Coach Stoops and select players in weekly press conference from Norman at noon CT.
NORMAN, Okla. --
Head coach Bob Stoops, quarterback Landry Jones, center Gabe Ikard and defensive tackle Jamarkus McFarland met with the media Monday in OU's weekly press conference from Norman.
Oklahoma returns to Big 12 Conference play against the Iowa State Cyclones next Saturday in Ames. The game kicks at 11 a.m. and will be televised by ABC.
For complete coverage throughout the week, details on attending the game and broadcast options for following the Sooners from around the world, visit Sooner Gameday Central
|| Coach Stoops
"Going back through reviewing the Notre Dame, kind of like I said after the game, compliments to Notre Dame who played an excellent game to win it. In the end, they made some key plays in order to win. They only had one penalty and no turnovers and were able to win that way. We were just on the wrong side of some judgment calls that, in the end, in a tight game, they are part of the game. Those take some momentum away.
"At the end of the game, you're in a one-possession game late, whether it was intercepted or not, they call it intercepted so it's tight enough that would they have ruled it incomplete they probably would have stuck with that judgment as well. In the end, I'm not complaining, but when you're in a tight game those types of decisions are tough to overcome.
"The big play at the end with the big pass, they make those big plays at the end. That's how you end up on the wrong side of a tight, well-played football game. I thought our players again were prepared and played hard and physical. They played an excellent football team. Up front guys that played well, Casey Walker, Jamarkus McFarland; David King was one of our players of the game. I thought offensively Landry Jones was really good; he threw the ball well. Jalen Sounders had a big day with some great catches and big runs after the catch. On special teams, Tress Way did a nice job once again.
"It leaves us here at Iowa State, a team here which is coming off another win. You look at their team and they're playing really well; they beat TCU earlier in the year. They played Kansas State tough up there in Ames. They're a team who always plays excellent defense and they're doing a nice job. It'll be another big challenge but I feel strongly that our players' attitudes will be great. They want to push forward and keep working for all the tough Big 12 games in front of us."
On if it's difficult to sustain the hurry up offense:
"It is to some degree, if you watch the receivers at times. If you sub for them then everything stops and they're running 50 yards each play, but there's only so much you can do."
On what could have made a difference in the two losses:
"Well, you want to make a play on either side of the ball. One or two more plays help make a difference, whether it's a third down stop or not giving up the one big play. Also turnovers, I thought we did do a good job, we took care of the football."
On the run game:
"You do need to run the football and probably, in hindsight, we probably needed to run it a little bit more. In the end, they set up some play-action passes that we were very successful at and we got a lot of yards. If you want to look at yards, our yardage is equal without that one snap that we blew early in the game. We threw for 300 plus yards, and that doesn't happen if there is no running game."
On Ames being a tough place to play:
"Iowa State has done really well. They are well coached and they're an excellent team in how they execute plays. They have played well this year on the road and at home; they've been very tough."
On if they saw the clock going down on the first bad snap:
"Yeah, we did, but he had time. Part of the issue was his voice fluctuation went up. I mean it was loud, everyone's excited that we're moving the ball and Gabe [Ikard] couldn't hear and thought Landry asked for the ball."
On if they could have gotten more than a field goal on the second series:
"Sure, it was a factor. Early on you have two good drives and you only have three points. But also in the third quarter they had two good drives and they got three points. It was a really hard fought and good game."
On if there's something missing to the team:
"Nothing's missing. We've lost to the No. 2 and No. 3 teams in the country in two really good, hard-fought football games. When you schedule Notre Dame and you know that's coming, that's just the way it's unfolded. There is nothing missing with this team."
On the maturity of the team:
"We still have a lot of games to go and it's always a fight to be better. This team has been great to coach, their attitude, everything about them. We haven't had the issues we had a year ago."
On running back Dom Whaley:
"He's fine. I think some of the reason we've gone more with Damien [Williams] is because of the success he's had. Dom is fine. He's practicing, and he's as good as he can be.
On Notre Dame's long touchdown run:
"It wasn't a bust, we just got out of position. One of our linebackers scraped too wide. We saw that play 10 or 12 more times during the rest of the night and they probably averaged two, three yards. It's just one of those perfect storms the way it happened."
On feeling helpless playing behind in the Big 12 race:
"I don't look at it as a helpless feeling. I think our job is to just do what we can do. That's work hard, be prepared, and play as well as we can this week. I know it's cliché, but it's the absolute truth: when you're the one that has to play, has to coach, has to win, that's all you think about. The rest you don't have anything to do with. You just do your job."
On the level of play:
"I think what everyone undervalues is the quality of talent across the board for all these teams we play. Tulsa over there has a bunch of real good football players. Just because a certain team isn't looked at as being a top 5 team or something, everybody has talent. I think there are more and more players that are coached well and developed so well in high school that everyone has good players. The parity is greater than ever. When you get a chance to study people and watch them and get a look at them… Iowa State has a bunch of really good football players. We know that because we've got to play them."
On Stacy McGee's play:
"Stacy played well. As you would expect, he just needs more game time to keep making some progress, and he will."
On the differences between good teams and not with parity in college football:
"You can only scheme so much and you only get so much time with the players. They have class all day and with academic tutors and this, that and the other you're only allowed a certain amount of time."
On getting backups ready in case star players, such as Marcus Lattimore, go down:
"You do talk to the twos in the summer and all times that you've got to be ready to step up and be prepared and be sure you're investing in the week whether it's at practice or watching tape. Any moment you could be the guy in there and you need to play well."
