not the other, so I do think things you emphasize are ball security, kicking game, being smart with your throws. You do as a play caller on both sides of the ball how aggressive you are based on the wind situation and those kinds of things. More than cold I think is the wind. I think the wind effects the game much more than the cold does.

“Mid 20s to 30 with little wind I don’t think is as big of a deal. The wind to me is always the biggest factor, but again, when you have a few more sleeves on or something the ball security and making sure you’re good with the football is an issue.”

On wind problems at OSU in a stadium that runs east-west:
“Through the years it’s been that way. I agree with you that I don’t know if I can remember a time being that we get some north-south winds has been a huge factor probably because of that.”

On QB Trevor Knight’s performance early against Kansas State:
“I’m sure it mattered. He came out and Heupel gave him his opportunity early too and he threw the ball really well. He threw it like we see him throw it every day. I’m hopeful that he’ll just keep building on that.”

On the pace of Trevor Knight’s game:
“You can tell he’s operating at much more ease and he’s comfortable, and I guess even the pace. Just like I said about Brennan (Clay), even the pace and the timing, and there’s something with that with the quarterback as well in not rushing plays and letting them unfold while you execute.”

On Oklahoma State’s secondary:
“We’ve got to be really good at how do we attack them or how do we get our opportunities to get their safeties off us. The safeties are against anybody but are close to the line of scrimmage and are quick to run support and those kinds of things, so we’ve got to be able to take advantage of that.”

On the offense and defense playing together:
“I think it’s what you have seen from a lot of people in these games is that you win together. Sometimes in these games everybody blames, like oh, it was the defense or oh it was the offense. It’s the two of you fighting together. Yes, the offense has to pick up third downs, has to move the football and have it’s time of possession and score points and the defense has to get its third down stops. If you look at them two in the past four or five games they’re like plus 16 in turnover margin. If we’re on the bottom end of that we’re not going to win these games. If you’re on the plus end of it picking up third downs and scoring and getting your opportunities together, that’s how you win in these games. That’s how they beat Baylor. They win in the turnover margin. They win in third downs. They win the time of possession by a long shot. That’s how we beat Kansas State a week ago. We had a pick six. We won third and fourth downs by a long shot and we won the time of possession by probably 11 minutes more than they did, and that’s how you win, together. That’s what we have to do.”

On if he feels good about his defense after 11 games:
“We’re still so young. I do feel we have made significant strides. We have a lot of games where we have played really strong. I do. I still feel there is a lot more to come. Hopefully, that will come this week where we make more improvements. We have definitely gotten better by a longshot from a year ago and I feel like we have gotten better throughout the year and, again, hopefully this week.”

On choosing OU’s eight Big 12 championships or OSU possibly winning two of the last three:
“Over the last many years I would rather have the big picture, but this week I’d rather be where they’re at. There’s no denying that. Sure, we have done our deal, but today is today and all I can think about is what we want to do this week. If you want to ask me whenever I’m retired and there’s a certain point or period of time you want to talk about, sure, but right now I’m in the moment.”

On what OSU quarterback Clint Chelf has done the last few weeks:
“Much like I would probably say, if they say it too, is the execution of the players around him has been really good. He’s making great decisions on where he is throwing the football, his reads, and his accuracy. His accuracy has been there as well. Again, there’s probably some of it when he wasn’t as consistent probably wasn’t all him. Some of it was the execution around him.”

On what OSU has been doing in the run game that has been so successful:
“Well, part of it is the run game for the quarterback. If you spread out too much worrying about how you are going to cover everybody, the holes will open up for the quarterback to run through. That’s part of it. They do a lot of different movement with their fullback back there to change up how you are fitting your gaps. You see other people that have played them getting out of position and then there’s a hole right there that they take advantage of.”

On if he has an appreciation for how far OSU has come as a program since 2001 and 2002:
“No, I don’t appreciate it, I wish they hadn’t (laughs). No, I mean, sure, yeah. They have invested a lot in their program and you see this across the country in every league. Everybody is spending their money and investing in their programs and building their programs and there is more and more parity everywhere and they have shown it in this league.”

On how much OSU’s talent has upgraded over the years he has been here:
“They do have great players, excellent players. When you have to be the one that’s facing them all the time, it’s not like they never have. I can’t say how it has changed. They have had great players for a long time.”

On if facilities make much of a difference to recruits:
“Yeah, sure they do.”

On if he feels that the team is prepared for every possible outcome in every situation:
“Well, we feel like we are. That’s a situation that’s something to reference. It may happen every once every five, six, eight years but that’s something you have on your list now as you go through. In this kind of situation that’s what we need to be ready to do.”

On if he spends extra time in practice on that:
“Not every day but that’s something you do in two-a-days. That’s something you do when you have extra time, or in the spring. Again, this is a situation that might come every five or eight years, but let’s make sure we understand what we need to do.”

