Below are excerpts from Oklahoma Head Coach Bob Stoops' weekly press conference Tuesday in Norman.
"Everyone understands what a great rivalry it is, what a great venue to play down there in the Cotton Bowl. Great competition every year. As always, we're excited about the challenge of it and looking forward to competing against a very good Texas team. Anyone ranked in the top five is awfully good.
"Their running game with Cedric Benson is where it all begins really. And then complimented with Vincent Young and his ability to pull it down and run as well is going to be the strongest part of our concentration — being physical up front, being where we should be in our gaps and tackling well when we're there. That will be the biggest factor defensively.
"Offensively, being able to maintain the balance — being able to run and throw. Hopefully we'll do our best to keep them off balance and execute is always a big factor. And the kicking game, like always, is a factor as well. We've played well in the kicking game, so hopefully we can keep that up.
"We're looking forward to the challenge of it. It will be another exciting event."
On Mack Brown's comment before the season that when Oklahoma beats Texas they talk about it all year
"I'm not going to sit here and comment on what other people are saying. I think the parts of that statement, and I don't know what Mack's reference of 'they' mean. They could mean media, could be fans. I don't know. I know as far as our staff, our program, we gauge our season by championships.
"Last year I think you would all say that I answered millions of questions on why we didn't win the championship, and I didn't hear one question about beating Texas last year. That's what our seasons are governed by and that's what we gauge whether we've had a successful year or not. We talk a lot more about national championships and Big 12 championships that we've won than we do about beating anybody else, not just Texas.
"That's what we'll continue to focus on. And if we win them (championships), we'll talk about that. And if we don't, usually that's what's talked about as well."
On how Texas' running game has improved from last year
"I think there's stronger emphasis on it. They are executing it in a very good way. That's been evident in four games. But I felt the last couple of years coming into our game that their running game had looked good and was strong. It always has been, for the last several years, the focal point of our defense — is making sure we're in a position to stop it first."
On how they'll stop Texas' running game
"I believe it gets down to a team effort of being where we should be in our run positions, whether it's taking on blocks and tackling and being disciplined in our run supports. Overall, run or pass, it's always a team discipline. And we've been pretty solid that way."
On the difference in Texas' defense with new coordinator Greg Robinson
"Structurally, yes, they're different – more zones. They were more man a year ago, though they sprinkled some (zone) in a year ago as well. Structurally, they're different than a year ago, but not unlike a lot of teams that you see in their coverage's and the fronts that they play."
On OU having a psychological edge on Texas having won four straight
"We never look at that that way. I've said that a number of times. We never hear any of that come out of our mouths. That's for air time and paper space. That's for you guys all to say and contemplate. We do the very best we can to have ourself ready to play and that's what we do each and every year. We don't look at anything that way. That doesn't do anything for us."
On OU-Texas game having an impact on recruiting
"It does. Playing in an atmosphere like this is definitely a plus and an advantage. There's such a tradition and history in this game, and then the venue it's played can all make a difference."
On the possibility of the OU-Texas game moving to the Dallas Cowboys new stadium in Arlington
"I've got a great president and athletic director, and if they feel that's what needs to happen then I've got great trust in them and would be all for whatever they felt was best for the university and for us. If that were the case it would be because of whatever certain expectations weren't met. So, there's a lot that's involved in that. And again, I trust our administration will always make what's the very best for our university, and I'd be all for whatever they feel is the right thing to do."
On if Kejuan Jones will play this week
"Yes. Had a really pretty good practice yesterday, so he should be ready to go provided everything this week goes as it should."
On Kejuan's role in the offense
"His role is what it's always been — to be a consistent, tough, hard playing guy for us and to make the plays when he's in there that he's capable of making. And he's made a lot for us. As a team, we don't worry about or concern ourself whatsoever with who the media decided to write about or talk about. Our job is to be prepared to win, and all the players and coaches have a role in that and do your best to fulfill it."
On if Adrian Peterson's youth will factor into who might start in a big game like OU-Texas
"He's a level-headed guy. I think he'll go in with a good balance and understanding of just playing within himself and realize all that matters is what's on the field. Let it come to you like you have every game and block everything else out. He's a sharp guy. He'll be able to do that."
On who will start at running back against Texas
"We'll work that out as we go through the week. It won't matter because regardless of who it is the other guy is going to get a significant amount of playing time. We'll see as we go through the week what we feel is the right way to approach it."
On Vincent Young throwing the ball better so far this season
"He does. I think where they have concentrated on are mostly intermediate shorter routes. They haven't thrown it as much as they have in the past when you look at the numbers. Again, their emphasis has been more on running and less on throwing. And again, more of the throwing has been intermediate to shorter routes, and those are areas that we've got to really focus on. "
On Texas' tight ends
"They're awfully good. They both run well, run really good routes and catch the ball well. They use them probably more than most people do. They're a strong focal point."
On the run game that's built around Vincent Young
"Like you see from a number of teams anymore who have quarterbacks with the ability to run, you see the zone where it's like a veer option. You start the zone away and he either gives or pulls it and runs with it, or they have designed quarterback counters. Those types of plays, draws. Those are plays anymore that you see from a variety of people and you have to work on through the year."
On if Paul Thompson has simulated Vince Young in practice
"No, we've used Rhett Bomar some, who may be as fast as Paul or faster. Right now that's how we've been doing it."
On what are the biggest keys to stopping Young and the zone read option play
"To be in position if they hand it off. And if he pulls it, be in position to tackle him with guys that are sitting there. Patience on the edge to read the play. And, really, you have to account for both of them (running back and quarterback). Just be in position to tackle and where you should be to defend it."
On if forcing Texas to pass would play into OU's hands
"For us everything starts with the run game with whoever we're defending. And a team that has run as strong as they have, that's definitely your major focus. If you can get them in those situations to have to pass, hopefully you can convert and make plays against it."
On if Adrian Peterson is an example of how big the winning the OU-Texas game helps recruiting
"No, to me it's way overblown. Beating Texas and doing very little the rest of the year isn't going to get you a whole lot of recruits. What's more important, I think, is the fact that we've been in two of the last four national championships, won two of the last four Big 12 championships and been in three of them. Those are the factors I think that you guys all overlook. Those are impressive to recruits. A guy looks at the last four years our seniors have been in the Orange Bowl, Rose Bowl, Cotton and Sugar Bowl. That matters to kids a lot more than just beating Texas. Again, you guys have lost sight of that. What you do the rest of the year matters a whole lot more than that game."
On if Texas knows what they're trying to do more than in previous seasons
"I felt like they've always known what they were doing. Whether you agree or not, they've come in ranked last year about the same. I don't think they had any questions last year. They had good players, a lot of the same guys are still there and playing and playing well. Again, I thought they were awfully good last year and year's past. And I think they're are again this year."
On the defensive ends being key to stopping the Texas running game
"That's a good part of defending them — is discipline on the edges. Those guys have played really well and have a lot of experience for us, so hopefully they can make a lot of plays and be really disciplined in this game. They've played really in a smart way and have ability on the edge, so hopefully they'll make the plays that count."
Stoops on Texas
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