Barnett says his 'Buffs know they can play with OU

Colorado Head Coach Gary Barnett talked about his Buffaloes making the title game, Oklahoma's offense and Adrian Peterson during his weekly press conference Tuesday in Boulder. See inside for excerpts of his thoughts on Oklahoma. (AP Photo/Jack Dempsey)

Below are quotes from Colorado Head Coach Gary Barnett's weekly press conference Tuesday in Boulder. Quotes are courtesy of CUBuffs.com.

On the Big 12 Title Game
"It's terrific for our team that we get a chance to go and represent the North and play in the Big 12 Championship. I said to our team yesterday that you will never play in a more exciting setting unless you play in a National Championship game or NFL playoff game. It's by far just the most exciting thing, from the time you step into the stadium – even in warm-ups. It's just electric. The other two that we've been in (2001 and 2002) have been that way. There hasn't been anything to compare to it – every bowl game that you're in, other than the National Championship, there's just nothing like it. So, we look forward to Kansas City. Our team right now is an excited, confident football team with three wins in a row. Going into Lincoln and winning, and having two of the three (wins) be on the road, has just built a level of confidence in our team that makes us ready to go play.

"I like the fact that we are coming off a game we just played last Friday. We don't have to sit a week and prepare and see who we're going to play. We can stay in a routine and game synch and go right into this game. There are a lot of good things going for us. We are really excited for our seniors that they've gotten themselves to a position where they can play in this game. So, we are looking forward to it, absolutely.

"We were extremely focused in Lincoln and everybody could tell it. I told our team that yesterday. But, the importance of this game and the opportunity that this game presents just demands that it (the focus) go up another notch. Not a 180-degree change, but just a little bit so it enhances your work during the week, it enhances your knowledge of the game plan and it enhances your awareness once on the field.

On playing Oklahoma
"Oklahoma is a team that we've probably spent more time preparing for over the last two years than anybody. We're very much aware of how good of a team we are going to play. We are very much aware of the coaching and the quality of the coaching we are going to see and how hard everybody is going to play. That is not going to be anything new for us, for the most part. There is an awareness factor and familiarity that we'll carry into this game a little bit, and then a great deal of confidence.

"I think being familiar with (Oklahoma) and respecting them the way that we do, that it's a little easier to get the attention of your players. They know how good of a team we are going to face. They know how hard their team is going to play, especially after playing them all the times we have. But at the same time, we also know that we can play with these guys. So, it helps our confidence and confidence is key in a game like this. Going in and believing that you can win is really key."

On Oklahoma's Offense
"I think they are the most balanced, two-dimensional offense we've played. Really, they are three-dimensional because their special teams are so good. They are an offensive weapon in themselves. But, the most balanced attack and probably most difficult attack to defend is what we're seeing now, because they can do both (run and pass) so well.

"A year ago, when they were a one-dimensional team, we were able to scheme a pretty good pressure package that helped us stay in the game. The only reason we could do it was because their run attack wasn't nearly as strong as it was in the air. We don't have that luxury now; we can't afford to take those risks and have ourselves in a satiation where a big play on the ground can happen. You've got to really pick your times when you put that kind of pressure on."

On taking the risks needed to beat OU
"We're playing this game to win it. The best way to win it, we have to decide through the course of the week in further film study and as the game goes on whether or not we take the risk. That's almost a wait-until-you-get-in-the-game situation. I think you have to be prepared to do it; you've got to be prepared to do whatever it takes to win this game. If it means taking risks, you don't really know that until you're into it and you can see if you hold up during certain situations. If you can't (hold up), maybe you go to the risks. You don't want to be careless, which I guess is the best way to say it."

On Adrian Peterson
"I am a little surprised (he's been so effective). It helps to be around a team that played for the National Championship a year ago. They've got a lot of guys back and a veteran offensive line. Most freshmen that are so ballyhooed out of high school, it just takes them awhile to adjust. We saw Adrian and we tired to recruit him. When we saw him we knew he was a great player. We knew wherever he chose to go to school he was going to be a good player. Whether it was going to be immediately or not, you can never be sure.

"The thing that has impressed me the most about Peterson is that he's dislocated his shoulder twice during the season, and he's got a history of it in high school, yet he plays through everything. For a freshman that is really unusual. Usually you have to learn how to play with those kinds of injuries and that kind of pain. For him to do that as a freshman, and not want to come out of a game, or to want to come back in when he's been knocked out, is most impressive to me."

On the pressure of playing in a title game
"It think it is going to be big for both teams. I don't think one team necessarily feels more pressure than the other. It all depends on how you handle it as a team. Your success has a great deal to do with who you choose to listen to. A team like Oklahoma has gotten to this point because they obviously chose to listen to people who helped them become successful. They are going to choose to do that again. Our team is the same way. At the end of Texas there was a line drawn; our team had to make a decision after the Texas game as to who they were going to listen to. They chose to take it in a direction that would allow them to get to this game. You learn a lot by making those kinds of choices, and I think this game is going to come down to the same thing.

"I don't think Oklahoma will feel any of that pressure unless they let themselves. Coach (Bob) Stoops and his staff have not gotten to this point so many times without having the ears of the players, the respect of the players. You know they are going to tell them the right things and you know the players are going to listen. It should be two teams who really don't feel pressure, and know the opportunity that's there for them. You work really hard to make sure players are loose because that is the way for them to play their best."


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