View video and quotes from Tuesday's press conference previewing the BYU game.
Senior RB Chris Brown
NORMAN, Okla. --
Head coach Bob Stoops previewed Oklahoma's season opener vs. BYU during his weekly press conference Tuesday. Click the links above to view video from Tuesday's press conference. Quotes from OU's coaches and players are available below.
The third-ranked Sooners meet No. 20 BYU Saturday in the first official game played at the new Dallas Cowboys Stadium in Arlington, Texas. The game will be televised nationally on ESPN with kickoff set for 6 p.m. (CT).
For complete coverage throughout the week, visit Sooner Gameday Central
|| Head Coach Bob Stoops
"Overall, we're looking forward to the challenge this weekend. We're starting against a really good BYU team, a team that has a great history of success and a great tradition. Our players and our program have been aware of that since we have had this game scheduled. The recent success under Coach (Bronco) Mendenhall and the success they have had over the last four or five years is really notable. They're an excellent team, winning conference championships, winning 10 or 11 games almost every year. We understand it's a big challenge, our players have known that all year.
"This week, game week, they are excited about the challenge and working to prepare to play a good football game. This Saturday, we really need to play a good game to give ourselves an opportunity to win. It's exciting just to be starting another year with our team. I feel really positive with the way our team has handled themselves through the entire camp. They have had a good mentality with working and have been very positive. It's been an exciting group to this point. Now comes judgment day, through the season we have to earn it every week. I feel like the guys have done the work to this point to get us in a good position here in game week."
On Brody Eldridge starting at center:
"You have heard me going on four years talking about Brody Eldridge being one of our best players on the team period. He just doesn't play a dynamic position that everybody loves to talk about. He has been one of our toughest, most consistent and best players for three years, going on four. We have a lot of confidence with him in there. But we feel like Ben (Habern) has really come on and is awfully close, we will just see how it goes. I'm sure there will be time when Ben will be in there some."
On potential of the Oklahoma defense:
"The potential is really high for this defense to be very good. It has a chance to be when you look at not only the skill that is back and the overall ability, but also the experience. Last year we started a little rough and as the year went, we really played pretty well. Hopefully we can start better, the defense has a chance to be really good."
On playing true freshmen:
"I think overall we are a little bit thin, but we'll stay thin if they aren't ready to play. They are showing the ability to understand what we're asking them to do and to make plays. We feel like we should give them the opportunity to make plays."
On Ryan Reynolds leadership ability:
"That's why he is a captain. He understands the defense so well, he is very instinctive in there. The guys feel comfortable with him playing in there."
On Sam Bradford's improved leadership:
"Overall, it's just natural as you become one of the older guys on the team. It's hard to say much when you're a freshman or a sophomore, not that you can't, because guys do. Now that he's been around four years, even though he's not a senior, he's one of the guys who has played a lot and it's easier to step in and say something because guys want to hear what he's thinking or what he thinks we need to do here in practice or in a game to win. They have so much respect for his competitiveness and how he plays."
On Jermaine Gresham's work ethic:
"Jermaine is one of the best workers we have on the team. He is a great competitor. I equate him in his mindset in games to very similar to Adrian (Peterson). He's a fierce competitor, loves it. He has improved his blocking. I'm not going to say he couldn't have improved his blocking, he could have. That's one of the reasons that he wanted to come back, to be a better blocker. As far as playing hard, and doing the things we ask him, he has been one of the best guys I've had in going on 11 years."
On the excitement leading up to BYU:
"As much as anything, we're kind of anxious and tired of waiting for it. I just want it here, although I can take all the practice time I can get, I want it here tomorrow. In the end, you're excited to play and to see the personality of the team as you go. Every year the team is different, so you want to see your team out there in the middle of it and see how they react."
On OU's non-conference schedule:
"It's incredibly challenging, we're very aware of that. I'm sure it's one of the toughest in the country. When you look at difficulty and where we're playing, going down to Miami on top of the other games with BYU, Idaho State and Tulsa, it's challenging. But, that's how we do it."
On having a crowd advantage with being so close to Arlington:
"That's what I would hope for with the proximity and those kinds of things. It's kind of like last year in the National Championship game, Florida had quite a few more than we did, even though it was a neutral site, so you kind of hope that that would be the case, and we hope that's the way it works out."
On not starting this season:
|| Sophomore DE Frank Alexander
"It doesn't bother me. I want to start but I know that the way coach rotates us, so it's not a real big thing being a starter. When the starters go out, you come in and produce at the same intensity level that the starters did. Being a back-up to Auston [English] and Jeremy [Beal], it doesn't matter because I know they got two good players in front of me."
On facing BYU's offense:
"I feel like if we just have to go out there and believe in ourselves, read our keys and play hard every snap. You never know what the outcome is going to be in football so you just have to go your all for every play."
On having Ryan Reynolds back in the defense:
"Ryan is the heart of the defense. He keeps everybody going and I think him coming back this year will make everything better. Ryan going out last year at Texas hurt the defense a little bit, but now Ryan's coming back stronger than ever and I think it's going to make our defense look a lot stronger than last year."
