Below are excerpts from Oklahoma Head Coach Bob Stoops' weekly press confernece in Norman.
On Kansas State
"Proud of the way our players competed through four quarters, overcame some adversity and still fought their way through to a good victory on the road. We always have a lot of respect for Kansas State and their persistence in the way they compete. They're always well-prepared and a tough team, and to go in there and win was another solid win.
"I really like, offensively, the way we stuck with the run game. In the second half, being behind after the interception, it would've been easy to just all of the sudden just trying to throw it, but we stuck to what we were doing and kept running the ball well. I really liked the way Jason responded and came back in the very next drive — five straight completions, put the ball in the end zone for a touchdown. And then the drive in the fourth quarter as well. Just the way we ran, threw it — all of that — was very positive.
"Defensively, I thought after we settled in in the first quarter we really made some adjustments. The guys settled in and started seeing the way they were trying to attack us and really defended very well —pass and run. Limiting them to one yard rushing is very solid. We made a lot of big plays blitzing and getting to the quarterback, which gave our offense the ball in really good field position a good number of times.
"I thought Blake Ferguson was very good punting. I thought he did an excellent job. Some guys we cited as having great games defensively — Jonathan Jackson, Dan Cody, Rufus Alexander. Dan and Rufus were co-defensive players of the game. Lance Mitchell inside, Brodney Pool. All those guys in the secondary, I thought for the most part, really played well too. Offensively, J.D. Runnels was given a game ball and was voted player of the game with Jason White, Mark Clayton and Travis Wilson."
Mark's (Mangino) done a great job, and his staff, in a short period of time getting them to a bowl game last year. This year they're 3-3, but they lose to Tech in the last minute of the game missing two field goals. They had an opportunity to win that game, and everyone knows Tech is going to go on and win a bunch of games. Also, at Nebraska — very close to winning that game. So, they've made great improvement. They really have their team playing hard, playing smart. You can see their talent level continues to improve. They're a good team. We realize we've got to come in and make sure we take care of our business and play as well as we can play."
On how much attention he's paying to the BCS at this point in the season
"Outside of having to answer questions about it, not a whole lot just because there's so much of the season left. It's great for college football that everyone's talking about it. I'm not saying there's anything negative about it, but realize that all that matters is you have to continue to play well.
"There's so much of the season left. Everyone always assumes that everybody's going to be undefeated at the end of the year. Last year we're the only team in the country undefeated after the regular season. The year before there was Miami and Ohio State. The year before that it was just Miami. The year before us it was just us. I think us and Miami two of the last four years have been undefeated through the regular season twice, and Ohio State would be the other. So, there aren't that many. It's not easy to do. At the end this will all work it's way out and we'll see where it leads.
On if he likes the current structure of the BCS
"I always feel just be careful what you wish for. I think our regular season is so exciting, we're going to go into a five-six week playoff right now. And that's why everybody from coast-to-coast is watching each league — who's doing well, who's doing what. That's why our regular season is looked at so positively.
"You de-value the regular season to some point if you all of the sudden just have a playoff and people wait for just that to get excited about. That's why these stadiums are packed every single week across the country. The TV is what it is each week no matter who you're playing. That's why there's so much interest from coast-to-coast on each game because virtually we're in a playoff.
"I'm not criticizing basketball because March Madness is great, but I don't know that the (college basketball) regular season across the country is followed as closely. We're going to get to a tournament eventually (NCAA basketball tournament), let's wait until then to get mad about it. We've got September, October, November madness right now. I look at players' time demands, and think what we're doing is good. It will never be perfect, but that's OK. It doesn't have to be."
On what impact that Pac-10 and ACC not having conference championship games like the Big 12 could have on the BCS standings
"There's two sides of it. Again, that's always the difficult part of it is no one ever said it's fair. The bottom line is you have to win. The positive side of it is, for instance for LSU last year, the SEC championship game put them in (BCS title game). So, there's that side of it. For us, in most years it would've put us out of it. We had such a strength a year ago that it didn't. It's just the way it is. You deal with it and play with what they tell you to play."
On running up the score helping with the voters and making the wins look more impressive
"You've got a good point there, and I've thought of that. I actually thought of it during the game with Tech. We should probably run it in here to get it to 35-13 on the 1-yard line, and there was plenty of time to do it. And then the other side of me says that's a guy I coached with across the way there that helped us start this turnaround.
"I try to stick to principles, and I just don't believe in that. But there's a point you may have to. When it gets down to if you're trying to impress voters that are maybe in other parts of the country that haven't seen the game — that are looking at the score and looking statistics and wanting to see how did you really play here, even though they didn't see the game. Another score helps you in that regard. So, that's something to be considered. Definitely."
