Below is a transcript of Oklahoma head coach Bob Stoops' press conference with the media Tuesday in Norman.
"We're looking forward to the challenge of it. Coach Patterson and his staff at TCU have done an excellent job, so we need to be ready. We understand that and I know our players are anxious to play — to start this season and find what kind of attitude and personality we have. I'm excited about it and am looking forward to Saturday to get out there and start competing again."
On if TCU is primarily a blitzing defense
"They are to some degree. They like to play a 4-4 front, and in the secondary they'll either be in quarters coverage, man coverage, some three-deep. They'll take their chances like everyone does and blitz you on occasion in certain formations to mix it up. As you watch Coach Patterson, and he's been a longtime defensive coordinator and head coach now, has always really committed to stopping the run. But again, that's not unlike everyone we played a year ago after about the first couple of games. They do a good job of it. They know what they're doing. They're gap-sound and the commit to it."
On TCU's offense returning an experienced quarterback in Tye Gunn
"Gunn is a guy that, I think, he's 10-2 as a starting quarterback, which is impressive. He has experience, though he didn't start the entire year last year. I believe he got hurt in the Louisville game. He's a guy that has experience, a good quarterback.
"They're pretty diverse in their offense in that they run some option, they give you all your traditional I-back running plays, zones, powers and play-actions. They really try and hurt you with their play-action passes and option passes.
"From what I understand in the games we have been able to see on him, he's maybe a little better thrower than the guy that played most of the year last year. How much they do of the option or drop back? We'll have to see. We're prepared for it.
"But they do a nice job of spreading it around, trying to spread you out with three and four wide receiver sets. They give you about everything."
On which freshmen will play
"Reggie Smith, Nic Harris, Curtis Lofton, Ryan Reynolds. Offensively, Malcolm Kelly, Manuel Johnson, Juaquin Iglesias. Matt Clapp possibly. In all likelihood, Duke Robinson, Branndon Braxton. Jon Cooper, in all likelihood. In what capacity? We'll see. But all those guys are coming in ready to play to some point."
On if freshman cornerback Brian Jackson will play
"Possibly. He's awfully close. Brian has been excellent and really good. We have him on some special teams as a backup ready to play, and he's awfully close at corner. We'll see. We're close with Brian."
On if they'll play more than just the starters at cornerback early in the season
"Probably. The competition there has been really close and good between the seniors — Chijioke and Eric Bassey — even Jowahn Poteat. I think all those guys have really made improvement and have experience together.
"D.J. (Wolfe) has made incredible strides from spring to now and has really been solid through camp — has made the most plays of everyone there. Between all those guys and Marcus Walker having experience from a year ago, it gives us confidence that we can play them all. Who plays the best and is making the most plays will keep getting the most time."
On who will start at corner against TCU
"Right now D.J. Wolfe and Chijioke, I believe, is how Coach Wright has them coming in."
On the difference in the secondary scheme from last year using the wide-side and short-side this season
"It's more than using the short- and wide-side, but that is traditionally how we played here up until a year ago. We've gone back to it because I believe in it and I believe they're attacked differently.
"The college hash marks are different than the NFL — left and right. In the NFL, everything's in the middle of the field. In college football, it's not that way. Their run support's different, their coverage responsibilities and the routes they see are different. So, we've liked it and we've gone back to it. And structurally, some of what we're doing in the secondary we're emphasizing maybe a little bit more than we have our first five years, and a little bit less of what we did a year ago.
"There was a lot from a year ago that we'll still carry over, but I think we have a chance to be more aggressive in how we attack in some of the coverage we play."
On when Rhett Bomar will enter the game and how much he'll play
"We'll see. The coaches are working through that. Like any battle, Paul's always understood that when he gets his opportunities to make the most of them and be productive and move the team. And Rhett, when he has his opportunities, the same thing. How it goes and how they handle the situation on the field will determine that.
"We're not going to sit here and define that in front of everybody. It's safe to say as the game goes that needs to be adjusted as we go, depending on their production and how the game's going."
On what questions he wants to see answered on Saturday
"Every year coming into the season I'm the most anxious because you want to see what you are. How competitive are we? How tough are we? What's our attitude? What's the players' demeanor coming out of the tunnel — all of those factors. What's the discipline level that we'll have as we're on the field?
"Though you expect it and we've had it for a good number of years here, I always say it never guarantees it. This team and every single year you earn what you get and define what you are the way you play in all those areas."
On the progress of the secondary
"I think Coach Wright has done a great job with them, with being demanding in the way they've performed in our scrimmages and practices. I believe they've got a chance to be a really good group."
On the status of Kejuan Jones
"He looked great yesterday. The sprained foot could almost be a blessing in disguise in that it rested his legs the entire time. Kejuan's played a lot of football here, I don't want to say he doesn't need practice, he does for timing and all, but he understands what we're doing. I definitely believe he'll remain a strong part in what we do.
"Others guys that have come on though — Donta Hickson has really had a good camp and Jacob Gutierrez is a guy that gives us that other style. Everyone knows he's a lot like Quentin Griffin in his style and what he does. There are some parts of our offense that he really fits well and could be a great change of pace guy."
