Video and quotes from Tuesday's press conference previewing the Nebraska game.
NORMAN, Okla. --
Head Coach Bob Stoops and select Oklahoma players met with the media Tuesday to preview this week's matchup against Nebraska.
The Sooners and Cornhuskers collide for the 85th time in their storied rivalry Saturday night in Lincoln. Kickoff is set for 7 p.m. (CT) with a regional telecast on ABC.
For complete coverage throughout the week and broadcast options for following the Sooners around the world, visit Sooner Gameday Central
|| Head Coach Bob Stoops
"Going back through and reviewing last week's game against Kansas State, it was good to really respond in the second half. I thought the best part of the night was seeing our offense come together and in back-to-back series put together a couple of long drives and put the ball in the end zone. During those drives, it's pretty special when your redshirt-freshman quarterback goes 14-for-14 when you have to have them. It's really pretty special. Overall, it was a good solid game. Our offense responding that way in the last couple of weeks that gives me a lot of encouragement moving forward that our guys are making good progress, that our guys are maturing, being more consistent, making plays and coming together a little bit more overall.
"Trent Williams and Brody Eldridge were credited with excellent games. Ryan Broyles had another huge game and made a bunch of big plays. Dejaun Miller was really exciting, he was also one of the players of the game to step up and play well. DeMarco Murray and Chris Brown, rushing the football were very good also. Defensively, guys that played well were Jeremy Beal who had an excellent game and Quinton Carter was also cited as one of our players of the game. He had a bunch of good tackles and the interception there at the end, so overall it was a good and solid day.
"We're on to Lincoln, Nebraska this week. They are a team, if you look at them defensively, they are up at the top of the league in virtually every single defensive category. They are playing really good and solid defensively. Offensively, they are doing a really good job rushing the football. As you watch them they give you a lot of different formations and they move people around creating opportunities to run the ball and they have been playing very solid that way. It's always challenging going up to Nebraska. We need a good week, our guys started last night with an excellent practice so hopefully we will have a good week to get ourselves in shape to go up there."
On Nebraska's defensive tackles:
"I look at their defensive front. It's not just their tackles, their defensive ends are really playing well. Of course, we have been very excited about how ours are playing. The defensive fronts are very solid, very good. There are good strong players up there that are talented and play physical games. It will be exciting to watch."
On Nebraska's tradition:
"I have played Nebraska here for a long time, I have always had a great respect for them. There's a lot of amazing tradition and history, in fact we as a team watched a lot of that yesterday. I always wonder if our freshmen, sophomores and guys who haven't been around very long have a true understanding of the tradition and history and pride of that program. I've always felt that playing them is tough."
On Nebraska's fans:
"There are not a lot of fans that applaud you and they do. I can remember getting beat up there, in particular a few instances when I was at Kansas State, and getting applauded when we were leaving. The more you play up there, the more you understand that they appreciate good football. Some of those were tough games. Even in 2005 when we won, there were people there that were applauding as we left the field. They just really appreciate good football and they are very courteous in how they express it."
On the offensive line's improvement:
"I would say who starts doesn't much matter, it's just how we have played the last couple of weeks. There has been more consistency. So hopefully there is more consistency and a little better play overall. They will need to be against a very good defensive front. I feel like we are making strides but we have to do it each week."
On if he is surprised about the criticism of the offense:
"Not really. Just because we've lost a few games, whether you lose by one point or 30, if you lose by one point there is a problem, I said that after we lost to Miami. Everyone was talking about how successful their offense was against our defense when there was one point and one yard that separated our offensive statistics from their offensive statistics. We had problems and they didn't, when you lose you have problems. Everybody loves to direct it however they may, but in the end we haven't been far off. But we've been far enough off where we needed to be, in those games, a series or a play or two better, but we weren't. We still felt like there was an upside to what we were doing and some of it is starting to show. It just needs to continue to be worked and improved. We're starting to settle in a little bit. With the injuries, it has been a lot to work through. That's just how it is."
On Landry Jones' performance this season:
"It's exciting to see what he has been able to do. In five starts, he has been the player of the week twice in the Big 12 Conference, he's doing an excellent job. The other night he had right around 300 yards, four touchdowns and no interceptions. He didn't put the ball in any risky situations. With more and more time on the field, in the practice field and in games, he will improve. Coach (Josh) Heupel reviewed the game with him the other night and there were some opportunities that we missed that he will see. Hopefully as we move forward he will just continue to get better and better."
On the receivers' improvements:
"I'm hopeful that it will progress even further in that they are just more comfortable and confident. With time on the field, people say that the game seems to slow down once you're used to being out there. The first time you're out there as a player sometimes you can't believe how fast everything is going, then you look on tape and realize 'geez, I'm going as fast as everybody.' It takes a little while for guys to calm down and realize that and then everything slows down. I'm just hopeful with more experience and time on the field that they are more comfortable and confident now and they are seeing that they are making plays that they are capable of making."
On Austin Box starting over Keenan Clayton:
"(Defensive Coordinator) Brent (Venables) just felt that with what they were doing offensively, that Austin would fit well with what they were doing. Keenan is still doing an excellent job, but with what they were doing we felt that was the best way to go."
On the offense in the fourth quarter:
"That was the most pleasing part of the day, just seeing them respond. It gives me a feeling that as we move forward we're an overall stronger team when they can do that. I still have faith that our defense will continue to play well and that they will be able to respond in situations like that. Because through a whole season, that is going to happen. It should give them more confidence going forward to be able to do that when they have to."
On Quinton Carter:
"He's playing very well. Quinton has had an excellent year. He had an interception on the opening play against Kansas to start us off with great field position. Run support, tackling, he has been a very good player."
