Texas coaches and players met media on Monday to discuss Oklahoma.
NORMAN, Okla. --
No. 1 Oklahoma collides with No. 5 Texas on Saturday in Dallas in the 2008 edition of the Red River Rivalry. Kickoff is scheduled for 11 a.m.
Saturday's matchup will literally be the biggest OU-Texas game in the series' history with 92,000 fans packing an expanded Cotton Bowl Stadium. ESPN's College Gameday will broadcast from the State Fair of Texas and a national audience will watch the game on ABC.
OU will hold its weekly press conference on Tuesday. The Longhorns met with the media on Monday and complete quotes are below courtesy Texas Athletics Media Relations. View Sooner Gameday Central
for complete information on attending the game in Dallas or following TV, radio and internet coverage of the Sooners across the nation.
|| CB Ryan Palmer
You still have to take it game by game just like it is another game, but who doesn't get excited about playing the number one team and it happens to be Oklahoma. It's all the merrier, and we are just going to get ready, have a hard practice and get ready to go play.
On if this team is more prepared this year than last year's team:
I think this team has more confidence than we did last year. Everybody is playing well. Colt is playing tremendous. The defense is playing well. The offense is playing well and the special teams, as well. It just seems like this team is jelling so fast unlike last year. We are ready go. We are excited and we are ready play.
On both Texas and Oklahoma being in the top five:
It just amazing to see two teams with the tradition that we both have. They are number one and we are number five. Everything is going to be magnified on this game, so we just have to focus. We just have go out and play.
On the atmosphere of the Red River Shootout:
I am from around that way, so it is going to be fun playing in front of home fans and home crowd. It is going to be fun at the Cotton Bowl and at the fair, but we can't play the hype, we've got to play the game. We've got to get ready to go and play.
On if it special for Metroplex players to be playing in Dallas:
We get to get to go home and play in front of our family and friends. We want to win going back home, because when you go back home, you want to have the bragging rights.
On the game:
It just makes me want to play to tell you truth. I just want to play. I am so fired up right now. I am just going to watch film and break it down. They have been doing great things this year and I can't take anything from them. It is going to be a battle this weekend and we are going to go at it.
On what Oklahoma wide receivers do so well:
I think they are really good receivers. They get out of their brakes so quickly. They run good routes. Manuel Johnson is a fast, deep threat. When he catches, he does things with the ball, so if he catches the ball, we have to tackle well and do a better job at tackling as a secondary this week. We just have to go out there and have a great practice. We've got to go up against our wide receivers, Jordan Shipley and Quan Cosby and battle this week with them, so we can be ready on Saturday.
On Oklahoma's QB Sam Bradford:
He is great quarterback. He is very efficient. He puts the ball on point and he does not get sacked a lot. We go against one of the best quarterbacks in the nation in practice. So, we've got to go have a great practice against Colt and the offense. We are just going to go at it.
|| QB Colt McCoy
On the Oklahoma game on Saturday:
We feel like as a team we have put in ourselves in the best position possible, which is to be undefeated going into this game. We have played really well. We've got a great win on the road in Colorado and now our focus is on OU and what we have to do to go win this game.
On playing one of the top defensives in the country:
We know it's going to be a challenge. It is going to be a tough test. They are deserving of being number one. They have played really well this year. They are scoring a lot of points. We know the challenge in front of us and we are looking forward it.
On playing the position of quarterback:
It is tough. Playing quarterback is a challenge every week. Especially in the Big 12, you are going to have great players on the other side of ball. You have trust your offensive line. You have trust your coaches. You have to trust your receivers, expect them to make plays and get the ball into their hands. It is fun. I love this game. I love this week. I can't wait till Saturday.
On the rivalry:
This is going to be an awesome game. Two top five teams in the Cotton Bowl in a rivalry game. The atmosphere in the game is awesome. It is a fun week. I love this week every year. Sam Bradford is a great quarterback. They have a great team. It's going to be fun for us to go in there and play against them. We've got to prepare really well this week, but it is just like every other week. It is a Big 12 Conference game. Our goal at the beginning of the year is to win the conference, so this is one more step for us. We have taken it one game at a time and now we are at OU and we've got to be prepared.
