Stoops holds weekly press conference in advance of Red River Rivalry game.
NORMAN, Okla. --
Head coach Bob Stoops, offensive coordinator Kevin Wilson and select Oklahoma players met with the media Tuesday to discuss Saturday's game in the Cotton Bowl against Texas. View video by clicking the links above. Quotes from OU's coaches and players are available below.
No. 18 Oklahoma (3-2, 1-0 Big 12) and No. 2 Texas (5-0, 2-0 Big 12) face off at 11 a.m. (CT) in Dallas. The game will be televised nationally by ABC.
For complete coverage throughout the week from Norman, information for fans attending the game at the Cotton Bowl in Dallas and broadcast options for fans following the Sooners around the world, visit Sooner Gameday Central
|| Head Coach Bob Stoops
"It was pleasing to play so well in the second half. I thought our defense settled down and really played great in the second half, not that they played poorly in the first half but it was just even sounder in the second half. Offensively, we got the run game and pass game going together, Sam had another excellent day passing for just shy of 400 yards. Brandon Caleb had a nice day, had over 100 yards receiving and made some nice catches. The running backs ran really well, anytime you run for over 200 yards that's a positive. No turnovers, I thought our line play was better overall. I thought our special teams really played well again.
"It was a good win, which leads us to Texas. Texas is always an exciting and great game. It's a great atmosphere to compete in. We're going to be playing against an excellent football team, as always they are off to a great start. Regardless of what the media is usually talking about, for us a major factor is winning the Big 12 South and winning the Big 12 Championship. This is a major game and a major step in getting to that position. It's a big challenge, but an exciting one. I know our guys are excited and fired up about it, we had an excellent practice yesterday to start things off and leading into this week."
On the receivers' drops on Saturda
"I think it's just some inexperience. I think the more you're out there the more comfortable you become in those situations. I think eventually you settle down and you see it a little bit better and you execute a little bit better."
On the offensive line without Brian Simmons:
"With Brian Simmons out, you know, we have what we have. They have to step up and play and be more consistent. We've seen it at different times through this year, but we've also seen inconsistencies. It's just about playing more consistent and playing at a great level. That's all you can say. We just need to continue to develop them."
On Sam's shoulder following Saturday's game:
"It was great to see him on Sunday and he said 'I feel fine, I don't feel any different than I did last week going through the week.' We didn't anticipate him throwing 49 balls, but we didn't anticipate him getting 100 snaps either. In the end, it just worked out. We kept in touch with him throughout the game to see how he was feeling and he was feeling fine, so that's a positive. We only expect him to make some improvement this week."
On the difference of having Sam back:
"No slight on Landry, but in any game, how can he not make a difference? Last year he was the best player in college football, how can he not? Sure he does, absolutely he does. In the end, we're not talking about just any old guy. He's been pretty special over and over."
On Sam's practice workload:
"Last week it was a progression and we were very aware of not overdoing it. He handled everything well on Saturday, I think it's just about his communication between the trainers and our offensive coaches on what the right number of throws is each day."
On the defense's pass coverage:
"Not being able to stop a pass, whether it's in the middle or outside or anywhere, in the end it's about being in position to make plays. Sometimes we were in position to make plays and didn't make them. In the end, it's a factor, you have to make a play on the ball when it's thrown."
On trying to cover Texas' Jordan Shipley:
"Well you have to try to. His production, not only this year but last year, he has been an excellent player for them and is always a focus for them. We're aware and will do the best we can to defend him, without sacrificing ourselves in other areas, that's the point of the game."
On Colt McCoy:
"He's playing great I believe. Sometimes numbers are just different depending on how the game goes, I think he's thrown the ball well. He looks every bit as good as what you saw a year ago. He runs around well and has excellent feet on top of having the great accuracy and have the ability to make the right reads and put the ball where it needs to be."
On the challenges of the OU/Texas atmosphere:
"What gets you most is probably the importance of the game in our league and having a step towards the Big 12 Championship and that sort of thing. The rest of that we don't participate in, we see a bunch of people yelling at us on the busses as we pull in but after that you're on the field and we don't pay much attention to it."
On kickoff and punt coverage:
"So far we've been very solid, much more than a year ago with our special teams. But again, it's another challenge, you have to do it every week. Texas has had some big and explosive games in their return game so it's something that we're very focused on and we've been working on all week."
On the advantage of a tough non-conference schedule:
"Hopefully, in the end we have played in some tough games already and hopefully in those situations we can play a little bit better. In the end you would rather be two points better, but hopefully that is a factor."
On OU's struggles on the road, compared to their 63-2 home record under Stoops:
"I would say 'compared to who?' In the end, our road record compared to the rest of the conference ours is probably one of the better ones, or when you look at whoever else across the country. Everyone's record on the road isn't quite as good as it is at home. I guess it's probably a little more obvious because we have been so good at home. But in the end, our road record compared to others is probably better than most. There is no explanation, other than I think it's fair to say that it is that way in every level of football."
On how OU can improve in the redzone:
"It's execution, blocking a little bit better, taking the proper angles, making some catches that are catchable balls, it's just general execution and we're always looking at ways we need to do differently. In the end, if you're going to run the football you have to block people. Parts of it have been good but you have to complete the whole process."
On the performance of the wide receivers:
"I thought they played much better through the second half. Dejaun Miller had five catches, he went down and got some really good catches. Cameron just needs to be more consistent. Jaz Reynolds came on and caught a few balls and made some plays, it's just about getting him more comfortable. Brandon Caleb had a big night, I think he had seven or eight catches for over 100 yards and was very good. It was good to see Adron late in the game making a few plays. Again, it's just getting the overall consistency and to continue to do it and to be competitive on every down."
|| Offensive Coordinator Kevin Wilson
Quotes on the way...
