Stoops on Bowling Green

Oklahoma Head Coach Bob Stoops talked about Saturday's season opener against Bowling Green and other Sooner related topics during his weekly press conference Tuesday in Norman. See inside for a complete transcript of Stoops' comments. (Photo provided by

Opening Statement
"It's good to start off the season here in 2004. Like everybody in college football, anxious to get going and get out and compete. I think everyone, I know we are, you get tired of working against each other and you want to see a different opponent."

On Bowling Green
"We're excited about the opportunity playing a very good Bowling Green team. Coach Brandon and his staff have done a great job a year ago winning 11 games, winning their bowl game, beating Purdue at Purdue, taking Ohio State to the wire. A very strong football team, well-coached. Very good athletes running around.

"We recognize it as a very big and strong challenge to come out ready to play, right from the start. I believe our is ready to do that. We've had excellent work through the spring, summer and here through two-a-days leading up to the the season.

"We've got a good number of starters and experience back. Probably our most experienced overall team when you look at seniors and juniors that are in the first two units. Hopefully, we can translate that into a very strong year and a year that we'll have a chance, in the end, to compete for championships. That's what we're after, but it all begins this week with a very good Bowling Green team."

On being 33 point favorites
"I didn't know that's what it was. I never really pay attention to that. That has no bearing on us. That doesn't mean anything. They're a very good football team. They're very sound and disciplined in how they play. You look at their record the last few years, and what are 6-1 against Big 12 and Big 10 opponents. They're not coming in here impressed with anybody. We realize that and our guys will be anxious to play and go see what we can do to."

On what to expect from Bowling Green offensively and defensively
"Offensively, they're very wide open. A lot of four receiver sets and no backfield sets. I don't want to say they're like Texas Tech, because Texas Tech is very unique in what they do. Bu they have a lot of similarities with their quick bubble screens and their quick throws and the way they use their run game. There are similarities to the Tech wide open offense and those that you see play with four receivers. They spread it out and go shotgun most of the time. That's their style and they've been very effective in it. They were in the top 15-20 in the offensive categories in virtually every one a year ago.

"Defensively, very standard and coached well as you watch them with their 4-3 and their four and five DB sets, and the way they play zone, mix in zones and sneak in some man-to-man. Pretty standard in how they play, but they are very sound and disciplined in how they play. They're coached well."

On if they'll be able to play the three linebackers this week against Bowling Green's three and four receiver packages
"Some. Some teams would warrant it more than others."

On if motivating his team for Bowling Green will be a challenge this week

On the lack of injuries during two-a-days
"I don't recall where we've had a lot of injuries in preseason drills other years. We do our best to be very smart in the way we practice physical, but still staying up, staying on our feet and taking care people and not getting those major injuries. I has been very clean that way. We've had some minor sprained ankles or slight pulls that I believe at this point have all healed up. We do come into the season very healthy I believe and ready to go."

On if Adrian Peterson's shoulder injury is the reason D.J. Wolfe will not redshirt
"No. Our thought process is to always play a guy that we feel is in a position to play and contribute to us winning and improve us. D.J. has earned through his work through the spring, winter and summer and the way he's worked during two-a-days. He's put himself in position to contribute and play a lot in every part of the game. He's very, very good. An excellent athlete. On his own merits, he has earned that right to play.

"Adrian as well, being that he missed some time with the shoulder injury, is back and working his way back in there. And we plan to play Adrian as well. How much the two of them, along with KeJuan Jones, will depend on their performance and how they handle situations and the different aspects of the game. Whether it's protection, assignment responsibilities, receiving. All the things outside of just toting the football. But D.J. has earned his position just on the way he's performed himself."

On how much Wolfe graduating from high school early helped him
"I think it gives him a big boost in that it allowed him an opportunity to just to become more familiar with what we're doing at an earlier time, and then for it all to soak in after spring ball through the summer. And then to have a refresher coarse during two-a-days and in pre-camp. It gives you an edge.

