Oklahoma travels to College Station for game against Aggies on Saturday.
NORMAN, Okla. --
Oklahoma travels to College Station to play the Texas
A&M Aggies Saturday afternoon at Kyle Field. ABC will
televise the game beginning at 2:30 p.m.
will hold its weekly press conference on Tuesday. Texas
A&M head coach Mike Sherman met with the media today
and complete quotes are below courtesy Texas A&M Athletics
Media Relations. View Sooner
for complete information on attending
the game or following TV, radio and internet
coverage of the Sooners across the nation.
staff will blog
during Saturday's game. Throughout
the day, you can view our commentary on the TV broadcast,
observations from the field, notes from the media relations
staff in the press box plus fan
and reaction during the game.
After the game you said Colorado's front
four was one of the most active you'd seen, and that
helped stop the running game...after looking at
film, was there anything else the running game didn't
do that it needs to do?
Coach Mike Sherman
"There were a couple of plays (where) we were
on again, off again. The first play of the game we
had an eight-yard gain but there was a penalty against
them, and we took the penalty and made it 1st-and-5
instead of 2nd-and-2 or whatever it was. Then we had
another run with a penalty on it. We did have a couple
of chances to make some positive gains besides the
long run by Cyrus Gray, but not enough to meet the
satisfaction that we needed.
"I think what we did come
away from the game with was it's so important to keep
hammering away at it because it does help you control
pass rushes a little bit. And that long run that Cyrus
made really was a game-changer in my mind. It changed
field position for us, really put us in an optimal
position. So even though we didn't run the ball effectively,
I think the fact we didn't give up on it is a great
lesson. I constantly remind myself that you just never
know when you're going to be able to find a crack and
be able to break a long run, and that one was a significant
"But as I said they were a good defensive front,
we knew that going in, they're very multiple in their
back end with their support, and who was supporting
on the runs. We just have to execute better up front
and be better in our run game than we were. Sometimes
the back missed some cuts we could have made-it wasn't
all the offensive lineman. There were a couple of plays
where if we'd stayed in the hole we could have made
some good yardage, but we elected to cut it back too
soon. That didn't allow us to get up on the linebacker
and make a play on the linebacker on the back side.
"So there were a couple of those. A couple were on
us-we ran a counter misdirection play, they brought
the corner and got us in the backfield. They guessed
right on some of their pressures and got us, and we
were able to get the long run which was significant
Looking at Oklahoma's run defense, can you talk
about the matchup with them?
"They're very exceptional. They will now be the
best front we've played. They're exceptional up front,
and the linebackers are young but active. Their front
people don't stay blocked very long, they're aggressively
attacking up field, they're good with their hands,
and they're good getting off the blocks. They play
with a lot of speed."
Were you surprised when you got to campus that there
were eight scholarship offensive linemen? Does that
surprise you that there were that few?
"Well, I looked at it before I came (laughter).
But yeah, I was surprised that we didn't have more
on scholarship at that time."
Can you talk about Kevin Matthews and the job he's
done at center, and with his snapping?
"I think he had one that was a low snap, but overall
he's been much more consistent in that area. He's played
well. I wouldn't say this was one of his better games,
but he played okay. I have high expectations of him,
and expect him to play very well every week. I'm very
critical of those linemen."
Can you talk about Oklahoma's offense and the challenge
of slowing them down?
"Well, when you consider that the least amount
of points I think they've scored this year is 35, one
in a win and one against Texas, obviously that's a
major challenge for us, to be able to control them
not just with our defense but by not having our offense
be three-and-out and putting our defense back out there.
That will be significant, as well as the kicking game
where they're exceptional on field position. Getting
ourselves into positive field position, and throwing
the ball, will be as much part of our defense as when
we're (the defense) on the field."
When you look at OU's offense, especially when so
many Big 12 teams are leaning heavily on the pass,
is that the direction you'd like to see this offense
go, in terms of balance?
"I've always believed in balance, and we don't
have the balance I'd like to have this year. I wish
we could have better balance than we do. We fight it
a little bit, when we're trying to gameplan and scheme
and trying to play to our strengths and someone else's
weaknesses. But yes, I'd like to have balance in our
offense. When you're throwing the football, you just
never know when your quarterback is going to wake up
and the biorhythms aren't clicking, or a receiver for
whatever reason isn't having a good day.