On Oklahoma's defense and if he will be able to move around:
You never know. Against Colorado I wasn't able to run the ball. They kind of contained the ends and had a linebacker in the middle most of the time. Who knows what to expect? I'll have to find out during the game and kind of see what they are doing and get a feel for what they are doing. Their defense is solid. They have a good secondary. They are kind of young, but they play really well. They are coached really well. They are number one. They are going to have great players, so we are going to have to execute offensively.
On the game offensive strategy:
Offensively, we've just got to know what we are trying to do, how we are trying to move the ball, who we are trying to get the ball too. When we are all on the same page, we get the ball out quick and we make plays. My job is do what they tell me to do. If they are telling me to get the ball out quick, I'll get the ball out quick. I trust the offensive line. They are giving me a lot time. They are playing great this year. We are doing a lot of good things that we don't need to get away from. We just need to go out there and execute and trust Coach Davis and his play calling. He is going to put us in the right position. We've just got to go out there and do it.
On he and Sam Bradford winning the rivalry as freshmen:
It's fun. It's very special. Sam won it his freshman year and I won it my freshman year. Those are the things that are really neat and to be able to be a part of that makes it special. It makes you want to go in there and win that game again. Just the tradition of the game is really special. To be able to talk to former players and to hear their stories it is pretty awesome.
On what advice his father, Brad would give him:
He would just tell me to stay focus and go win, is all he would say. My dad was great coach, a great teacher. He taught me everything I know about football. He would just tell me to stay focused, relax, have fun, and enjoy it and just do what you do and go out there and just play the game.
On this week leading up to the game:
This is an exciting week. We as team have to stay focused. We have to go through practice the same as all year. All of our goals are still in tact. We put ourselves in the position that we want to be in. We've just got to keep doing what we are doing.
On what he and Oklahoma's QB Sam Bradford have in common:
We are both doing a good job of leading our team. He does a great job. He is doing what his coach asks him to do. He is scoring a lot of points. He is taking care of the football, which is exactly what our coaches ask of me, so I guess in that way we are pretty similar.
On being one pass away from setting the UT record for passing receiving duo with Quan Cosby:
That is all Quan. Quan is catching the ball. Quan is Mr. Consistent. I call him that all the time just joking around, but he really is. I know where he's going to be on the field. He runs great routes. He gets off man to man. He means so much to this team. He is on kickoff return and punt return. He does a lot. Having Quan on the field makes it easier for me.
On what he tells the younger guys going into this week:
I tell them to have fun. Don't make it more than what it is, because it is a huge game, we all know that, but treat it like every other game. Just go out there and play. Don't let the crowd get into you too much. Don't let this week affect you too much. Focus the same way, prepare the same way and go out there and win.
On seeing anything funny on the way in there and out of the fair:
There is so much. I think one of the things that fires me up before the game is being able to ride through there on the bus. Having OU fans on one side and Texas fans on the other yelling and screaming and hollering. You see a lot of crazy things and people are yelling crazy things at you. The other thing is walking through the tunnel. You are underneath the OU fans and they screaming, yelling, throwing things at you. I think that is all a part of the game and the experience. I'm ready for Saturday already.
|| DL Aaron Lewis
On weathering the excitement this week before the game:
It's really hard. You have the community that builds up the excitement - fans, teachers, students. Everyone talks about it all the time. You just have to take it easy. We're not playing tomorrow, it's Saturday. So you just have to keep that in mind.
On the importance of pressuring Oklahoma QB Sam Bradford:
It's a goal we have. You have to put pressure on the quarterback, disrupt him a little bit. Hopefully he'll throw some passes that he's not ready for, give the (defensive backs) a break. They give us some time so we have to give them some help. Of course we have to stop the run. OU is a great run team, so we have to go out there and handle that too. It's at the top of list. It's really important to get in his head, make him feel that there is pressure coming from every angle, let him know that we're going to be there every time he steps up in the pocket.
On what is said among players in this kind of rivalry game:
As a defensive player, I'm looking at the ball and trying to get my pre-snap reads. I'm thinking about what I'm going to do, what's going to go on, looking at the formations, seeing where the running back is set up, is it run, pass, draw or power, what are they going to do. I'm going to give the team respect. Each player is good. They're out there because they are one of the better players out there. So I try not to talk too much that way.
