Coach Stoops and select OU players met with the media Tuesday afternoon.
NORMAN, Okla. --
||DT DeMarcus Granger
Head coach Bob Stoops held his weekly press conference Tuesday to discuss this weekend's showdown with Nebraska.
The Sooners and Cornhuskers will meet for the 84th time in the history of the series Saturday at Owen Field. The game kicks off at 7 p.m. CT and will be televised nationally by ESPN (Ch. 29 in OKC, Ch. 25 in Tulsa).
Video complete game week video coverage above. Quotes from Coach Stoops, LB Austin Box, QB Sam Bradford, WR Ryan Broyles and DE Frank Alexander are also available below, courtesy of OU Athletics Media Relations.
|| Head Coach Bob Stoops
“As always, going back over last week’s game with Kansas State, It was a good win. Going on the road again and being able to win a good game is great. I thought the first half was a half of a lot of big plays. Defensively, we gave up some big plays that we don’t like to give up, but on the other side we did come up with five turnovers on the day. Offensively, we really took advantage of them in the first half. To score 55 points in the first half, you have to be doing something good. We were equally effective both run and pass (in the game), but especially in the first half to get the lead that we did. I would have liked us to play the second half a little bit better. Although we were working the clock, I would have liked to see us move the ball better than we did. Give Kansas State credit though, they played well in a lot of areas.
“Some of the players of the game for us were Phil Loadholt and Jon Cooper upfront, and both Chris Brown and DeMarco Murray. Those guys had a great day along with the lineman upfront. Defensively, Travis Lewis had another huge day with 15 tackles and two interceptions. He just had a great day.
“The win gets us in a position at home to play another rival game with great tradition against Nebraska. Meeting them a couple of years ago in the Big 12 Championship game was very exciting as well. Bo Pelini and his staff are doing an excellent job. It is very obvious watching them, in the way they are playing and how hard they are playing, that the defense is improving. Joe Ganz and their quarterback are really doing an excellent job moving the football. So, all in all, it’s a big challenge here at home with Nebraska coming in on Saturday.”
On where the Nebraska Series is now:
“I think that it’s different. There is no denying that. Being in separate divisions and having a couple of years off, changes it to some degree. You know, with the Big 8 and playing all those games so often after Thanksgiving to decide who is going to be the Big 8 Champion. It has changed to some degree but there is still no doubt it is still exciting.”
On OU’s offense against Kansas State:
“It was real pleasing to see what we were able to get, running the ball and being able to throw the ball as we were able to do. To be able to able to protect the quarterback, throw it and take care of the football, that is what you want going on the road.”
On Ryan Broyles punt return for touchdown:
“It was exciting. The kick was with the wind and went a little further which gave him some space to time it up and get things going. Our guys gave him time to catch the ball and get started, and Ryan has great ability to make people miss and find some seams and also has some quickness to out run some people. It was good to finish the half with that return.”
On Frank Alexander’s playing time:
“It has been great. Frank has really been a spark the last couple of days. We feel that he is back in game condition. He has made some really nice plays with the sack and the forced fumble (vs. Kansas State) and Frank has really started to come on.”
On DeMarco Murray’s last two games:
“He has more confidence putting his foot in the ground and making the sudden cuts that most guys don’t even think about. And maybe he was thinking about them before, but he seems to be more comfortable making those cuts than he has before, and running harder.”
On Nebraska’s offense:
“They don’t motion quite as much as they have done in the past but you see more of a mix because they run the football and play-action pass. They mix it up and do a good job of it. Their quarterback Joe Ganz is doing an excellent job.
On Nebraska Quarterback Joe Ganz:
“He is doing an excellent job. It’s a broken record because it seems that is the way everyone is we face, but he does a great job for them and is efficient running their offense.”
On converting to linebacker:
|| R-Freshman LB Austin Box
“From playing quarterback in high school, I knew that I had a ways to go with learning the linebacker position. With our defense, there aren’t too many differences between middle linebacker and weak-side. I feel like I know what I am doing the more I play.”
On his evaluation of his play against Kansas State:
“I think I finally got comfortable in the position on Saturday after sitting out for a while. It took me awhile to adjust, but I feel as the game went on I got the swing of things.”
On the defense versus Kansas State:
“Giving that our defense gave up 500 yards in passing to Kansas State, that is just flat out embarrassing. That is not the standard that we have as a defense. Some of the big plays that they had, we had guys in position but that were just off a little bit, which is all it takes. We have to work on our technique, fine-tuning and especially on missed tackles which is just unacceptable.”