"But the running
game is something that, if you have good running backs,
can be a consistent part of your arsenal. The passing
game, with the weather, the wind, whatever...it
can affect the passing game a bit. So I hate to put
all my eggs in one basket. I think you have to throw
the football to win championships, but to be able to
get to the championship game you have to be able to
How about your run defense, how do you think that
"Well, we've struggled at different times, as
you know. We haven't fit up all the times. I was excited
the other day, even though we gave up the yardage and...gosh
dangit, we had two guys making tackles and knocking
each other off. Or one or two times where we were reaching
and don't bring our feet, but we were there. There
were some times, particularly in the second half, where
we really pulled the trigger in regard to bringing
our hips and our demeanor to the ball carrier, or the
quarterback. So I think we improved there.
draw ate us up the other day, more than anything else.
We were rushing the quarterback, and he was very elusive
and was able to make guys miss, which concerns me.
But it's an area of concern for us, and we keep working
at it. We'll be challenged this week, and hopefully
we'll have some things rectified during the course
of this week."
Do you think you win that game the other day without
the contributions of the freshmen?
"Well, they played a significant part, when you
talk about Trent Hunter's two interceptions and Jeff
Fuller's two touchdowns. Jeff was out of practice on
Friday, his quad blew up on him and he couldn't practice.
And we didn't know if he was going to play. We had
him iced down and stemming him all during the 48 hours.
And then (Ryan) Tannehill obviously played well. So
yeah, they obviously played a significant part, along
with (Tony) Jerod-Eddie and different guys. As did
the other kids. It was a team win, but those three
guys in particular made some big plays in the game."
Is it hard not to get excited just looking ahead
to what those guys may become?
"Well, you can't win a championship with just
a few guys. You need a bunch of guys. We've got to
get everyone playing at their level in order to win
You talked earlier about expecting something
special to happen this year...do you feel like
the team's morale is high enough for that maybe to
happen this weekend against Oklahoma?
"Well, I feel like the team's morale is very good.
After the game, that locker room...you know, It's
funny in coaching, when I think back on games that
I've been a part of that we won, I very seldom remember
the scores. I remember the locker rooms, and the guys,
and what happened in there after the game.
Colorado for our second win in a row and our fourth
win of the season, and you would have thought we'd
won a national championship in the locker room. Everyone
was very excited, coaches and players alike, and really
enjoying the moment...which is so important, because
we really haven't had the opportunity to do that very
often. But that's what you remember, and that was really
special. I think they enjoyed the feeling they had
after winning that ballgame.
"We have a chance this
week to play a very, very good opponent that is a top
five team and one of the best ones I've seen on tape
this year. This would be a very special moment if we
could beat this team. Certainly it's a formidable task,
but these things do happen."
Speaking of those freshmen, your top two
receivers are both 6'4". I know they can catch
the ball but how big a luxury is it for the quarterback
to have big targets like that?
"Well, I think it kind of goes in line with the
receivers in the Big 12, which are bigger receivers.
To be able to match them up on corners who don't quite
have that height...you don't usually see a corner
that size. They are usually anywhere between 5'10" and
6'0", and very seldom do you see a corner who
is 6'2". But I think their size definitely gives
them an advantage. I think we're fast, but not that
fast, but I think the size allows you an opportunity
to not always be that burner all the time, because
you can use your body to make plays."
So they're fast enough?
"I would say yeah, at this point they're fast
When we talk to Trent Hunter, he seems like he's
always excited. What does that attitude do, is that
contagious with the older guys?
"Yeah, it is. I gave them an example one time.
I had a Bunsen burner going in a meeting. They walked
in and the Bunsen burner was going, it was boiling
some water. I told them a story about when I was a
kid growing up, my mother would boil us an egg, the
five of us, and throw us an egg as we were going out
the door. That was our version of fast food (laughter).
"I used to sit there and watch that water boil. I
told the players that at 212 degrees, water boils.
At 210 degrees, it doesn't. It takes a couple of degrees
to move a train, an old steam car, a steamboat...it
just takes one or two degrees. If you're at 210 it
doesn't get it done. At 212 you can do unbelievable
things with steam. It's like players in the locker
room. You just need a couple of guys that can be those
degrees and move you forward, that can be the catalysts
that make a difference between a locker room being
just okay and a locker room being great.
the guys to be those types of players. And each week
I think we're getting more and more guys that are sharing
their emotion with their teammates. Kids today have
a tendency to be a little too cool sometimes, and they
don't want to show their emotions for fear they'll
be ridiculed. Good teams show their emotions, and I
think we're starting to do more of that."
Coach, you talked about Owen Daniels before,
the tight end for the Houston Texans, and how much
you liked the kind of player he is...How important
is it to have a guy of that size and that ability to
the offense you run?
