Quotes from Coach Stoops and select OU players on facing the Missouri Tigers.
NORMAN, Okla. --
Head coach Bob Stoops held his weekly press conference Tuesday to preview this week's matchup with Missouri in the Big 12 Championship.
The Sooners and Tigers meet for the second straight year in the conference title game Saturday night at Arrowhead Stadium in Kansas City. ABC has the national broadcast beginning at 7 p.m. (CT).
Visit Big 12 Championship Central
to view complete information for fans attending the game in Kansas City plus TV, radio and internet options for fans following the Sooners across the nation. More video is available in the OU Video Library
Quotes from Coach Stoops and select OU players are available below, courtesy of OU Athletics Media Relations. Missouri coach and player quotes are available here
|| Head Coach Bob Stoops
"I guess I talked a little bit about last week's game on Sunday afternoon, but I just would like to give the players credit one more time for a well played game. Some of the players, offensively, that we recognized as a team, the ones that really just had exceptional games, were Sam Bradford was just outstanding away from home, and to be responsible for five touchdowns and leading them to seven straight scoring drives in the second half was great. Jermaine Gresham had another huge day with over 100 yards receiving, DeMarco Murray had around 250 total yard of offense, Chris Brown again went over 100 yards and Juaquin Iglesias made some very competitive catches that made a huge difference.
"Defensively, Jeremy Beal had three caused fumbles with the sacks, pressures and strips. I don't know that I have had a guy on the defensive line that had three forced fumbles in a game, and in fact, I'm sure that I haven't. It was a solid win away from home. To go to the number 11 team in the country and win by 20 is pleasing. It was a good win."
On Missouri and Big 12 Title Game:
"So, we move onto this game, the Big 12 Championship, against Missouri. We have tremendous respect for Coach Pinkel, his staff and Missouri for what they have done the last several years. A bunch of great players are there, again Chase Daniel, their quarterback, is a great player. He is so efficient running their offense. You can see that his mind is so quick, and he is so familiar with everything that they do, that he can get the ball out fast and is very accurate. Then he has the ability to run and move around. He gives you a lot to deal with and he has a lot of targets to hit. Jeremy Maclin is an incredible player at receiver and then Coffman, their big tight end, another good player and they bring a good running game. Washington, their running back, and a couple of more running backs do a good job of running the ball, more so than people talk about.
"Defensively, they have a veteran team back with a bunch of guys from a year ago. All-in-all, we have another big challenge in this game against a really good team as we head up to Kansas City. I'm sure they will have a big part of the crowd, but we will just have to be well prepared and focused to have a chance to play a really good game and have a chance to win."
On Jermaine Gresham:
"Jermaine Gresham has had an incredible year. I don't know how many games that we have had where he has been around 100-yards receiving for a tight end. The other night he had seven or eight catches. He made some great catches in some situations where we really needed them. I think we had one drive there where he caught the ball four or five times and then got the touchdown. It was basically him the whole way down with Sam getting him the ball.
"He is an incredible athlete. He is 6-6, 260 with great speed. Believe me, I love our basketball team and think they are fabulous, but I wouldn't doubt that he could contribute there; he is that kind of athlete. Competitively, and what you like about him, is that he reminds me a lot of Adrian Peterson. There is such competitiveness in him that people don't get to see. He is a really prideful and competitive guy and it rubs off on a lot of other people. Off the field, he is really a prince of a guy. He is never on a list of missing workouts or being late for meetings or not going to class or anything like that. He is really responsible and accountable to everything off the field and the players love him because he just has a great attitude all the time."
On Bradford's competiveness and leadership:
"In the third series, Sam was stiff arming one of their rush guys to get away, and tears a ligament in his thumb. He thought it was okay, but the next play, when he went to hand the ball off, he said it felt like he had a deflated ball. He had to grab the ball with the other hand, and then realized that if he was going to get through it he had to get it taped up and get some support.
"He just fought through it. Again, that was the only reason that he had trouble, I mean in two and a half years he hadn't fumbled a snap, but he couldn't get the thumb to work properly. Again, he worked through it, and his toughness and competiveness is second to none. The players love him because they see all of that. His effort trying to get the ball in the end zone of that third down play where he tried to dive over everyone, with his thumb already injured, and just going for it shows it all."