On throwing to the tight ends more in the scrimmages
"Don't give away any more secrets. We thought we were hiding that. Really like the way they've performed. Bubba Moses, Willie Roberts and Joe John Finley have really come on. Each of them do a lot of good things and are catching the ball well and running better routes. It will definitely be a stronger part of our offense this year."

On if he knows of any other freshmen who will not redshirt
"We're close. Marcus Walker is still a possibility, although we're still a little unsure there. Garrett Hartley is ... we'll see. Right now we feel Trey (DiCarlo) is a little bit ahead, provided those shin splints have heeled up for the most part. Provided he stays consistent and solid, then we will likely go that way. But if that doesn't hold up, Garrett's going to continue work and be in a position to play. He's awfully good.

On the possibility of DiCarlo and Hartley alternating on kick-offs
"Doubtful. Right now I see that Trey has an edge in both categories, so if that holds up that's the way we'd stay."

On the defensive tackle rotation
Lynn McGruder and Dusty Dvoracek right now have really been solid. Also, Carl Pendleton has really had an excellent preseason camp, and coming into this week has really put himself in a position to rotate evenly with those other two guys. Steve Coleman and Remi Ayodele have both come on. Remi has made good, strong progress. Has been a great worker, and is just kind of refining techniques and continuing to polish and play the way Coach Shipp wants him. But he's working hard at it and is very close to what we need."

On how they'll determine to use their running backs
"Some of it's the flow of the game. Some of it is as we get out there and start to progress in it, if certain guys guys are better in certain situations that's how we'll start to use them. I do believe when we have done that in the past it has allowed a guy to stay fresh and play better in the fourth quarter, in that he hasn't totally been run down through the game. And we'll see how that works with these guys.

"For instance, Quentin Griffin at that time was better in some formations than others, and it saved him I believe and kept him more fresh in those situations not having to pound it up in short-yardage. We'll see how those guys handle those situations and start to find out who's really excelling in one area."

On why freshmen come to college more prepared to play than in the past
"I think their development just starts so much younger these days. They're so much more aware in younger ages of their weight training, nutrition, the way they build their bodies. And even mentally, they're coached so well at high school and even the lower levels, that they come in more prepared today than they used to be."

On if they are coming in equal to some of the juniors and seniors
"There's still a learning curve. There are very few who come in as polished as guys that have been here several years and have had more weight training and more development. And there's a natural maturity process that takes place as you become older. Most guys just naturally become stronger just through the maturity process.

On the plan at quarterback if Jason White gets injured
"You guys talked about that a lot more a year ago than you did now. I'm not too excited to talk about that. As we said Paul Thompson is the No. 2 quarterback. But we're not going to use Paul in situation where we may be fortunate enough to have a big lead to play him just in those situations because we feel he's progressed beyond that.

"It would be a gametime situation depending on what Jason's status would be and what we feel we need to do. Paul will always be ready to go, and then from there Tommy Grady as well. We're still continuing to develop Rhett Bomar and keeping him up with the first two teams, so he continues to learn and progress as well."

On if Tommy Grady has progressed enough to put him in a game should Jason White get hurt
"Yes. Tommy has really progressed well and continues to. The more snaps he gets, the more improvement he's made. We would feel comfortable doing that."

On if there's any scenario that Rhett Bomar would play other than all three quarterbacks becoming injured
"At this point, yes, it would take that. But again, depending on how he continues to progress and learn, and he's done it in an incredible way. I don't mean to say at all that he's behind. He has far exceeded anyone that we've had here in such a short amount of time in the way he throws and his thought process. We've been more than pleased and excited about his progress and what his future holds. He's going to be special."

On Antonio Perkins' defensive skills being overlooked
"I believe so. That's been asked a lot here lately in the last couple of weeks. Antonio Perkins has been a very good and very solid cornerback for us. Unfortunately, he's been such a special return man that that's what everyone cites him for. And, he's had Derrick Strait on the other side, who's been one of our more special players in the last several years. Therefore, not many people have mentioned him as a cornerback. But he has played, through the spring, in that way that Derrick has played. And has a chance this year if he continues to play like he has, to show that he deserves that kind of recognition as a cornerback as well."