"Is he available (laughter)? I've got to say this,
Owen Daniels is a Pro-Bowl tight end. I've been around
a couple of them and he's a Pro-Bowl tight end. He's
a tireless, hard worker and a great kid. I'm so happy
for the success he's having. Jamie McCoy is similar
in many ways-his work ethic, how he runs routes-he
doesn't have Owen's size. Owen outweighs him by a good
25 pounds. But they're very similar in how they run
routes. Owen is a tough son of a gun. Jamie came over
as a receiver and has learned to mix it up with guys.
For him to go in there and try to block those defensive
ends-and he does a decent job at this point in his
career of blocking them-that's no easy task at 225
pounds. I love Owen Daniels but I like Jamie McCoy
a lot too."
Does Oklahoma remind you of anyone you've seen?
"No, they're different than anyone we've seen
this year, as far as their overall team speed. They
play fast, they play hard and they're very well-coached.
I have a lot of respect for what they've done, in their
recruiting and how they've brought those players in
and developed them, and how they've coached them."
How would you gauge the continued progress of Von
Miller, going from defensive end to linebacker. Is
he getting better?
"Well, he went from defensive end to linebacker,
now he's rushing the quarterback for us again. So he's
kind of gone full-circle there. When we went to more
of a nickel linebacker, and brought in (Alton) Dixon,
Von's been pretty much in our rush package, and in
what I call our spinner package, where he'll move around
a lot and blitz from different spots on third down.
He's doing fine. He made some big plays the other day."
Can you just talk about how you are using him in
different ways and what he brings on the field?
"Well, he's a tremendous athlete. It's very difficult
when your hand is on the ground to go back there and
play linebacker in such a short period of time. I just
felt like we needed him to be more part of the rush
scheme because we need to be able to rush the quarterback.
For whatever reason, whether it's who we're playing
or matchups or whatever, we have been able to rush
the quarterback better in the last couple of weeks
since we made this move. I know he doesn't have a ton
of sacks but he has generated some rush for us, which
has been significant."
The penalty the other day, was that just a tough
"Yeah, you hate to see it. The poor young man
broke his leg, and I feel terrible about that. It's
hard to coach...if a kid is able to grab a part
of the jersey, he has to be able to do that, but sometimes,
it's like an incidental face mask. In the old days,
when you had that call, the kid's hand gets caught
up in there. What can you say to the kid? He's trying
to tackle the guy, he's not trying to cause a penalty.
On that situation Von was just trying to get him down.
He reached for the first thing he could grab, and I
feel bad for that young man. But there was no malicious
intent on Von's part."
You've gotten three or four tackles on kickoff returns
in the last few weeks inside the 20. Did you change
personnel or what is the difference there?
"I tell you, (Chevar) Bryson has done a tremendous
job...he's a receiver, and he hasn't gotten to
play much receiver for us, but he's found his job and
really helped us a lot on special teams. And Kenny
Brown's the other one. He's done a great job for us
there as well. (Nick) LaMantia's done a good job for
us. Bryson was spectacular I thought the other day,
in his effort and demeanor and getting down the field.
He has tremendous speed and is very difficult to block,
so he made a big contribution there."
Do you think your team's pacing themselves
a little better? It seems like you've seen a little
better performance in the second half the last few
"We don't have a problem with pacing ourselves
necessarily. We should have played better in the first
half, so if we were pacing ourselves I'd be upset by
that. You need to come out and play the best you can.
Offensively we just had our struggles. Our defense
kept us in the ballgame. I probably put too much on
Jerrod (Johnson) on checking plays and what not in
the first half. We had a lot of stuff in that game
plan, and we kind of took it off him in the second
half, where we just called some things, and guessed
right on some things and were able to hit some plays.
But I don't think pacing is necessarily what we were
doing. I hope that's not what we were doing."
Any injury updates on (Mike) Goodson or (Lee) Grimes
or anyone else?
"Grimes will be able to play but he's probably
going to have a cast on his finger. He has a severe
sprain there. Goodson ran yesterday, and we're going
to run him again today and find out more about him."
You've seen this team play a complete first half
against Texas Tech, and a complete third quarter against
Colorado. Is this team poised to put it all together
for all four quarters?
"I would like to think so, and this would be the
week you'd need to do it. This team can certainly play
all four quarters. This would be the week, if we're
going to put it all together. But if you really look
at football, who in the games that were played yesterday
in the NFL played four great quarters of football?
It doesn't normally happen. It's back and forth, push
and shove, and it's who has the edge at the end of
the game or who scores the most points in one quarter...it's
just the nature of the game.
"You're just not going
to come out and score 100 points. Well, maybe in the
Big 12 you do (laughter). I don't think anyone plans
to give that up necessarily. If you look at the game
of football it's kind of back and forth, back and forth.
