Complete coverage of Tuesday's press conference previewing the Big 12 opener at Baylor.
NORMAN, Okla. --
||Linebacker Ryan Reynolds
Head coach Bob Stoops and select Oklahoma players met with the media Tuesday to discuss this weekend's Big 12 opener at Baylor.
The Sooners climbed to No. 1 in the polls this week and face an improved Baylor team under first-year head coach Art Briles. The Sooners and Bears kick off Saturday at 11:30 a.m. CT. The game will be televised by FSN (OKC Ch. 37, Tulsa 27, Lawton 32).
Video video coverage of Tuesday's press conference by clicking the links above. Quotes from Coach Stoops and OU's players are also available below, courtesy of OU Athletics Media Relations.
|| Head Coach Bob Stoops
“Going back, as always, to re-hash last week’s game with TCU, I was pleased with the overall outcome. Defense did an exceptional job all the way through, to limit a ranked team to no touchdowns into the fourth quarter, and to only give up one all day is a great job. I thought they really played well. The run defense was really good for the most part, and I thought our pass coverage was exceptionally good overall. When you limit them to 19 completions on 41 attempts, and take two interceptions, it’s solid. I think we only allowed one pass of 20 or more yards all day.
"We were really solid all day in the way we covered, the way we tackled, the way we got pressure on the quarterback. Players of the game on defense were Brian Jackson, again, Lendy Holmes and Adrian Taylor. Offensively, Manuel Johnson, who is the Big 12 Player of the Week, and Sam Bradford were two of the guys we named.
“I thought overall, if you look at 25 yards rushing, most of it was due to sacks. We do want to be able to run it better regardless of how people line up against us, but we had a good number of yards running the football with the running backs if you take away the sacks. I know you don’t take away the sacks, but if you were to look at just the running game and handing the football off, it was ok. We do feel that we need to continue to improve and get better, but give TCU credit. They really work hard on defense, and are excellent on how they cancel gaps. That set up an excellent opportunity for us to throw the football and we have always said that if someone takes away one part of our game, we want to be good enough to capitalize and make plays the other way. We did that passing the football.
“So now we are starting Big 12 play, going to Baylor. I think that Art Briles and his staff are doing an excellent job. Robert Griffin, someone that everyone is talking about, is an exceptional athlete. He has great speed and a big arm back there. I have a great respect for how Art coaches and how they play and compete. Like always, going on the road in conference you have to be ready to play, and that is what our focus is on this week. I think it’s strictly working hard in practice and in preparation and coming out ready to play.”
On if it’s hard getting your team ready to play against an underdog:
“I think it is an old story by now. When you look through the years, in every league and every conference, you see upsets when teams come out and they are not ready to play or are not at their best. It has happened to everyone. It has happened to us here and every team out there. I think it’s obvious to everyone that you really have to be on top of your game to give yourself a chance to go out there and win.”
On if it’s more difficult to game plan these days:
“Not necessarily. Those teams when they were great giving you the triple option and Coach Switzer’s wishbone weren’t easy chores either, it’s just different styles. I think the more you see people wide open, the more comfortable you are against it. The more you want to give different wrinkles to it, your players get used to it more and more.”
On Baylor’s offense:
“They spread the ball everywhere and use all kinds of formations. They get the ball into different people’s hands in different ways. It is going to be very similar to what Art ran at Houston when we played them a couple of years ago.”
On being No. 1 in the country:
“It just means that it’s a measure to this point of what we have done, that’s it. I’m not going to sit here and act like it is a horrible thing, but we aren’t jumping up and down about it either. The bottom line is that it reflects what we have done up to this point so far this year. All that matters now is what we do this week. That is what our focus is on. Concentrating on what we have been doing positive and figuring out what we can do better to make sure when we go out there Saturday we are a better team than we were last week.”
On how he keeps the players from looking forward towards Texas:
“That has never been an issue here. It’s simple, because we have to go to Baylor. You guys may or may not be going, the fans may or not be going, but we are going, we have to play. I think you can look at our track record in the week before that game and the week after that game. We are going to be focused on Baylor and Baylor alone.”
On some conferences releasing an injury report:
“I’m not much for that. I think that it’s fair if a guy is not going to play. If a guy is going to play, to detail what his injuries are, to me is not fair. He has to go play, he’s not under salary. He is a college kid trying to play for his university and to give someone the chance to pick on him doesn’t seem fair. The only reason I can see to put it out there is for gamblers. I don’t think that we should be partaking in that either as an NCAA institution. Maybe in professional sports I can understand that, but I don’t think that we are the same.”
|| Sophomore QB Sam Bradford
On the versatility of the offense:
“I think that’s one of the big strengths of our offense and I think we’ve showed it throughout every game we’ve played. We can be balanced running and passing the football. If we need to, we can run it at people, or we can throw it. It really forces defenses to figure out which one they want to try to stop, and we’ll probably go to the other one.”
