Stoops: We're excited to be back into game week

Oklahoma football coach Bob Stoops stands in front of the Big 12 Championship trophy that his Sooners won after defeating Kansas State last year, as he talks about the upcoming game against Kansas State during his weekly press conference, Tuesday, Sept. 25, 2001 in Norman.

The following are excerpts from Oklahoma Head Coach Bob Stoops weekly press conference with the media inside the Barry Switzer Center.

Opening Statements
We're excited as a team to be into game week once again after a two week layoff. I'm not so sure why everyone that keeps talking to me keeps saying that we've been off three weeks. We had a game cancelled, like everybody else in the country did and then we had a bye week. So now all of the sudden everyone is trying to act like it's been longer then it has.

After two weeks of being off we are excited to be back into game week playing a very good football team. It's got all of the players excited.

I think what's been good about the time that we have had off is the fact that we played three football games and got to know our football team pretty good. It gave us a good idea where we were at having three games before this off week and the game being cancelled. It allowed us to concentrate and focus on some areas on our team to help us improve coming into Big 12 play. Along with that, it's helped us heal up. Without question, we would have taken the field yesterday as healthy as we've been since we started. Terrance Simms was the only guy out there that wasn't able to practice and go at it the whole time. I believe it helped us get our legs back from starting earlier in the season.

It's allowed us time to rest and heal up and I saw our players really have an extra step yesterday as we went through practice.

On playing Kansas State
Kansas State is a very complex football team in their offensive schemes and the way they try and out-number you, out-gap you, run the option, run their tailback game.

On preparing for KSU during the extra time off
It's allowed us extra time to focus on their schemes and give our players more time to see those schemes. It's given us more time to prepare offensively and defensively. More time to watch them, practice against them and hopefully it will give us a better feel as we take the field overall.

On the team being ready to go after the long layoff
I think having been off a couple weeks also has our players chomping at the bit and really excited to be back on the field and in a game,. Really looking forward to the challenge this Saturday and coming out and playing in a exciting atmosphere. I'm sure our fans will be excited as well, so that will be good.

On what progress the receiving corp has made since the lackluster performance against North Texas
They've worked hard and we've focused on being more disciplined in what we're doing and in our concentration and intensity in making more big plays. Hopefully, that will be the case.

On the importance of the next two games against Kansas State and Texas are toward determining the fate season.
It will tell a big picture and then the rest of the season will tell an even bigger picture. Every game makes a difference. The general public and the media will look at that, but we won't. You've still got a bunch of games to play and need to play well. I think it's proven every week around the country if you're not ready to play or someone else is more prepared or plays better than you, then you're going to get beat. Your job is to be as prepared as you can be. Focus on whatever game is at hand and do what's necessary to win that game.

On if he is worried about the team being sluggish because of the time off Not at all. Watching our practice tape yesterday we really looked ready to play, we looked fast. Again, I think having three games has benefited us, as opposed to just two.

On the injury status of OU center Josh Smith
He practiced yesterday. We held him out in some of the earlier weeks just like we held four or five of the other guys out in some of the weeks that we weren't playing to make sure that they were healing up. It appears that they all are, and at this point the only guy out for sure is Terrance Simms.

On if he'd like to see the offense sustain longer drives
I like to see them score. One play would be fine with me. I'm not interested with time of possession or working the clock. Just put the ball in the endzone and if it takes one play, great, and if it takes 15, great.

On if he thinks they will learn more about the makeup of the team this weekend. We'll learn more about ourselves this week. I believe in three games we found out some. You find out more and more as you go through the year. We'll find out more this week, but it won't be the end of it. I think last year what was underplayed is the toughness of the teams mental makeup to travel through the season. I look back to last year and we hit our stride and rhythm about the fourth game of the year last year and carried it on through the season. Certainly, we hope to be able to do that again and develop that toughness and find out more about yourself as you continue to go through the year.

On if this team is on the brink of catching its stride
Not really. We just want to make sure we're better then we were the first three games and focus on areas where we need improvement and concentrate on them, and that's where this time off has allowed us to do. Concentrate on ourself as well as a little extra time on Kansas State.

On what they need out of Nate Hybl to win Saturday
Just need consistent play. He needs to be able to recognize what's coming and make good checks, run or pass. He needs to be able to have the confidence to sit in and throw the ball when the rush is coming. He needs to be able to avoid the bad plays and operate within the offense and count on the players around him to help him, because it isn't just Nate. The other players have to do their part to execute and have successful plays. He just has to trust that they're going to do what's necessary in order to do that and move the ball.

On if they will use Jerad Estus in different situations and different manners than they used Renaldo Works
No. They both can do a lot of the same things. Both are progressing very well and are going to be very good.

On how Estus has improved
He's improved. He's becoming more consistent in his assignments and catching the ball, holding on to it. He hasn't had as much game time so we'll see. I don't want to brag on Jerad too much until he's in game situations, and makes plays, carries out his assignments, takes care of the ball, those kind of factors. I trust he's going to continue to improve because he's doing a good job.

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