Coach Stoops, Landry Jones, David King and Trey Millard met with the media.
NORMAN, Okla. --
Head coach Bob Stoops, quarterback Landry Jones, defensive end David King and fullback trey Millard met with the media Monday in OU's weekly press conference from Norman.
Oklahoma lost its Big 12 opener against Kansas State, 24-19, Saturday in Norman. The Sooners dropped to No. 16 in the latest AP Poll and No. 15 in the Coaches. OU has a bye this weekend before traveling to Lubbock to face Texas Tech.
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|| Coach Stoops
"Going back through Saturday's game with Kansas State, the strong point of the game was two major turnovers that result in a 14-point swing. That makes the rest of the day. You have to play perfect to have a chance to overcome that against an average team, or a top-10 team. It's just difficult to overcome that and we weren't able to do that. You end up losing by five and it overshadows any of the good parts of the game that you may have had. In the end, that's what happened.
"We have to be good enough not to have those turnovers. Other areas of the game, you're always looking for improvement on both sides of the ball. I thought our team played hard and prepared well. They worked hard through the week. You have to continue to build on it and have a good attitude - our guys will. We have to try to continue to polish other areas. We have to give ourselves more opportunities to stay on the field or to get off the field.
"We'll practice this week like we always do, Monday through Thursday working on Texas Tech, and also starting today going back through the last game or two and correcting mistakes. All the work from there on will be focused on Texas Tech."
On the offensive production since Ryan Broyles:
"I don't know that one guy can make that much difference, although Ryan, being a first-team All-American, was pretty special as a player. I feel the other pieces around [Landry Jones] all have to develop. They are coming along. The receivers did a nice job the other night; they're getting better. We had a lot of good runs through the day. Could it better? Sure. We have to keep getting more consistency."
On the run defense:
"Kansas State ran the ball 45 times, so they're going to have 200 yards rushing. In the end they had 200 a year ago and we played a pretty good game. That's just the nature of some people and the way their attack is going to be. I thought for the most part we did a good job. We had the one run that the running back got out on, but outside of that, I thought the guys were pretty decent."
On correcting Landry Jones' mistakes:
"I think Landry is a bright guy and when he watches it, he'll see that maybe he's trying to make a little too much out of something. Sometimes throwing it away is a good play instead of forcing it, and you'll see that Landry gets that. I think it's still a process with some of the pieces, but he has to make a better decision in some of those areas."
On if they can schematically limit mistakes:
"There are always things you can limit. Those are things that I think every coach says 'I wish I would've done something different,' when something does go wrong. That's always the case in a coach's position."
On comparing the offense now to the past:
"We still do quite a bit of what we were doing then. Now it's just doing it better. The guys around [Landry Jones] need to execute better."
On if Landry Jones' mistakes were enough to go with someone else:
On how he builds Landry Jones up:
"We do have confidence him. He plays a lot of good football, and the other night he had a bunch of good throws. He has to avoid the bad plays, and he knows that. He's a mature guy that everyone has confidence in. He'll make up for it as he moves forward."
On the running game:
"We had a lot of good runs in there and it's just part of the flow of the game. You're running it and throwing it. We're going to always try to work the run game and mix it up."
On if Landry Jones does better in the hurry-up offense:
"For the most part, we've done pretty well with it. We have executed better in the hurry-up and we're aware of that. It's just one of those instances with changing personnel how fast can you go and do you need to change a play. That's what slows it down sometimes."
On if Landry Jones' practicing footwork and mobility in the offseason proved counterproductive:
"I see what you're saying and to a degree, yes, but being quicker and having the ability to move overall is going to help him and it's a positive. The one instance the other night, yeah, he got stripped from behind and it would've been better to throw the ball away. But that's going to happen here and there. When you're escaping you don't want it to happen, but I believe it's positive in the work that he's done and that it'll help him."
On if the feeling among fans would be different if a few things had gone OU's way:
"It didn't, but yeah, if you win the game things are always different. In a place where you hardly ever lose and a place you're used to winning so much you're going to be criticized and they're going to be restless. But that's the nature of a place like this and part of what we've built here. You just move forward and don't worry about that."
On what they defense could have done better:
"As much as anything, just trying to get more pressure. They're a team that, the way they run the football, they're a hard team to pressure. That as much as anything is the key, that and to get more strips and just trying to knock the ball out as well."