On his opinion how the computer polls are formulated
"I've got plenty to think about without getting into all of that. All we can do is do our best win and play as well as we can. That's all I can control and that's all I think about."
On since he wouldn't run it up on Mike Leach, what other coaches he would he have tried to run it in for an extra score with the ball on the 1-yard line late in the game to impress the voters
"Of all the people that shouldn't complain it would be Leach, and I know he wouldn't (laughs). I'm sure he was surprised we didn't.
"I loved his analogy (on running up the score). He said, 'In basketball, when you're up big they don't start shooting air balls. In golf, they don't start shanking shots to make it close. Why is that football is the only one that you quit and don't score?' As always, Mike had a great analogy there.
"Yes, I think it's fair to say in some of those instances we might do something different if need be."
On the status of Rufus Alexander and Carl Pendleton
"It's still to be determined. Right now Rufus is scheduled to practice today. We'll see how it goes. And Carl, we're hopeful by the end of the week he'll be able to do some things. We just don't know. It will be something that we'll just see as the week goes."
On Steven Colemen's turf toe
"He's improved from a week ago. Last week was really tender on that, couldn't really push off. He was doing a little bit better yesterday. Hopefully, it'll be improved by Friday."
On the offensive schemes they've faced the last two weeks allowing Dan Cody to have better games
"Yes, definitely. I said that early and I think you guys sometimes think I'm making stuff up. The way they get back and letting it go on one or two steps and intentionally not taking sacks, they're also helping us too. You're not putting many points up that way either. In the end, they're avoiding some bad plays but they're also limiting their opportunities to move the ball and score. So, yes, I don't think there's any question as we're playing more conventional (offenses) it gives you more opportunities. They're taking more risks and shots trying to put thereself in a position to win, which gives you more opportunities to make plays too."
On Kansas State's passing success in the first quarter
"They came out with no-back sets, which stretched us a little more. We've seen that plenty of times. There wasn't anything real confusing about it other than they hit a couple of third downs that we could've been a little more disciplined in our positioning. In their second touchdown, we had a perfect call for it and one of our safeties gets caught bluffing a blitz and comes out of it and loses five yards of positioning. If he's in the right position, we're in great shape. We kind of helped make it look more difficult to handle than it was. Once we settled into it after that, we really played great from that point on and pressured it well once we knew how they kind of wanted to attack."
On if Rufus Alexander is on his way to being the next great linebacker at OU
"Rufus, the other day, was just incredible. Forced two fumbles, recovered one, had a bunch of hurries and tackles. And Lance Mitchell had a heck of a game again too. I think Lance is settling in with more conventional offenses and getting more opportunities to make plays and have an impact in there too."
On Chijioke Onyenegecha's play against Kansas State
"Played really well. Chijioke's played really well since he's been in there. The last two games, playing a lot, (Chijioke) has been strong, making good plays, which is really helping."
On if Moe Dampeer's play helped his status on the team
"Hopefully, it's a positive impact — that he'll continue to do and work in a way that gives him an opportunity to play. As I've said before, those requirements aren't anything too difficult to handle. That's just your participation, whether it's class, workouts and practice. There's a certain level that you need to achieve to have an opportunity. So, that's up to him as we go. You would think it would give a guy more hunger to get on there more."
On if Dampeer could play quite a bit this weekend if he he does the right things this week
"I don't know what you're definition of quite a bit is, but possibly. We'll see how it goes."
On coming from behind to beat Kansas State helping the team in a similar situation down the road
"Sure, there's no question. I think it shows a lot of character. Everybody had deja vu on that interception. It would have been easy, away from home, for everyone to think here we go again. Instead, we get the ball and take it right back and go right back down the field. And Jason, especially, was 5-for-5 on that drive and some key third and fourth down pickups."
On if sticking with the running game against Kansas State was something he ordered or just discipline by the offensive coaches
"I think it's discipline on their part. I didn't order anything, but I also wasn't encouraging them to open it up either. I said let's stick to what we've been doing. The guys knew we still had opportunities moving the ball, and we did. We opened up some when we had to on some of those third downs, but also stuck to the running game and made them continue to deal with it."
On who's graded the highest on the offensive line
"Jammal Brown first, with Vince (Carter) and Wes (Sims). Wes has really come on this year and has really been playing in a strong way too. The other guys are as well, but those guys probably have graded the highest. I shouldn't take Davin (Joseph) for granted either. He's really played pretty well too."
