Stoops on WSU

The Cats try to close out their season on a positive note. They have four games to try and turn things around, or at least build for next year. Mike Stoops met with the local media on Monday to discuss his team and their next opponent, Washington State.

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Opening Statement:
"There have been some lost opportunities that have gone on with these tough losses. We are very disappointed. There is nobody more disappointed about the losses more than we are. We have to fight our way through he next four weeks and try to get better.

"Our defense has to continue to lead the way...We have to continue to build off of that. We cannot have weak quarters that have cost us some opportunities. I told them if you are going to be the strength you have to be the strength every time you step out on the field...

"Offensively we have to keep finding ways to move the football and keep trying to find way to get some points on the board and we are capable. We just have not played very consistency. Our execution has lacked in critical areas and hopefully in the two weeks we can clean some things up and get better. We are going to have to go up there and score some points on offense to win this game.

On the quarterback situation:
"I am not going to name a starting quarterback at this point. Willie was cleared for contact, we will take it from there. We will look at all of our options. We will name a starting quarterback toward the end of the week..."

"He (Adam Austin) is coming along, whether he is cleared for full practice I'm not sure. he will be partial. We will see how he does through some fundamental periods and take it from there."

On getting the offense turned around on offense:
"There are things we have to build on and be positive. Our offensive players want to score points, it is not like they don't want to score. We just need to put them in better situations and execute some things better. We have to make plays.

"When you look at ht grand scheme of things we are a few plays away in a lot of games. Sometimes we look like we are so close but yet so far. It is disheartening, discouraging and frustrating, but you are still just one game away from getting yourself back in a positive position."

On WSU quarterback Alex Brink:
"He probably played a career game against UCLA. I thought he was excellent. They played a lot of man coverage and he really put the ball in spots they could not cover. Their receivers make plays. they probably have three of the best receivers as a group that rank up there statistically with USC's guys.

"You throw in their two tight ends, they are catching balls left and right. They are really throwing the ball around really well. That will be a true test for us, our pass defense will be tested like no other game, but they still run the ball.

"Brink is playing with the most confidence he ever has to this point he has played very well. It seems like he is in a groove."

On the play of Wilrey Fontenot:
"We are playing okay across the board in the secondary. I think we have played decently. Statistically we can always play better. He (Fontenot) has to be more active and a productive player. We will always push for with him. He does no give up a bunch of big plays, but he has to learn how to keep making plays and be a more active players during the course of a game, more like Antoine (Cason). Antoine gets an interference call here or there but he constantly challenges players. It evens itself out. Antoine will give up a 15-yarder but he is not giving up a lot of room to receivers. I don't think Wilrey has gotten quite confident in that yet.

"He (Cason) does not get beat very often. He has gotten an interference call because he challenges receivers a lot. He is out there on an island a lot. he will be going against one of the best receivers in the country in Jason Hill. That is a good match up, they are both All-Conference, All-American type of players."

On Xavier Smith:
"All of our guys, it has been hard, our inability to run the football has made it hard on all those backs. It has made it hard on everybody. Xavier shows great maturity. he is coming on. I like everything he does. He is going to be a really, really good player. he is doing the things he needs to. Our lack of overall production offensively has hurt him as much as the rest of the team."

On who will get the start at RB:
Chris Henry will start at tailback. Chris has caught the ball well and is protecting the quarterback well and is playing hard I like what Chris is doing. he ha shown some signs of really a competitive spirit we need. He has come on."

On whether he thinks about the Gilbert Harris fumble two years ago against WSU:
"I think about it a lot, but I don't know. It was unforgettable. The kid was trying to do the right thing. He had both hands and got hit an awkward way. I don't know. It was an unfortunate way to get started. I worry about a lot of other things but not that as much."

On whether he is surprised about Mike Bell's NFL success:
"Not really. To rush for 3,000 yards and never be on a team that won more than three or four games tells you a lot about the type of player he is. To get that many yards with a team that has had as little as success as our team has had.

"From getting the ball and getting to the line of scrimmage. I don't' know if there is a back faster than him running from point A to the line of scrimmage. He is as fast at hitting the hole as you are going to see. That is his greatest strength. He is not a 4.4 guy, but from one to 10 he can get there as fat as anybody. he hits the holes extremely quick."

On recruiting during the bye week:
"We had two good days of recruiting. We needed that time to see where we are at with a lot of kids and to make sure we are on the right kids and caches got a chance to see kids during practice time and not just in games. It was a beneficial two days. I think we got a lot out of it."

"It has been positive. we are still in the mix with a lot f top players. we are still good with all our guys. we are recruiting well."

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