Coach Stoops and the Sooners review the win against Baylor and preview West Virginia.
NORMAN, Okla. --
Head coach Bob Stoops, QB Landry Jones, DB Javon Harris, FB Trey Millard and DT Casey Walker met with the media Monday in OU's weekly press conference from Norman.
Oklahoma (7-2 overall, 5-1 Big 12) makes its first appearance in the Mountain State Saturday night when the Sooners play West Virginia in Morgantown (6 p.m. CT, FOX).
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 the Baylor game. Once again very pleased with how we played offensively. Damien Williams had another really good day. Blake Bell had a great breakaway. There was great protection all night.
"I think one of the great stories was Ty Darlington, a true freshman getting his first start, he was really good. He had just the two hiccups with the procedures where he just double touched the snaps, which is not uncommon with a guy in his first start. To go down the first two drives with a freshman under center and to score two times right off the bat, that's really pleasing. Landry again was great throwing the football and the receivers did a great job getting open. The one disappointment was probably the fumble. We come out at halftime and give up our first two possessions on turnovers.
"Defensively we did a great job handling a very explosive passing attack, I thought our coverage was really good overall. As I said after the game, I knew structure-wise we would possibly be a little vulnerable to the run, I thought though overall we had about five or six missed tackles that really gave them some yards. Watching it on Sunday I thought there was still one or two plays where we can address some issues. In the end giving up 250 yards is not what you want to, but again it worked and limiting their passing attack.
"Special teams once again we were really good, setting up field position. With the big return at the end of the half, we said over headphones that if we could get it out near the 35 let's go after points, and sure enough Brennan got it out past the 50. We hit an out route and then a go route and then Justin Brown made a touchdown and a great adjustment on the ball. Some guys that played really well Demontre Hurst, Gabe Lynn, Frank Shannon had nine tackles, really as a young guy he's played well. David King again was really strong up front.
"Ty Darlington was our player of the game and Patrick O'Hara hit two balls five yards deep in the end zone, he was pretty good. We're anxious to make some improvements here heading to West Virginia; it'll be a challenge. Offensively with Geno Smith and all their speedy receivers, they're an explosive offensive football team. "
On the injuries with the offensive line:
"It's better. I'm expecting to have Gabe Ikard back, he went close to Thursday but they didn't feel they were ready to clear him. Lane Johnson was better, finished the game; he actually played well when was in there, limited snaps but did well. Bronson (Irwin) was improved and we believe Adam will be fine with a day of rest. We think we'll have all those guys ready to go."
On his nerves with Darlington starting:
"I didn't want to admit it, but I was pretty nervous. But it's one of those things that you have confidence in the guy, you have to give it to him; he's a coaches son and was ready for the moment. He came in and didn't flinch. He was ready to play and it's really exciting to know that you can go to a guy like him."
On if he envisioned Darlington playing center at OU:
"Yeah we felt all along center. Just to watch him, on his feet all day never off. He's never stumbled on anybody and he's always finding or chasing the linebacker. He was really impressive."
On if they plan to use the same structure against WVU:
"To a degree, we will make some adjustments and again hopefully make some adjustments on the run game. Although their run game is fairly different, but they still have speedy receivers and an excellent quarterback. Again, everybody has their way with how they like to move the football."
On the disruptiveness of the front four this year:
"We have been, we've had our games where we've been very disruptive. I think this style of play a week ago is just different. In the end do I think we could've played a little bit better up there? Sure."
On if he knows why WVU has fallen throughout the season:
"No. That wouldn't be something I'd speak to. You can ask Dana (Holgersen) or them and ask their analogies of it, I still see a very good football team. "
On what WVU QB Geno Smith presents:
"He's a big guy who's great in the pocket and has a great arm. He's an excellent quarterback and passer."
On how intricate WVU offense is:
"Just like we do every week, we don't worry much of what the other guys do and don't do. We worry about how we need to practice and how we need to execute, whether it's running, or other things. It's about how being as good as we can be."
On cleaning up missed tackles:
"It would be more of a concern if it was a common threat the whole entire year, but nine games in it hasn't been. I believe that guys can see where we missed them and we can do it a little bit better."
On bringing in mobile quarterbacks to play at OU:
"I think always everybody wants the ability to throw the ball first. But anytime you have ability to run the ball with it you want that. So sure, it's always a positive to be able to run the ball too."
On Blake Bell's 40 time:
"He's pretty quick, probably runs a 4.6."
On what he sees when a team struggles on special teams:
"It's hard at this point in the year to all of the sudden have a different strategy special teams-wise. I think as much as anything, if you feel there is a problem somewhere you do your best to work it in the context of what you do."
On playing a lot of players on defense:
"That's been positive, we've played a lot of guys. You have to when teams are playing that fast and staying on the field."
