Below is a transcript of OU head coach Bob Stoops' press conference with the media Wednesday in Houston.
Stoops: We are looking forward to the 2005 year, our expectations will not change. We feel we have a talented and strong team coming up. We have a number of guys, when you look at the board — 16, 17 guys — that have started two or more games. Many have started five or six games returning, and we are looking forward to competing again for the Big 12 championship. That's where everything starts with us. And if things go right, hopefully be in the national championship picture and have an opportunity there at the end of the year.
On the move of D.J. Wolfe and Lewis Baker to the secondary
Stoops: D.J. Wolfe and Lewis Baker have adjusted quite well. They had good springs, made a lot of progress. The two-a-day sessions, 29 practices, leading up to the first game will be a big factor for them, but they fit the positions well and really embraced them and like the changes, so I think they have an opportunity to be really solid players there.
On the quarterback situation
Stoops: Our quarterback situation for us, we are excited about it. It would be a problem if we had three guys and you didn't feel they were talented enough, that would be a problem. These guys are all very talented, very skilled in that position, and they are hard workers. They have the respect of the teammates. They are reliable guys. They all throw the ball well. Really, they are more athletic as far as feet go than anybody we have had in the last five years, all three of them. So all of that together, we feel, in the end, that's going to be a strong position on our team. The bottom line is we haven't had enough opportunity for any one of them to earn it.
Everybody wants it to be finished. We at Oklahoma, have never appointed anybody in that position or any others, and for these players to respect whoever is behind the center, they need
more time to earn their way on the field. Twenty-nine practices leading up to the first game is twice as many practices and scrimmages as you get in spring ball, so we will work it out. As time goes, we will find the right guy, and who makes the most positive plays and avoids the bad ones. I believe, in the end, it's going to be a good position for us.
On how much pressure the uncertainty at quarterback will put on Adrian Peterson to duplicate what he did last season
Stoops: We are not going to sit here and put more pressure on Adrian. I think the most success we have had, offensively, has been a lot because of the balance we have been able to have. We have thrown it well, and we have run it well. I think they compliment one another, so I believe we will give Adrian more to do, involving him more in our passing game. He will be able to handle more of that this year, and it will be an advantage to us as well.
Outside of that, you know, he ran the ball a good number of times a year ago. We are not going to sit there and run him 40 times a game. We are going to do our best to have the kind of balance we have had.
On what he thinks of the the perception that OU's expectations may be down this year with all of the talent lost to the NFL
Stoops: I don't know if it's fair to say I like it. I am a little bit disinterested in it. It doesn't really matter to me whether we are picked favorites or not. You know, we have been in both situations and we found our way in other years to championships and other years where we have been picked favorites and not been. You have to earn your way.
I say it a lot, or every year, as long as they are going to let us play, it doesn't much matter. Whoever it is, they are going to earn their way and fight for it. I feel great that we have an opportunity to be in there with anybody.
On if he feels his team isn't as invincible since the loss to USC
Stoops: Nobody is invincible, everybody knows that. It didn't much matter the year before, Kansas State beat us and everybody said that was a recipe, this is how everyone will do it now, and we were fortunate enough to go through and win 12 football games and a Big 12 championship, so that wasn't the case.
Each year is different, each team is different. I have said it a bunch of times. You earn your way every time. You are going to line up every time and nobody thinks you are invincible. That's just talk out there. I don't think it much matters. We are going to go play and compete like we always do.
On Davin Joseph's role on the offensive line
Stoops: Davin has been a great leader on our offensive line for the last couple of years, maybe not as a true freshman, Davin, but sophomore and junior year definitely. Davin is a very sharp young man and has a great football mind, as well as being a great student. He is a guy that, up on that front line, if we have a dummy count or a late count where he can see a blitz coming, he can see the defense, and he has a great knack for telling guys next to him whether it's center, tackle, relaying it down the line, hey, you are going here, I am going here. He sees what the defense is doing and who he needs to pick up, but also who everybody else needs to pick up. He does a great job of communicating it across the group.
On using the USC loss as motivation in the offseason
Stoops: I don't buy into a whole lot of that. It may some to these guys on a tough, hot day, it may jump in there. We are not sitting around talking about that. You know, each year is different. We have a different team. Whether you have won it, it isn't going to help you the next year, and what you lost isn't going to help you the next year.
Our guys work, and these guys will chuckle about it, but it doesn't much matter to us. The way we work, we work hard, and get ready, and win or lose, I am just not much into that false motivation or, you know what I mean, that superficial stuff. That's gone. We have to go fight our way back this year regardless of what would happen.
On Dusty Dvoracek's rehab
Stoops: His rehab has been excellent. The trainers told me, as much as three weeks ago that they felt he was two or three weeks ahead of schedule. He has been doing virtually all of the lifts. There is just, with the muscle, there is just a certain few minor lifts that he is not able to do. All the major lifting, benching and squatting, and all the major movements that we do, he has been able to do probably 90 percent of them.
From talking to Dusty, he feels great, and I felt all along he probably would be ready right off the bat. I think he will be. That's not a definite. It will surprise me if he is not.
On adding more wrinkles to an offense with a mobile quarterback
Stoops: Sure. You never stay on the same path. We look for what fits what we do and what our talent is. These guys are all very capable. You have seen all the quarterbacks running plays, everybody else has, and we will have them, too. But we are not going to the triple option. Those guys would be more of a threat, definitely, than what we have had.
Stoops: "Our expectations will not change"
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