On Ryan Reynolds injury:
“When Ryan went down, I was of course upset for him. He is a good friend of mine and I hate to see him have to go through this again. I am thankful for my opportunity to play and will do my best to fill in. You have to realize that you have to be ready for your opportunity at all times no matter what.”
On the rivalry with Nebraska:
|| Sophomore QB Sam Bradford
“I think, growing up in the state, you knew about the battle of the Big Reds. Probably, the game I remember the most, was the year we won the national championship. I was playing a hockey game so I wasn’t able to come to the game. I remember the first thing after my game was over, I skated over to the glass and I asked my dad if we won, and he said that we did. I know this is a big rivalry for a lot of people going way back. It’s probably the biggest game of the season for both teams.”
On the first half in the Kansas State game:
“I’ve never really been part of a football half like that. It was exciting. I thought we played really well on offense, got some things going and got in a rhythm and we scored really quickly. Probably the second half stuck with me afterwards. I think everyone was a little disappointed with the way we performed in the second half. Obviously, to get a win on the road in the Big 12 is a good thing, but we know if we want to win, that we can’t play the way we did in the second half.”
On the second half of the Kansas State game:
“I think there were a lot of things, but mainly I think there was a lack of energy, lack of focus and we came out, probably, just a little complacent. I think we came out just a little too relaxed. Obviously, throwing the ball you want to complete every one. On days like that, where you are struggling to get completions, it’s important to keep going, trust your abilities and know that when you need to make a play, you’re going to be able to do it.”
On improving with his own performance:
“There are still a lot of little things that I’m not doing as well as I should be doing right now that Coach Heupel is trying to work with me on. There are a lot of things even in the run game that I’m not doing like not selling fakes, not making right assignments. I think there are a lot of little things that everyone on the outside doesn’t see that I’m trying to work on right now.”
On the running game:
“I feel like our offensive line has been doing a great job these past couple of weeks, just playing very aggressive and making holes for our running backs. I also thing our running backs are running extremely hard right now.”
On OU’s defense:
|| R-Freshman WR Ryan Broyles
“I just know our guys are coming prepared and playing as hard as we can. There’s no doubt in my mind that we’re going to get the job done even if they put up a lot of points or not. I just know that we have confidence in our defense.”
On remaining a strong offense and trying to score every possession:
“That’s our motivation. Coach Heupel every game says ‘once we get the ball we’re going to score every time’, and we know that we have to hold on every time too.”
On scoring 55 points in the first half against Kansas State:
“We just come out to play every day. If the score comes out to 55, 100 or 20 points, whatever it is, we know we’re playing hard.
“Like I was saying to some of the other guys, it was like a video game. There wasn’t much defense, but we had to put up enough points to get a win. [In the video game] I’ve scored at least one hundred against my little brother before. It was just an up and down offensive game.”
On special teams:
“The whole punt return team is working really hard to get some things worked out. We have great athletes, great blockers and the whole line, so we’re looking forward to what’s to come next. It’s always just one or two blocks away. We know we have to come prepared and we have to get some things done on special teams.
“Coach Wilson says everyday that we’re not playing to our best potential, but we’re still a great team. We’re coming in every week to get prepared for what’s to come, so we try to improve and get ready for the next week.”
On his August injury:
|| R-Freshman DE Frank Alexander
“The coaches were very understanding of the situation and came to see me in the hospital which made me feel good to know I had their support and that they care about me. They just told me to come back stronger. I’ve learned a lesson; my mother always tells me that nothing good happens after midnight and I guess she was right. I just kept praying and knew God would make everything alright.
“I didn’t know how long my recovery time would be, I thought maybe I could be back for the TCU or Baylor game. I’m just thankful I am finally ready to play. When I finally was able to start practicing, I felt a little rusty at first because I hadn’t used my hand in a while. As I kept practicing, my arm kept healing and I feel like it is back to where it should be.”
On the current state of the defense:
“I think that our defense realizes that we need to step it up. Oklahoma is known for its good defense and giving up 300 yards in the first half is out of character and disappointing. Sometimes it is easy to get caught up in the hype and lose focus, but we are coming together and refocusing, realizing we need to always give 100 percent.”
On the Nebraska offense:
“Nebraska throws the ball, but I think we will give them a lot of pressure because everybody is taking things way more seriously after Saturday. In practice everyone was so focused and keyed in, so I think we will definitely have a better defensive game for Nebraska.”
On the OU-Nebraska rivalry:
“I didn’t really know as much about the OU-Nebraska rivalry, but the coaches showed us a clip over it the other day to let us know how serious it is. It is the next biggest rivalry to Texas, so I think everybody will go out Saturday with that on their minds and knowing that Nebraska will come in looking for an upset. Our defense will be ready and I think everybody will play well.”