On what Mike Stoops meant in his postgame comment,"They did some things we hadn't seen before":
"It's stuff that we worked, they just hadn't done it as much with all the no-back formation and the empty sets is something that they did more of than they have in the past. And we covered; how many of those they got it by an inch, one time they're a half-yard short, one time they're a half-yard and they make it. It wasn't like we weren't closing; they just executed a little bit better than we did."
On if there's a standard plan when to bring in Blake Bell:
"We just ran the ball for nine yards down to there so you figure let's go in for the last charge. Well then you lose a yard or two and I said 'No, let's get Blake back in there.' We're going to do it once in a while but it doesn't always have to be him. In the end Damien [Williams] just had a good run, you have some confidence in him, let's just stick it in. As well as sometimes you just want to go right to the line and do it rather than substitute. There's a plan, it's those two things."
On how to increase Landry Jones' confidence:
"I think as much as anything you get out, you keep executing and you keep working, running the same routes, polishing them up and understanding when you can make the better decision to throw the ball away, those kind of things."
On difference between Landry Jones' play in 2010 and now:
"Well, you're talking about two different teams. That's two years ago with a lot of different parts. It's not the same team. That guy operates with 10 other guys. All 11 of them have got to be more precise in all we do. That's the difference.
On the offensive line:
"Okay for a good part of the game, but needs to be better. Again, you're playing against a good team. They had their moments, we had ours. Yardage-wise, all that sort of thing, that's all the same. Turnovers make it quite different."
On the huddle or no-huddle affecting the offense:
"You have an idea what you'd like to do, but circumstances in the game you have to adjust to. The game affects it; you have to do more or less depending on how the game is going. Whether it's fast or not, I've said for a number of years, it's execution that allows you to move the ball and succeed. Any time you're not moving the football the execution needs to be better."
On using the pistol formation instead of being under center:
"We've been more from the pistol formation, so you still have the opportunity to run all the same plays. We just feel it's easier to operate in that situation. But you can still run all your play action from the pistol as you do from under center, you have all the same plays. It is something we want to have more of, the play action and get bigger shots.
On if he's pleased with the on-field leadership:
"I am pleased with it. I want to defend Blake [Bell] and Landry [Jones]. They're not down there lackadaisical or doing that on purpose, dropping the football. It's just something that happened. They're disappointed about it but hey, we've got to come back and in the end, again, I am pleased with the leadership. I think our guys have worked hard, and I think they played hard the other night. We just couldn't overcome that. They're mistakes, but again they're good kids, they work hard and again, they weren't being lackadaisical about it; it hurts them. We've just got to move forward."
On Sterling Shepard:
"Sterling had a bunch of real good plays. He was our player of the game, actually. He's a competitive guy, plays stronger and more competitively than more freshmen you'll see. He's just got a special talent and attitude about him and has an ability to make plays. We're excited about his future, for sure.
On when he could tell Sterling Shepard would be special:
"In two-a-days, once you started working with him and seeing how quick and fast he is and how easy he runs routes, how well he catches the ball and how bright he is in picking things up. We could tell pretty early."
On tweaking the offense:
"You're always tweaking things and trying to play to your personnel. Like I've said, we've got quite a few new pieces that we're working with. All the new receivers, tight ends, that needs to continue to develop. As they develop, how do we play to their strengths? How do we stay away from their weaknesses?"
On if Damien Williams should have been used more vs. K-State:
"Yeah, he needs to keep getting the ball more. Definitely that's something that we want to do. There's no magic number, it's just how the game is going. If someone gets hot, you keep feeding it to him, all those components. But you do want guys like Damien and Dom [Whaley] to get it catching the ball, screens, and/or running it 15-20 times, at least."
On the secondary getting a lot of tackles:
"The front seven did pretty well. Although again, you're playing a good team and a time or two they got us and we had hard times. The safeties, intentionally, when you're using the quarterback to run the football and all the different schemes they use, you have to have them."
On if his ceiling for his team is as high as before the loss:
"We're optimistic and positive about what our opportunities are. We've got to keep working it and take care of the football. If you take care of the football a lot of these questions aren't there."
On working hard every year:
"Every year to us is a major challenge. It's hard. We do the best in trying to improve and get better and that's what we'll do this year."
