Stoops recaps A&M, previews Nebraska

See inside for a transcript of OU Head Coach Bob Stoops weekly press conference Tuesday in Norman. Stoops recaps OU's win over A&M, takes a look ahead to Nebraska and answers questions about several other football-related topics. (Photo courtesy of SoonerSports.com)

On Texas A&M
"Exciting game down in College Station in a great atmosphere to compete in. Appreciate and respect our players the way they competed through four quarters and the way the hung in there and made the plays that make a difference in the second half to give us a lead and to ultimately win the football game.

"Some guys that were just sensational — Jason White with five TD passes. You look at the last two games away from home in hostile environments, he has touchdowns, no interceptions. Last week's game goes five TD, no interceptions, no turnovers as an offense and no penalties. You put all that together that's impressive.

"Still feel through the victory there are some areas we can improve on. It's frustrating, the last couple of weeks we've had some special teams, whether it's fakes on us or miscues, where we've dropped a punt, muff a return. You give up 28 points or two touchdowns on special teams make it frustrating and make it more difficult to win in those circumstances away from home. But again, I also realize there's a big difference in winning and losing, and our players found ways to win and hung in there and competed to the end.

"Guys recognized as players of the game for us on defense — Lance Mitchell and Dan Cody. And on offense, Jason White, Mark Clayton, Vince Carter and Bubba Moses all were recognized by us as players of the game. On special teams it was Mark Bradley and Blake Ferguson for just having an excellent game.

"It was another huge game and major step in the Big 12 South race, and getting ourselves in position to have a chance at a Big 12 Championship last week.

On Nebraska
"We understand what a great tradition and what a great rivalry this has been through the years. This game also means to us we have an opportunity to lock up the Big 12 South, which is a primary goal. One of the first and primary goals we have as a team. Our players understand the urgency of that and the importance of it, as well as our seniors last game here at home. We're looking forward to the challenge of it.

"Nebraska's a good football team going through a transition with a new staff. Offensively, they have a strong running game with (Cory) Ross. I really believe (Joe) Dailey, as you watch them throwing the football, they really work the passing game. They're a very capable football team. They have really played well in a lot of areas, as well defensively at different times.

"I know some of the games they've had their problems, but overall we recognize it as another step for us and another major step in getting ourselves in position to compete for championships. This will be another big game to do that."

On if he's confident OU will be in the Orange Bowl if they win the next three games
"I don't know. I think two things in that regard. I believe as you look at what we've done in the last several weeks, from playing Texas Tech to Texas and Kansas State, Oklahoma State, Texas A&M. All of those games, we've had one at home and have gone through it all unbeaten. You look at our overall record of teams we've played to other people, I believe it makes a difference. I'd say I believe so. All we can control is to do our best to win this week and play as well as we can.

"I think what's fortunate for us is last year at this time we rocked along and we were beating the heck out of everybody. We may have peaked too early a year ago. I don't think there's any question this year as we've gone through the year we still haven't peaked as a team, which is good, I think. In the end, hopefully as we go through this last part of the season we can really hit our stride and peak when it really matters, whereas a year ago we didn't. As a coach, that's the way I look at it.

"I think history also bears out every year everyone says all these teams are going to be undefeated, and you look at it last year we're the only single team in the country to be undefeated after the regular season. The two champions had one loss. A years before that only two teams were undefeated — Ohio State and Miami. I know in 2000 we were the only team undefeated. I'm missing one year in there. I'm sure there was only one or two the year I'm missing. Miami was the only undefeated team. If history proves out, there's only one or two there by the end.

"We all have a lot of work to do, and that's where our focus is going to be. As a team, we've talked a lot about it. Our total focus is not on all of that. It's not on individual awards — who's All-America, who's doing this, that or the other. It's going to be solely on winning this game this week and put ourself in position to take another step into being a championship team."

On if the OU-Nebraska game was special in the Stoops house while he was growing up
"Absolutely, always couldn't wait to watch it. As a young person even all the way in Ohio, I probably looked more forward to watching the Oklahoma-Nebraska game than I did the Ohio-State Michigan game. I just did. I knew the players. I remember watching Steve Owens and all the great players through the years. I could always remember really, for the most part, rooting for Oklahoma. I remember the tradition well. I'm not great with trivia and remembering what year who did what, but I'm very familiar with all the names and the success Oklahoma has had."

On him imitating Joe Washington by wearing silver shoes
"I did. I had those I think was my freshman year. My buddy, Jerry Williams, was the other guy with me. I didn't run like Joe, but I had the shoes anyway (laughs)."

