Stoops on Colorado

OU Head Coach Bob Stoops talked about Saturday's Big 12 Championship showdown with Colorado and much, much more during his weekly press conference Tuesday in Norman. See inside for excerpts. (Photo provided by

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

On playing Colorado in the Big 12 title game
Our team's excited about facing a very good Colorado team that is really playing well. Watching them, a team that's very balanced, very strong in their structures the way they play offensively, defensively. A team that that's been in three of the last four Big 12 Championships. They're a very prideful team and we recognize that. I think Coach Barnett and his staff have done an excellent job overcoming all they did through the off-season and putting thereself in a position to represent the North and compete for a Big 12 Championship."

"We're excited to play in the game. Our players came back Sunday. We had an excellent practice and scrimmaged for about 30 plays or so and then got into our normal practice routine. I sense our guys are excited about the opportunity. I feel like we come in rested, healthy and anxious. We'll prepare hard this week and hopefully get ourselves in position through the week to win another Big 12 Championship. That's our first and primary goal at this point, and that's where all our focus is at."

On if he feels the team is further along at this point this year than last year
"I believe so. I felt strong about our team a year ago at this point as well. We answered all these questions at the end of last year. We answered them all preseason, so now we answer them for another week. The bottom line is we've got to go play. We're playing a very good team and we need to be on top of our game to be in position to win. I feel good about the way we're playing in all parts of the game, but we'll have to play well and execute when we get the opportunities."

On the cold weather this week effecting preparations for the game
"No, we'll be outside plenty this week. If we're inside a time or two I don't think it's a big deal. Coach Pelini had been with the Packers for 7-8 years. I said, 'You guys every practice outside?' He said, 'Never.' It doesn't seem to hurt them a whole lot at Lambeau (Field). We'll be outside some. We'll just take it as it comes."

On the health of Antonio Perkins and Lance Mitchell
"They've been practicing all week. Lance actually practiced last week as well. Antonio practiced yesterday without any brace and looked good. In all likelihood, we're planning on him being a return guy. We're in good shape with those guys."

On what he's seen from watching film on Colorado
"Their structures and plays they run on offense you can tell they're well-thought out, they complement one another. Defensively, the structure and the way they play are very sound fundamentally, and they make you work to beat them. They're very smart when you watch them play and the way they execute. They have strong, physical guys, excellent players across the board that show up, and a strong kicking game. Both their kickers are excellent. It's a well-balanced team."

On Colorado playing better late in the season
"I'm sure there's some games in the middle that probably aren't typical of how they played for the biggest part of the year. Every now and then you get in a situation where a few plays here or there are not typical of how you've played through the biggest part of the year. They have played well down the stretch. You've seen them make plays when they've had to, to win. That says a lot about their character. I think what hasn't been talked about enough is that they have represented the North three of the last four years. That says a lot."

On if there are any limitations or advantages to playing a team you haven't played against in a championship game like this
"I don't believe there's a lot of that. I say a lot because of the tape exchange. We get all their games and they get all of ours. We get a wide look at it, we get a real tight look at it. We're real critical in how we watch and evaluate them. Some people say it's harder to play someone twice. I don't know that I believe in any of that. Each game's different. You come in and analyze what they do. You try and work some things may be to your advantage and stay away from some things that may not be. It's about the same for every game.

"I think the only advantage, I don't know that it helps anybody, is when you've played them once you have a better idea of skill and talent because you've seen it up close. But they've seen you too. So, I don't know if there's any advantage either way."

On if he feels they've had enough time to prepare for Colorado
"I do. We've had ample time. We go through the season pretty much on a weekly basis, so it's no different this week."

On the team not ever getting too high or low going through the season
"That's fairly typical of the way we are. We never put too much stock in any one single game. We never get too elated on one or too down on another. We've built, I feel, in a strong way through the year. I feel like we're coming into this game in a good way, but you have to go out and execute when it matters."

On the team remembering last year's loss to Kansas State
"I'm not much on stressing or continuing beating something up. They understand, plus you guys will beat it up all week, all the different scenarios. They're aware of that. It isn't something we're going to sit and focus on. What matters is getting ready to play. Each year is different. This is a totally different year, a different team. We've got an opportunity this year, so let's do our best to be prepared for it. That's all that matters right now."

On if he had sympathy for a fellow coach like Gary Barnett for what he and his program went through during the off-season
"I do have empathy for other teams, people that aren't involved. I'm not going to sit here and judge who's guilty, who isn't. I'm not part of it, but you do because you never know who's responsible, who isn't. If it's out of your control it's unfortunate that you're brought into it. I think all coaches are aware that it could happen. You don't like to see it and you don't like to be wrongly accused when you haven't participated in it. Again, I'm not sitting here judging any of it, outside of it's unfortunate for everybody involved on all sides of it. I remember at one point I did express that to Gary that it is unfortunate for everybody."

On if he called Gary in the off-season regarding the situation

On Colorado running back Bobby Purify
"I think he's an excellent back. He's a guy that I know the few times we've played them in the past few years has been out with some injuries and wasn't able to play. We've always had great respect for him. Strong guy with excellent moves. We've always really respected him and do again this year."