On his improvements this year compared to last year:
“I feel my emotions during the game are a lot more together when things aren’t going right , or maybe when we’ve had a couple of incompletions or a couple of plays that haven’t gone the way that we planned. I feel like I’m in a lot more control and more calm. I don’t get rattled as much as I did last year. I feel like that’s something that I have improved on since last year.”
On improving with spreading the ball out:
“I think the more comfortable I’ve gotten with this offense, the more comfortable I am going through the entire read progression and not just stopping at maybe the second or third read. I can get all the way down to a fourth or fifth guy. I think with as many weapons as we have, the ability to go through a read and find a guy who is open just allows us to make more plays.”
On the offense helping him get to the fifth read:
“It all starts out front and our offensive line has done a great job this year keeping me protected. They’re pretty much the whole reason this offense ticks. Without them, we wouldn’t be anywhere.”
On the mindset of going on the road for the first game in conference play:
“It’s the same mindset. We’re going on the road, we know that’s an area that we’ve talked about being better at for the past year now. We got our first opportunity to do that at Washington. I feel like we played well, but we’ve got to continue that and go down to Waco and take care of business.
"Obviously when conference comes, it’s pretty much a big deal. You’ve got to win all of your games, especially in the South this year if you want a chance to play for the Big 12 Championship. So once conference play starts, I wouldn’t say it’s any different than a non-conference game in the way we prepare.”
On Baylor quarterback Robert Griffin:
|| Sophomore DB Dominique Franks
“Robert Griffin is a great quarterback. He has a great arm and can also run the ball really well. We will have our hands full on Saturday. We just have to keep them from having the big plays and stay focused on our jobs as a defense.”
On Baylor’s offensive scheme:
“Their scheme is very different, but we have been watching film and have been preparing in the best way we can. They move the wide receivers out, so the guy I am covering is pretty much on the sideline.”
On being ranked No. 1:
“Nothing has changed since the rankings came out. We know that we still have to come out Saturday and perform well like we would every other Saturday.”
On the secondary:
“We have done a good job this season keeping our opponents from making big plays. We just have to stay focused and prepare in practice so we know what to expect in games. If we give up a touchdown, everyone in America knows it. We just have to stay on our toes and be ready for anything.”
On the offense’s versatility:
|| Senior WR Manny Johnson
“Our offense is very versatile. This week I think TCU tried to limit us to one thing and tried to take the run away. They left the corners and the safeties alone back there, so we had to do what we could to put up points and we took advantage of that. Our running game is very, very good and we know that, so I’m sure we’ll try to get that going again next week. Our running game has been great. I actually think it’s carried us up until this game.
On breaking the single game record:
“I haven’t really thought about it too much. It’s really about this season, not about any individual goals. As the season goes on, I’m sure a lot of other people will get some individual accomplishments also.”
On Baylor’s deceiving offense:
"Baylor has a great offense, I think they put up over 500 yards of offense a game. They’re really good. It’s a challenge for our defense and they spread them out. Also, Baylor comes into play every week. They’ve won two games and lost two really good games to some good teams. It’s going to be another good team this year."
On Baylor’s defense:
“I’m sure they’ll try to stop the pass which will open up the run a lot more. As an offense we’ll just try to stay balanced and hit them everywhere that we can.”
On Baylor quarterback Robert Griffin:
|| Junior LB Ryan Reynolds
“Griffin is a very good quarterback and very fast. Baylor’s offense will be a real challenge and it will take a lot of preparation to contain them. We like to think we can match speed-for-speed, but each week is different.”
On being No. 1 in the nation:
“We are only four games into the season and we still have a lot of football left to play. Everyone wants to stay focused and take it one game at a time. I think the ranking makes us a target, but it happens anyway with us being Oklahoma. We will always have a target on our back.”
On the linebackers:
“Travis (Lewis) and Keenan(Clayton) are real smart, we all know how to get lined up. Being able to anticipate things, it helps when someone can help you out and inform you. We all line each other up and help each other out.”
On Gerald McCoy:
“Gerald gets the double-teams. On run-plays, he holds the linemen off of us so that the linebackers and defensive backs can make the tackles. The whole defensive line plays a major role in what we do.”