Stoops on Oregon State

The Cats got the win Saturday and now things get tougher. Mike Stoops met with the media on Monday to discuss the win and the upcoming game against Oregon State. Here are the highlights from the press conference.

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Stoops on the improved running game against Stanford:

"Our backs got a little bit of room and made some nice runs and made some nice cuts to get an extra five or six yards here and there. They."

"Those four freshmen (offensive linemen) played outstanding. Earl Mitchell is as good a blocking performance from a tight end as we have had. We got people down and we got people on the ground. We have not been doing that. That is running the football. They knew we were going to run and they could not have put any more guys in there and we were still able to do that."

On Kris Heavner:

"Kris came in here and did a nice job of handling our team with limited reps. His experience helped him immensely. He is a much more poised player and he has been through a lot. Going through a lot of the adversity has matured him as a person and a player. His number was called and he was ready to play."

"We could have done more (with Heavner in the game), if we got a little bit ahead.We never got a position where we could open it up. Plus we were running the ball effectively so we didn't want to open it up. we didn't want to take any chances."

On Oregon State:

"We will be put to another test this week. Oregon State had a great win at Washington. They are going to stack the box. They do it anyhow. They did it to us last year and we have to find big plays again. I don't think they can put any more people in the box than they did last year. They force you to try to make plays. That is something we have to do." Their quarterback is a really good player, strong arm. They throw the ball vertically as well as anybody."

"They are going to take their 5-6 shots a game with deep balls. Last week they hit a bunch of them. That is something we have to be very conscious of."

"(Last year) we didn't' play a great defensive game. They had 600 yards of total offense, that is not something we are accustomed to. We are playing more soundly defensively. Having that group in tact has made a big difference."

"They have a nice team running the football. That will be a major concern for us."

On who will start at QB:

"Kris will be the probable starter. Adam is out and Willie is still questionable. He has not been cleared. If he is out for this game we will get Tyler Lyon ready and then we can possibly use one of our receivers as a quarterback too. It is something we will have to integrate into our offense."

"We have a lot of confidence in Kris. It is funny how things work out. He will be much improved with all his experiences. He was probably more nervous playing two years ago than he was Saturday. What does he have to lose? Just go out and play. We are in a situation we have a good opportunity to win just get us in the best situation. He will compete. I am not worried about that. We have to make sure we are solid around and our ability to run the football is key. We have to try to get some big plays. We can't let them cheat at the line of scrimmage. We have to make sure we have a plan if they are cheating the line of scrimmage."

On why they took Heavner back:

"He wanted to come back. I trust what he tells me. He has always been forthright. He wanted to come back. It was important to him. Why shouldn't I? We all do things or make mistakes. It was not the right decision to leave, but he realized that and came back. He has been through a lot personally. I certainly feel his pain for some of the things he has been through. This is the place he wanted to be."

On the play of the offense:

"I thought it was fine. Dana (Dimel) brought a lot of good ideas and stability to our run game. It is about winning, that is the bottom line."

"Our coaches did a great job of getting our kids ready. We coached better. that is plain and simple. We had a better plan. Our kids executed well. As coaches you can't always blame the players for certain things. You have to set up a plan each week that will have the greatest chance for success. We need to do the exact same thing this week."

"It is hard to run when there is no room to run. We haven't gotten them many creases. You have to give them some space to run in. If there is no where to go it is difficult to go anywhere. If you have a crease you are much better. We have pretty physical guys. I thought they ran pretty physical."

"(Daniel) Borg played wonderful. He was really, really good. Our footwork was better. Our mechanics and fundamentals were better."

On if Tyler Lyon is as far along at this point as Willie Tuitama was a year ago:

"I don't think he is that far but he is a very intelligent player and is really done well. His package would be even limited more if we got to that situation. He is a big thrower and he comes from a running offense so he handles the ball extremely well. I think he will be fine. he is just young and you can't ask him to do a whole lot. We would have to simplify things but I think he would do well."

"We talked to the family, that is just part of it, part of being a team. Hopefully we don't have to (play him) but if we do you have to look at where we are at in the game and take all of that into consideration."

"The rules, they really hurt the player. After a certain period of time if he plays one snap, two snaps, 10 snaps, he loses his whole year. That really hurts the player. If we ever get to the rule where you have five years of eligibly, I know that is in the works, especially with the expanded season, more kids get hurt and you have to play younger players. All the coaches are in favor of that, whether we can get to that is something that will get increasing more support."

On the play of Michael Johnson:

"Michael has played really well. he has played hurt. He has not practiced a day in the last three weeks with a thigh injury but has played every snap in a game. He obviously has a big future in front of him, but it did not deter him from playing. I'm proud of him for going through it and doing that. He has put team in front of his individual career. That is the kind of guy he is. It would been really easy for him to say 'I can't go coach, I'm not going to play.'"

"He could not get full range, a slight pull in his quad. It was black and blue and swelled up. He really played through it and has gotten better. Now he has gotten close to 100 percent. He is one of those guys when something pulls or sprains he swells more . He swelled really bad. It happened in practice, he did not know what he did. The next day it got really big.

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