On if Colorado is still a power-running football team
"They're both. They want to be balanced. Most all of their runs are complemented by some kind of boot or play-action pass, and they do a good job mixing that up and trying to keep you off-balance. I think their quarterback, Joel Klatt, does an excellent job of it. I think the confidence they have in him brings the balance that they'll run and throw it."

On Colorado and Klatt playing well against OU last year in Boulder
"He did. He played well. They made plays, particularly there at the end of the third quarter and beginning of the fourth and got hot on some drives to make it a heck of a game. I also remember at a point in the game it was 27-7 we gave up a fake punt and a fake field goal that really got them rallied and going. So, that's something that we'll work on all week being very aware of and hopefully prepared for."

On Colorado's defense
"They have given up some yards, but if you look at them the red zone defense has been very good. They have really, for the most part, held people down. They're little bit of a bend but not break and very sound in the way they play. Their structure is similar to many people that you see that play a lot of zone coverages and stick with them."

On the kicking game
"We made the change with Garrett Hartley right now and feel good about it. He was very solid in the Baylor game and has been very solid in practices. His skill and fundamentals and kicking the ball have been excellent since the time he's been here. In the end, when you ask to trust that in these situations, he'll trust and execute well. I really believe that. I've seen it enough through the entire year to feel comfortable with it. Blake (Ferguson) has been very good. I think we're third in the league in net punting. It's up there anyways. He has been very solid through the year also. I feel like we're coming in in good shape. Getting Antonio back as a punt returner hopefully can give us a boost as well."

On Hartley's range field-goal wise
"He kicked one yesterday 55 (yards), but that was indoors. He's got good range. He's got a strong leg. I thought the other day (at Baylor) into the wind he put a couple into the end zone. I sensed that he was a little jacked up and excited, and had a little more power when he is."

On if he would let Hartley try a longer field goal then he would've let Trey DiCarlo try
"No, not really. Yeah, I'd give him a shot at a long one provided he had some wind with it (laughs)."

On if he watched his brother Mike and Arizona beat Arizona State
"I couldn't. I started watching it a few times. The five, six, seven times I flicked over to it they'd give up a play so I'd flip off of it real quick. I think the last time I flipped it on they (Arizona State) wdfd kicking the extra point to get it 34-27. I couldn't watch after that. Somebody called me and said Bob they're about to win there's 1:30 (left). I said have they taken a knee yet? He said no so I said call me back. Later on he called and said they were dumping water on him and they were finished.

"That was good. They needed that. They'll do a good job there. Sometimes it takes a little longer. I think a couple of those games early they were close to winning could've helped. I think they've closed the gap on a lot of people and they're showing they'll have the capabilities of winning."

On what game does he remember being a benchmark at Oklahoma kind of like Arizona beating Arizona State
"There were a few early on our first year here. I think the Texas A&M homecoming game was big for us. Texas A&M had been beating us pretty good. It was the middle of the season and I think people were questioning who we had played yet. That first year in '99 was a big one for us. I remember leaving, we were still staying in Oklahoma City on the way to the game and our first bus breaks down about one block out of the hotel. So, we don't panic, we just get off the bus grab all our bags and pile on the second bus. We were sitting on the arm rests and came in and won a big game. That gave our guys the confidence that we can play with anybody here in this league."

On if he thinks Heisman voters should wait until after the conference championship games to send in their ballots
"You would think so, but people will do what they feel is necessary. I would think with the games that are still left that are fairly important, that if things are pretty close why not? But in the end, I don't know that any one game for anybody should make a difference in the entire year. I'm sure they take that into account. Everybody looks at what the sum of what everybody has done through the whole season. You trust that everyone does that, I would imagine they do."

On if he would choose Jason White, Adrian Peterson or Matt Leinart for the Heisman Trophy
"I wouldn't say a negative word against Matt. They're all excellent candidates, have played wonderfully for their teams. When you watch them all you could see it in all of them they're very unselfish. They're about winning, and playing on two teams that are undefeated, which says a lot. Anyway, that wouldn't be fair for me to say. I think they're all worthy."

On people who say Leinart won the Heisman with his performance against Notre Dame on Saturday
"People say a lot of things. Like I said earlier, he's an excellent candidate and has played wonderfully for his team. He seems to be an very unselfish player, and so are our guys. Jason and Adrian are the same way. In the end, I think people look at what somebody has done the entire season, and some may still be looking. You never know where it ends up. And not only our two guys, there's some other guys that have had years as well that I think everybody takes into account and watches."

On if there will be discussion amongst coaches after the season about running up the score to improve BCS standings and impress voters
"I would imagine that people will just take into consideration whether we've improved the system or not. I don't know that there are too many that would argue that maybe we haven't. Is there a way to improve it? I don't know. I think it's fair that we'll always take a look and see what can be improved and how to do it. I don't think there's any question we'll do that as a coaches association. I think some of it is still being taken into consideration — everyone comparing scores — and that's not always totally accurate when you do that."

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