On Oklahoma RB DeMarco Murray:
He's a great athlete and can cause a lot of problems out there. We have to take it in there. We haven't really talked to the coaches too much about it. We take it one game at a time. I'm sure Coach Muschamp is going to have something ready for him and we're just going to play by his scheme. He's a great coach.
On taking confidence from Will Muschamp:
Winning five games puts a lot of confidence in the coaches. We're not going to doubt them. We try to never doubt the coaches and their game plans. Whatever they say to us, we just take it in stride and figure there's got to be a reason for it. But confidence as a defense, it just comes from the way we play, with emotion and passion. We're quick. Everyone is running to the ball. We're trying to keep our own assignments, do what you need to do and the defense will play well. I think it comes from team chemistry overall.
On the positive aspects of the game:
Every aspect. Like I said before, the community, the excitement about it, playing in Dallas is great. It's a fun stadium, it's a great atmosphere seeing the stadium split in half and having OU fans this way and Texas fans over here. Just the way the teams play, it's basically like a bowl game. It's a lot of fun.
On the increased importance of this game over the others:
If we lost to Colorado, we'd be 4-1 and it would be a different kind of statement. It's hard to say that it's different from any other game. We look at every game and break it down to what it is: it's a game and you have to win it if you want to get your ultimate goals. We set our goals each year - win the opener, win the Big 12 South, win the bowl game wherever it goes. Basically, this is the road to the bowl game. Every team is in our way.
On measuring the defense against one of the nation's best offenses:
Of course, each team comes out and plays us better than any other team they've played before. So we look at that as another measuring stick. UTEP came out and played a great first half, first quarter. They came out with an amazing surge that we had never seen in film before. Expect something similar or even better from OU.
On his injury against Oklahoma last season:
I broke my elbow last year in this game in the second or third quarter, so I wasn't able to finish it. I was motivated in general. I hate sitting on the sidelines and watching other people play when I know I could be out there doing the same thing. It was a little disappointing but I'm just glad to be back.
On dropping back in pass coverage last week:
You know what, I'm kind of mad about that because Darrell Scott, he did a great job doing the old fall-down thing. I saw it at the last minute so I tried my best to get out there. Coach Muschamp started laughing because in practice, I'm always going for the interception. I was looking at the ball instead of looking at him. I have to fix that in practice, but it's not too bad. I can always get better. We made the tackle and they didn't score, we can live with that. Keep them on the green.
On the strength of the defense so far:
It means a lot as far as how much work we've done. From day one, we worked so hard, as far as how much chemistry we have with one another. Muschamp came in with his philosophy on things and changing a lot of things that we were accustomed to doing. At first with Muschamp, the tackling drills we were doing, everybody was tired of doing it. This guy was coming with all this aggressiveness and physicality, we were like, "Wow, it's a change." But it's helped us in the long run. We're tackling better. We're playing a lot more physical. Guys are playing with a lot more passion. It says a lot about how much work you put in throughout the offseason. I can't stress enough how much we did.
On using this game as a measuring stick for the defense:
You can. I don't try to. I try to take it on a game-by-game situation. Nothing against OU, they're obviously well-deserving of the number-one ranking. You always have to go into a game with a mindset of what you're capable of doing, no matter what team you're playing. That's how we feel and that's how we're going to go into that game.
On whether the young players are ready for this kind of game:
I believe they're ready. We've already played in some hostile environments. We were down there in UTEP, that was one of the biggest games in UTEP history it seemed like and (the young guys) handled it well. Colorado this past game, everybody seemed like Colorado was going to beat us because they were playing on their own field. (The young guys) handled it really well. Guys like Chykie Brown, Blake [Gideon] and Earl [Thomas], those guys are really playing well being so young and I feel like they have nothing else to do but get better. It says a lot about the front seven as far as putting pressure and making their jobs a little easier at times. We're trying the best we can to make some plays. But like I said, that young secondary is doing a tremendous job and they can only get better.
On facing Oklahoma OT Phil Loadholt:
That's the guy I'm supposed to see each and every play. The guy is huge. That's all I can say. I saw him down there in Arizona (during the Playboy All-America weekend), we were hanging out, and when I first saw him I was like, "I'm supposed to see you every play?" This guy is like 370, 6-8. He's big.