On playing outside of the pocket:
|| QB Landry Jones
"I just haven't been very good at it. I wasn't very good at taking care of it, that's for sure. I have a tendency to run with it in one hand. That makes it easier for the defense to strip it and do things along those lines. I just have to make that a focus every week of moving around and keeping two hands on the ball and making sure it's high and tight and not putting it on the ground anymore. Unfortunately, I proved them right. So we are going to have to get back to work and start to get back to the basics of moving around and making plays when I have to move around."
On improving the offense:
"You have to find that fine line of being overly aggressive but also can't play scared. There is a really fine line between those two things that you have to walk as a quarterback. Just changing our practice habits and changing the way we do things in being more focused in practice on the extremely little, small detailed things. Like Coach [Bob] Stoops always talks about, being precise and things along those lines. Those are the things we need to focus on in practice; putting our hand in the right place, getting our eyes to the right area of the field to make different reads and things along those lines. It's just those little things that you might overlook in practice that we really need to focus on.
"I feel like I am underachieving in that area. Definitely for this offense to go on, I have to get a lot better. There is no doubt about that. Just relaxing and playing and playing the way that I know I am capable of and not trying to make anything happen; just try to let the game come to me. I don't see us really changing a huge deal of what we do. You look at the other night and we had five or six drives inside the 15 or 10 yard line and you come out with 19 points. That is the big deal of the game, it's us just not putting it together when we need to put it together."
On the difference in playing in 2010 to now:
"It's the same offense really. There is just different personnel, different people playing. But it's not a factor of I wish we could go back to 2010 or I wish we had the guys we have now back in 2010. They are two different years and two different groups of players that we had back then. We have the guys we have now and I am fully confident that those guys will pick it up. In the last couple years it seems like every time who wins the national championship has one loss, and you are going to play good teams throughout the Big 12 and around the country. For us, it just happened really early in the season but we are not going to be like 'Well, that's our season,' we are going to move on. We have been in this position before, and we are going to get after it in practice today and we are going to get after [Texas] Tech and try to play some good football."
On playing in the national championship:
"Typically every year there is a team in that race with one loss. Last year it was Alabama, I can't recall who it was the year before, but there usually is people with one loss who get into that game and play really well. So we are still in it. All of our goals are still out in front of us. This season isn't over, and we are getting back to work."
On forcing plays:
"Maybe, just trying to make a big play down the field and not just taking it and being patient. It is just one of those deals of maybe getting too greedy of what is actually out there. There was a little space to throw to Kenny [Stills] but I'm sure there was a little bit more space on the out wide to Justin [Brown] on that play. I think it is just a combination of being patient and taking what the defense gives me."
On the running game:
"We have great backs and an offensive line that knows what they are doing. So, all of the components are there to have a great running game and thus far we have had a good running game. We just kind of got caught in a bind where we had to play from behind a little bit so we had to go to passing a little bit more."
On underachieving this season:
"You wonder and you think and it drives me nuts that we are underachieving right now. I feel like, for myself, that definitely I have been underachieving this whole year. But it is one of those things where we played a good team against Kansas State and we made mistakes that put us into a position where we couldn't win the game. Like I said in the postgame conference, when you have a fumble on your own five or six-yard line and then they score, you have a pick and then they score another touchdown, that is 14 points right there and against a team like Kansas State that does so many good things on offense and defense it is tough to just basically give them those 14 points and give them that lead going in there."
On running an up-tempo offense:
"You can't run tempo the entire time, you would just get gassed out. You have to have enough at the end of the game, that is why we like to do it in spurts. I think Coach [Josh] Heupel does a good job in doing that whenever we feel like we need to create some momentum. He does a good job of picking up the tempo of things and we start to get to rolling. I think that is his style of what he likes to do and I think he has been doing a really good job about controlling the tempo and creating some momentum for us."
On snapping the ball under the center:
"Advantages of being under center are that you don't have to look at the snap, or just for a split second whenever the ball is snapped. The disadvantages of being under center are your closer to the line and it is a little tough to protect. I think there is just some different things where both of them are good and both of them have some disadvantages as well. I don't think there is much of a difference between under the center and in pistol [formation], you're still in the same downhill if you want to run stretch or inside zone. You are still getting the same type of downhill running game in pistol as you would under center."
