Stoops: "I like where we are at"

Oklahoma head coach Bob Stoops recaps Spring practice, talks about OU's NFL prospects and gives his opinion on the future of the Big 12 should a 12th game be added to the schedule in 2006. (AP Photo/Charlie Neibergall)

Below is a transcript of Oklahoma Head Coach Bob Stoops' interview with James Hale and Bob Barry Jr. during Sports Morning on the Sports Animal.

Recently on Sports Morning on The Sports Animal, OU Head Coach Bob Stoops was a guest with yours truly and Bob Barry Jr. Here is what we talked about in that conversation.

BBJ: Are you glad spring football is over?

BS: "Oh, I don't know because I like spring football. Spring football is like a break because it is kind of fun really developing young guys. I really enjoy it and I kind of wish we had a little bit more of it, but that is OK. We are allowed only a certain number of days, and that is fine. So, now I am just getting our guys together to get ready to go recruiting next week and look at juniors."

JH: Bob, you Brent Venables, Bobby Jack Wright and Jerry Schmidt went to Arizona to spend a couple of days with brother Mike and his staff. What was your take on what he has going at Arizona?

BS: "They are doing a great job. I think they have a great setup there and there is no reason why you can't win there. He feels like his players are working hard, and are ahead of where he was a year ago at this time. I think they will have a much more competitive time this year."

BBJ: Do you and Mike still trade stuff all the time — trade information on techniques and alignments?

BS: "We sat in there for a couple of days and watched our scrimmages and watched theirs and shared ideas. It was a pretty good give and take on both sides. We helped him with some good ideas on some things that we are still doing, and he helped us on some things that they are doing. I thought it went really well."

JH: How did you feel spring football practice went?

BS: "I liked it. I thought the guys worked hard and I felt we did make progress. It was evident to us as coaches from start to finish, and that was good. There is so much time between now and the fall, and if the guys still work hard and push themselves they can still make a lot of progress, and we need to. I feel like we have the attitude to do that. I like where we are at."

BBJ: It was a shame to hear about Dusty Dvoracek's injury. Did he hurt that in the scrimmage and nobody knew about it, or what?

BS: "Once he got into the locker room he felt it felt funny, so they went and checked it and found the injury. The way to look at that is that it could have been a lot worse. He will be able to start running the day we start our conditioning this summer, and we will do some modified lifts with him to supplement that he is not able to do certain ones. In the end, I don't think that is going to hold him back much. I think he will be fine."

JH: Wouldn't you agree that he was having a whale of a camp? And as a whole, the defensive tackles had a great camp?

BS: "Our defensive ends were really doing well. I really think, overall at the defensive tackle and the defensive end spot, that we could be every bit as good or better next year."

BBJ: You have to feel pretty good when you have a chance to have all these guys called in the NFL draft this weekend. It must make you feel good about not only your ability to recruit them, but about your ability to make them better players once you get them?

BS: "We just might start to get a great reputation as great recruiters. Who knows? We are proud of these guys because they have worked hard and accomplished a lot here. They have won championships and they are a special group of players that are very talented. However, remember some of them were not highly recruited guys, so it speaks to the development here to.

"Guys like Mark Clayton and Dan Cody were guys who we were just about the only one's to recruit them. I think it speaks how they were developed, coached and trained and brought along here. Not to take anything away there work ethic, because they are hard working guys who really pushed themselves to be in these positions. There are a great number of them and we are hoping for the best with all of them really. We hope they all go as high as they can."

JH: Bob, when I talk to Jason White, Mark Clayton, Lynn McGruder and the others, they all talk about how you as coaches develop them and make them better players. That is quite a testament to your coaching ability as a staff wouldn't you agree?

BS: "I am not going to sit here and pat ourselves on the back about that, but I think it is fair to say that when you look at the number of players that come through here now being drafted, and how hard they were recruited, then you can look at how they are being trained. I think a lot of that good word goes to Coach Schmidt and his staff in the weight room. They all improved in size, weight, strength and increased speed. When you test our guys they generally test out really well athletically. I know listening to many NFL people they like that our guys here, how they compete and they tells us that they like how we run our program. That is a complement to everybody here in our program."

BBJ: What are your thoughts on your quarterbacks as a group? And if the competition is still tight going into that first game would you consider playing a couple of them at least through the first couple of games of the season?

