Stoops' final words before Sugar Bowl

The Sugar Bowl is almost here. OU coach Bob Stoops addressed the media for the final time Wednesday.

Oklahoma head coach Bob Stoops addressed the media one final time Wednesday before the Allstate Sugar Bowl against Alabama. Here's what he had to say.

Bob, recruiting obviously always evolves, and seems like today there's all talk about recruits like bells and whistles more than they do tradition and things. Here you are in a BCS game, in the Sugar Bowl against Alabama, one of the biggest games in college football. In your opinion would this be a big benefit for you down the road in recruiting?

Stoops: Sure it is. I think in the end some players may look at bells and whistles a little more than they do overall tradition and history, but there's still a good number of them that do recognize the opportunity to play in these kind of great games, and they realize we've done it a lot. So there's a little bit of everything in recruiting. And there's still a lot of players that recognize the tradition and history of what you've been doing more than maybe the color of your helmet.

You mentioned the challenge ahead of you, this team being still in your mind the best team in the country. Do you play as a coaching staff on the underdog role at all? Does it help in any way to talk to your team and say it's us against the world, that kind of mentality? Does it help in any way?

Stoops: I don't see that, not at a place like Oklahoma. That isn't something that we've ever – I don't know how to do that, to be quite honest with you. That's nothing – that's not one of our motivational methods. So we're about what do we do right, how do we do things the right way to give ourselves an opportunity to win, and we emphasize that. And the other stuff I can't say that somewhere in the back of some kids' minds they might not have heard something one too many times and it triggers something. I can't speak to that. But it's not a card that I play. Again, I'm not real – I don't know how to play that card.

I know you don't like ranking anything, but if you could put Alabama in a class in terms of how good they are compared to what you played since you've been at Oklahoma, how good is this Alabama team?

Stoops: I think everybody would say they're as good a football team as we've played in 15 years. How can you not? Like I said, they're one second away from playing in a third straight National Championship game. So they're a great, great team with great talent and across the board and, again, very well coached.

I know you were going to take the whole week before naming starting quarterbacks for the game. At what point will you let them know, and will you share with us how they practiced this week and how much will game plan factor into your decision here?

Stoops: They've practiced really well, just like they have through the year. They're very supportive of one another. And so that's something that we'll talk to them about going into the game. But they already know how we intend to play them.

I was wondering, Eric Striker seems to live in the backfield. How much are you guys trying to get him back there and kind of disrupt what A.J. McCarron can do throwing the ball?

Stoops: Eric Stryker has been a great spark for us all year. He's very quick off the ball and does a lot of great things. So he's always a factor in how we try and play, and hopefully he can make some plays tomorrow getting in the backfield and being disruptive. We do our best to turn him loose as much as we can.

I assume a lot of programs that are successful share a lot of the same traits. I'm curious, knowing Nick as you do, how similar are you guys as coaches in the way that you approach your program and approach coaching?

Stoops: I don't know how to say that. I haven't been – as much as we have been together at different times, I've watched him practice, but when you're not there on a daily basis, it's a little bit hard to compare. I think a lot of our principles in how you play with being physical, with being tough, with trying to win with defense first, but those kind of things are some – I think some things, generalities that I look at that I think are very similar. And I think, too, watching in the way they practice, and I've been able to see that, that we both practice in a similar way in going good against good and as much as you can to not get a false sense of who you are, to really push yourself. Those kind of things I think are similar in a lot of ways.

Historically you've not shied away from naming a starting quarterback. Can you kind of describe the competitive advantage maybe of not doing that this week?

Stoops: I think it's fair to say through the season when you watch these two quarterbacks, we kind of go to some plays a little bit more with one guy than we do another, so why give someone the advantage of practicing those plays more than another set of plays, and it hopefully has made them have to work a bigger package on what we like to do with each guy. So some plays are the same. But, again, some plays we gravitate to more often with one guy than we do another.

Can you talk about what C.J. Mosley brings to the table and is he one of those guys you always have to know where he is?

Stoops: Definitely. I think C.J. Mosley is as fine a football player as I've seen in my time here at Oklahoma in 15 years, and that's the truth. Just an absolute perfect football player when you look at the physical abilities he has and competitive nature. He just plays so hard and the talent and the physical, how physical he is. There's times I marvel at it. You have him blocked and he shouldn't make the play, and there he is taking on another block and making the play or making it bounce to someone else who does make the play and it shouldn't happen that way. Other people would be blocked and the guy would get ten yards. He's a great player, and you have to be aware of where he is at all the time.


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