On this year's offense compared to last season's:
|| QB Landry Jones
"I think we are playing a lot better than we did last year. I think the offense has a little bit more of a rhythm and [we're] doing better things than we were last year for sure. Yes, we lost a couple games but we lost to the second and third ranked teams so those were competitive games. We have lost to two good football teams and the offense is still heading in a good direction."
On giving up plays:
"I think it comes down to those plays that we kind of hurt ourselves. That snap with Gabe [Ikard] was just a big miscommunication. Then once we got down there to the place where we kicked to, I think we kicked two field goals when we needed to score touchdowns on, and when you play a good team like Notre dame or Kansas State, you have got to score touchdowns when you have the opportunity."
On what Notre Dame was doing defensively:
"They were sinking so much that they weren't really giving us too much of an opportunity to push it down the field. So we had to be patient and go underneath."
"I think it is just easy for teams to drop eight and against Notre Dame, that is what they were doing. Most of the night they were dropping eight. But, regardless of what happens during the course of the game, we have to figure out a way to score touchdowns. That is the big factor of the night where we kicked two field goals when we should have scored touchdowns in those situations."
"Even when we got down there they were still sinking off our guys so we were pushing it vertical. That is why you saw us throw more to the running backs underneath and those routes to those guys. Just as we get down there, like I said earlier, you just have to capitalize on your situations and [play efficient football."
On seeing teammates injured:
"Sometimes I think it just goes that way. Since I have been here I feel like we have injury after injury. I don't know what it is. It is something that just kind of happens."
On his interception pass:
"From where I was standing, I thought it was [pass] interference. But I am not a referee and my job is not to be a referee; my job is to be a quarterback and throw completions. Yes I did think it was interference but that is not the way they saw it, so you have to just play through it."
On what Jalen Saunders brings to the team:
"He is just another one of the guys who can make plays. Every receiver position for this year has just been really deep and we have been fortunate enough to play a lot of guys at different positions. I think Jalen [Saunders] is just going to continue to improve and continue to do a lot of good things through this offense."
On what the offense needs to improve on:
"Little things like the snap. That is one thing, just communicating. Another is penalties. I think the other one was a holding call that we got. So when you are down there you just have to be smart and keep your hands inside and do different things like that. Not to blame anybody but, just as an offense, we have to capitalize and be smart when we are down there and play efficient football."
On playing Iowa State:
"It is a huge test. They typically always play really well at home. They have a good defense. It will be a big challenge to see how we respond to this loss and what kind of team we are going to put out there on Saturday."
On being out of contention for the national championship:
"I don't think we are going to shut it down and say 'All right, let's just call it quits the rest of the year.' But there is some adversity coming with losing games and coming with different goals being out of the picture for sure. We are a prideful program. We have a lot of pride in what we do and we are not going to shut it down. When game day comes around we are going to put our best guys on the field and we are going to play hard."
On playing in a BCS game:
"We will still be excited to be able to go and play in BCS games. That would be great. It will be huge for our program and big for this team."
On if it's easier to play without national title pressure:
|| OL Gabe Ikard
"I'd say no just because that's how disappointing it is. That's why we come here, to play for national championships and conference championships. We still have a chance to play for a conference championship depending on what happens. Our focus has shifted to Iowa State. Disappointing performance against Notre Dame but now we have to worry about going to Ames and a tough conference game on the road. We've got to correct our mistakes and get prepared for the Cyclones."
On injuries throughout the season:
"It's kind of just part of the game. Injuries have always been a part of football. But it seems like we've had a lot, especially on the offensive line. It has hindered us a little bit but you've got to replace the guys when they go down. It's unfortunate that Damien [Williams] got hobbled so early in the game but it's just something you have to deal with."
On avoiding an upset at Iowa State:
"It all comes down to our preparation. We need to watch a lot of film, get on some of their tendencies defensively. When it comes down to it, we need to play fundamental and physical football on Saturday. Their defense takes a lot of pride in the way they play and how physical they are at the line of scrimmage. So we need to play well."
On losing three out of last seven home games:
"Yeah it's very odd, no one likes losing at home. There are really no positives out of it other than the teams we lost to are [No.] two and [No.] three in the country. That's about all you can see as positive and no one else has beat them. But yeah, it's very disappointing to lose at home. Especially twice in one year, that's just unheard of around here for the last decade or so."
On if it's easier to play without national title pressure:
|| DT Jamarkus McFarland
"I feel like it doesn't change. We still have great opponents in front of us. We still have a chance to go out and win this conference. That's the way you have to approach it, you can't dwell on a loss for too long. We've got a great opponent in Iowa State and we have to go out and prepared for them."
On a road game testing the maturity of team:
"Oh yeah. When you come to Oklahoma you're going to face opponents week-in and week-out. It's just kind of a live-and-forget moment in your mind. You learn from your mistakes and you go out there and get ready for the next one."
On the team's defensive performance Saturday:
"Oh yeah, we felt like we did well. But when you take a loss you can't be well with that. Things we messed up on, we'll have to fix those mistakes but we see things we did well. But those negatives poke out further. Right now it's just a line and base. It's just like another game even though it's Notre Dame. It's an opponent, it's a chance to get better and now we have to move forward."
On the team being mature enough to move forward:
"It's not easy taking a loss. That's not what we like to do here and no one is okay with it. We're not going to sit here and say 'It's fine' and that everyone is okay with it. It hits you hard in the soul, especially a game like that that's big and its atmosphere and as loud as it was. But you have to be mature enough to not dwell on it. Coach [Stoops] is going to talk about it today and then we're going to move forward. We've got another team we've got to prepare for. We can't dwell on it; we've got the rest of the season to play."