Oklahoma held its pre-bowl press conference Monday afternoon in Norman.
NORMAN, Okla. --
Head coach Bob Stoops and select players met with the
media Monday to preview the BCS National Championship
Game matchup with Florida on January 8, 2009.
1 and Big 12 champion Oklahoma (12-1) will play BCS
No. 2 and SEC champion Florida (12-1) in the FedEx
BCS National Championship Game at Dolphin Stadium in
Miami, Fla., on January 8, 2009. The game marks OU's
seventh BCS bowl and fourth national title game in
Quotes from Coach Stoops, in addition to senior center
Jon Cooper, senior defensive back Lendy Holmes, sophomore
defensive end Jeremy Beal, junior running back Chris
Brown, senior offensive tackle Phil Loadholt, senior
safety Nic Harris, sophomore defensive tackle Gerald
McCoy and sophomore defensive back Dominique Franks
are available below, courtesy OU Athletics Media Relations.
|| Head Coach Bob Stoops
"We are excited about the opportunity
to play a great Florida team. Urban Meyer and his staff
have done a great job there and they are a very talented
team when you look at them with their speed and skill.
Really in all parts, you look at them offensively they
like to spread it around to all the positions and they
can run it with big time players. And of course their
quarterback Tim Tebow is one of the best in the country.
"Defensively, it's the same thing. They
have a lot of skill and speed on defense. Up front,
in the front seven you really see it. They are solid
in everything that they do scheme wise and in special
teams they a very detailed and well thought out in
their schemes in all that they do. It is a big challenge
and an exciting one at that and looking forward to
being prepared for the BCS:
get very many opportunities and you need to take advantage
of it. We have a good group of seniors and it will
be their last opportunity. We have had good practices,
I know yesterday was a very intense, spirited practice
going against each other and we are looking forward
to the same thing today.
"Offensively, what they do is almost
similar to the wishbone and Tim Tebow as the quarterback
the motion guys in and they are running the zone and
zone read and optioning it. You have got to account
for it and it is almost like defending the wishbone.
They are going to run the veer, and the quarterback
is going to pull the ball and he is going to have it
with a blocker in front of him and a guy to pitch to.
So, you have all those principles and they do it well.
You really have to be disciplined when you defend it.
"We have been called a
lot of things but slow is not one of them. We have
matched well with people with speed and hopefully we
will be able to do it this game. They do have excellent
skill positions but you look at what they do, the bread
and butter of what they do is the run game.
On Oklahoma's resiliency
after Texas game:
"They have been really fun team to coach.
You really feel they are listening to you and then
you also feel them taking ownership of their attitude
and the team's character. The way they have conducted
themselves, whether it is at practice or preparing
for games or going to the games, they have taking a
lot of ownership themselves of how they are playing."
"Our relationship really began
when Urban was considering taking the Florida job and
he called me and wanted an unbiased opinion, just about
the job. And he called me and we started to talk over
a couple of days just about what my experience was
there and what the possibilities were. We have had
some good conversations and since then, at different
times, we have kept up with each other with a phone
call here or there, or we run into each other at different
time at coaching conventions, or in New York. But he
does a great job."
On Sam Bradford winning the Heisman:
you find your one of your guys in that situation it
is really special. So we are all really excited for
Sam and the whole team, too, is excited for him because
it is a reflection on them as well. I thought that
Sam was incredible, as always, on how he handled the
entire trip and how he handled himself when he won
it. He remained humble and realized the people that
have helped him and supported him. The players and
the quality of the guys that were in the competition
with him are great players as well. But I thought that
he did a great job"
Bradford being AP Player of the Year:
great. I guess Coach Heupel was one of those along
with Jason White. Anyway that is really exciting. Again,
he is a special guy, just how he handles everything.
He has experience beyond his years and always poised
and humble in how he is receiving these awards."
On Junior running back Chris Brown:
"You look at who is at the top of the league
in rushing and there he is. He is subtle; you go back
and watch replays or TV clips and the plays he makes,
(you realize) he is a great player, he makes people
miss him. We are about to run a draw in the Big 12
Championship game and they have got a blitz coming
right into him. We are thinking about checking out
of the play and Coach Wilson said let it run and he
gets the ball and the guy doesn't even touch
him. They are blitzing right at him and side steps
and nobody even sees him, he is so subtle. He is a
great player getting extra yards and making people
miss him. Taking care of the football, he does everything
that you want and does it humbly. He doesn't
worry about whether he is getting attention or not."
On when Sam Bradford received the Heisman:
OL Jon Cooper
"It was great. We all watched it together as
a team and we were all excited for him. We had the
show on and we didn't know what was going to
happen, but we were really excited for him and he definitely
On the difference in this year's team in
comparison to the previous four years:
"It is a completely different team. There are
new guys that haven't been there and guys that
haven't played in those BCS games, or the past
couple bowl games we have lost, that are going to contribute
On first impressions of Florida and the challenge
"They are a great defense with a lot of team
speed who play hard and go to the whistle. It is going
to be a great challenge. They are a great football
team. They won the National Championship a couple years
ago and they are back in it this year. Obviously they
are a great football team."
