Stoops confident about OU's matchup with Texas

OU Head Coach Bob Stoops' talked about this weekend's showdown with Texas at his weekly press conference Tuesday in Norman.

Below is a transcript of Oklahoma Head Coach Bob Stoops' weekly press conference held Tuesday in Norman.

On Iowa State
"Really a strong game. To go on the road in the Big 12 and play like that really is gratifying to you as a coach when everyone wanted to talk upset last week. And all of you who wanted to talk about Texas a week, I found it interesting that after the game when Texas was appropriate to talk about that nobody asked. Not one question after the game about Texas. Next year just remember that it's you guys that like to bring up all of that stuff, and not the team or the players. We were focused in on the game. We were anxious to play it. And we like the way we played.

"Offensively we really played well. Jason White was just exceptional. (Jason) Just continues to come on and is playing in a great way right now. The receiver group was exceptional as well. The offensive line was recognized as players of the game along with Jason because of the way they protected Jason and ran the ball. Jammal Brown continues to play at an excellent level on our offensive line and continues to be a great player.

"Defensively, to shut anybody out and keep them out of the end zone is hard to do. Overall, our defensive line and d-ends were the players of the game the way they played. They really dominated up front with pressure, with sacks, with big plays and really limited what Iowa State was able to do.

"Also given a game ball as player of the game was Mark Bradley on special teams. Some other guys recognized were Tommie Harris, Dusty Dvoracek and Brodney Pool as well."

On Texas
It's a great week. As always, we're excited about it. Looking forward to the challenge of it, the excitement of it and looking forward to playing Texas this Saturday down in the Cotton Bowl. It's a week everybody anticipates, looks forward to. It's a great event, great atmosphere. Between us and Texas in the last four years, one of us has represented the South in the Big 12 championship game. We recognize that and it makes this game a little more special. We do feel fortunate that we've won two of those Big 12 championships. But in the end, we recognize that this is a big game and earning your right to be in that game.

"On top of that, we're an undefeated team and I know our players want to remain so. I promise you we want this game and it is as important to us as it is to Texas in every way. Our players have no intention of doing anything but winning this game and the rest of the season."

"I believe coming into the game we have our strongest team that we will bring down there in our five years going into the game. And I think that because of the way we've played. People ask me because of the way you've played the last three games does it give that give you confidence coming into this game. And I always remark no, because the past has nothing to do with the present. Why I feel confident coming into this game is because of the way our players are playing. The way we've prepared, the level that we're playing at and the attitude of the team are what give me confidence this year. And that's what's exciting, to have a chance to work with these guys and play here this week. So, that's what we're focused on. It's great challenge, but we like those challenges and feel like we're in good position coming into this game."

On if OU has the mental edge after winning the last three years
"Again, I believe what gives us our confidence and belief in our opportunity to win is the way we're playing now. The fact that we've won three years in a row has very little to do with what's happening now. In the end, maybe the fact that we have won three years in a row gives ...well that might be the case had we not been performing so well and struggling right now. We're playing at a good level right now and I think that's what should be focused on."

On the style of Texas' two quarterbacks
"The fact that they just played a game that they had to win against a good opponent, you got to see what cards they're playing with and what hands they're going to play with. What you do notice is a de-emphasis of the tailback running game and more emphasis on the quarterback running game Their quarterbacks run with the ball more. I think they carried it 26 times in the last game and the tailback only maybe 17. So, you have to be prepared for the quarterback run game. Chance Mock runs the quarterback run game. They run the same plays with him that they do with Vincent Young, but probably call more when Vincent Young is in there. We're very aware of that, and that's something we'll work hard on this entire week to make sure that we can do our best to deal with it."

On if this kind of game that players look to as their defining moment
"It certainly is one that you do remember, but I think what you remember more than that are championship games. Fortunately, we've been in those and our guys have some great memories from those Big 12 Championships and National Championship. This is a game that gets you in a strong position leading into those other games though. So, that does make it to be one of those games."

On why he thinks this is his best team
"It's not hard to look at. Look at the previous four years and how we've played in the first five games and compare it to how we're playing this year. We're playing at a better level in every part of the game. Even in our national championship year in our first four or five games we were still figuring things out. We've played a stronger schedule than any of those other years and we're still playing at a better level. I don't say those things facetiously, they're backed by statistics, points, scores. Anyway you want to analyze this, we're playing better in our first five games. Now that doesn't guarantee anything. In the end, for us to be better than the 2000 year we have to win them all plus one. That's what we're trying to do."

On losing starting strongside linebacker Pasha Jackson
That position, depending on how people play you, is a position that we use nickel and dime in a major part of the time. In this game, other players who can play that position are Russell Dennison and Zach Latimer, who have both been here and are good players. But the other end of that is we can play with more speed on the field with Donte Nicholson up in that position and Brodney Pool, who is leading us in interceptions, now on the field more in the secondary. That's not a bad option to have."