On the competition for the other starting cornerback spot
"It's been really fun to watch through all our practices leading up here to the game how those guys have progressed.

"Eric Bassey is a great worker, has great enthusiasm and excitement everyday. I watch him in that position quite a bit, but he has really pushed himself to play at a great level, and he has. In our scrimmages out here he's played as well as anybody. He understand that he's a focal point in the defense, that he's got to make sure he's solid. He's worked hard at it, and he has the tools to do it.

"Chijioke Onyenegecha has really come on. In all our scrimmages, he's been excellent. In our practice he's been excellent. – showing a lot more consistency and responsibility and is making a lot of plays. He's a guy that right now would be in third position and will play. We're excited about his progress.

"Jowahn Poteat, Marcus Walker and Darien Williams are all still progressing, but are doing well. Jowahn's had a real good camp as well."

On if Onyenegecha's hamstring is still a problem
"No. He's been beyond his hamstring for quite a while. We haven't gone out and had a race lately, but I'll promise you if we did he'd be up there in the top few. There's a few other guys who also have great speed. If you just threw them out there right now, I'd imagine he'd up there, Eric Bassey, Adrian Peterson, Mark Bradley, Antonio Perkins. It would depend on the day who's feeling well, but they're all pretty fast. Jason (White) hasn't quite reached that yet (laughs)."

On the Lance Mitchell and the linebackers
"Having him back (Lance Mitchell) is really pleasing to anybody who likes to watch defense. His presence in the middle is noticeable. To me, defense starts with the two inside d-linemen and your middle linebacker. He's been very good. He's running around in a great way. You'd never know he ever had a knee injury. I believe he's even quicker than he was a year ago.

"Our 'SAM' backers, I believe, were much improved in Clint Ingram and Demario Pleasant, the way they're holding down that 'SAM' position. And very athletic the way they play. Gayron Allen and Rufus Alexander at the 'WILL' spot have made great strides. That year of experience Gayron had a year ago I think is really going to benefit him. And Rufus, the added time has really helped him. He's really made big progress here."

On using the 'SAM' linebacker position moreso than in the past
"We feel they're more athletic and more capable in space and removed out with receivers in pass coverage and in blitzing than we have been in the past. There is that thought that we'll leave them out on the field more than we have in the past."

On if the team is in midseason form
"We'll find out Saturday. In practice you can only tell so much. I believe we've prepared well and still have three good practices this week to be ready. We'll see. The true test is once you get out there."

On if they approached the season differently because of the large number of returning starters
"No. Outside of we were able to progress through our installation and what we're running on offense, defense quicker than maybe in some other years. But outside of that, our camp was run like it always has been. Those guys are in those starting positions got as many snaps in practice and scrimmages as other years."

On if he has a bigger sense of security with the amount of starters returning
"No. Unlike what people may write or think, we're never secure. We always realize we've got to go out and play on our level, to play on edge and to play as well as we can to have an opportunity to win. If you don't, then you're no different than anybody else. We're always fully aware of that, so there's no sense of security at all."

On the Davin Joseph and Wes Sims experiment on the offensive line
"That's something that I'm doubtful that will end up happening. I know Coach Wilson will still end up working with it and experimenting with it, but at this point we'll so. I don't know that that's something we'll end up doing."

On if Larry Birdine will be a major factor this year
"We'll see. At times Larry has played well. That's what we're looking for, is the consistency in level of play. Watching him through practice I believe he's made improvements, but we have to see that on the field on Saturday too."

On Moe Dampeer progress
"He's not in a position right now, but somewhere down the line he may be. He's worked hard and has made some improvements. But he's not in that first four or five, so as he continues to work up to it we'll see."

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