On a win for West Virginia making their season:
"Our guys have heard all the hype through the year, and rightfully so, on their high-powered offense and strength as a team overall, and how difficult it is to play up there. Our guys are aware of those things. I sensed in the locker room after the game that they understood it and were looking forward to the challenge of it."
On playing well on the road:
"Hopefully, it should be irrelevant where you're playing in regards to your mindset and how you prepare. All that matters is what you're doing inside those lines, regardless of where it is. We've been consistent of approaching it that way. We try to be methodical in how they play."
On paying attention to the BCS standings:
"You have to win, you have to win this week. Everyone can project, but they're not always right. We need to continue to do what we're doing and try to win this week."
On playing at West Virginia for the first time:
"It's always exciting going to a different stadium, and we're looking forward to a big challenge. That's what you want."
On Frank Shannon:
"He's more sure of himself, understanding what has to happen, where he needs to be. He's been executing well. He's a big strong player in there."
On Geneo Grissom:
"He's done well. We tried to get him in there (on the offensive side) but he didn't progress like we thought it would. We knew, and he knew, he'd still be more productive on defense."
On West Virginia's defense:
"People have executed in different ways against them, but they're very good. They have a 50 front some of the time, a sound cover-four that you see from a lot of people. They'll take their chances and blitz off of either end. They make you execute and work to beat them, and that's what you have to do. They have played pretty well in the last couple of weeks. They have limited big plays and tackled well."
On balancing guys being aggressive vs. getting penalties on defense:
"Thursday in the team meeting I showed them a clip from the Big 12 office that showed a play targeting but not something that deserved a suspension that should have been called and wasn't. I'm all for it, protecting these kids matters. You just have to keep educating them."
On the direction things are going in terms of an emphasis on player safety:
"I'm an old defensive guy, but you notice now guys are hitting in the chest and popping balls out without the serious head blows. I think it's positive. If it's being called the same for everybody, then we're all playing by the same rules. It's the right thing to do. Especially at this level, anything they can do to make the game safer is positive."
On if he ever played with a concussion:
"I'm sure I had. Other than going for a trick play that doesn't work, I've been pretty fortunate to this point."
On whom OU is as a team:
|| QB Landry Jones
"I think at this point in the season we are getting into a pretty good flow of plays, execution and tempo. We are figuring out who we kind of are. I think we did a great job against Baylor. I think everybody played really well, did their job and played at a pretty high level."
"Now we are getting into four wide receiver sets and we are using that quite a bit. We are going to get into when Trey [Millard] and Damien [Williams] are in the game together and use three wide receivers that way. That is kind of where we have come to as an offense and just finding who we are and what we want to do on the field. We are putting a lot of speed out there and we are playing that way."
On playing West Virginia:
"I think we kind of always looked forward to this game because they are new in our conference. I have never played these guys and I have never been to Morgantown or anything like that. I think everybody is really excited to go out there and play them."
On being an experienced QB:
"I know more about the game, the flows of the game, what plays need to be made and what plays that you can check the ball down, just different things along that. I feel like I have a better feel of the flow of the game and know when critical drives need to be made and when the offense needs to step up and score touchdowns. I think ever since Texas Tech I have been playing pretty consistently at a high level. I am sure there have been some throws I shouldn't have made, but I think at this point in my career I am playing the best that I have been."
On how OU has been able to remain strong:
"I think we are a pretty mature team on both sides of the ball. We have strong upperclassmen and leaders on both sides of the all. Not just one guy here or there but a good group of guys that are pushing these things and pushing it in the right direction right now."
On having a mature team:
"Simple things like knowing the offense needs to score touchdowns. We did that all night long. When it is a tight game, knowing that we need to answer back with touchdowns of our own."
On freshman offense lineman Ty Darlington:
"He is a special player. It takes somebody that is extremely talented to step in as a freshman into the offensive line, especially the center position with all the calls that he has to make and all the identifications. Ty did a great job all night long. Sure, he had a couple [snap infractions], but that is his first game and things like that happen. All in all he played extremely well and I think his maturity and Ty's faith really helped him this week and I guess pushing him in the right direction and in a place where he could succeed."
On staying healthy and not having injuries:
"The guys that are injured on our team are banged up and they are playing through some stuff. Whoever is out there seems to be getting the job done. This year at that offensive line position, we have kind of been set back by injuries. It seems like every year there is some group that goes down. Unfortunately for us it's kind of been the offensive line. But those guys have done a great job pushing through that and pushing through things that could have held other people back. They have been great all year long with stepping up and making plays"
On what sets Kenny Stills apart from other receivers:
"I think Kenny's speed and his explosiveness separates him from the other guys that we have. He does a great job of using his speed and using leverage to help him out. Maybe he is standing at a guy a certain way or exploding off the ball or chopping his feet in different ways that he uses to get separation. It is just different from a guy like Justin [Brown] who uses his size. Kenny does a great job of using his speed and leverage to gain separation from people.