On how Adrian Peterson has improved catching passes out of the backfield
"He's done an excellent job with it. He understands it. He's a bright guy. It wasn't like he couldn't a year ago. I think it was more us just not overloading him his first year and giving him too much. He handles it well and has good hands. He catches the ball just fine. Definitely, he'll be more of a part of our passing offense as well."
On if teams will blitz them less because of the mobility of Thompson and Bomar
"They won't if we hurt them with it. If we don't, they'll blitz more. It's kind of that way every week no matter who you're playing. If someone's successful doing something they're going to do more of it. If you hurt them and can take advantage of it, it slows them down. We'll see how that goes.
"We're prepared for it and we understand it's part of the game. It's the same way for us defensively. There are some people that we play when we're on defense where they want us to blitz in certain formations they have called. That's part of the cat and mouse game that you either take advantage of it or it hurts you."
On the character of Paul Thompson sticking it out after the signings of Grady and Bomar, and earning his chance to start
"He has great character, but we've always known that. I think that's why Paul chose to come to the University of Oklahoma, and I think that's why any of our players choose to come to Oklahoma. They're not going to be handed anything. There's always going to be competition. If it isn't this year, it's coming. There's always going to be competition and there's always good players.
"I appreciate his toughness, his work ethic, his character and the way he's fought through everything. All of our players respect him. We do as coaches. He's been a great team guy and has fought for his opportunities, and he's got them. It is a testament to the kind of character that he has."
On what they saw in Thompson to recruit him as a quarterback when other schools, like Texas, didn't
"We felt he had a quick release, he's accurate. We loved his demeanor and attitude visiting with him. He has continued to develop and be more and more polished as he has gone through these years."
On how Rhett Bomar has handled the decision
"I appreciate Rhett too. He's handled it really in a strong and good way. He understands that both competed hard and fought. What's great about it is, between the two of them, there's respect for each other through that competition, though any competitor wants to be the guy. I think they have supported one another and not allowed anybody to pit them against each other. Ultimately, they have to be team guys.
"They'll both have their opportunities and they both need to be ready to help us win. Rhett's demeanor and they way he's handled himself on the field — he continues to compete for it. Everything I've heard him say in the paper I think has been in a class and a strong way. I think it's also a reflection of his character and he's going to continue to pursue it."
On Peterson leading the nation in carries a year ago and if some of those carries will be replaced by receptions this season
"Possibly. It's hard to say. He'll get his share of carries, but we also hope that we can get him another five to 10 touches during the game through the passing game with a little more space, as opposed to everybody sitting there lined up looking at him in the backfield.
"How that works out – we'll see. I'm sure different games will be different, but that's our intention. How much we run him? He's still going to carry it a fair number of times."
On if they know what they want to do this season offensively, as far as how much they run and pass
"To some degree, yes. We have an idea of what we feel we should be able to do in our method of attack offensively, definitely. Again, situations in games dictate whether you can stick to that or not, and how successful it is and you adjust as you go. But sure, we have an idea of what we should do and a running game is always a big part of that."
On the offensive line
"We still have a lot of guys back. My thoughts are we still have an opportunity with five seniors up there with a great deal of experience to still be awfully good. We don't maybe have the number of guys and depth that we've had, but I believe the seven or eight guys that will play the most still can be awfully good."
On the young receivers getting a chance
"Those guys have ability. The experienced guys — Travis Wilson led us in touchdown recpetions a year ago and Jejuan Rankins — those guys have played a lot of football. Jejuan started maybe 11-12 games the year before, so those guys have experience. Our tight ends have the experience, which we will also rely on them.
"Then you bring in the young guys. Whether it be Lendy Holmes, Quentin Chaney, Malcolm Kelly, even Manuel and Juaquin, those guys have to find their role, find their places. We may not rotate quite as much as we have in the past. We'll just adjust that and spell guys to the point that we need to."
On the defensive ends
"C.J. Ah You and John Williams both have been very strong in the spring and summer. Coach Schmidt has bragged on many occasions the work and the attitude of John Williams and how he's prepared for the season. He has showed it in our scrimmages and the way he's played. And C.J., also, a physical guy that has played well.
"Calvin Thibodeaux, who has played a lot for us up until last year, has to step up and continue to play well. And then some of the young guys, either Alan Davis or possibly maybe even one of the freshmen possibly to help contribute as well."
On if Dusty Dvoracek will start against TCU
"I would imagine in time. He has missed a considerable amount of time right now that he'll have to earn that spot back, but as he goes it's likely that he will. Guys understand that if you miss a certain amount of time you've got to earn that position back. We'll continue to progress Dusty accordingly to make sure he's feeling like he should."
On if any defensive player has helped replaced the intensity Larry Birdine brought to the defensive unit
"There are different guys that chime in here or there — Clint Ingram, Rufus Alexander, Eric Bassey. We've got a few guys who can chirp a little bit. When it really matters is this Saturday who truly has that kind of emotion and spreads it around. Hopefully it will be a bunch of them."
On if he's comfortable rotating three defensive ends this year
"We'll have some of those other guys ready to contribute some too — Alan Davis. And we'll see from there whether it's Auston English, Brody Eldridge, Laenar Nixon. We'll see."
Stoops on TCU
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