Stoops on UCLA

The Cats are thrilled with their win over Washington, but can't relish it for too long because UCLA is up next. Mike Stoops discussed the win over the Huskies, plus the Bruins in his weekly press conference.

Stoops Opening Statement:
"Our offense just seemed like they were in control all day. It should give us some light at the end of the season and get us into their game before we get time off."

"The next month of the season will be critical. This is big preparation for us. We need to play better defensively, that is for sure. It will be a little more difficult. UCLA is solid across the board."

"It is kind of weird how it seems like Antoine and Spencer make all the plays when you need them. That is what all-American type of players do. That is why they are so good at what they do and so valuable to our team. They seem to come up with plays and are in the right spot at the right time."

More on Larsen and Cason:
They kind of hang in there and keep everybody together and keep kids accountable. That is big. They are very prideful kids. They play and practice the way you are supposed to."

Larsen and the NFL
"I'm sure he will have every opportunity. We will see. He does a lot of good things. He is a guy I tell everybody you want on your team. Character and accountability and credibility matters. It matters at our level and in the NFL as well.

On Thomas' fourth quarter kickoff return:
"It was probably as big a play as there was in that game. It gave us some life."

On Tuitama and the criticism he received:
" That just comes with the job. I am going to get criticized the most and probably him the second most. That is the pecking order, and how it falls."

"I liked his leadership and his competitive spirit in the fourth quarter. That is what we need for him. That part is coming. There is nothing the kid can't do physically. He needs to keep challenging himself to understand the nuances of this offense and where to go, and that is not very easy. We say it is, and it may look easy to us or easy on tape, but when you get out there moving around and understanding what you have to do, there is a process you have to go. It is important you grow with the process."

"I'm sure UCLA will challenge us in different ways and we have to be prepared. We have to stay one step ahead of them."

On what he learned about his team in the comeback:
"They have a lot of character and toughness about them. That is important as a coach. It is making sure your kids prepare and play."

"We looked more poise in what we were doing. I don't know the reason for that, we just seemed more confident. It seemed like we had the right attitude."

"We have good systems on both sides of the ball, and in the kicking game, and we pride ourselves in our coaching. You have to believe in your preparation and have faith in what you are doing. If kids don't, then it will show. That obviously showed on Saturday." I don't ever think our will to play and our will to prepare has ever been broken. It is very critical for us as a program."

On telling the kids not to worry about making mistakes:
"It is funny how that works out. One play is never going to determine a game no matter how bad it is. It doesn't. I finally said something that was right."

"We wanted to emphasize that more with the kids, that one play was not going to change a game, and if you make a mistake come back and make up for it."

"Offensively you have to play free and loose and not putt too much pressure on yourself. That is easier said than done."

Substituting Mike Thomas on kickoff returns:
"Devin was hurt, had a pulled muscle. We were dropping the ball and not going where we were supposed to go. We put mike in there and mike has a great way of making plays, and has great speed and strength back thee. We made that switch."

More UCLA:
"Offensively it is running the football, that is a big part of what they do." They have had both quarterbacks banged up. We went through the same thing with Adam Austin last year...

"They have a very talented group of secondary guys who play very aggressive. They present unique challenges on the defensive side of the ball. They are a very experienced group. I imagine they will come in here and try to disrupt our timing. That is what we have to be prepared for."

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