We've been seeing this guy throughout the years. I know what he's capable of. All I can do is play the game I've been playing so far and that's getting off the ball, putting a little pressure on him, using my feet. I probably won't bull him so much, like I've been doing, because he's so big, but I'll try to do some other things as far as making a move. I just have to play my game, not change anything. You can't change for anybody. I know Roy [Miller] is going to do what he's capable of doing.
On the importance of getting pressure on Oklahoma QB Sam Bradford:
You have to get pressure on any quarterback, whether it's Bradford or whomever, especially a quarterback like him because he's a guy that can really tear you apart if he sits back there all day. Putting pressure on the quarterback makes guys' jobs a lot easier because it makes them throw bad passes, causes turnovers and makes stuff happen for your defense. Credit to their offensive line, they've been doing a great job of protecting him. It seems like nobody has been able to get pressure unless they're bringing a blitz. We have to do the best we can to get pressure with the front four.
On the advice he gives to young players before a game like this:
I try to tell them to relax. Don't get me wrong, it's a great thing to be a part of and a great sight to see, but don't get caught up in being a fan at the game. Sometimes guys tend to be a fan at the game. Try to go out there and just relax. These guys, as far as the young guys in the secondary, have been playing against great guys all spring and all two-a-days with Quan, Shipley and the others. Go out there, relax, do the best you can and play your ball.
|| OG Cedric Dockery
On if Oklahoma compares to any team they've played this season:
This is going to be the best defense we've seen this year. It's probably going to be the best defense we see all year. They have a bunch of great athletes and their front four plays dominantly. They have good pass rushers and they are just a great defense.
On what this game means to him, being from the Metroplex area:
It's just home. I think my brother is going to be in town and it's going to be a pretty big game. Being from Dallas, it's just like going back home and seeing all of your family members there. You want to represent correctly and win the game.
On comparing Texas to OU:
It's going to be a good game. OU is a great team, and we're a great team. We've both played well in the early season. It's going to be number one versus number five, and it's going to be a great match for the world to see how great the Big 12 is.
On the Oklahoma fans:
OU fans are dedicated. I've been around Texas football now for about 11 years, and I've been to the games as a fan and I've been in the games as a player. The fans are just wild. Texas and OU fans talk trash back to each other, and every body is doing and saying their own things. The fans and atmosphere are going to be ecstatic. I think it's going to be a great game and it's going to be the showdown of the weekend.
On how many of the players know each other which reduces trash talking:
I don't have to go out there and talk trash. I think as an O-line, you can talk all that you want to, but it's what you do on the field that is everything. Coach Brown always says that our actions should always speak so loudly, that no one on the field should be able to hear you. He's basically saying that we should walk-the-walk and not talk-the-talk.
On the things the offensive line is working on due to the Colorado game:
We're in the Big 12 and we're playing great competition, and our opponents are going to make good plays, and we're going to make good plays. I'm happy that we won the game on Saturday. All teams in college football are good now, but it's in the past now. We're moving on this week and we're thinking about OU and that's our main focus.
On his memories of the State Fair:
I haven't been in the State Fair for about eight years now, and I hear that they have these weird fried Dr. Pepper things now. But, I can remember going to the fair with my classmates in elementary school. I remember having funnel cakes and hot dogs and we used to just go to the fair and have a good time. That's one of the most fun things I did when I was a child. As I got older, I started focusing more on football and not worrying about the fair as much. I was watching the Texas-OU game because my brother was playing. But, I had a good time as a young child going to the State Fair.
On how important of a job he will have this weekend:
To me, it's personal. Every time that we give up a sack, it makes me frustrated. I don't let the frustration affect my game, but it's personal when somebody touches your quarterback. I love No. 12, that's my man back there. It's personal when somebody hits your quarterback, or if somebody tackles your running back in the backfield, all of that is personal. You just want to make sure you are on your blocking assignment and that you do it well, and hopefully we move the ball.
|| DE Lamarr Houston
On going against the Oklahoma offensive line:
They have the number one offensive line in the country, and they have the number one guard in Duke Robinson. It's going to be a great test for our defensive line. I played against them last year and they are good. They are really athlete and they are really big guys. I think they average around 330 pounds across the line, so it's going to be a good test for us.
On the importance on getting pressure on Sam Bradford:
It's part of the game plan, so when we practice tomorrow, we'll find out more. Hopefully, we will be able to get to him through those big guys up front.