On what he is looking most forward to about going
down to Miami:
"I am looking forward to the game. It is a business
trip. I can't wait to get on the field and play.
It has been too long already."
On the loss of Demarco Murray:
"We will miss Demarco because he is a great player.
He is just a great football player and you always will
miss someone like that who has contributed all year.
But, we are lucky enough to have depth in that position
and you guys saw in the Big 12 championship how Mossis
(Madu) stepped up. DeMarco didn't even play at
all in that game and we still had a good amount of
On the play of Mossis Madu:
"I think he is capable of more (than his play
in the Big 12 Championship game). We see it from him
every day and that was kind of his first chance, wait
until he gets into a rhythm. I think he will be even
On the consistent play of Chris Brown:
"He has been consistent since he was a freshman.
He seems like he gets four yards every carry or more.
He busts some big ones too. He is so hard to take down.
He just has great balance for a back."
On the play of the offensive line throughout the
"We have been up and down kind of like every
position except for Sam. We were running the ball well
and running and throwing at the beginning. Then we
kind of got away from the running game. Then we came
back to it and have been very successful ever since."
DB Lendy Holmes
"They have already won a national championship.
They are a great team with a great offense and defense.
Everybody on their team has great talent and speed."
On Florida quarterback Tim Tebow:
"It is not a great sight to see a quarterback
get loose like that. We have to come out early and
stop the run game, stop Tebow from running. We have
to try and make him throw the ball, which he can do.
But his comfort zone is running the ball."
On the focus of this year's team:
"I feel like we are more focused. We had a lot
of goals that we had set and we have now accomplished
everything except for one, losing to Texas. But other
than that we are still going through our goals and
this last goal is the National Championship game."
On the play of Dominique Franks and Brian Jackson
on the corners:
"I feel like they have done a great job playing
the corner spots for their first time starting. Dom
(Franks) has come in as a sophomore All-American and
Brian Jackson got honorable-mention. I think they have
held up their part and have done a great job of holding
On getting the opportunity to play in this year's
"It feels great to be in this game. Last year
it wasn't so great. I let the team down and wasn't
there for the team. Now I can say that I am here for
the team and I will be in Miami with the team."
On the rumors of being academically ineligible this
"It was just rumors. I wasn't paying any
attention to those. People are going to talk regardless
and just because something happened last year doesn't
mean it is going to happen this year. I said last year
that it would never happen again."
On the speed and misdirection of the Florida offense:
DE Jeremy Beal
"There is going to be a lot of pressure on the
defensive ends, but it is really about the whole defense
stepping up and playing great defense."
On the team approach this year compared to previous
"I think we are more focused because we see what
we have in front of us and the great opportunity we
have so we are more focused to go get that."
On the challenge that faces this defense:
"The challenge is that we are playing a great
offense in Florida. We are playing Florida in the National
Championship and that is a challenge in itself. We
have to step up to that challenge."
On the media perception that Florida should win
"I try not to listen to it, but they can think
whatever they want. It just matters what we think and
what we believe in. It gives us motivation. People
can say we can't play defense and that gives
us a little motivation, but we know that we can. I
think if we go out and play like we are supposed to
we will have a great chance to win."
On the business approach the team is taking:
"It is a business trip. We're not going
down there to have fun. We are going down there to
try and win a Championship."
On Florida quarterback Tim Tebow:
"He is a great athlete. He can throw the ball
and he can run. Any quarterback that can run and throw
the ball as well as he does it presents a problem."
On Mossis Madu:
RB Chris Brown
"I am happy for Mossis. I am sad about how the
situation happened, but I am happy for him. He is a
great athlete and I think he can produce just as well
any of us."
On DeMarco Murray being out:
"I know it's disappointing for him and
the team. We know we have to fill in a big hole that
he left. I think that we are still capable of doing
it and we just have to move on."
On what will be missed from DeMarco Murray:
"Kickoff returns, big plays at any time. A number
of things that he does we will miss. But like I said,
we have guys that can fill in and do a great job also."
On filling in for Murray in the receiving game:
"In situations like this you have to because
DeMarco is that guy that can catch the ball. Somebody
has to fill in whether it be me or Mossis receiving
the ball out of the backfield. If my number is called
to do that, then I feel like I am capable of doing
On the Florida defense:
"They are a great unit. The linebacker core,
the safeties, the cornerbacks make big plays in space.
There is a lot you can say about those guys."
On the athleticism of the Florida defense:
"I would say they are up there with Texas. They
have athletes just like Texas. Fast guys and guys who
can get after it. We have our hands full.
On returning to action after the Big 12 Championship
OL Phil Loadholt
"We had a great run and after defeating Missouri
it was time get our bodies back together. But as far
getting going again, I think we still have that same
On importance of scrimmaging again:
"It is really important just to keep that edge
on us. To have that competitive edge against each other
will be great for us in making sure we are ready for
the bowl game."