On the senior class
"It's a great senior class. It really is. We were talking about that today in our staff meeting. Looking through all the names of these seniors and all they've been through — count up the victories all these guys have been a part of. And then you look at the very few problems we've had with any of them. It's been a model class. It really has — just the way they've worked, their attitude, their leadership. There's so many positives with them, and there's a good number of them. It's been a very strong class, probably overall maybe our strongest class we've had."

On this being the first class they had a full year to recruit
"Yeah, but I've never segmented them. I mean what I said when we were here in '99-2000 where we had a conglomeration — they were al ours. I've never looked at it as this is our class only. I think it's been well-stated that we've embraced every one of these guys since the day we got here. It's ours, and I think they have felt that as well. There isn't any distinction of who's who, they're all ours."

On if Marcus Walker or any redshirt freshman know prior to a game there's a chance they might play
"Yes, we let them know through the week that we're preparing them that if the circumstances dictate. Marcus has been in my office and has wanted to play. Coach Pelini worked him through the week that if we need to that we're going to play him. Marcus is a very conscientious guy who really studies the game and is really mature beyond his years that way, as far as pushing himself mentally to really be sharp. He got in there and really played well."

On if Walker was surprised when they told him to go in
"I'm sure he was. Bo said to me, 'I'm gonna go with Marcus.' I said, 'Let's go.' He told Marcus and all of the sudden I saw Marcus jumping up and down back and forth on the sidelines, so I said, 'Well, he's ready to go.' I saw a bunch of guys slapping him on the head, so he got ready."

On if pulling Walker out of redshirt sent a statement to the secondary that something needed to change
"I don't know if it did or not. We're here to play the guys that are producing and making the most plays on the field, and that's how it will always be."

On if he's concerned about the field goal kicking
"I'd like it to be better. I'd say yes, but we've been more consistent in all of the shorter range field goals. I'd like to see us with some of the ones that are intermediate to long to be more consistent, sure."

On the trick play touchdowns against A&M
"We were in alignments that we were looking for them. The one on the fake punt, we were just caught not as intense as we should be and crowding the wing as close as we should have. We line up starting there and then as the play develops we drift and allow someone to pick us off. We were in a structure that says we're looking for this and they executed and we didn't. The same with the field goal. If you watch all our other blocks we have two jumpers, we had one jumper. We had the eligibles covered with an extra guy in the middle, who doesn't react as we would like him to.

"I take responsibility for that as much as anything. For some reason our guys, when we put them in those situations don't believe that that's going to happen, when on the sideline we felt strongly that was coming and for whatever don't react properly. So, to me I've got to take responsibility for it. I've got to put them in position more often, so we're running them in practice more frequently. We're going to run two, three, four fakes at them every single day, and hopefully if the situation comes we'll react to it better next time."

On Jason White's physical condition now compared to last year
"He's great. He hasn't had any trouble whatsoever. He feels great."

On the status of Antonio Perkins
"He's been running and cutting this week. I would still say he's doubtful for this week, but I think there may be a small chance that he might be able to go. We'll determine that by the end of the way, but he's doing more and cutting more and getting closer. That's going to be between he and the doctors if he feels he's ready to go."

On if he's more ready to go as a defensive player or special teams
"I would say as a defensive player. I probably wouldn't, at this point, have him return just yet. Mark's doing a great job with that."

On his thoughts on having two players at the top of the Heisman race
"I'm not going to be part of choosing. That's isn't for me to do. Between the two, I think what's been fantastic for our team and for our offense is that they both are such great players and compliment one another. And they both, as team guys, have been very unselfish and really don't care who's getting what. It's more about let's win and let's be as productive as we can be."

On White playing better this year than last year
"I don't think there's any question, overall, Jason's a much further along and much better player than a year ago. Statistically, it's awfully close to where he was. His overall efficiency is probably better, I haven't looked at that. His ability to be under center has made a huge difference in our offense and running game, as well as his ability to hit play-action passes. Our ability to move the pocket is much better this year, so we've got a lot more diversity and dimension to us offensively because of his overall better ability with the legs totally healed and his experience. Just look at what he's done the last two games away from home in crazy atmospheres. The guy has been unbelievable — eight TDs, no interceptions and no miscues last week whatsoever last week in that loud crowd and silent count most of the time. The guy's just been incredibly efficient."

On not needing to do anything as a school to promote a Heisman candidate because of their national recognition
"We are fortunate that we are on TV and get that kind of exposure quite a bit from being in the position we are of rankings and all. I also believe in just doing things appropriately. I think Kenny (Mossman) has always done that with our guys, is give you information. These are the facts, this is where they're at and you judge for yourself. We've never had any billboards or anything crazy. We've always been very appropriate. Here's the information, compare it to other people and you choose. And I think that's the right thing to do. Make sure the information's there and that's it."