On staying healthy:
"For me, it is guys keeping me safe on the field. I really have taken a lot of big hits around this place and I have never had a concussion and never been really rolled up on. I truly credit that to God and Him protecting me when I am out on the field. There is nothing more that I can say to really explain it. The offensive line has done a really great job. In the last game I think I was only sacked one and I think that is the only time that I was really ever hit. Those guys have been doing a fantastic job all year long."
On the offense going against West Virginia's defense:
"It is so different in each game. You never know what you are going to get from everybody. Sometimes you go out there and think you are playing against a really good defense. For instance, like Texas, we were not expecting to score that many points but we executed and did a great job. You never know what you are going to get from defenses, so you always have to be prepared and ready to play."
On players being educated about concussions:
"I think they do a good job of educating us. In this game I don't know if you can avoid having concussions unless you start playing flag football. You are always going to have concussions. You are always going to have head injures because it if a violent sport in nature. I don't know if you can avoid them, but with the equipment now that we have, they are giving us the best ability to avoid those things."
On knowing different offensive matchups:
"You see different matchups and you see different things you can exploit on defenses. It is just one of those things inside of the game plan you need to find the matchups that you like and you have to find the things that you like on the field. Then on Saturday of course it could change."
On playing at different stadiums and seeing different fan bases:
"I like going to different stadiums. For me, I have never gotten to go play up there so I am excited to see what it is like playing up there."
On Blake Bell getting game experience:
"Any time you can get game experience that is huge for a quarterback, realizing how emotions go into it and what it is really like to play in an actual game. Practice is great, and you should practice hard, but it is so much different."
On Blake Bell moving on from his Kansas State mistake:
"It is just one of those things that you kind of learn from it and then move on from it. I think he has done a great job responding to it. There are certain plays that need to be made in games and I'm sure we'd like to have some of them back, but it's gone now and Blake did a great job of responding to it and realizing what kind of player he is."
On West Virginia:
|| DB Javon Harris
"We know they're explosive. They've got a lot of explosive players on their team, good quality players. Right now, we're just getting ready for all those guys. We know what they're capable of. We saw what they did at the beginning of the year. You can never sleep on a team like that."
On focusing on turnovers:
"Oh yeah, definitely. First of all you've got to talk about the past three weeks, we haven't really got any. I think we got one in the past three weeks. We're going to focus on executing our game plan and hopefully the ball will come to us."
On his career game against Baylor:
"I just went out there and played. I just did my job. I didn't want to make some of the same mistakes I made the previous week as far tackling and stuff like that. I just went into this game and did my job. Personally, I was looking forward to that game but it's over now and I'm on to West Virginia."
On the excitement of playing somewhere new:
|| FB Trey Millard
"Yeah, definitely. I think the atmosphere is going to be great. They get loud up there, and they're going to be ready for this game. We're going to have to come out and match that excitement and intensity and play well."
On the importance of special teams:
"I think that's a thing we've focused on all year, not only on our cover units but also returning. We've had quite a few touchdowns and big plays on that. I think that we've also limited a lot of teams' big plays. I think that's something we always focus on no matter who we go up against. This week it's just as important as ever."
On being able to score against West Virginia's defense:
"They're a team that's given up a lot of points, but their offense has kept them in a lot of games with scoring a lot of points. We know we have to come out and execute well against them."
On the importance of coming out and scoring on the first series:
"It's important every game. This game especially because [West Virginia] scores so many points. We definitely have to get on the board when we get in the Red Zone. We have to put up six or seven points instead of three."
On any stories about West Virginia:
|| DT Casey Walker
"They burn couches if they win. So we're going to see. We're going to try not to let them burn a couch this Saturday. I think that's kind of funny and ironic. I've never heard of that. I've heard of bringing down the goal post or rushing the field, but burning a couch? If they've got the money to buy a couch every week then more power to them."
On the concern of missed tackles against Baylor:
"That's something that has to be corrected immediately. Good football teams don't miss tackles. It's rare to see a football team that wins with as many missed tackles. You have to correct that quickly because, at the end of the day, it will catch back up with you and that's how you lose a ball game. It was good that we won the game but defensively the performance could have been better; we've played better. This week is all about improvement, looking at the mistakes we made last week and then improving on them tremendously."
On the importance of stopping the run:
"Oh yeah for sure, you have to stop the run to be a good defense. The front four has to be solid; it has to be. That's imperative."
On if Baylor's success running the ball was frustrating:
"Yeah, it was because we haven't done that all year. Other than a couple of runs -- Notre Dame had that big run against us -- but other than that we've been pretty solid. For them to actually do that, that was kind of disappointing. I don't know if we weren't in the right gaps or whatever the case may be, I'll watch film today. But other than that, it has to change."