BS: "We well see. Everybody wants to project the future, but we will have to see how they produce during the summer and how they progress. I think they all made great strides coming out of the spring, but we were very limited in what we did. We did very little with our I-attack and our play-action. There was so much more that we do offensively. However, it was good they had a chance to fight through adversity and they had to make do with they had.

"We are still working it, but everybody wants to know today who it is and we don't have to announce that. We have a long time, about four months, until we play and how these guys develop during the summer before we practice will be important. Then we have 29 practices before we play a game through August, so we have a lot of time. When we know we will let everybody know. I am not willing to speculate on anything because I am not much on that. We will see what guys earn and where it goes."

JH: You, as coaches, can't work with the players during summer workouts. How do you get a feel how quarterbacks or anybody else is progressing? How do you evaluate quarterbacks during the summer?

BS: "You don't, you evaluate them when practice starts. Remember we have 29 practices and that is when we do all of our evaluating. If they have had a big summer you will see that in the first week of practice what they have been doing all summer."

BBJ: What did you think of your secondary in the spring with Bobby Jack Wright coaching them up?

BS: "Our secondary probably made the biggest strides. I thought as we went through the spring they made the biggest progress of understanding what we were doing and being in the right position. I thought the spring game was very evident of that. They were very solid in their positioning and the plays that they made. They were getting their hands on balls and coming up with interceptions. I like what they have done. We have some really strong young guys coming in the fall with his recruiting class that I also think can made a move to improve that group."

JH: You had several experiments in the spring with Lewis Baker, D.J. Wolfe and Darrien Williams in the secondary. How did those experiments work out?

BS: "I think they were the right moves and worked out well. Those guys have to keep gaining experience with snaps, but I feel they are really capable of being good players at those positions."

BBJ: Is everything on schedule for Adrian Peterson to return this fall? Do you feel he will be able to do everything that you want him to do when practice gets underway in August?

BS: "We do. He is still paying attention in meetings with everything that we are doing. Maybe in another way it was good that he sat out the spring, as he got a good rest after carrying the ball a great deal a year ago. Coming into the fall, we will expect him to be better and to be a bigger, strong and better part of our passing attack as well. That will give him some more opportunities to touch the ball if we are getting the ball out of him in some passing situations. We do feel that he can improve next year."

JH: Have both Marcus Walker and AD been cleared to lift weights at this point?

BS: "Not at this point. No, they haven't been cleared. They have been doing some dumbbell lifts and some light things right now. As they get further along in the summer, they will be cleared."

JH: There has been a lot of talk recently about a 12th game and whether there should be a Big 12 Championship game or not. Where do you stand on the subject?

BS: "I am all for the 12th game, as long as they get rid of the Big 12 Championship game. We have been playing 12 to 13 games around here for quite a while. Four out of the last five years we have been in the Big 12 Championship game. If we get rid of the Big 12 Championship and go into the 12th game, then I am all for it. But I think if we do that we should play nine conference games and three non-conference games.

"I think everybody would like to see another conference game than getting a 1-AA team in or whatever. Then jumble up the conference and have no North and South. Do like the Big 10 and Pac 10 do and have everybody play each other and rotate a couple of teams off every year. You could still have your traditional rivals that you want to play every year and let everybody choose a couple and then crown our champion like the Big 10 and Pac 10 do, based on what you do during the season."

BBJ: Having said that, don't you expect the almighty dollar to win out and still have the Big 12 Championship game?

BS: "Hopefully not. Hopefully, we think through that and realize that sometimes it just doesn't add up or make sense. If they do that and insist on playing it, then I hope they do like they do in the NFL in that your season accounts for something and the highest ranked team, or the team with the best record, gets to host a game. Then you are assured a sellout and you have earned something through the season. If you have finished with the best record then you deserve the right to host the game.

"Something needs to happen because right now with the BCS, and the way it all lines up, it doesn't put us all on the same playing field. I also want to point that those that make it out as if the administrators are being hypocritical by saying they don't want the Big 12 Championship game, when they are adding a 12th game, are wrong. Adding a 12th game is totally different because you are adding a game early in the season when school has not started, as opposed to playing a playoff in the middle of finals at the end of semester, and that would make a big difference.

"People always have an opinion on this subject, but they are not given all the facts. Playing in December in the playoffs or anything in a system like that, a week before finals or during finals, are not conducive to the players and their needs in getting their degrees and taking their finals. I don't care what anybody wants to say these guys work hard in school and it does matter. All of us across the country, along with our administrators of academic services, are working to make sure these guys get a strong education. Playing an early game in August early in the season, I don't know if that is handicapping them academically."

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