On DeMarco Murray being out:
"It will give us an extra push. We block for
all the guys that are playing. DeMarco is going to
be missed in the running game but we have to keep our
eyes on the other shoulder and play like we did in
the Big 12 Championship game and be confident with
the guys back there."
DB Nic Harris
"They have a great offense, especially with (Tim)
Tebow. They can attack you from all different angles:
running the ball, passing the ball. He's a run
first, pass second quarterback. At the end of the day
we have to make sure we tackle in his face and make
sure we get everything done and prepare the way we
need to in order to get a win. They're going
to be a great test. We really haven't seen a
quarterback of that caliber."
On the loss to Texas:
"At the end of the day we knew that things don't
always go the way that you planned, but all you can
do is prepare for winning. And we prepared for winning
and we persevered through it all with all the doubters,
all the believers, all the critics and we're
in the National Championship game."
losses in BCS games:
"You don't think about it. At the end of
the day you can't dwell on the past, and that's
exactly what it is, the past. Right now we have a great
test ahead of us, and we're on one of the biggest
stages in college football right now. We've got
to pay attention to what we need to do on January 8.
You can't really dwell on what's already
happened. We understand the different discrepancies
that we've had in the BCS bowl games. We understand
where we are right now, we understand that this is
a different team and we understand that at the end
of the day we're going to put everything we have
out on the field."
On what is on the line for
"There's a lot on the line and it's
bigger than any of the players. It has a lot to do
with the stigma that's been placed on OU in big
games. We pretty much want to silence anybody who has
had anything to say by coming out and taking care of
On the defense's preparation:
"Sooner Nation is hungry for that eighth National
Championship. I'm going to do everything in my
power on the defensive side of the ball to bring it
back. I said it in the beginning of the season and
I'm saying it now, whatever it is that we need
to do on the defensive side of the ball to get this
win, that's what we're going to do."
DT Gerald McCoy
"Florida is a great team. They've got
a lot of ability, a lot of talent and they know the
game. We've got a great task ahead of us. Florida
is known for their speed, and that's because
they have a lot of it on defense and offense. We're
going to have to be at our best to beat a team like
Florida. We give them a lot of respect, we know Florida
is a great team, and we know that we do have a task
ahead of us. I think we're preparing well enough
and we should be good enough to finish this year."
On how OU will respond to Florida's
"Oklahoma defense always emphasizes stopping
the run, so whether it's a quarterback or a running
back we just have to prepare well for the run game.
They have a great run game. Stopping it is going to
be a task for us because they've been dominant
in the run game all year, but that's what we
emphasize, so I think we'll be ready."
"They have a very unique offense, but we have
our own defense. We've just got to play our reads
and whatever happens, just happens. I think we'll
be ready for anything they'll throw at us. They
have a lot of different schemes and a lot of different
formations. It's different from what we've
seen this year, but we play spread offenses every week,
so playing a spread offense won't be too different
for us. Florida is a very fast team, but we're
a fast defense. We're preparing well and we know
what's in front of us."
changed since last year:
"We're learning how to finish. Last
year we had trouble playing on the road, and this year
we haven't had that same type of trouble. We're
learning how to finish, we're staying intense
throughout the whole game. It's something we
changed from last year to this year, and we're
going to try to keep that going into this game with
On DT DeMarcus Granger missing the BCS
"We have great depth on our team and we have
different schemes to compensate for Granger not being
there. He's a great player for us, but you've
got ups and downs and this is one of our downs, we
just have to learn how to bounce back."
On playing in Miami:
DB Dominique Franks
"We make sure we are prepared for every game
and we are going to treat it the same for a week. There
is not going to be any party type atmosphere. We are
going down there for one thing and that is to win a
On the speed of the Florida offense:
"They are a little bit faster, but to me there
is only one football out there on field and only one
person can carry it at a time no matter how fast their
whole team is. We just have to line up to the ball
and make sure we tackle in open space. We just
have to make sure we get to the ball just like every
other game. We can't think
that one person is going to be able to tackle those
guys in the open field alone. We have to make sure
we line up to the ball and catch the run. Percy
Harvin, those guys are amazingly fast. We have to make
sure we keep them bottled up and make sure they don't
get in the open field. "
On Percy Harvin being comparable to Jeremy Maclin:
"I really think he is. He is a homerun threat
just like Jeremy Maclin. But Jeremy Maclin is not in
the backfield as much as Percy Harvin. When they put
him back there, it is for one reason and he going to
get the ball."
On the defense stepping up:
"The muscle of the team is going to win. When
we come up and tackle we have to punish those guys
and make them not want to run the ball anymore. They
think that our defense is not any good in the Big 12.
They said they are going to come and hit us in the
mouth and we are going to be able to sustain it. So
we have to come in there with the attitude that no
matter what they did we have to line up and make plays."