Below are excerpts from Oklahoma Head Coach Bob Stoops' weekly press conference Tuesday in Norman.
On Oklahoma State
"Another huge game. The more you win and move down the year the more important the games become. This is a big game in the Big 12 South in our race to be a Big 12 South Champion and to represent the South in the Big 12 championship game. This is a major factor and a major game in that race. We understand the challenge in front of us."
"You watch Oklahoma State last week, really a great come-from-behind victory against Missouri, where guys stepped up and made plays when they had to make them. We recognize that it gives them a lot of confidence, but we go in knowing that's it's going to be an exciting game. We've got to come in and play to our ability, and I liked the way we practiced yesterday and the attitude we have coming into the week. Hopefully, we can hit our stride and play like we're capable of for four quarters this coming week. That's what we're pushing to do."
On if he sees an excitement among the players before playing an in-state rival
"I do. And I see the fact that they recognize, much like coming into last year's game, that this is a major factor in pushing for the championship in our conference."
On what difference OSU's running game presents than other teams they've faced this year
"They're similar in some ways. As far as schemes and formations, there are some strong similarities to Texas in using tight ends and quarterback counters, quarterback run game and their emphasis on the tailback. Those are some strong similarities. But then as you watch the last few you have your shotgun plays and zone reads. Some of those stuff are similar to what we have seen, but just different people in what you're looking at. There are some similarities, definitely."
On why Les Miles has had success against him
"They've beat us a couple of times, so that'd be for you to say why. In the end, whenever you get beat someone played better than you and coached better than you. That's happened in those two games."
On OSU having more confidence when they play OU than against other teams in the Big 12
"I sense that with anyone we play. When teams come in they are usually pretty excited to play us. We're used to that."
On what challenges OSU's running game poses to the defense
"Just like it does against any team that emphasizes the run. The challenge is for you to be disciplined to cancel gaps, to be physical taking on blocks, to hold you own and separate from them and be in a position to make tackles. And when you do, to be physical and tackle well. There are schemes that they try, whether they're pulling people, to out-gap you and find creases, and it's your job to cancel those as you go throughout the play."
On if he enjoys seeing OSU have success and having two strong teams in the state
"I'm indifferent to that. People talk about you should root for your conference, I'm not sitting around rooting for anybody in our conference. I'm being honest (laughs). And I don't root against them. I watch games very indifferent because we're so consumed. All we can do is worry about ourself. Outside of that, whatever happens out there you don't have any control about it. I'm not a fan, I'm a coach. So, I'm sitting there worried about us and us alone, and trying to do the best to get ourself in position to win."
On if he has any orange in his wardrobe
"Not that I know of."
On if he'd ever buy anything orange
"Let's get on to some decent questions."
On the injury situation
"Carl (Pendleton) practiced yesterday. Should get more and more practice as we go. Antonio (Perkins) I don't believe will be in a position to play. I think everybody else is set to play."
On if OSU's defense has improved from last year
"I believe so. They've played really well. You watch them against Missouri last week in the second half really play in a great way and really a big part of turning that game around. Everyone always compares. Last year was last year. I don't know how they compare statistically to that. It doesn't do me any good to go back and look. It's hard to say. They're running a lot of the same structures on defense."
On OSU running back Vernand Morency
"I think he's a very good back, very strong back. He's excellent. He's strong, he's got good speed, finds the right creases. And they emphasized him, so he's a good player."
On how much more he likes playing OSU now than when it was played after Thanksgiving
"It's funny, I don't hear anyone complaining anymore. You guys hate to say that maybe some other people were right, but you can't complain the last few years. There's been great attention to it across the country. It's an important game and it's the second year in a row College GameDay's there. You have to admit maybe it's enhanced the game, which is a good thing."
On if they'll try anyone else returning punts other than JeJuan Rankins on Saturday
"Coming into this game, we're going to get Mark Clayton back there more and possibly Brandon Jones. They catch them every day. To them, it isn't anything new. They catch them every day for a couple of years now."
On OSU's base defense playing five defensive backs is any different than what they've played this year
"There are a lot of the same principles when it comes to the shell that they work out of and they way they position their secondary. It's similar to what we've seen in the last several weeks."
On if he wants the players to show more excitement during the week of a big game
"We go about our pattern through the week the same all the time, but there's always a little more sense of urgency and a little more focus and energy in their step. You feel that as you go through the week on these kind of games."
On if the players can get too excited
"We've been in a few big games, so no. We understand that doesn't do much for you."
On if it's an advantage to have been in more big games than other teams they play
"I don't know if it is or not. But I'd say, again, that we feel comfortable in them and we have reacted well in those situations."
On OSU quarterback Donovan Woods' progress
"He made some excellent plays. You can see more and more that they're using the passing game more as they work through the year. It's still not a great number of throws. They're still conservative in how they do it, but they're going after more deep balls. They like to run it and take their shots. Last week, he made several plays with his feet, which you would expect. They're giving him more opportunities to make plays."
On how they'll counter OSU offensive style of establishing the run and then using play-action passes
"Well, you've got to stop the run and then when they throw it over the top you've got to be back there. That's not unlike teams we've been playing. Texas was very similar. They wanted to pound the run and take their shots too, and had a quarterback that could run. Kansas State wanted to work Sproles and do some of the same things. KU, I would say, was a little bit different. They didn't try to pound the ball as much as I would say Texas would've. It's similar to anybody that has a run philosophy."
On if he's still upset over Les Miles comments made before last year's game
"I never was. To me, that is not part of the game. Anger or any of that stuff serves you no purpose. The bottom line is being ready to play and executing when you get the opportunity. I've been indifferent a lot today, but I'm just indifferent to it. It has nothing to do with the game."
On him commenting about Miles' comments after last year's game
"No, I didn't. I said that was for him to answer. He's the one that had the comment, he can answer. That's what I said. Now you're putting words in my mouth (laughs)."
On if they'll treat this game as a regular road game because of the proximity
"No. We'll just go up on bus instead of taking a plane. Are you expecting us to go up and vacation in Stillwater (laughs)? I say that nicely (laughs). I'm sure they say the same thing. Would they take a bus and vacation in Norman? You go up the day before the game. It's close enough you ride up on a bus, but we stay in the same routine. We like to do most of our meetings and stuff here and then we go travel."
On the challenge of playing in Stillwater
"It's a challenge playing on the road in this conference or any good conference any time. You've got to go in and make plays. I think any team, not just Oklahoma State, is more confident and stronger at home. Again, I don't think it's just there. If you look at the NFL I think that's probably the case as well. You've got to be able to match the intensity and confidence and execute against it, and make plays to overcome it and keep the crowd out of it. That will be the case playing up there this year, but it will be the case next week and any time you take the road in a strong lead."
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