On the similarities between OU and KU's offense
"There's some plays that Mark had used here that they still use as well us and Tech use as well. All three of us have some plays that are all similar, but overall I don't know that their personality is run-oriented as ours is along with play-action. Some of the spread stuff is somewhat similar."
On the importance of staying with the running game
"You look at how many times we threw it last year in the Big 12 championship game. We had opportunities for sacks, hits on the quarterback, interceptions, which were probably just reversed in this game where we ran it more. It produced yards in the fourth quarter and it produced a touchdown clinching drive. When you become one-dimensional it's just easier to defend."
On facing former assistant Mark Mangino
"It's different. Mark and I have a great friendship. Mark and I have been together a long time. A lot of tough years at Kansas State, early years there and we were winning. And then three years here. So, together we were probably working as assistants together for five or six years. Then I looked at it as working with him here for me three years. A lot of tough times, a lot of great experiences. Our families are very close. We have a strong relationship that's been built through a long number of years and a lot of experiences. I respect the way Mark does things.
"But when you get down to playing, once you go out on the field it isn't Mark and I, it's the programs. It's KU versus Oklahoma, and that's it. You go to work and that's how I look at it. It's all business and doing your best as programs."
On ESPN's Heisman Poll listing Adrian Peterson as the favorite
"I don't follow it all. I don't know that anybody that's putting out those early votes, probably 90 percent of them don't get to vote. I'm just guessing. I don't know. And it changes. You know how fickle everything is. One week it is and the next week it isn't depending on how you play. No, we don't pay any attention to it."
On if he ever envisioned Peterson getting 36 carries in a game
"Sure we did. Would I have envisioned that the first game of the year? No, but by the sixth game? Sure. Also, what you guys all fail to realize is you keep talking about Adrian. Well, I realized that we had a stronger offensive line back. I understood that we had worked harder on the way we were going to run and how we were going to run. We have an incredible fullback. We've got a stronger tight end to block. We also realized that the pieces with the running back were going to be stronger and better. So, we did anticipate being able run this way and for it to be a stronger factor in our offense. We felt, whether it's Adrian or someone else, that we're still going to be able to do our best to hammer it when we had to."
On how other teams are looking at trying to stop OU's offense
"I think you have to pick your shots. It's a little bit of guessing, but a little bit of strategizing on how to do both. I know where we start. We're going to do everything we can to take away your run game as a defense. I think more and more people are trying to do that with us to. We've got great confidence in being able to throw the ball when we have to as well, which four TD passes last week shows that."
On how hard it is to get players to look at one game at a time
"I think you just appeal their intelligence. These are smart guys. All we can control is what we have an opportunity to do Saturday, and none of it''s going to happen without us playing well and winning."
On if they tell the players not to read the newspapers or watch television
"No, because whether they try not to our not someone's going to bring it up to them. There's so much media anymore, they're bound to hear it. It's more of just appeal to their reasoning and understanding what matters here and what we can control.
"They understand how fickle you guys can be. Last year was a great example to them. They were the best in the world for how many weeks? And then as soon as they lost, now they weren't anything. So, you guys taught them the best lesson. It gets down to what can you do anything about. We're the one's that have to play. Everyone else can talk about it, we've got to go play."
On if the players give Peterson a hard time about the Heisman race
"The players understand that Adrian doesn't have anything to do with this, outside of playing hard for Oklahoma and doing the best he can. He's a great teammate. He works hard. He knows he's got a lot of guys helping him. Not only does he got a lot of guys in front blocking, he's got a quarterback back there and receivers that people are worried about too. He understands the whole complexities of it all.
"Again, our guys have been around all this attention now going on for five years now and they understand we don't control that. We don't orchestrate it. It isn't Adrian's fault. It isn't mine, it isn't anyone else's. If anything, they realize it can be a burden. I think as much as anything they see that and just want to help him out."
On if thinks Peterson is the best running back in the country, and if there is any other running back in the country he'd rather have than Peterson
"That's not for me to say. I don't get to see everybody all the time. But it's fair to say that I've seen enough of what he's done here that I'm not looking for anybody else. Sure, he's an impressive guy.
"You guys keep asking me if I'm surprised (by Peterson). I guess his strength and toughness really have stuck out to me. Last week, the tough yards, whatever. He just attacks people. You don't see a lot of young, or even old guys, that go after people like he goes after them."
On who Peterson reminds him of
"I don't know. He has an erect running style, so you people bring up Chris Brown or Eric Dickerson, who kind of ran in the same way. I think he has that kind of speed like Dickerson. So, I don't know. He reminds me of Adrian."
Stoops talks KSU, KU and the BCS
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