On the defense as a unit:
"I think we're a strong unit. With everybody coming back from last year, it gave us a chance to play with everybody last year and this year we're all close so it just makes it better. Going out there and knowing you trust the man next to you gives you all the confidence in the world to go out there and play as hard as they play because you know they're going to be going just as hard."
On Brody Eldridge starting at center:
|| Junior QB Sam Bradford
"I think he was one of the best blockers we had last year at tight end. To move him to center and to see the way he has been able to comprehend the things the coaches have asked him to do and see the way he has been able to play has been impressive.
"I never would have thought that Brody would be at center. I can imagine that Brody is probably even more surprised to be playing center than I am to have him at center. His size isn't a concern for me. The way he handled defensive linemen last year, he has proven that he can do it."
On the importance of a good snap:
"It's very important, it's what gets the play started. If I don't get the ball then obviously we are in trouble. It's been different to go through different centers in the spring and in the fall. We have put a lot of work into it and I feel confident with everyone we have playing center right now."
On Adron Tennell:
"You guys have seen his capability and some of the plays that he has been able to make. He played as a true freshman, I think that shows that the coaches have tremendous confidence in him. Every practice he comes out and seems like he makes a play on a deep ball, jumping over someone and making a grab. Every day it seems like I leave the field with more confidence in him than I had at the beginning of practice."
On becoming more vocal as a leader:
"It's something I have grown into. I think my personality is pretty laid back, I'm pretty quiet normally. The more I have played here the more comfortable I feel with being louder and being more vocal with guys."
On the chance to win a second Heisman:
"Just to win one is extremely challenging. The award has been given out for over 70 years and only one guy has ever won it twice, so it's an extremely difficult task. As far as me and Tim (Tebow) going after a second one, I think for either of us, that is the last thing on our minds right now. I don't know who they open with but we have to play BYU Saturday and that's all I'm concerned with right now."
On improvements from last year:
"I think pre-snap I feel a lot more comfortable now. The more reps you have, the more experience you have, the more comfortable you feel. Just recognizing defenses before the snap is something that I have improved on since the spring."
On his improvements as a leader:
"I think the first game will tell a lot. I feel like some of the goals that I did set, especially leadership, I feel like I have improved. I've come a long way from the end of the last year to the beginning of this year, but I also feel like that is something I need to continue doing throughout this year. I feel like my role as a leader has definitely increased. I feel like this is the most vocal I have ever been since I have been here and since I have been playing."
On staying positive for his team:
"It starts in practice. Sometimes if I'm not playing as well as I could, I have to keep my body language positive all the time, even if I'm not having a great day. It transcends into everyone else. If I stay positive and keep everyone else going we can all have a good day."
On the excitement for the season opener:
"I'm extremely excited. It's something that I have been looking forward to since last year. There were days in the winter and the summer when I never thought this day would come. Now, we're finally here and we've gone through two-a-days and we're into game week now. I think everyone on our football team is really excited about this opportunity."
On the offensive line:
|| Senior RB Chris Brown
"These guys have been working hard all camp, so I give them a lot of credit. All of camp they've been working and busting their butts off. I look forward to big things that I've been seeing all of camp and I don't expect anything different come Saturday."
On proving himself to be one of the best backs in the country:
"It's not a lot of pressure; it's just building off of what I've done last year and moving forward this year. Everything I've done last year, I've put behind me and have set my own standards and goals that I want to reach this year. I think it's kind of a boost coming into this year."
On opening up against a big name opponent:
"These guys are such a great opponent and we're not taking them lightly by any stretch of imagination. We know we have our work cut out and we have to keep preparing this whole week. We know the task that lies ahead of us."
On having the first game in a new NFL stadium:
"It's a special occasion, opening up the first real game in that stadium. And also it's pressure, not being at home for your first game, especially against an opponent like BYU. We have to play perfect ball on the road. This is still kind of like a road game."
On the Cowboys Stadium:
"Well it's a great venue and everyone on the team is really excited. We want to make a mark there with being the first team to play there. It's kind of a special moment for us, probably for BYU too, but it's really a special moment for us being able to play there. Most of our guys are from that area so it's going to be packed with a lot of our fans."
On the crowd for Saturday's game:
"Oklahoma always packs a big crowd. I think that that always helps us, especially on the road. I'm sure BYU will have an 'X' amount of fans too, so we just have to meet their energy and get out there and go get it."
On what makes Travis Lewis so good:
|| Senior CB Brian Jackson
"I feel like it's a mixture of everything with Travis. He's really intelligent and physically, he's second-to-none. Having those attributes helps him out a whole lot."
On how playing a team like BYU for the first game will prepare them for the whole season:
"Honestly I really don't look at it like that. We're just going out there to play a game. You can't put a lot of emphasis on the opponent right now. I don't know too much about BYU. We've been watching the film and seeing the receivers and the offensive game but it's just like playing any other team. You have to go out there and prepare the same way."
On setting the tone for the whole season:
"That's something we've been talking about our whole camp. We have the potential to set the tone and going out there and doing it. We are focused on everybody running to the ball and making plays. Teams are going to make plays, everybody has athletes. All these other teams we play, there are players on scholarship. So you can't just take it as nobody's better than us, nobody can compete with us."