Stoops: "We have a lot of issues"

See inside for quotes from OU head coach Bob Stoops' weekly press conference Tuesday in Norman.

Below is a transcript of OU head coach Bob Stoops' weekly press luncheon Tuesday in Norman.

Opening Statements

"TCU just played us better and coached better than we did and beat us. Compliments to them and the way they've played. We have a lot of issues that we've got to continue to try and address to improve that.

"We've got to do a better job as coaches and players in the way we compete on the field. We need to be more tougher, physical, more disciplined in the way we execute and play. That's our job as coaches — to get the players to do that, and the players' job to work at it through the week and to be prepared to do it on Saturday. Hopefully, as we go through the week we can make some improvements in many areas to get that done, and we'll need to.

"Tulsa, though they lost to Minnesota last week, is a team I believe Coach Steve Kragthorpe does an excellent job. Watching them and their schemes, their plan is always very solid, very good. They've got good players running around making plays. They've had good, solid years. Last year they were middle of the road, but the year before they won nine or 10 games I believe. They do an excellent job.

"We've got to make a lot of improvement if we want to go out there and have an opportunity to win this week, and that's what we're going to try and do."

On what they learned from the first game

"We weren't near physical enough in the way we competed. We weren't near tough enough or disciplined in what we were doing. Didn't protect the quarterback. Never established, outside of one series at the start of the third quarter, a strong running attack. We had opportunities for big plays in many instances and weren't able to complete them and convert them."

On what personnel changes will be made other than quarterback

"I know Coach Wilson is working in the offensive line to see what, if any, changes we'll make. He'll continue to look at that as he goes through the week. There may be some in there. Outside of that, I don't know that there will be many."

On if they weren't physical enough in fall practices

"Well, we had four scrimmages. We actually went at it more than we ever have. But again, that doesn't matter. You've got to find the right ways and right methods to reach each team, and obviously I haven't.

"We've got to continue to try and work to find out what will make this team better and how we're going to do it."

On the reasoning for the change at quarterback

"I believe Rhett deserves the opportunity — it's been a tight race all along — to give him the opportunities that Paul had and see what he's able to do with them. And that is with the number of snaps he gets in practice, he'll get more and get himself in a position to start.

"He'll have more snaps, more preparation that way on the field, and give him the opportunities and the number of throws that Paul had in the game to see what he's able to do with them and if he can make some plays.

"By no means am I sitting here blaming Paul Thompson, because that isn't the case. Paul, in a lot of ways, wasn't supported real well. There are some guys who have played a lot of football that didn't play very well either. Whether it's protection or not establishing a run game. Again, it's not at all pointing the finger at him because that is not fair.

"It's all of us. Everybody takes responsibility for it. But we do believe that Rhett deserves that opportunity in the preparation and in the games to see if he can move the team and be more consistent in our passing and convert some of the big plays or some of the opportunities that we had."

On Bomar's aggressive nature bringing a spark to the offense

"Well, your aggressive nature is only good if you're productive. Everyone's excited when you're making plays, and in the end that's what needs to happen. I don't think rah rah-ing makes plays. I think players make plays and coaches put them in position to make them together.

"So, I believe if he's productive and can move the team and convert some of the plays that are there, then that will take care of it."

On the rotation at defensive end with the loss of John Williams

"We'll play Calvin Thibodeaux and C.J. Ah You as the starters. Alan Davis came in our game against TCU and played well. Alan's a guy that's been here and working and making improvements. And then from Alan, either Laenar Nixon or a couple of the young freshmen — one of two of them — we may eventually have ready to play as well."

On the importance of a quarterback working with the first team during the week in practice

"He naturally has the advantage of getting more snaps, working with the one's, the timing and spacing of everything, and just the overall coordination of it. Hopefully, as Rhett works through the week he'll feel comfortable and be in a position to go in and make some things happen."

On Chuck Long's ability to call plays, and if he feels the offense has diversity and imagination

"I believe so, yes. I have total confidence in Chuck, and I think his track record, you can say what you want, speaks to it. We've been, I believe, in the top 10 in scoring in the nation the last several years.

"We've had a rusher — Adrian Peterson — close to 2,000 yards mostly in the 'I' (formation) and behind the quarterback. We had a guy two years before, in Quentin Griffin, rush for almost 2,000 yards out of the shotgun and hardly ever in the 'I'. That's diversity, that's imagination. That's finding ways to work to your talent.

"The proof is out there in what they've done. We've just had our quarterback and running back both at the Heisman Trophy banquet a year ago. A couple years before that Josh Heupel — a guy nobody recruited in the country — was runner-up also in the Heisman.

"We've done it with the quarterback, we've done it with the shotgun tailback, we've done it with an 'I' tailback, and we've done it with some great receivers as well a year ago that caught a lot of balls. We scored a lot of points over a good number of games and several years.

"It's easy to jump on one guy when something goes wrong. Hey, that's fine. We deserve the criticism, but track records over time also stand for something."