On promoting one guy over another
"I never want to be a part of choosing. That isn't for me to do. It's the same thing for All-America ballots. They want me to send in on my team who are the candidates, and then they want me to rank who deserves it more. I write back that you're going to have to do that. Here are the guys that I think the general consensus say have a chance to be All-American, you choose who should be. I just don't don't feel that's for me to do because I believe in all of them.

"I think what Kenny battles and I'm always aware of too, and I say this in a nice way and I don't know how else to describe them, but there are so many talking heads that also are out there to have there agendas. I don't care what you say there are agendas out there, whether it's for different teams or different conferences that they promote or players in those conferences. My point is, I guess for us to sit here and be naive and not say anything about probably isn't fair to our players. We feel a certain obligation to stick up and say this is what they've done, compare it to other people that they're talking about and judge for yourself. And I think you guys do that. You see other peoples numbers and what they've done, what atmospheres they've played in and compare it, whereas other people are on TV promoting someone else. That's fine, but they're one person. Just like I'm standing here and just like you can get up somewhere and promote who you want."

On his thoughts on Adrian Peterson being described as a novelty
"I didn't hear that. I think that's just people with their agendas and they speak what they want or what their producers want them do, and that's fine. In the end, I don't think there's anybody across the country. Enough people have seen Adrian and his ability. And look what he's done in some of our biggest games. Look what he did in the Texas game head-to-head with Cedric Benson. Listen, Cedric Benson's a heck of a player. Believe me he is, but so is Adrian. And everybody has seen that. As you look across the country I don't think everybody's listening to them. I think people like you are wise enough to make their own decisions and have seen him enough to say this guy's a special player."

On certain television analysts reporting his dream is to retire in Florida
"A lot of people would like to retire in Florida (laughs). I'm 44 years old, so hopefully I'm not retiring anytime soon or you won't be on the radio trying to get me to retire anytime soon. You know what too? A lot of things are said about me quite often and I don't know where they come from. I tell you what else they said just for the record since we're talking about it, my wife has never liked it here in Norman and always wanted to go to Florida. My wife has loved it here from day one and has no hang-up whatsoever about having to be in Florida. Where that comes from, I don't know. I told her you've got to toughen up honey. Don't get all upset about that. That isn't any big deal. You should hear what they say about me every day (laughs). She laughed. She said you're right. But that's not true. They get on there and speak as if it is. It's people who want to act like they've had personal contact with you, when in the end a lot haven't. That just happens. You just deal with it."

On if they have to hold Adrian Peterson back during the week to get him ready for each game because of health concerns
"Not too much. At this point in the year we're not banging any of our backs around much. He went through practice yesterday. We always limit, depending on how many carries he's had the week before, how much work he gets on Monday's just to let him rest up, as well as some of the other guys. Even some of the receivers, we limit their deep routes and how much they're running. We're not banging anybody around at this point in the year."

On Peterson's shoulder injury
"He's fine. He practiced yesterday without a blue jersey or anything and he'll practice today like he does every other Tuesday."

On if they'll check to see if Peterson needs shoulder surgery after the season
"We'll look at all our guys after the season any injuries they've had.

On Jammal Brown's play
"He's really had an outstanding year. Offensive lineman unfortunately don't get talked about a ton, but you look few sacks, the rushing yards, Jammal has been one of our best without question. I don't believe he's even allowed a pressure the entire season, let alone a sacks. His blocking percentages have just been outstanding. He is really playing well."

On White leading the offense on comebacks
"That's always a test of somebody's toughness or character in those situations. He's been cool, calm and poised and has been talented in the pocket in doing it."

On Mark Bradley running the wrong route on his game-wnning touchdown catch against A&M
"We were teasing Mark on the bus he threw a little Arkansas-Pine Bluff on them (laughs). He threw a little street ball at them. He was supposed to run a corner route. If you watch the tape Jason's ready to go to the corner and Mark breaks it off and cuts inside. Jason buys a little time, steps up, you can tell he's getting antsy and he throws it well before Mark clears getting in the open. It's a heck of a play by both of them. Mark said in the locker room after he knew where I was going I had to do something. I told him don't make a habit of it. But anyway, he made a play and Jason was cool enough to hang with him and find him."

On what Dan Cody had to do to get back in the game after fainting at the end of the third quarter
"Just get up off the ground (laughs). That's happened to me I can't count how many times, where I'm either yelling at a guy across the field or occasionally an official or someone who won't listen to me. You're going, going, going making your point and for whatever reason you lose something. I've had to grab a player or two and cool out. That's happened to me many times. So, I kind of knew when it happened I know exactly the feeling. You just kind of lose it for a second and it's like fainting. We've checked him out thoroughly and our doctors believe that's all it was."


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