Below is a transcript of OU Head Coach Bob Stoops' weekly press conference held Tuesday at the Barry Switzer Center in Norman.
"Very pleased to lock up the Big 12 South and put ourself in position to compete for a Big 12 Championship on December 6. I like the way our players prepared and came out during the game. Anytime you take a 24-0 first quarter lead tells you you're ready to play and your guys came out focused and prepared and really played well.
"Offensively, Jason White, again, with four TD's and 300 yards was exceptional, in particular in the first half. Mark Clayton with big catches, two TD passes, which puts him with 12 of his 14 TD catches in Big 12 competition, which says a lot. Another game over 100 yards. He, also in Big 12 competition, with 120-some yards a game is by far and away the leader in yards per game and TD's. So, Mark again was just exceptional. Brandon Jones also played really well. And Davin Joseph on our offensive line, he and Mark Clayton were credited with players of the game on offense.
"Defense, again for the third straight week not allowing a touchdown. Another exceptional game defensively, as well as keeping an opponent under 200 yards. Just great defense, the structure, the discipline, the tackling. So, all of it together it was another excellent day. Two guys that were credited with players of the game by us as we critiqued the tape were Derrick Strait and Teddy Lehman. I seem to say that about every week. Derrick Strait, in our 11 games, has been player of the game for us on defense I believe six times. Just exceptional the year he's having. And for a four-year starter I don't know if there's anybody that's played better and more consistently than Derrick Strait has. This year he's just having an incredible year along with Teddy. (Lehman) had I think 12 or 13 tackles on the day, another great day."
On Texas Tech
"With that behind us, it puts us in position to go down to Texas Tech, our last regular season game, and it gives us an opportunity to redefine some goals. This team, I believe, is truly excited to remain undefeated and to pursue a national championship is right there in their sights. I really like the attention yesterday at practice, the excitement, the enthusiasm. They realize this is a big challenge going to Texas Tech — a team that's averaging over 600 yards of offense in every game, well over 40 points in every game. They have really produced in a better way than they have the last three years. They are playing in a better way offensively when you look at their production. We recognize it as a major challenge. Our guys are really excited about the opportunity to go down compete with them and try to finish this season with one more win before they take a break next week for Thanksgiving. We like the way it sets up. Our players are excited about the challenge. We'll need to play an excellent game to go down there and to beat Texas Tech. We understand that, but our guys understand too that they're going to work for it through the week, and I believe they're intent to do that."
On his brother Mike possibly taking the Arizona job
"It's all talk. That's going to be there, and that's all it is. Until there's anything different than that there isn't anything more to say about it."
On if OU's defense is the prototype for the college game
"It's pretty close to it. It's what you want. It's what we had hoped for. It's as complete a defense that we've ever had here, definitely from front to back in all positions, and the experience and overall understanding of what we do. So, all of it together has just continued mature as we've come through the year and mature in a great way. Right now they're playing in a really strong way."
On if OU has seen an offense like Texas Tech's this season
"No. I don't know that we've seen anyone that's thrown it quite as much. This isn't the first time we've seen them. We've played them for the last three years."
On if Texas Tech is running the ball more this year
"A little bit, and they're running it more effectively. People don't realize that they're averaging over 100 yards a game rushing. (Taurean) Henderson does an excellent job. They've done a good job with it, and he's (Henderson) good with it."
On if Tech QB B.J. Symons brings anything to their offense other than Mike Leach's schemes
"I don't know. He's very good. Mike could probably speak to it better than me. He's a very good quarterback. Each quarterback has their differences. I see him as very good and really playing better than anybody maybe Kliff (Kingsbury) last year in quite a few games."
On what's the key to defending Tech's offense
"I think a number of factors. Guys being in position and understanding where they need to be. When you get there being athletic enough to make plays in space, which we have been. Disrupting their timing and getting pressure to the quarterback, which at times we have been able to do. And being able to cover people as well as taking away the run game. It all fits together. We feel like we match-up well with the way they play."
On if it's key to have depth to keep people fresh against Texas Tech's attack
"Yes and no. You don't need that depth unless you're allowing them to go up and down the field every series. If you're stopping them then you are rested. If you're going to allow them to go up and down the field for 600 yards, then you need a lot of depth. But if you're not, then it doesn't necessarily have to matter."
On needing to tackle well because of Tech's receivers' short routes
"Sure. A big part of defending them is being able to tackle well and tackle in space and limit when they do catch the ball their yards after the catch. Definitely."
On if time of possession will be a factor this week
"Not as much as scoring points is. I've never been a guy that looks at time of possession. It is important to move the football and score points this game and about every one we'll play."
On OU's schedule setting up well with an off week before the Big 12 title game instead of having to play OSU
"Absolutely. It sets up perfectly. Our players have earned it through playing in a great way and working hard. They are looking forward to this game and afterwards realize they get a few days break over Thanksgiving to spend with their families, to be normal students and kids that go home and enjoy their families for a few days and still have plenty of time to get ready for a Big 12 Championship game. I think everyone would agree that playing the Oklahoma State game when it mattered and everything was on the line was good for everybody. I never heard anybody arguing about that that week. You guys don't want to give me credit for that, but ... (laughs)."
On Lubbock being one of the toughest road stops in the Big 12
"Every place has it's own differences. I believe about everywhere you go in this conference is difficult to play. Who's the toughest? I'm not much in to comparing. They're all difficult."
