Stoops: "I like the position we're in"

OU Head Coach Bob Stoops talked about OU's win over UCLA and other various topics during his weekly press conference Tuesday in Norman.(AP Photo/Sue Ogrocki)

On UCLA
I felt like it was a very well played game. I felt very good about all the parts of our game and how we played. Starting the game off going down on our first series and scoring a touchdown offensively, and then to come back after a turnover and giving up a touchdown to come right back with the football on offense and answer that with another touchdown to regain the lead and take it from there.

I thought Jason played very well at our quarterback position throwing two touchdown passes. The two interceptions, he's being hit while he throws the football. But I'm sure on one of those Jason would like to have it over. But sometimes that's going to happen if he's getting hit when he releases the football. A lot of times the results aren't going to be great. Still, he had an excellent percentage.

Mark Clayton at the receiver position was recognized as the player of the game on offense. He had an excellent day with some great catches and great runs with the ball. On the offense line, Jammal Brown and Vince Carter really had solid games. And Coach Wilson felt overall it was one of our offensive line's better games for the unit. For the the most part, the protections and blocking was solid most of the day.

Defensively, we cam eup with a lot of big plays, turnovers, interception for touchdown. It was another excellent game for us with nine punts and four turnovers. Brandon Everage and Teddy Lehman were co-players of the game. Both had excellent games and played in a great way.

Everyone focused their attention on Wayne Chambers stepping in a starting role for Lance Mitchell and Eric Bassey jumping in for Derrick Strait. Both played really good games. Wayne was very solid in the middle — tackled well and was where he was supposed to be. And when you look at what Eric did, he was the one who caused the fumble that Tommie Harris was running with. It was a great hit coming off a block and putting his helmet on the ball. (Bassey) intercepted a pass for a touchdown and recovered a fumble by Antonio Perkins on a mishandled pun and had four or five tackles. That was pleasing to see two guys step up when they're challenged and continue to play solid defense.

And then Antonio Perkins was of course the special teams player of the week for us. What an incredible day. I've been around football for quite a while now and haven't seen anything like that — 277 yards in returns against a team that came in and hadn't given up much at all. To get three touchdowns, the players blocking for Antonio did a great job hustling and finishing blocks. And then he's just so exceptional when he sees creases and has such explosiveness to get through them. Once he gets an angle he's hard to catch. We're really excited for Antonio to play like that. It give us a boost.

On the off week
Leading into the off week, it's perfect timing. We'll use it to improve as a team and work on really every area of our game. At the same time we'll try and rest up the few minor nicks or bruises we have. I'm sure our guys will feel better going into next week after having this week off. We'll practice Monday through Thursday and take Friday, Saturday and Sunday off. I'm sure it will help us.

I like the position we're in going into the Big 12 season. I like the way we're playing. We've been very business-like in our approach and how we're taking the field and how we're executing. Everything can get better. There's no question there's still areas of improvement as we watch tape and we critique it with our players. But I like the position that we're in and the way we're playing.

On Lance Mitchell
He's doing well. He had his surgery yesterday and everything else structurally around the knee was clean — just the one ligament was a clean tear. Sometimes other cartilage and ligaments get damaged, but all of his were fine outside of that one. They felt great about the way the surgery went and he's just recovering right now. Sounds like everything went as well as it could.

On if Mitchell's rehab will take six months Yes, roughly. Usually right around six months anymore is what they have it down to.

On Antonio Perkins' play on defense
He's a great player at cornerback. The interception he has at Alabama to start the game off in a clutch situation is one of the more athletic moves you'll see. He opens his hips to go deep and realizes the guy's on a comeback, puts himself in a full 360, plants his foot and comes back and gets the ball. He's very athletic with great ability. He's playing very good at corner. He was our most valuable player in the Fresno State game on defense. He's playing in a great way right now.

On the unit who helped block for Perkins' punt returns
Our right side of Russell Denisson, Matt McCoy and Michael Thompson were very good finishing blocks and staying with their people. Mark Bradley and Brandon Shelby were awfully good in there. On the long one Dan Townsend blocks his guy at least 50 yards. You could see him the whole way down as the guy is trying to pursue Antonio, and Dan is on him for at least 50 yards still blocking him as he runs in the end zone.

On the national media talking more about OU's defense than offense
I don't much care. People have to fill up space and air time somehow. They can't sit there and talk about how we don't have any flaws. They just chose our defense because we have so many starters back. Our offense is capable and playing really well. We're putting up points. Jason is maybe the story in college football through the first three or four games with the way he has played. We don't much care who gets talked about and who gets what attention. As a team, we do pretty well at winning, getting points and limiting people's points.