On how much was the poor performance based on the youth of the team

"I don't believe that was much of a factor at all. I see a lot of the breakdowns and average performances that were out there, many were by guys that have played a lot. So, to put that off on young guys I don't believe is very accurate."

On where the breakdowns occurred on the offensive line

"I think it's probably at different times different people. It isn't just the line, it comes into tight ends in protection as well as backs. It isn't just one guy, it's just different people taking their turn."

On what was changed before the first drive of the second half to get the offense moving

"We played better, executed better. We did come off the ball and play with some toughness and attitude in the way we blocked and created seams, and it was productive.

"Obviously, we weren't able to do that the entire game with any kind consistency, and that's part of the reason why you lose."

On how much that drive was helped by using two tight ends

"It helps, but there were other times we were in two tight ends and we didn't move it. That wasn't the only time during the game we were in two tight ends.

"There isn't any magical formations or formulas that do it. It's overall the consistency and the way you execute each play."

On the tight not being a factor in the offense

"They were probably thrown at more than you realize. They weren't completed or knocked down; they were pressured before they could get to them.

"I don't know what you're looking for, but I saw many others that weren't completed or that weren't attempted."

On the lack of a downfield passing game

"There were many others that were attempted and for a lot of different reasons weren't successful. The obvious one's that every sees were some of the deep balls when we're in two tight ends with one wide out, or two back sets with two wide outs, some of those shots were designed really for Jejuan Rankins or Travis (Wilson.)

"Travis, I think it's fairly obvious, there were many occasions where he's behind them and in great shape. So, to criticize that is tough to do. He's in great shape for some big plays and we didn't convert."

On what impresses him about Tulsa

"Overall, watching them compete a year ago they're a very solid team in everything that they do. Watching against Minnesota, a good number of plays and series where they're playing well and executing on both sides of the ball. Davis is an excellent return man. He led the nation a year ago in kick-off returns. They have athletes and speed at different spots. Those guys get your attention.

"They've got a great tight end who catches well and runs great routes. I saw both quarterbacks really do well. When you look at what they did both quarterbacks, as you watch them, performed well. One was, I think, 7-of-11. The other was 20-of-30. They executed in a pretty good way. They're a good team."

On if they're planning on playing Paul Thompson against Tulsa

"We'll see how that goes. That's something that will be determined here as we go into the game, and also probably how the game is going and how we're executing offensively."

On if the quarterback option runs were set plays or actual options for the quarterbacks

"Those were options where we pulled the ball and ran. There's some during the game that could've been pulled. There could've been two or three more that could've been pulled off of the option and ran as well."

On the strange situation starting off 0-1 after having strong starts to the season since he's been at Oklahoma

"Now that you say that, I have looked at it I realize here we never have. Three years prior to that were at Florida and it wasn't the case, and three to four years prior to that at Kansas State, it wasn't the case. It's been a long time to start off this way.

"I think it's important we address the issue we know are there. I think it's also important as a team that we stay together — coaches and players. The worst you can do is start pointing a finger. I've been very aware that I've criticized us as coaches every bit as much as I have the players.

"We're all in it together. As a team, we'll either improve or we won't. And as critical as we are about all of our performances, we've got to do something about it. That or stick our head in the sand and get our rear kicked the rest of the year. Hopefully, we can do something about it."

On the play of the secondary against TCU

"That was one of the positive and bright spots. I thought the secondary was solid and good the entire day. The one deep wheel route we gave up on our boundary was somebody else outside of the secondary busting an assignment and not covering their guy.

"They tackled well for the most part. Their positions on the ball and challenging in many coverage, I thought, were really pretty good."

On Dusty Dvoracek's play

"Really good. Dusty was one of the guys mentioned for having an excellent game. And his arm felt fine, so that's another positive."

On how many defensive ends they plan to rotate

"There will be three for sure — Alan Davis being the third with Thibodeaux and C.J. And then from there we'll see if a fourth emerges as we prepare them in practice. Some of the young guys have potential. Can we get them to that level soon enough?

"I know, as we went through the year there in 2000 I remember Dan Cody coming in and starting to play. Everyone remembers Dan Cody as a true freshman as a guy that was in there about 235 and playing hard, but still learning.

"Hopefully, as we go through the week one of those will step up and will be able to give us some time and snaps."

On the size of Nixon, Eldridge and English

"Laenar's probably 235. They're all probably 6-3 to 6-5. Brody weighs about 245-250. I think Auston's about 250 and Brody's about 245."

On what offensive linemen could get more looks against Tulsa

"We were looking at Jon Cooper, but he had a minor injury yesterday that I don't believe he'll be allowed to play this week. I don't believe it's very severe, but we'll see where it goes.

"Branndon Braxton possibly more. Duke Robinson possibly more. Those are a couple right off the bat."

On the play of the linebackers against TCU

"The linebackers, for the most part, were pretty solid. Zach Latimer had an excellent game in the middle."

On Akim Millington's status against Tulsa


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