On what he can do to prepare:
“Again, if there’s a strong and immediate sense of urgency, as soon as you hear the ball thud that you are sprinting and covering, I think that’s what you do and you work it. Even though they’re big, and again, there’s enough of them out there that you have a chance to corral them.  But if you’re asking me what you do, that’s what you do.”

On if he is emphasizing turnovers and third downs with the cold weather against OSU:
“It’s huge. Because third and fourth down conversion and turnovers all lead to possession time and yardage on the field for field position and all of that. It directly correlates to points and time of possession so you need to win those battles.”

On whether a slick ball impacts turnovers:
“Yeah. It’s definitely a factor.”

On if it’s better to have a tough in-state rival or an in-state rival that is easy to beat:
“I don’t know. A rival is a rival.”

On if it is all the same to him:
“Yeah.”

On special teams:
“Special teams are always a factor on field position and it’s something we’ve worked hard on, definitely. They’ve got great return guys; we’ve got great return guys. That will be a big issue in the game, too. We’ve had some big plays returning the ball, as they have, so that will be a big part of the game.”

On OSU’s defense compared to what they have been with the new defensive coordinator:
“I won’t compare it to what they’ve been. I’m not much on comparing just because they’ve got a different guy (coordinator), but I will say what you see from them this year is you see excellent players – it starts there. And then very sound and structured in what they ask their players to do. You see very few mistakes because of that so they’re very sound in how they play. They do the same things over and over and they do them well and that’s a compliment when I say they’re not grab bagging for certain things to stop on – they play good fundamentals. And then they mix in their change-ups to cross you up with blitzes here or there or movements to try and throw you off so they do a good, sound job of it.”

On the problems on defense last season and if he feels there is some certainty now:
“We continue to do some of the same things, which haven’t proven to be the best but we did win 10 games I guess and only lost one Big 12 game (in 2012), so let’s remember that. But in the end, no. Obviously we’ve made a lot of adjustments from a year ago and for the most part they’ve been really positive and good and we like what we’ve been doing.”

On if there is a level of confidence now that wasn’t there last season defensively:
“Sure. I don’t know that we ever lost confidence but whatever. We do feel good about what we’re doing. You’re asking me right now in this moment, yes.”

On his reaction to the Iron Bowl finish:
“Probably like everybody’s – Wow. That was a heck of a play.”

On if he saw Adrian Peterson’s 10,000 yard career rushing accomplishment:
“I didn’t. I was busy recruiting yesterday. I’m happy for Adrian (Peterson), I congratulate him. Doesn’t surprise me. He’s special and I love it that he’s healthy and keeps rolling. He’s a guy, as powerful as he is, he can keep going for probably a good while.”

On Adrian Peterson accomplishing things like Jim Brown, O.J. Simpson and Emmitt Smith:
“Well, get next to him and look at him. It’s not that surprising.”

Oklahoma Football
Head Coach Bob Stoops – Big 12 Conference Call
Dec. 2, 2013

On if the teams or players being aware of OU’s record in Bedlam games:
“I think our team, in any situation, is always capable of winning and capable of playing well and doing well in this game or any other game. I think our history speaks to that.”

On if he ever practices covering returns on long field goal attempts:
“Not very often. It makes you want to do it more, but to be quite honest with you I don’t think we’ve had one in a few years that has come up short. There is always the factor of are you good enough against the fake with a guy not all the way up there so there is a lot consider in those situations.”

On if his team gets any more motivation from being able to play the spoiler role:
“No. That may be the lowest form of motivation that a competitor can have. So no, that has nothing to do with how we approach the game what so ever. That is a very, very low form of motivation.”

On what has impressed him about OSU since its loss to West Virginia:
“The consistency of their quarterback play has been evident through this second half of the year probably. The consistency on defense has been really good as well. Really the turnover margin as well if you look at the last few games. That is a major factor, as well.”

On if he would prefer a conference championship game or the current Big 12 format:
“In the way our league is set up right now, this is the right format. It is a little bit different when you start having co-champs and all that so that makes it tougher. With 10 teams this is the only way to do it in my opinion. If we ever get to 12 like we had for so many years then you are able to have a championship game.”

On if the targeting rule change has been effective in combating violent head shots:
“I believe it has. I believe that it has moved the players and all of us in the right direction. I know there have been some glitches here and there but for the most part I have definitely noticed a difference in the way players are attacking. I think we have avoided a lot of more serious collisions than we would have and I think it’s the right direction that we are going. I think we can maybe officiate it a little better in that, when there is clear evidence that there isn’t any targeting what so ever and it was a low shot or it was done properly, maybe pick up the flag. I don’t know, I think that’s something the league will look at and I think it’s something that we’ll just keep improving upon. It was the right thing to do and we did move in the right direction.”

On the play of LB Dominique Alexander:
“Dominique has really played well. For a true freshman to come in and do what he has done through this period of time has been really one of the more impressive freshman on defense that we have ever had. He has been really strong and consistent and continues to get better.”

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