On importance of getting a game in before Texas:
|| Junior QB Sam Bradford
"Playing last week was important for our offense as a whole. It was important for me to get back out there but I think also for the guys to get used to me being back out there was important. We saw some things on film yesterday that we can correct and hopefully that we will correct this week going into Saturday."
On the offense without Jermaine Gresham:
"Obviously this is a different team. With Jermaine not in the lineup it is a little bit of a different offense from last year. I think there are certain situations where maybe last year I favored one side because Jermaine was there and this year I need to realize it's a little bit different, and maybe this side is better now."
On his relationship with Colt McCoy:
"Obviously filming in Dallas (with ESPN) was really cool just because we got to spend some more time together. Colt's a great guy and I think him sending me a text message after I got hurt telling me that he was praying for me, to stay with it and keep my head up that just says a lot about the type of guy he is. I think a lot of people see us going to rival schools so we probably wouldn't have done that. But for him to do something like that and just keep encouraging me, it just says a lot about who he is."
On if teammates give him a hard time for being friends with McCoy:
"Yeah I get that from my teammates some. I think they realize that in the end, we're both football players. I mean obviously we're trying to beat each other but at the same time we can help each other in a lot of different ways. We play a lot of the same teams this year, our offenses are fairly similar, so helping each other out, we can do that."
On how he looks at the Texas defense:
"We started film yesterday. Obviously they are a very good defense. They're fast, they're very disciplined and they throw a lot of different things at us. We're going to have to be extremely prepared going into Saturday."
On excitement of facing Colt McCoy:
"I'd probably say since I got to know Colt and we have become friends, it adds a little bit more knowing that if we win, I can probably send him a text and say something and I'm sure if he wins he'll say something to me, but it's all in good fun. I think going against such a great player like Colt and such a great team like Texas, I mean we love these opportunities. That's what we come to this university for, to play in big games on a national stage and to have another opportunity to go out there and do that this Saturday, it's just exciting."
On potential of Dejuan Miller:
"I think you guys saw the way he played Saturday. He made some great plays out there for us. I think there was a big third down he caught a slant, kind of a diving catch in man coverage, it was a huge catch to keep the drive going for us. I've seen that all along since last spring and for him to come out there and do that in this atmosphere and a Big 12 game was nice to see. Hopefully he'll continue to do that."
On his health
"I felt good. My arm felt extremely good after the game. So I feel like my arm strength is back. Mentally, I feel like I'm getting back into it. I feel like I can improve everyday as I did before the injury."
On the offense from the first game against BYU until now:
"I feel like this offense has improved. I think if you just look at us, the way we played last Saturday compared to the way we played the first Saturday, you'd see a lot of improvement. I think penalty wise we were a lot more clean Saturday than we were versus BYU. I think we played with a greater tempo on Saturday than we did in the first game. I think our overall communication is better among the different position. I just feel like we're becoming a better offense now."
On Sam Bradford fired up at halftime of the Baylor game:
|| Senior OT Trent Williams
"That was the thing that we were missing a lot, Sam's leadership in the locker room. I haven't seen that in a long time, it was kind of surprising. When I see him walking around school, I can't imagine how he'll act on Saturday's. That's just Sam."
On what a win this Saturday would do for the team:
"A win would kind of make our season at this point. We will still have all our goals in front of us. I know that winning a Big 12 Championship or BCS Bowl will come so that will kind of solidify our season if we get a win now."
On the Texas game being make- or-break:
"You never know how the season will go. But it has a big bearing on our season to win. And a loss could break us if Texas goes on to win all their games but you know how the season goes, nothing's promised."
On the run blocking of the offensive line:
"We're getting there. We're finally putting some pieces together. I hate to say we're a good run blocking team but we're making it there. We're where we want to be."
On needing to make big stops late in the game:
|| Junior DT Gerald McCoy
"In the BYU and Miami games, we didn't make the stops we needed to at the end of the game. Even last year playing Texas we didn't make the stops we needed to. It's very critical that we do that this game if we want to win."
On which team has more to prove:
"I think we both have something to prove. I don't know if it's necessarily proving anything, I think it's just making that next step toward reaching our goal."
On looking back at last year's game:
"We look at the tape of last year all the time and we remember the mistakes we made and the things we didn't do to win the game. We know we have to change those this year."
On the confidence level of the team despite coming in with two losses:
"Our team is going in very confident. They're (Texas) coming in confident and we're coming in confident. The team that comes in the most confident, without being overconfident, is normally going to come out on top. If you come in nervous and worrying about what's going to happen, what will happen afterwards and what happened before, instead of living in the present, that's normally what happens when you lose."
On playing with a young offensive line:
|| Junior RB DeMarco Murray
"We've been running the ball pretty good. We need to keep being physical, just like we've been doing. I have a lot of confidence in this group and I think we'll be fine."
On playing a higher ranked Texas team:
"We don't mind being the underdog. No matter what we're still ranked and it's going to be a great game. It's OU vs. Texas, there's always a lot of hype around this game. It's going to be a good game."
On playing a prestigious team such as Texas:
"I don't know what they're going through, but they're number three right now. We have our goals still in front of us and we know the winner of this game usually has an up on the other in the Big 12 South and making it into the Big 12 Championship. We're controlling our own destiny in the Big 12, we're both undefeated in conference. It's an important game for both teams."
On the return of Sam Bradford:
"He's our leader and everyone is used to him being vocal. Landry did a great job while Sam was out. We're excited with the fact that Sam is back, he's a great asset to our team."