On what has led Oklahoma to a 5-1 record in Big 12 title games under Stoops:
"I guess it's just good players, and responding and playing well in the environment and situation. I think overall that is it. I'm sure our crowds have had a big part of it too. We always travel well, and hopefully we can find enough tickets this week."
On if this Missouri team is different from last year's team:
"I don't like to equate teams from year to year. I don't put my stock in that to be honest. As coaches, we don't and as a team we don't either. We have to be better this year, and you look at things that you have to do and make the adjustments accordingly.
"Looking at them offensively, it's uncanny, statistically, they are very near the same in almost every category. In total yards, I think they are within maybe 10, in points I think they are within a point, in rushing yards they are within maybe 10 yards of what they were a year ago. So a lot is very much the same as far as you look at them with their body of work, the way they have played, and what they have done, especially offensively. They are still a really, really challenging team. I looked at that and I appreciate the consistency. When we see them again Saturday, they are going to be a really good football team."
On the talk surrounding OU being chosen to play in the Big 12 Championship:
|| Sophomore QB Sam Bradford
"I really don't think we've paid a whole lot of attention to it. We look at it as having the opportunity to go to the Big 12 Championship game, and if we win that game, then we're probably going to be in the big game at the end of the year and that's where we want to be. I think it's probably a little bit of motivation. I still think that we have to go out there and prove something to everyone and prove to them that we do deserve to be at this game. So I think it felt like it'll give us some extra motivation this week."
On the factors behind the numbers set up by the offense:
"There are so many different things that go into that. I think it's just 11 guys buying into the system that coach put in front of us, and just buying into what he had to say. He has the best for all of us in mind, and it's also just going out there and playing hard every week."
On not paying attention to the Heisman race:
"I've probably paid attention to it very little. I've focused on getting my team to the Big 12 Championship game. Now we've accomplished that, and now our goal is to win the Big 12 Championship game."
On having a Dad as a former OU football player:
"You know it's obviously helped some, especially him playing here. He knew what it was all about and the pressure that would come along. So he was there to kind of prepare me for some of the stuff that happens off the field."
On OU playing for its third straight Big 12 Championship game:
"We got to play in this game last year and we were fortunate enough to win the Big 12 Championship. To have the opportunity to come back and have a chance to win a third straight Big 12 Championship, it really is a dream come true."
On being prepared in high school by coaches and family:
"I mean, I think I give credit to all of the coaches at Putnam City North. They really did a great job, especially after I committed. They did a great job of telling me what it was going to be like. I think it's also all my friends and family around me that supported me when I went."
On Stoops calling him the best quarterback he's coached at OU:
"That's a huge compliment to hear that. It means a lot, but there are still a lot of things that we need to accomplish this season. Obviously, Coach Heupel was able to win a national championship. Jason White was able to play in a couple of national championships. I feel like I have yet to do that, so there are a lot of things that I need to do before I can be considered with those guys."
On Mike Balogun:
|| R-Freshman LB Travis Lewis
"Mike is a good player. These last couple of weeks the coaches have been telling him you never know when you are going to go in, so prepare like you are going to go. He has been doing a good job in preparing for that. I think he is ready and if he has to go this week, he is going to go."
On Mike Balogun's performance in the Oklahoma State game:
"That is a good example of him being ready. He never knew when he was going to get his name called but when he came in there he did a great job making calls and knowing where to be in coverage and everything thing like that. As players, our confidence has really grown with him."
On linebacker play against Missouri:
"They are a lot like Texas Tech because they throw a lot of underneath stuff and a lot five and under near the line of scrimmage. The linebackers need to play big shutting down the run game and the screen game and all of the reverses. So, we need to play big."
On reaching the goal of playing in the National Championship game:
|| Senior WR Juaquin Iglesias
"Our goal has never changed. Last year, a two-loss team got to the National Championship game and anything can happen when you go week-in and week-out. Our goals have never changed. They were always to win a Big 12 Championship first and then whatever happened after that, we just wanted to go out there and win games. I think that is what we have been doing, staying focused even after the Texas loss, it kind of gave them a leg up in the Big 12 South, but in the end we came out on top."
On expectations when coming to Oklahoma:
"I remember getting here and I think that is why we lost a lot of those games our freshman year because it was a lot of peoples playing for the first time. Just getting in, people just thought that they could show up and win and that was obviously not the case. And that is what I think is what is helping us right now, you just know that you have to go out and prepare every week."