Below are quotes from OU head coach Bob Stoops in his final press conference with the media before Tuesday's Orange Bowl showdown with USC.
"Well, just feel great again just the way the week has gone. I've really liked the timing of everything. Again, the Orange Bowl Committee and everybody here have just been fabulous, and our accommodations at Barry University have been great. Wrapped up our third straight practice yesterday there, and all that's left to do is some meetings and some walk-throughs today. I really like the position we're in, the way we've prepared, and I'm excited for tomorrow. It can't get here soon enough."
On who reminds him of Adrian Peterson and Reggie Bush
"They remind me of Adrian Peterson and Reggie Bush. They're great players. I don't know who to compare them to. I'm not much on that. They're their own people. They've got their own style, and they're both very effective and very good."
On if USC's defensive line will be the best they face this year
"Oh, they're definitely one of them. They're a strong group, very good players, very active, so it's a big challenge. It's a big part of the game. Our offensive line guys take a lot of pride. I like the fact that we come in with great experience there and great ability there, so that's going to be a big match-up."
On if he notices anything differently about the emotions of his team as they prepare 24 hours now away from the game compared to last year
"I think overall we come in definitely a more positive. We haven't had to answer questions the entire week on why we're here. Whether we come in more confident or not, we were confident a year ago. So, how much different? We haven't had to answer the same questions. Other than that, we've prepared well and they're coming in excited and ready to play."
On if it helps him and his staff having been all through this three times in the last five years to relax and know what's going on?
"Maybe. I think it really helps us in the routine of the week and the way we approach the entire week and prepare and get ready. So in the end, whether it helps you or not, you still have to go play and earn it this week. SC has been in a lot of big games, as well. But we do feel comfortable in this situation and in the environment the entire week and know what to expect as we go through it and get ready to play."
On how they'll go about the next 36 hours trying to keep the kids from getting too anxious and up for the
"It's really about routine. We'll go — our meetings, our walk-through, just pace ourselves through. Same with tomorrow. We have a routine for game day, for night games that we have that we use through the year, and we'll stick to that. Our players have been in some big games, and they understand you can get too wound up too early."
On if he gave any thought to letting Garrett Hartley kick a field goal before calling the fake in the Big 12 title game just to get the first one out of the way
"I did, and I just couldn't resist a touchdown (laughs). We were going for an interception just a few plays later, so that was kind of bad how we handled that. But in the end, I just felt it was so wide open that why not score and really finish this instead of giving them an opportunity to come back. It's easy to say after the fact, well, you knew you were going to win. You know, you don't know. It's the second quarter. We want to get this thing finished. Again, it would have been a whole lot different. I see him kick every day, and you just trust your technique and trust your swing and have at it."
On if they just tell the team to play their game and not worry about doing something extraordinary in a hyped game like this
"There's a lot to that. You don't have to be Superman, you don't have to make more of it than it is. We've been in these situations. I think our guys understand that. I do remind them of that. We need to play like we're capable of and play smart and play together. And if we do, we have what it takes to have an opportunity to win."
On his three keys to a victory
"You might tell Pete and USC (laughs). I would think, I guess some general factors that are factors in every game that I'm sure Pete would probably say, as well. I think running game is always a factor, whoever is able to do it the best. Turnovers are always going to be a key factor in every game, and then who can make plays. The big plays in the passing game and protect the quarterback are always going to be factors. And again, you throw in kicking game. There's always field position and plays there that matter."
On if he every dreamed as a kid about playing or coaching in a big game like this
"It's ironic, I, as a young person for some reason always grew up was infatuated and thought about playing in the Orange Bowl for a National Championship, or just playing in the Orange Bowl. Tthrough college, I had a chance at the Rose and been to a great number. Aat Florida, I had been to the Sugar, and the year we're going to the Orange Bowl at Florida, though it wasn't the National Championship, was the year I was hired at Oklahoma. So, I was thinking, "Here's my chance to go to the Orange Bowl, and I get the head coaching job." I wasn't complaining, but I was like, well, I missed my chance. I helped a little bit in early practices but then during the game got too busy with recruiting. And then, two years later as the head coach here we were in the Orange Bowl for the National Championship. I thought, "Well, it doesn't get much better than that for me." So yes, it's something I always wanted to do. Now we get to do it again."
On if their are any similarities between OU's and USC's coaching staffs
"Well, it's hard for me to say having not worked with Coach Carroll on that staff. What I've read and seen about him through the media, it seems like there are some similarities in the way we try and approach coaching our players and the way we handle them. Coach Pelini, who's worked with Coach Carroll, says the same thing, that there are similarities in the way we run our program. I guess my style is trying to be as positive as you can be in your corrections and the way you coach. Have fun with it and enjoy it and do your best to not allow it to consume you. It seems like there are some similarities that way."
On if he thinks the Oklahoma program is a dynasty because of the fact they're playing for their third title in five years
"I don't have many on that to be honest. That's for other people to say and choose whether we are or not. I'm too consumed with pushing forward, pursuing more championships and trying to improve our program to think that way, and feel I'm too young to think that way. To me, you just continue to push forward and keep building and some day maybe you look back and someone may say that it was or it wasn't, but that's not for me to do. I don't look at it that way.
"I'm proud of the fact as a program of what we've done, and in particular in the last five years that has stood for something for a period of time. It's one of the better programs that we've established in those five years. We do take pride in that I think, as a program, we're doing the right things and we want to continue to build on it and improve on it."
On if there is an extra kick to this game because they're playing another traditional power like USC
"Absolutely. You can't ignore their tradition and history. As a young person growing up in Ohio, how could you not? The great players that were through there and the great records, so definitely. I think playing them does give it an extra kick and more excitement, and I think it does for the whole country. Plus, not only our past history, but I think, too, what each of us have done in the last few years."
On if the Big 12 being 4-2 in Bowl games bears out the strength of the league or is that any kind of reflection of league strength
"Yes and no. Yes, I believe it does, although I've felt all along we understand what a difficult and tough league we play in. But to me in these bowl games there aren't a lot of factors that enter into these games. I don't know that you can always determine who exactly is stronger than the other for a lot of reasons. You go to Cal and you think you can say all you want, but in the end the fact that they're not where they want to be enters into their psyche and their ability to play. There are a lot of reasons that enter into these games, so I'm always careful about that. I don't usually put too much stock in any of that."
On if he pulled for Texas in the Rose Bowl
"I'm not going to answer that. I'd have to be honest (laughs). The worst worst part of the BCS, I said it on TV, is it had me sitting at home rooting for Texas the last two weeks of the year. What is that (laughs)? You can't tell me they're always rooting for us."
Stoops: "It can't get here soon enough"
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