To answer your question, though, it is a point I made
to our team. We have to put the whole thing together.
"I thought special-teams wise for the most part, with
the exception of a punt that almost got blocked, we
were okay. Defense, I thought Jordan Pugh's play was
probably the play of the game, even though at the end
of the game Trent Hunter made that play that kept them
from driving the ball. Jordan Pugh took points off
the board at a very critical time in the ballgame.
Either three or seven points were going to happen there,
and he took them off the board. That was a critical
"So we're having plays throughout quarters, but
more specifically-offensively I think-for us to putz
around like we did in the first half was disappointing.
But I was proud they came out in the third quarter
and were able to do what they did."
With the kickers, you talk about them having to
compete during the week, but is Randy Bullock starting
to win that job on Saturdays now?
"I think it's always good for kickers to compete.
They go to practice, and they sit there and watch practice,
and the guys need to see that they are held accountable
too. I think we'll always have competition there. He
has done a nice job for us. I'm pleased and proud of
what he's done. But kickers always have to have competition,
because they're off by themselves a lot and doing their
deal with the kicks. Then we call them together, and
it's important they know that in those pressure situations
that they have to perform. So we always try to create
those in practice."
Is it now where (Richie) Bean is going to have to
beat him out now?
"Yeah, as far as the field goals I think Randy's
shown some consistency there. At this point he has
the upper hand. We're going to have to see on the kickoffs."
Is Bean not completely healthy, because
kickoffs did seem like a strength of his...
"It did and it is, but he tweaked it (groin) just
a little bit last Thursday. So we're going to see where
he is this week. I'm not sure if he's going to be available
What have your coaches' meetings been like
this fall, with all the adjustments and coaching on-the-fly
it seems like you've had to do? With injuries you've
had to shuffle personnel, scrap whole schemes...
"Well, it's been chaotic at times. The way I am,
and this is the way I've coached in my time, if they
tell me someone's out, I don't bat an eyelash. We go
to the next one, and let's get the next guy ready.
If this kid can't go, okay. Who's next? Let's get him
ready. I think if you start whining and groaning about
those things, whether it's youth or injuries or anything
else, you just have a built-in excuse for failure.
And I don't ever want us to have a built-in excuse
"I think it starts with the head coach.
Sometimes, if we're really banged up, I won't let them
hear the injury report. I'll just tell them what we're
doing this week, because I don't want anyone to think
we can't win the football game. We can. We've got to
coach them up. Whatever guys we have, we've got to
get them ready to play. That's what coaching is all
about, taking ours against theirs and beating ours
against theirs. We don't bat an eyelash, we just go.
"To be honest with you, we don't worry about it. Fans
don't care, they want to win the game. I don't think
Bill Byrne cares, he wants to win the game. So we act
and perform like we don't care about it, we just have
to go to the next guy."
Is there any more emphasis to the start this week,
seeing how Oklahoma's come out of the gates the last
"You know, our start to this last ballgame...our
field position was horrendous when we started the drive.
We motioned, got them to jump, and we had a good drive
going. Then we had the turnover. And the turnover was
a result of Jeff (Fuller) hearing a different play
in the huddle, so when Jerrod was waiting for him to
sit it down he kept on running. So a lack of communication
stymied that drive which forced a turnover. But we
had a drive going. I think 50 percent of the time we've
scored on our opening drive, to some degree. It always
is emphasized. We walk through the first 15, we talk
through the first 15, maybe twice. There is emphasis
on that, believe it or not. But sometimes it doesn't
go as planned."
Do you ever vary much from that first 15?
"Oh yeah. We get in there and something different
happens, we'll change in a heartbeat if something is
happening that is different from what we'd expected.
We'll change pretty quick."
Where did you come up with the Bunsen burner?
"I think here on campus we have a few science
labs (laughter). I just told someone to go get me one
and it was here pretty quick (laughing)."
Did the kids know what it was?
"Oh, some of them did (laughing). Fortunately
some of them knew what it was. But I don't think some
of them still knew what I was talking about though
(laughter). It made me feel good like I said something
important but I don't know if they knew what I was
talking about (laughing)."
Did you catch any of the Texas/Texas Tech game?
"I did. What a great football game. I thought
it was just a great football game. In defeat, I thought
Texas showed great character going down the field.
Colt McCoy did a great job of leading them down the
field. And Tech did what they do. There's a lot of
confidence in what they're doing. But that was just
a phenomenal game. I don't watch much football. If
I'm going to watch football I'll watch us or our opponents,
usually. But I did watch that game. It was just a great
game. Either team could have won."