On finding other ways to score than on offense
It's always a bonus when you can produce field position and points through special teams and defense. We are very aware of that on defense, whether it's three and outs or turnovers and giving our offense the ball in scoring position, or in special teams creating that field position as well.

On what they'll do during the off week We'll work on polishing up what's in already. We'll always add and start adding in little wrinkles here and there that fit, or something we feel will fit down the road against a certain opponent. We'll practice, but try and shorten it just a little bit to give them somewhat of a break where their legs are back and re-energized heading into next week. We'll work hard this week to make steps in everything that we're doing. In year's past we have gotten better in the off week and it has boosted us to finish out the season. We've usually played pretty well following them (off weeks).

On having the home crowd up for a big game
It makes a big difference. I really believe the addition on the east side has closed in the stadium and it is louder. Not only are there more people yelling, but I believe it does create more noise and gives it a stronger presence. It's a boost to the players and I hope as we continue through the Big 12 season our fans will even get louder.

On how much time will they spend on future opponents this week
We'll look at our next four or five games and some of the common denominators to look at and work on. There's always some things that everybody does that you look at. We'll not only look at Iowa State, of course Texas is right after that, so we'll look down the road a little bit like everybody does.

On the freshmen class
It's a strong unit. I really like their attitude. They're really a good group in the way they work. Some groups you have to get on more than others, and this group seems to really get it. They want a lot out of their college experience. Sometimes it takes freshmen a year or two to figure it out. These guys are a good group in that way and it has a chance to be a really good unit. I'm always careful to brag to much on them until they do more, but they've started off in a good way.

On what he saw from Lewis Baker against UCLA
Just what we thought — a guy that's playing hard, explosive, running around the field. He was almost out of position on one of the passes but still ran back and intercepted a square-in and got his hands on it. He's a work in progress, but there's a lot to work with there. He'll keep getting better as he goes through this year and gets more practice time. Going into last week his repetitions with our second team defense were limited. He'll get more as this week goes and as we go through the rest of the fall.

On if it is tougher for freshmen to play now than at any other time at OU
It just depends on what position it is. Some positions it's always been tough and other's it hasn't. A lot depends on that person's ability. I don't know that it's anymore tough now than it used to be.

On Jason White being a Heisman Trophy candidate
I don't think there's any question if you look at his statistics and his numbers. If winning matters and playing well on offense matters, and if rankings matter he's a big part of where we're at right now. His numbers back it up. I don't know why anybody after four games would be a heisman frontrunner or not. I have no idea why that is, but if you're going to talk about people there's no reason he shouldn't be mentioned with everybody else because his numbers back it up and we are winning in a pretty good way. And he's a big part of it.

On Derrick Strait's injury
He practiced yesterday, so there's no reason to think that in two weeks that he wouldn't be out there starting for us. He should be OK.

On recruiting during the off week
We're going to use Friday like we did last week. To use more days than that, we have too much we have to keep improving on right there.

On if he got to see Quentin Griffin play for the Broncos on Monday night
I fell asleep by then, sorry to say. I was doing my best to wait for him because I thought he was going to play. I didn't mean to fall asleep, but I did. I'm sure somebody taped it, so I'll see it.

On the upsets in college football
It's obvious every week that if you're not on top of your game you can be beat. We understand that. Fortunately, we have played well enough that hasn't happened to us. I say it all the time, everybody has good players anymore. There's good players all around the country that are capable of making big plays, and if you're not on top of your game then you give yourself the opportunity of being beaten. It happens about every week with some people.

On if he's considering playing Tommie Harris at tailback after his running on Saturday
Fullback before tailback I'd say. Although J.D. (Runells) is awfully good. We'll probably just stick to tight end with him.

On if they might throw him a pass
I don't know why not, he's got great hands. We threw him a few out there at practice last week and he didn't even come close to bobbling it. One was low and kind of a tough spot by his hip, he just turns his hands over and catches it as well as you see a receiver catch it. I don't think we'll give him that tight end reverse that Keith Jackson ran with (laughs).

On White going through his reads
It shows his maturity and experience of being here at practices. There's a third down play Saturday where he throws a sideline pass to JeJuan Rankins that was his third read. He starts on the left side of the field and comes all the way back to the right side of the field and finds JeJuan and puts the ball in a perfect place and picks up the first down. He's more confident in his reads. He trusts his protection that he can get to most all his reads, and he's throwing the ball more accurately. The one pass to Brandon Jones that's dropped and could've been a touchdown was a perfect pass. He's really throwing the ball well.


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