Stoops recaps OSU, previews A&M

See inside for a transcript of OU Head Coach Bob Stoops' weekly press conference Tuesday in Norman. Stoops talks about the Sooners' win over Oklahoma State and looks ahead to Saturday's matchup with Texas A&M. (Photo couresy of SoonerSports.com)

Below are excerpts from Oklahoma Head Coach Bob Stoops' weekly press conference Tuesday in Norman.

On Oklahoma State
"Proud of our players and the way they competed through four quarters and finished out an excellent game. You think through that game and the way we played, we really, in the first half, played excellent football outside of two critical errors to give them 14 points."

On the offense against OSU
"Offensively, I thought in the first half Jason White, Mark Bradley with three touchdown catches, and Jason three touchdown passes, were some big, big plays to give us 21 points and re-take the the lead made a big difference. Defensively, we played an outstanding first half. I think we only yielded 70 to 73, 74 yards. Whatever that was, it was a well-played first half. Again, outside of two major errors where you give up 14 points, away from home, that isn't always so easy to overcome."

"Then to come out the second half and offensively we just ran the ball so well. Adrian Peterson with another exceptional day, but those guys in front of him are also, and I'm not taking anything away from Adrian, he is something the way he plays, but those guys in front of him are really playing well. We had four different offensive linemen — Davin Joseph, Wes Sims, Vince Carter Jammal Brown — singled out for exceptional play on the O-line. J.D. Runnels and Bubba Moses were just exceptional in the way they played. And our receivers helped on some of those long runs. Anytime you run the ball for over 300 yards you increase your opportunity to win big-time, and that was a big factor in winning that game."

On the defense against OSU
"Defensively, I thought we handled the run game really well all day. It's obvious we gave up some big plays throwing the football — some do to some excellent play on Oklahoma State's part on some of those throws. I'd like to think there's three of them where we could be in better position as well and make a play. But we also felt all along handling the run game would be the biggest factor and we did that really in a good way. The guys came up with some stops at the end of the game when we had to have them.

"Defensively, some guys that get cited for an excellent game — Jonathan Jackson and Lance Mitchell were recognized by as as players of the game. Offensively, the linemen, AD, Mark Bradley, Jason White, all those guys credited with an exceptional game."

On the kicking game
"You know it's funny, outside of the two critical mistakes, but other than that to return a punt for a touchdown. What set that up, Blake Ferguson hit a nice ball and pinned them inside the five, so he reacted back and really punted the ball great the second half and pinned them inside the five. That's the one we end up stopping them and returning for a touchdown later on. The rest of it was solid. I thought Trey DiCarlo — recognized as player of the game on special teams — hit the ball well and a critical field goal. And we protected him better, which had been a problem for a game or two before.

"Overall, it's a good win. Let's face it, it was another important game in the Big 12 South. Everybody recognized that — to come in and put ourself another step stronger in that Big 12 South race. That's how we looked at the game and to come up with a win was definitely pleasing."

On Texas A&M
"As you go through the year the later in the year and the position we're in, this game is even more important in that it's later in the season. Texas A&M's still in a position in the Big 12 South race, so this is another one of those games that will make a big difference in the Big 12 South and the Big 12 Championship game. We see Texas A&M as being a team that's much improved from a year ago — six straight wins up until last weeks game. We see them as an excellent team. I think Reggie McNeal is one of the better players in this conference. He's the big key to them offensively without question — run and pass. Big challenge to go down there and play well to put ourself another step closer to the South championship."

On the crowd is louder at Texas A&M than at other road games
"It's difficult everywhere you go. I see all of them being difficult and challenging, depending on how you're playing. The better you're playing the less involved they usually are. It'll be another challenge that way."

On Reggie McNeal playing as well as any quarterback they've faced
"Probably. I think he's played well really throughout the year. Everything goes through him. They have so much run game through him, as well as the passing game, that we've really got to do an excellent job of defending him. Sure, he's played well this year."

On who is playing McNeal on the scout team
"Right now we'll look at the possibility of maybe using Rhett Bomar some, but McEachern to this point has been doing it."

On how much McNeal has matured since the game two years ago at Kyle Field
"Just as you would expect through his third year now. He just seems to be a little more comfortable. And probably it's more fair to compare what they were doing a year ago with the new staff and all. They're just more comfortable and sure of what they're doing and how they want to run their offense, and he seems more comfortable in it."

On his reaction when he saw the A&M-Baylor score
"In this league anyone can beat anybody depending on how you play that day. Watching the game, Baylor played awfully well and made some critical plays when they had to in critical situations. A&M made a lot of good plays. It just kind of went back and forth. So, I don't have a reaction other than our team."

On what is different about this year's A&M team
"Probably a little bit of everything. There are different players in some spots out there. But also I would just probably say more comfort in what they're doing and just a year further along in their systems. I would say the biggest difference is comfort along with confidence in what you're doing."

On if this year's offensive line is the best since he's been at OU
"Oh, absolutely. It's not even close really at this point."

On why he thinks this is the best line he's had
"Well, the way we're running the ball, the way we're protecting the quarterback and the offensive production. AD isn't doing anything if those guys aren't doing something up front."

