Stoops' Pac-10 Media Day Quotes

Another chapter of Mike Stoops' head coaching career got underway as he attended his first Pac-10 Media Day. Stoops handled himself like an old pro, jumping right into the fray, answering questions about the team that was picked last by the media.

Mike Stoops' opening statements to the assembled media:

"It is an exciting time for me and the program. I know there are not a lot of expectations out there. I don't know what we are picked, I'm sure we are not picked close to the top, but this football team is very excited. When I think about the last 7 or 8 months I am very proud of what we have been able to accomplish. This football team has done everything we have asked and done a nice job of putting in position to do some great things. I'm optimistic about the opportunity. We have an incredible challenge in front of us, but we are excited about those challenges."

"When I took the position I knew it would be challenging at the beginning, the players have made it very easy to me. It has been a fun team to coach. Up to this point. I think our players are excited about having success on the football field. I know the expectations are not high, but there are a lot of expectations, a lot here. We expect this to be a team that competes every week.

"I expect us to give us a chance to win every week. They understand those expectations. The big things I stressed to them the past 7-8 months was we had to have a work ethic to allow us to be success. You have to earn the right to win and be successful. I think this team understood that message. We have gotten better as a program by developing our players, great recruiting.

"I think it was Lou Holtz who said you get better three ways, you develop the players you have in your program, you recruit great players and you lose players. All those things have happened in the last eight months. We feel we are a much better football team than we were back in December."

On RB Mike Bell

"I am proud of this young man. I feel he is one of the premier running backs in all of football. He has a tremendous work ethic. I think nothing but great things for him. We have to be good enough offensively to create running space for Mike to give him an opportunity to showcase his talent."

On the importance of defense:

"USC that is the mold they took, similar to what we will take. Anytime you want to win a championship at any level in the national scene you have to have a great defense. The old cliché is that defense wins championships, I believe that whole-heartedly. I have seen what it did at Kansas State and with opportunity to win a title there, it won a championship at Oklahoma. If you have a great defense it is vital to your success."

On the defensive unit's poor showing last season:

"That is a real concern and hopefully we can make drastic improvements. Those numbers are foreign to me. Those are unacceptable numbers. If we are going to have success we are going to have to cut those numbers down dramatically."

His first impression of his team back in December:

"Their confidence level and what they were able to do. I told them through work habits is how you develop your confidence. If you go out there you are going to get better. Their lack of development, of physicalness, that goes to out of season program. Football is a full year sport an the great programs are voluntary in the summer, but let's face it all the programs are working out in the summer. That is what you need to do if you want to be successful on game days in the fall.

"They didn't know quite how to work at a rate that will allow you success. Since we have been here we have changed their work ethic and their attitude. That was the biggest thing. Now they see themselves getting better every step of the way. They have more inference as a football team. We are better for that.

"Any time you come into program with credibility it gives you an edge with the players. These guys knew players from Texas, they knew everything about me before I walked into the door and the work ethic we had at Oklahoma and their out of season programs were legendary. They knew what they got. I am very positive and very optimistic. I think we have talent, it was just not developed at the right rate or with the right attitude. I am very optimistic, more optimistic than anybody in this room. We have great expectations for this year.

"They know how intense I am during a game, but during the week we converse on a daily basis. That is what I respect. We have very open door policies, my door is open every single day. That it the type of communication. I am demanding on certain aspects. When we hit the field we want them to do right, we may not do them perfect or with the velocity or speed but we are going to teach the right things and do the right things for this program."

On the changes to the strength and conditioning program:

"All I knew is those guys are as critical to your success as anybody because of the amount of time they spend wit these players. They spend more time with our strength and conditioning coaches than with their position coaches since we have been here. That goes to show you how much time the strength and conditioning coaches have." They have done an unbelievable job. Corey does an unbelievable job. I always knew Corey would have a great way with the players He is not only a great coach but he has a great way of motivating players."

On USC winning a share of the national championship:

"It is great to see USC win a share of the national championship. It gives your conference credibility and great football tradition. I think it was critical to have success in thepac-10 . We need to follow that up with more teams competing on the national level like them."

On the early success in recruiting:

"We have great success recruiting the state of Texas since we have been here. We are trying to strengthen the ties to the West Coast. We needed to do a better job and we have already. Keeping the West Coast kids in the Pac-10 and being able to play for a national championship is vital. You can see what it has done for USC over the past couple of years."

On the defensive line:

" We have a formidable front four. I like very single one of those guys .They are not dramatically different than anywhere we have been . We don't have defense guys lie Tommie Harris, Teddy Lehman, but these guys are consistent, if they play as a group they can be very successful because they are all very good players."

On the QB situation:

"We are going in with Kris (Heavner) as our No. 1 quarterback. If Kris does not perform well early on there are other possibilities. I tell the kids you earn your way on the football field at every position. Kris has to keep playing well land getting us in good situations if he is going to be our quarterback."

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