Stoops: "We don't apologize for being here"

Seen insdide for news, notes and quotes from Oklahoma's practice Tuesday at the Superdome in New Orleans. Pictured left: Oklahoma coach Bob Stoops talks with wide reciever Mark Clayton as the team stretches prior to practice at the Superdome on Tuesday. (AP Photo/Dave Martin)

NEW ORLEANS - Oklahoma finished their fourth day of workouts in New Orleans Tuesday afternoon, and once again one of the major focuses was on the offensive line.

Tuesday's workout wasn't as physical as the first three, but the Sooners worked out for two and a half hours and OU offensive line coach and running game coordinator Kevin Wilson seemed to be working his unit the hardest.

Oklahoma knows that they'll need a strong performance from the running game to beat LSU, and Wilson has worked his linemen hard since the day they returned from Kansas City.

"I didn't go out recruiting the first week after the Big 12 championship game," said Wilson. "I was in the office, so I was able to show the film to the guys right away. They saw what happened and what they did wrong. We counted the knockdowns and there wasn't many. They saw that Jason got harassed, so we started working on the positive and showing them clips of their great plays throughout the year. We tried to start putting positive images in their heads.

"Since we have been here we have had the best two days of scrimmages for the offensive line since I have been here. We have more than handled our own against our defensive line. They are getting after it. I couldn't be any happier with how things are going now. The guys are ready to be aggressive and ready to go."

But despite the focus on the running game, Wilson says the Sooners haven't forgotten about the fact that they also need to focus on protecting Jason White from the Tigers' blitz schemes.

"They are an all-out blitzing type team, and we've played those teams before," Wilson said. "If they blitz on every play then they are rolling the dice. We really like those styles because it gives us a great opportunity to hit some big plays, but we have to be patient. We have to let things come to us. I'm really happy with the gameplan we put together. I think we can have a big day."

Wilson also took the time to give his thoughts on LSU's offense.

"They are very sound pro-style offense. (Matt) Mauck doesn't make mistakes. He just wins games. He's not the most athletic guy and he's not a great thrower. He just wins games. They don't have a franchise running back, but they have several who are very good. LSU is a very good football team. They're sound in all areas and well-coached."

Brotherly Love
We had a chance to catch up with former Oklahoma defensive coordinator and new Arizona Head Coach Mike Stoops after Tuesday's practice to get the scoop on exactly what role he'll be performing on the sidelines Sunday. Stoops says he will dress out in his coaches gear and wear headsets, but he won't offer any advice unless he's asked.

"I'm just going to be on the sideline," Mike Stoops said. "For the most part I'll just be a fan and listen in. I'll have a headset, but I'm mainly going to observe. If Brent asks me my opinion on what I'll see I'll respond."

"Mike hasn't been in staff meetings, but he does stick his head into the DB meetings and chimes in when appropriate," said Bob Stoops. "He's just trying to make sure I don't screw up what he's built over the last few years."

Teddy's ready
OU senior linebacker Teddy Lehman told us today that he thought the Sooner defense has been on top of their game thus far through the first four days of practice. Lehman says the defense wants to focus on getting their assignments down during the rest of their practices to be ready for Sunday.

"We are totally ready to play," said the senior from Ft. Gibson. The gameplan is in — we're just refining it. We want to play with a reckless abandon, so we need to get the gameplan down first to be able to do that."

Lehman also noted that even though he feels the defense has been on top of their game in practice this week, that the offense has been playing extremely well.

Key matchup
One of the interesting matchup's to watch on Sunday is OU's receivers against LSU's defensive backs. The Sooners expect to see a lot of blitzing from the Tiger defense, which would put the pressure the Sooner receivers to get open on LSU's bump and run pressure coverage.

Sophomore receiver Travis Wilson talked about the matchup against LSU's secondary after Tuesday's practice.

"It's going to be a great challenge," said Wilson. "They're not the most physical defense we will play, but they know how to play it. It's going to be a challenge to get off the first bump at the line of scrimmage and get down field. If we can get off the initial bump at the line, we have a chance to make great plays."

Let the games begin
Up until Monday the quotes between the LSU and Oklahoma camps have shown each other nothing but respect. But LSU head coach Nick Saban was upset Monday when Oklahoma went over the allotted time for their practice at the Sugar Bowl.

Well, the Tigers showed up on time for practice again on Tuesday ready to go, but the Sooners didn't budge and ran over their allotted time again. Saban may not be happy that the Sooners are delaying their practice start time, but Bob Stoops isn't happy that his Sooners have to be told when to stop practice.

So, for the first time their appears to be some tension and gamesmenship between the two squads. Stay tuned ...

No apologies
OU Head Coach Bob Stoops was asked at his press conference on Tuesday about USC not playing in the Sugar Bowl. And as you can imagine, Stoops didn't back down with his response.

"We don't apologize for being here," said Stoops. "We deserve to be here. No one gave us the No. 1 ranking in the BCS. We earned it."

"We were the best college football team according to everybody for 12 weeks. Everybody lost a game before us, and if we were better than everybody all year long why aren't we still after one loss? I think there are two great teams playing for the national championship."

More notes
We told you yesterday to expect more carries out of Renaldo Works and that still appears to be the case after talking to Works after practice today. Works says he's 100 percent healthy again and is ready to carry his share of the load if needed ... You haven't read any stories about OU players getting in trouble on Bourbon St., and we don't expect that you will. We asked several players after practice today about any interesting encounters they've had thus far and most said they just go out to dinner and back to the hotel room. Only senior defensive tackle Kory Klein admitted that he spent some time at Harrah's Casino. And even then Klein said he lost $100 and isn't going back to lose more ... On the docket tonight for the Sooners is a team dinner at a popular Big Easy dining establishment known as 'The Dock' ... The Sooners are scheduled to practice from 2:45-5 p.m. on Wednesday. OU's defensive coaches and select players on defense will also hold a press conference at 10:30 a.m. Wednesday morning.

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