On it being a strong statement for him to say the line is the best he's had "It's the most experienced, it's been the most consistent. Again, our production and protection, it's not just Adrian. Adrian, Kejuan, whoever's in there are not going to get anything without those seams up front."

On the secondary not guarding the deep pass
"At times we didn't play the ball very well. At times we weren't as deep as we need to be, whether it's turning over and going for it soon enough or judging their speed and judging the flight of the ball. That's something that at times as you practice you don't always get enough work at when you're working scout guys. You've got to get stretched out once in a while, and that's something we'll work more this week going against ourselves more and giving more opportunities."

On Antonio Perkins availability for this weekend
"It's probably doubtful next week and more probable for Baylor. We thought it might be sooner than that, but you never know when they're going to heal. Some of them heal quicker than others, so his just hasn't moved along as fast as they thought it would."

On if it would shock him if Perkins wasn't ready to go by the Big 12 Championship game
"Yes."

On how he would impact the defense if he was playing now
"It doesn't matter, he's not. Perk's a great player. He's definitely a guy, not just returns, but has been a great corner for us for two years. You'd like to have him in there, but you don't so you keep moving. Listen, those other guys have played well. They've had a bunch of good games. Perk's been out a good number of games now and every one of those guys have played well."

On how this year's receivers compare to the group in 2000
"Oh, absolutely. Nothing against those guys, but I would say this group is better. Again, I appreciate those guys for what they did but I believe this group is much more athletic. It's faster, and have more ability for big plays."

On if he knew about Mark Bradley in high school and what was his first impression of him when he walked on
"No, didn't really know of Mark in high school. He came here and showed up with his father Danny. Coach Merv (Johnson) had been talking with them about the possibility of coming here and walking on. They showed up on campus, I saw mark and thought he's a great looking athlete size and all. And then when we got into practices with him everyone recognizes he's got a lot of ability. He can run, big, strong guy in his stature, and moves well. I really believe had he just stuck at corner he's a guy who could be an all-conference or all-american corner as well, or play in the NFL at corner. He's got the kind of range and speed you look for, but he's doing it in a great way and feel we found the right spot for him at receiver. He just gets opportunities to make plays and he's making more and more of them."

On if he was shocked to get a walk-on with the athletic skills Bradley had
"Yes, but not a shock when you know he's Danny Bradley's son. Mark really has fit in in a great way and has earned his way. As everyone knows, he's one of our best athletes by far."

On if he's had a walk-on at any school he's coached as athletic as Bradley
"Not that I can think of. We had some guys that I still appreciate, like Corey Heinecke, Roger Steffen that were on that national championship team that played great for us. They don't run as fast as Mark, but they were every bit as important the way they played defense."

On his team handling crowd noise on the road so far this season and what they do to prepare for crowd noise
"I think more than that is probably the experience our offense has across the board – line and everybody. They've all been out there a long time and have a lot of experience. We just, Wednesday and Thursday's, pipe in some crowd noise or music and try and blare it on the offensive side of the field for a part of the team period. To do it the whole time drives me up a wall and everybody else, so we do our best to limit it and do it to a period of time that they get used to it. I remember when we were at Florida with Coach Spurrier he always, like when we were going to Tennessee, it drove him crazy too. He would just make Danny (Weurffel) whisper. He would whisper the whole time and guys had to listen for the count and communicate to the receivers with hand signals. That way everybody could coach and keep their peace of mind while they still were trying to listen to the count. But we prefer pumping the music and drive ourselves nuts."

On what kind of music they use in practice to prepare for a hostile environment
"It's usually just a bunch of band songs. Usually, the team we're going to play, we play their song a bunch so our guys get used to hearing it. We play Boomer Sooner in there usually a little bit. I'm usually driving myself nuts, I do my best to tune it out."

On Jason's hand signals to initiate the snap when on the road
"Everybody uses different signals on how they trigger the silent count, whether it's a foot, hand or certain timing before you snap it. Coach Long and Coach Wilson came up with that."

On how the defensive tackles are playing
"Really well. Those guys really had a good game the other day. Lynn McGruder, Carl Pendleton were singled out as having solid games. And the other guys played good too. We usually just single out guys that we really felt stood out in a big way. They're playing in a good way."

On the key to keeping Reggie McNeal off-balance
"It's getting to him, whether you're blitzing or not. Hopefully, throwing off their timing throwing the ball. And when he pulls it down to run that you see him — that your backs aren't turned, you can see him and close on him, and that you can corral him when he does start to break it. Fortunately, last year we were able to do that in some ways."

On Texas A&M's running game
"I think Courtney Lewis is an excellent back. He makes a lot of big plays. They use a lot of shotgun runs that you see from about everybody, but then they'll get in the I (formation) and two tight ends occasionally. They do a good job with it. They have a lot of quarterback run game too. You've got to deal with it too. I believe Reggie maybe only has 50 carries less than Courtney Lewis."

On the team handling adversity on the road
"They've handled it in a good, strong way. I've never seen our guys at all in a doubtful mode or panic mode. They've just been very determined and focused when they get on the field to make something happen and do what they have to to put themselves in a position to win. Again, I think experience is helping us there."

On Clint Ingram's injury status
"Clint doesn't appear to be as serious as we thought initially. I believe he'll be ready to practice tomorrow, so I don't think it's as bad as they initially thought it was going to be."


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