On Texas' pass defense
"They're playing a lot of man-to-man defense. They've got guys who can run and crowd you, cover you. They're good players. Has anybody really emphasized throwing against them? I don't know that that's happened. I like the fact that right now our receivers are playing in a great way. By far and away the best that we've had here, and a quarterback that is playing really hot right now as well."

On if White's play has surprised him this season
"We had great confidence in Jason that he could play at this level. It's great to see that he's doing it. We're all excited for him that he's been able to perform at such a level. He's got 16 TDs to three interceptions. He's completing 68 percent of his passes or right around there. His checks at the line of scrimmage are good. He's playing in a strong way."

On what he needs to do to get more Heisman recognition
"Just continue to win and play well like he has, and then have people our there to recognize it and print it. We even have local guys that haven't picked up on where his statistics rank in the country and the fact that he's directing the No. 1 team in the country. You'd think they'd have an idea, but some are slow to learn (laughs). I can jab those guys every once in a while (laughs). They jab me enough."

On what he remembers from White's performance off the bench against Texas two years ago
"I remember him coming off the bench dead cold, getting in the game and directing us on a drive that puts the ball in the end zone. He's had his taste of this, and I think more than anything now is the way he's playing gives him the confidence that he can continue to play well. I remember that drive for sure. He really played the rest of the game in a good way."

On being the favorite this year as opposed to being the underdog in the past
"That's never mattered to us one way or the other. We get prepared to play. None of that really makes a difference to us. Our players have goals in front of them. They have national championships right there in front of them and they want to win. That stuff has very little to do with anything, if at all."

On comparing the OU-Texas rivalry to others he's coached in
"It's a special one. Now that I'm the head coach here and directing Oklahoma, and Texas is in the same position as us fighting to get in the Big 12 Championship game, it's the biggest. It is very similar to Florida-Georgia. Florida and Georgia are in the same division fighting for the same championship. The game's played on a neutral field. The difference is you don't get to weave your bus through a state fair with about 200 or 300 hundred-thousand people yelling at you. They yell at us a lot more lately. I think what's made it really great is we've both won a lot of football games in the last three years, so in the national pictures there's more people that pay attention to it than when we had been losing several games."

On if he's concerned about OU-Texas becoming a home-and-home series
"Not at all. I'd be glad to play this game in Austin and them come here. I'd be glad to play it in Houston, play it in Kansas City, play it out in the parking lot. It doesn't much matter. It's still going to be a great game. I think what's important is our administrators, our president, our AD's are wise people. They understand what we bring as well, and if we're not going to be treated in an appropriate way then we need to take it somewhere else. That would be fine with me."

On if he thinks OU is not being treated in an appropriate way by the City of Dallas
"That's not for me to discuss. I don't know. Heck, I'm a football coach. I like the way they treat us when we get in there to play. That's all fine, but about everywhere we go they do. That would be for Joe Castiglione, President Boren. Our administration knows whether we are or not, and I have complete trust in them. You mean you guys wouldn't show up if it was somewhere else? I think everyone else would too."

On what it's like coming down the ramp in Dallas compared to Norman
"The surroundings are different. The tunnel is wider than ours. The fact that you come down the tunnel together is different and exciting."

On if OU's defense will cover UT WR Roy Williams differently than they would any other receiver
"Sure, you have to try to. He's a special player. Everyone recognizes that. Usually, as you gameplan about everyone you play has a guy or two that you try and work a little different coverage on or try and cross them up on a coverage. We're always aware of where Roy Williams is and how we want to try and defend him. But it also has to work into the scheme of what else they're trying to do. But that's a balance you have really every week".

On if the talent level at the two programs are the same
"I don't know who would claim that we're not every bit as talented as Texas or anybody else really. I don't know what the logic would be to say that we're not. They are very talented. We recognize that. But again, we feel fortunate that we are awfully talented as well and like how we match up.

On if the 2000 win over Texas kick-started OU's success
No, I would say that after the Nebraska game, or those three in a row (Texas, Kansas State and Nebraska), kick-started us in a big way. We had learned how to compete at that level and be successful, and from then on our confidence was through the roof. Not because we'd talked about it, but we had done it."

On how big that first win over Texas was in 2000
"It was a boost. Plus, the way we won — what was it 63-14 — will also give you confidence as well. Like I said, I can remember saying that on the head phones part way through the game. I said, 'Boys, we're pretty good.'"

On if they'll talk to the new guys about the added importance of this game
"No, they've been around here. They've been in a lot of big games. They know what's at stake and they know the intensity of the game. Even though they haven't played a ton, they've been in it."

On if the game has a factor on recruiting in Texas
"I don't know whether it does or not. A lot of guys are making their decision earlier well before the game. It may for a few. I don't believe it's a major impact. I've never felt in the past year's it's made a huge difference."

On if moving the game from Dallas will hurt OU's recruiting in Texas
"No, because we'll play it. And in the end, that's all the players want to see. I don't know if that would make a huge difference. It's going to be played somewhere. And it will be on TV more than likely."

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