On the team's attitude following the three losses this season:
"It's been very positive, with the guys' attitudes and the way they have worked. They have been very good with everything they are doing. They are pushing to get better. We've made some improvement. There is still a lot more to go though. We're not at all where we can be. Some guys just need to keep working for more development."
On the season so far:
|| Offensive Coordinator Kevin Wilson
"We made some good strides. It took us awhile to get some continuity on what we can get our head on about who's playing where. Getting Landry playing the way he's been is a positive. We didn't expect to have him play this season, so to have him play so well has been a positive. We've had some growing pains, but our receivers are gaining on it. We had to kind of work our way through it."
On the Kansas State game:
"Something I see as a positive from the other night is we would've lost that game four weeks ago the way that we were playing. Offensively, we made some strides and didn't have negatives other than the penalty situation in the third and fourth quarters. We didn't have the turnovers or the negative plays that got us beat in game one and game four. We didn't have plays that hurt us."
On Nebraska's defense:
"They have solid guys up front, not just Suh, who's a player with notoriety and a great player. Their other defensive tackle is outstanding. Not just because of his stats last week, but prior to that as well. They're very solid up front and their two ends complement each other real well. They control the line of scrimmage with four guys. They're big and young. They have some good young backers that they're excited about and are well schooled. They make you work for it. The guys up front control the line of scrimmage and make you work for everything."
On Nebraska's defensive strategy:
"They do a good job at placing their safeties, corners, and linebackers. Coach Pelini is a real defensive back guy like Coach Stoops and understands where to put guys to stop the run and still be stopping the pass game. They're a great run defense. I think they've only given up three touchdown passes in recent games."
On facing Nebraska's defense:
"I have great respect for their individuals playing the game and respect for the way their team has been playing. Looking at Coach Pelini's track record when he was here, and before being here, and after being here, he's always had good fronts and great defensive football teams. The strength of that team is their front. Our line is still rolling and gaining but it's still a long way away from where it needs to be. There's still some talent that needs to keep coming through. If our guys think they have it all figured out for just a second, then they're a long way off and we're definitely doomed. I don't think that will be the case. I hope our guys have enough confidence in themselves and the way they've been playing. We still have to play physical and fight and do everything we can to give us a chance. I would expect that because of the way we've improved that hopefully we'll play that way and keep practicing that way. We'll see how the week goes."
On Nebraska DT Ndamukong Suh:
|| Junior DE Jeremy Beal
"He's a very explosive and powerful guy. He's very athletic and an outstanding player."
On the game featuring two teams with excellent defensive lines:
"I've heard a lot about their defensive line, especially Suh. It'll be fun to watch the two defensive lines go at it. It'll be a defensive battle in the trenches on Saturday."
On the defensive line working together:
"It's a unit. As Coach Stoops says it, it's just not Adrian Taylor and Gerald McCoy down there. Not taking anything away from them, but they're two of our seven lineman. We all work as a unit and think as a unit."
On the offense's success giving the team confidence:
"It gives us a lot of confidence. We always knew defensively coming into the season that we had a good offense. Going into two-a-days, it took them awhile to get stuff together but now it gives us a lot of confidence that we can depend on the offense to win the game."
On what capital players Nebraska has on their roster:
|| Junior DB Dominique Franks
"Oh, the receivers. You know, all those guys are real big and physical, with great speed. He [the quarterback] is going to through the ball up and let them try to make plays."
On Nebraska's quarterbacks:
"They're great athletes. They've both been able to buy time in the pocket with their feet. One looks to scramble a lot and the other wants to throw the ball on the field a little more."
On Nebraska's receivers:
"Those guys are real big, physical guys, great receivers in the offense. They make a lot of plays on offense."
On if it's hard to keep his focus for this game:
"No, it's not hard at all. We have to with the playmakers that they have. It's not too hard for them to score a lot of points so we just have to go in there and know what our assignments are and stay focused."
On the Oklahoma-Nebraska rivalry:
"It's a big one. The battle of the Big Reds. You don't have to say too much after you say Oklahoma versus Nebraska."
On the defense's pride after the last week's game:
"We went back and watched film on Sunday and yesterday and saw things that we gave them and it wasn't taking anything from Kansas State, it was plays here and there, missed run gaps and big-play passes. That's stuff that we're going to correct going into this week."
On facing Nebraska's defensive line:
|| Sophomore OL Stephen Good
"It's going to be a big challenge for me. Hopefully our off-season program and what I did in the off-season and the beginning of the season has prepared me for this and I believe it has. This is why you come to Oklahoma: to play in big games and challenge yourself every week."
On continuity on the offensive line:
"I feel like we're playing well together. At the beginning of the year, we rotated a lot of guys in there and I feel like any of the guys that come in there can get a couple plays in and we're back on schedule and moving just right again. I feel like it doesn't matter who you put in, because I mean we're playing Brody Eldridge who is a tight end. We're playing great as a unit so I don't think it matters who's in."
On his progression since the beginning of the year:
"From the beginning of the year I feel like I've made great strides. I know that at the beginning of the year I wasn't playing as well as I should have and I feel like that I've stepped up a little bit in these past two games especially."
On how hard it was to maintain perseverance:
"You just got to keep going. It doesn't matter what happens. The coaches are going to make the right decision and that's why they're here, so you just got to keep playing."
On if playing center set him back a little this season:
"I wouldn't say it set me back. I moved there for the best reasons and I felt like it helped me a lot knowing a different position besides guard. You know I don't think it was a setback at all. I think it was a great decision by the coaches to put me there during pre-season."
On if he feels comfortable at both the center and guard position:
"I still take snaps to both quarterbacks everyday before practice and I still practice a little bit. I'm confident that I can play center too."