On Texas Tech's ability to score points in bunches
"No lead is safe. You have to continue to play through four quarters, continue to score and continue to defend. We like to go into all games that way. You never know what's going to happen so you always want to constantly play as hard as you can for four quarters. We do our best not to ever pay attention to the score as much as the way we're playing."
On if Mark Clayton has established himself as the go-to guy
"He is a go-to guy. It's been pretty obvious through Big 12 play he has been our go-to guy and he has produced in a huge way. Twelve of his 14 touchdowns are in Big 12 competition. He's made big plays and been over 100 yards in virtually every single game. Mark has just been incredible. Through everybody of equal competition in Big 12 play there hasn't been anybody that's played better."
On Trey DiCarlo's tremendous season
"Here's a guy that a year ago walked on and he has a chance this year to break the NCAA scoring record. He's been fabulous on the year. Near perfect on all of his field goals. Leads the country and all kickers in points. A big knock a year ago where his touchbacks. This year he has 38 touchbacks, which is more than probably anybody in the country. He's been fabulous, and a great, great surprise for us. We felt he'd be better this year and he has been."
On how much he knew about DiCarlo when he showed up in Norman
"I didn't know a whole lot about him. We were scrapping around trying to get anyone we could to kick it. Trey came in and I was just glad to start seeing somebody kick it end over end (laughs). I said, 'Oh we've got something here.' We had a few that were kicking spirals, and I said that ain't gonna cut it (laughs). He just got better and better. The thing I noticed about Trey is he's a lot better when there's a lot of people there. When he's in practice he sometimes gets disinterested, and as soon as there's a crowd there he's banging them right through. Some kickers are just the opposite, but he likes the stage, which helps him."
On how the players deal with all the talk of OU being in the national title game
"They understand from the last couple of years that we've lost two games the last two years. All we can control is to be as focused and prepared as we can be and let's not put ourself in position for that to happen again. I believe, unlike the last couple of years, we are stronger overall. I also believe mentally we are stronger. I believe we're fresher at this point in the year than we have been in the past. All of that adding up, I believe benefits us. We're not taking anything for granted for sure. The players understand that. We're just another year more mature in all positions. I sensed the team is still on edge and wanting to play."
On the emergence of backup players stepping up on defense like Gayron Allen and Calvin Thibodeaux
"We're getting more depth and more players ready to play. I think that's been a combination of a little more maturity. Calvin is a year older and he's had a year longer to practice. He's watched other guys play well and when he gets in there at practice, and he's had more game experience, he's gotten better through it, as well as Gayron. We were saying the other day that Gayron has a lot of ability. What's happened is he gets so many more practice snaps that it's showing up in games. So, that's positive to see. We have guys that are capable of playing and getting in there and making an impact. What I like is the two's that are getting their opportunities are focused in practice because they're going to have their chances here and they better be ready for it, otherwise they're going to let the team down. And they're prepared when they've gotten in there."
On if there is an advantage to playing Missouri in the Big 12 title game since they've already played and beaten them this year
"I don't know. I'd prefer to answer that question next week. I've said it before, I don't think it much matters. We exchange tape, everyone puts together a good plan and regardless of the situation you go out there and put it on the field again."
On Jason White making a strong case for the Heisman with his last two games
"Absolutely. The guy's thrown in the last two weeks for nine touchdowns and no interceptions. When you look at his touchdown to interception ratio compare it to Carson Palmer a year ago. I believe it's better. Thirty-six TD's to six interceptions is really remarkable. What people don't understand is that we are virtually a very similar team to a year ago. The biggest difference on our team and the biggest question mark all of you had coming into the year was the quarterback. So, with a similar offense and without a 2,000 yard rusher in Quentin Griffin, our production is much greater — points, yards, time of possession, everything that you want to look at — and that's because of Jason White. People want to say he's surrounded by good people, but he's the one driving it. We had great people a year ago too and didn't have this type of production. Now we had a great year and won the Big 12 championship, but we didn't have this kind of production offensively. Jason White is the major reason why that's happened."
On what Trent Smith could have done in this offense
"Without Trent we've just substituted a faster guy in there and have gone to more wide receivers at times, so it hasn't hurt us. It would've been good to have Trent, but again, we're managing without him. He's (White) finding other guys to get it to. Mark (Clayton) was here a year ago too. What I'm saying is people need to understand that he's (White) the one driving it all. The runs, the passes, as well as the offensive coordinators are able to give him more, which allows you to do more offensively, and that's where the production and points have come from. He is the catalyst behind it. He's the one driving it and he's the one producing it."
On the injury situation
"Everybody practiced yesterday and everybody at this point should be ready to play. Will (Peoples) went from highly doubtful the day before to highly likely, if highly likely is a new category (laughs). A good night's rest can do that to a guy. He came back yesterday and had a great practice, was in there the whole day and said he really just started to feel better. It's just a bruise that heeled quicker than we thought."
On if B. J. Symons is a distant second to White in the Heisman
"Yeah...you're asking the wrong guy (laughs). I'm sure Mike would have the opposite answer. I'm never going to go against another guy. That's just not my style. That's for all of you to judge. He's had a great year. There's a lot of factors that enter into that. There's a case for him and there's a case against him. But that's probably the same for everybody that you want to look at it. It's up to you to put up both cases, not me."
On if Arizona is a good fit for his brother
"I'm not going to talk about that. If there's a point whenever that he is appointed a head coach somewhere then I'll talk about it."
Stoops, Sooners shift focus to Tech
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