On moving forward with Sterling Shepard:
"It just gives us more flexibility and gives us more depth. Say if Trey [Metoyer] or Justin [Brown] gets tired we can move Sterling in the slot and put Kenny [Stills] outside to give him a spell. If Kenny gets tired, we can move Sterling back in there, too."
On having four wide out receivers:
"I thought we did a good job with it. Sterling [Shepard] did a great job of coming there and playing the slot position that Kenny [Stills] came in with our fourth wide receiver. I think those two guys did a great job of feeding off each other and really working hard in practice to get the mechanics down and everything that they need to do. I think that's what the coaches wanted to do in this offense with those four wide receivers out, just because we have a lot of wide receivers with a lot of talent."
On his mental makeup to bounce back:
"I expect a lot out of myself, but at the end of the day when things don't go your way or anything like that, you learn from it and you have to just put it behind you."
On the younger players looking up to him:
"I think they are watching me some just being a leader on this team. I don't know if they necessarily 'look up to me' is the right word. I think they are looking to me just to see where we are going with this offense and what we are going to be. We have been in this position before and we have come out with a lot of good seasons. That 2010 season was a really successful year for us and we had two losses on our record and in 2008 we went to the national championship and lost to Texas that year. This isn't foreign territory for us and we are going to bounce back and we are going to play some good football in the future."
On his impression of the Kansas State game:
|| DE David King
"We didn't play well across the board, defense, offense, special teams. They outplayed us in every aspect of the game. For us to play like that, it was disappointing. Hats off to them because they came in and did what they needed to and took care of business, and they won the game."
On what needs to be done to get takeaways:
"It's a mindset and it's fundamental. You have to credit those teams for taking care of the ball. We have to do a better job of, on defense, forcing turnovers, whether it's stripping the ball, forcing the fumbles or getting interceptions. It's something we have to just do a better job of practice-wise, ball-hawking, stripping the ball, trying to pick it or to just do the little things in practice."
On using timeouts due to wrong defensive alignments:
"I don't know if "surprising" is the word I would use. It's disappointing for us to have two weeks to prepare for this K-State team and for us to still go in the game and not line up right or have the wrong people on the field at the wrong time is disappointing. Like you said, we had two weeks to prepare."
On safeties having so many tackles:
"Our job was to clog up the inside gaps and to make the ball bounce out to those safeties and whatnot. We did a good job of making it bounce out there but then again when we had a chance to make plays we didn't. There were a couple times the running back slipped up inside and gashed us for a five, six, seven yard run. There were times the guy got outside and we missed tackles. That was the game plan. We want to clog up the inside and make sure they don't just mush it all up and make it bounce outside where there's nobody blocking those safeties."
On having success after Kansas State loss:
"We just have to have a better mindset than we did last year. When [Texas] Tech snapped that win streak we had and guys were like, "Did that really happen?" The reality is anybody can beat anybody. We've just got to come back and use this second bye week to keep our focus. How are you going to bounce back, how are you going respond to this adversity? You lost a game at home to a K-State team and now you've got to go on the road to Lubbock in two weeks where I don't think we've won since 2003. Guys just got to keep the fighter mentality."
On how the team can practice better:
|| FB Trey Millard
"I think some little habits and small details can slide by when you're winning. When you have a loss like this, it really helps you focus on those little details more."
On the focus for the bye week:
"The first few days we're going to be focusing on corrections from this past game. But after that, you've got to move on and focus on Texas Tech."
On the feeling after the K-State game:
"We were disappointed in ourselves. We had a game where we were in it until the end and we had huge mistakes on the offensive side. The turnovers - we couldn't have those. I think for us, on offense especially, we were just disappointed that we let ourselves down."
On Landry Jones' turnovers vs. K-State:
"We win as a team and we lose as a team. He had some mistakes, everybody had mistakes: the offensive line, I did, across the board."
On Sterling Shepard:
"He is a great player. He had that hurdle on the sideline that was just an incredible play. I think he'll continue to develop into a great player. I've seen him play basketball, so I knew he could jump, but that was ridiculous."
On if moving the ball against K-State was disappointing or a bright spot:
"I think it's both. It makes us even more disappointed in ourselves but disappointed because we knew that we could. That's the silver lining, I guess, that we had. We can continue to focus on what made us successful during those drives and move on from that."