On Sam Bradford:
He's smart, intelligent and he kind of reminds me of the Tom Brady type. He's as mobile, but he's smart and makes good decisions. He knows where to put the ball and he has good chemistry with his teammates. They are all cohesive and he knows where he needs to put the ball. He knows the offense inside and out.
On if sacks are not a good way to measure their success against OU:
Well, you never want to measure your success off of sacks. I think it will be a good game if we just go with the game plan, and what we get off of it, is what we get off of it. We just have to happy with that.
On how much he knew about the rivalry having grown up in Colorado:
I didn't understand a lot of it. I didn't know anything about Texas and Texas A&M and I didn't know much about Texas and Oklahoma. So coming down here, I learned a lot about the rivalry, and just being at the Red River Rivalry is just a lot different than playing at home.
On being able to take part in the rivalry:
It's a rush. It's just fun to be able to play in front of the fans. They are loud and they are going to be cheering. It's going to be a good game and it's going to be exciting.
On getting their hands on the football and batting down passes:
It depends on the quarterback. Sam Bradford is a lot different than Cody Hawkins. Hawkins is 5-11, so his launch point was pretty low. I think Sam Bradford is 6-3, so it's not going to be easy to just stick your hands up and bat a ball down.
On going against offensive linemen that are 70-80 pounds heavier than him:
You just have to play football. They are big guys and you never want to run down the middle on guys that big. You just have to use a lot more technique when you play and not rely on your power as much.
|| DT Roy Miller
On being named Big 12 Defensive Player of the Week:
It feels good, but I have to say that my teammates gave me the opportunity to make the plays that I made. I tell people that I got lucky falling on that fumble. I got so wide open into the backfield because guys are taking double teams all around me. It's nothing but teamwork, and I thank my teammates for that.
On what the Red River Rivalry means to him:
It means a lot to me. My God Brother, Tommy Harris, went up there to Oklahoma. I know a lot of guys on the Oklahoma team, and they are going to be talking trash to me all week. I'm looking forward to it.
On players being hyped up and motivated this week:
We made it a point to where we just want to go out there and practice tomorrow. I know I've seen a bunch of guys down there working out today. Guys just have this desire to play and you can feel it. We love the challenge as a defense. There is a resiliency to this defense and we just love the challenge. We're looking forward to it this weekend.
On knowing a lot of players from Oklahoma:
I know a lot of guys from that OU team. Juaquin Iglesias went to Killeen High School, which were one of my rivals in high school. It never stops. But, we're good friends. I was recruited with a lot of those guys on that team. I had a chance to sit and watch games with them while they were being recruited.
On the challenge of playing against the OU offensive line:
It's a big challenge to us, so we're really looking forward to it. Sam Bradford has had so much time to throw the ball. He's so comfortable back there that it seems like it's seven-on-seven or something. It's just like the secondary is playing and the receivers are running. They're playing very well, and it's going to be a challenge for us. We're looking forward to it and this defense loves a challenge. We're just looking forward to playing in a rivalry this Saturday.
On Oklahoma's offensive line containing four seniors:
If they say those four guys are going to the NFL next year, of course I'm looking forward to playing them. I look forward to every game. I take every game seriously, and we all do. Just seeing how mature the team took the game last week was great. Just being here on Monday and looking forward to the week just feels so good. Everything is feeling good. It feels good to see guys walking around knowing they have something to do. There's a mission.
|| WR Jordan Shipley
On remembering the feeling of beating OU:
It's one of the best feelings you can have as a college football player. To win a rivalry game of that caliber is great. It was just a lot of fun. When our team beat OU that was one of the most special times that I've had since I've been here. Hopefully we can take care of business this weekend and play well.
On if their play will differ for Oklahoma:
We try to play the same way every week. It doesn't matter who we're playing against, we're going to try to play the same way. You can't think about those things when you're out there. You just have to do your part and try to execute and just focus on the things we need to be doing.
On being part of a great line of wide receivers to have had played in this rivalry:
It is kind of a neat thing to see some of the guys who have come through and played in this rivalry over the last 10 years. It's fun to get to be a part of it.
On having to play against ranked teams the next four weeks:
It's really a neat thing for us to have a schedule like we've got this year, and it's a neat thing for the Big 12 Conference to have so many teams that are ranked so highly. It's an exciting time for this conference and for college football in general. We're just looking forward to playing Oklahoma this weekend.
On the importance of the rivalry:
OU is a huge game for The University of Texas, but around here, every game is a huge game. You can't afford to lose any games. Obviously, it's a huge rivalry game for us, but we also have to look at it as just another game. It's the next step in the schedule, and we're going to approach it like it's just another game. We have a lot of respect for them and a lot of respect for the rivalry.
|| RB Chris Ogbonnaya
On what the rivalry means to him:
It means a lot. It's a tradition and rivalry game, and we have a lot of great respect for Oklahoma. I'm definitely excited for the opportunity to play them for the last time, and we're just looking forward to it.
On how similar Texas and Oklahoma are this year:
They are a great college football program. I think they have a lot of great tradition like we do, and we're very similar. But, somebody has to win. You play the game to win, and somebody is going to be the winner and somebody is going to be the loser. We just want to do what we can control. We have to execute on our side of the ball and stay focused.
On being the underdog for the first time this season:
It feels great. We're going to play and practice like we've been practicing. Hopefully when the game comes, we'll have the opportunity to show what we did during the week. I think that will show that you can't play a perfect game by any means, but we're going to try to play mistake-free and not turn the ball over. We treat it like any other game, because it can be any opponent, if you turn the ball over, you're not going to do well. We're just going to do what we can control on Saturday.
On the biggest difference in beating OU and losing to OU:
When you win, it's a feeling of excitement, joy and of accomplishment. But, it doesn't last for long. It's one of those things that everybody is glad that we won, but we all know it's time to go back to work. When you lose, it's almost the same thing, especially if it's a close battle. It's harder to lose a close game, because you work so hard and you expect to win after the work you've put in. But, it's the same thing and you have to go back to work. It's a long season and things can still be salvaged. We don't focus on it like it's just a one-game season. There are a lot of games to be played, and it's one game at a time. We can always play better. I'm sure we won't play a perfect game this weekend, but we'll improve from there.
On what is at stake in this game this season:
What's at stake is a chance to be perfect and stay undefeated this season. We work really hard to try to win games here, and what is most important is the win. It's not about stats. As long as we get the victory, we're content. We want to give ourselves the opportunity to play for a great game at the end of the season. That's what we look forward to the most.
On if he has earned a bigger workload after the Colorado game:
I don't think so. I'm going to take what the coaches give me, and I just want to stay focused. I want the guys in our room to stay focused. I think we have a lot of backs that are interchangeable, and I think you've seen that. Our room is pretty versatile, so we want everyone to remain focused and stay positive. It's a long stretch and a long season, and I want to make sure that we all stay on the same page.
On how gratifying it is that he is making the most of his opportunities:
It feels great and I'm glad we had the opportunity to do that as a group. I think that the offensive line probably doesn't get as many accolades as they should. I think they work really hard at what they do. And without them in the trenches, we can't be successful, whether it's Colt [McCoy] or any of the running backs running or catching the football. It's a great testament to them and I just want them to continue to keep working. They keep us up right. We're done with that first stretch of the season and the first five games. We can only look forward to this next game.
On how the Oklahoma game seems to happen so quickly after the start of the season:
That's what I was just talking to Rak [Brian Orakpo] and some of the guys about. I can't believe Oklahoma is already here. It's a great game that we play, and for us seniors, I think that the clock is ticking a little bit. Time is running out, but we're just going to keep taking it one game at a time, and making sure that the young guys keep buying into what we're doing and stay focused.
On his touchdown reception against Colorado:
To be honest with you, I didn't know if it was a lateral or what. It looked like Colt and I were symmetrically on the same plane. When he threw the ball, I just thought it was a long lateral, so I thought to myself that I better just run. I didn't know if there was a flag or anything, so I just started running and hoped that it would work out.
On if the rivalry atmosphere is different now that he's a senior:
I enjoy every year, and I think that every year it's kind of different. Once we're going and once we're in the game, I don't listen to the crowd much. I try to stay honed in and stay focused, and that's what's easiest for me to do. I don't really get into that stuff because I'll lose focus. But like I said, to be a part of that atmosphere is great. There are a lot of great fans and a lot of great people who love their teams. It's just what college football is all about and what it should be like - two great teams vying to play one another.