Coach, in the second half you didn't throw a single pass. Was it planned that way or did it just happen?
Bob Stoops: Well, it was just what we did. We felt good about the way we were running it, didn't want to take any chances. And we ran it well, did what we needed to do and it's good to win a game. Any way you do it. Again, compliments to Coach Kragthorpe and his staff. They do an excellent job over there at Tulsa. Fortunately we played well enough and made some plays in the second half to win. We just established and wanted to run the football. We need to develop a passing game, though, that our players can execute. For whatever reason the last two weeks, what we've been doing hasn't been productive. That's being about as kind as I can be. We're not gonna continue to go through the year like this and not be able to throw the football. We've gotta do a better job on what we're doing and the way we structure it and then, in the end as well how we execute our passing game. Hopefully we can do that.
Defensively, it's kinda frustrating. I've got to compliment their quarterback. (Paul) Smith did such a good job. What an excellent competitor. Several times, we were just hitting him and he'd find a way to just get the ball off and make a play. We were so close so many times to making some plays and then they'd make them on some plays on third downs. And it's frustrating on the drive in the second half, we get a personal foul on the quarterback and we jump offsides when we're sacking him on a third and long play. Then we almost intercept a ball and (Garrrett) Mills, the excellent tight end for them, ends up catching it. You gotta make plays when you're in position. They made some plays really to keep their drive going. They did a nice job that way. But we helped sometimes handing them some other key opportunities.
I thought Cody Freeby for the most part really punted the ball well; the rest of the kicking game was pretty solid.
When you look at the video, I'm sure there are a lot of things that you see that need working on and a lot of things that you'll see that will be encouraging.
Bob Stoops: It's usually that way, definitely, that there's always two sides of it. But yeah, we'll continue to be picky and hopefully we can make some progress. We need to. Again, we've got to establish some type of passing game. Defensively, we still have a breakdown or two that ends up costing us here and there on possession downs, so hopefully we'll just keep getting better.
You only had 58 offensive snaps today. The defense didn't have enough one, two, three and outs. Penalties played a little part in that.
Bob Stoops: The encouraging part was when we made a fourth quarter drive off of, what, our eight yard line, we just went down the field when we had to. And that part hopefully leads to something we can building on.
Quarterback play. Any thoughts on that at this point or do you want to look at the tape first?
Bob Stoops: Yeah, it needs improvement, so what we're asking them to do, we've got to really assess. Can they do it and can our receivers do what we've been doing the last several years or do we need to adjust and make some modifications. That's something that we've gotta really look at as coaches.
The fumbles on the center to quarterback exchange. Can you chalk that up to having new people there with Chester and Bomar?
Bob Stoops: No. That shouldn't happen. That's elementary to football and that shouldn't happen and they've got to do a better job.
On that critical fourth and one in the fourth quarter, you run and it goes for a touchdown. If it doesn't work, you give them a short field chance to try and win.
Bob Stoops: Well, yeah, I knew that but I also felt, fourth and one we'd probably finish the game. Maybe not, but we had a chance to and I thought we've just gotta be able to pick that up. We've got a long year in front of us and we're out there in that situation. If we can't it now, we need to know. So I felt, hey, punting it away gives them an opportunity. If we get one yard, our opportunity rate increases big time and fortunately, AD broke it.
The line combination changed several times today, but you finally settled on one of those in the second half. Was that one of the reasons you were more successful in running the ball?
Bob Stoops: Aw, Coach (Kevin) Wilson would have to tell you that. I think as much as anything, some of it was to help try and keep some of those guys fresh. We don't have two full lines, we're pretty thin, everyone knows that, so we're rotating guys and changing positions to try and help them.
Coach, you talked about mental toughness last week. What kind of things did you notice about that today?
Bob Stoops: Well, I felt like there was more of it. Regardless of the game, we responded in the fourth quarter and guys started to make some plays and we established the running game, as well as we were pretty strong against their running game. To me, that's where a lot of defense I know begins there. Offensively, the way our attack is in the last several years, that's a big part of it. You've got to be able to run.
It seemed like in the second half, Adrian was determined to carry the team on his back.
Bob Stoops: Well, he's a powerful and strong guy and he made some big plays that he's capable of. He did and he's like that. He is a special player and I think he really did turn it up in the second half.
You probably want to review this before commenting, but how much of it was your running game improving and how much of it was just Adrian doing it by himself, just carry you on his back?
Bob Stoops: Well, it's both. But he really had better opportunities and seams and got started better this week than he did a week ago.
Bob, how close were you to pulling Rhett and putting in Thompson?
Bob Stoops: (pause) Uh… I wasn't ready to do that.
You talked about the passing game. You had a couple of just flat out drops. Are you talking about just bigger issue problems?
Bob Stoops: Well sure. You've got to look at when we're as unproductive in two games as we've been, we have got to be really critical of what we're doing and what we're asking them to do. Just because it's worked for us in the past and it's worked well doesn't mean it's going to. So we've got to really look at that. It's like a week ago, we've got a guy that's open about 40 yards, you've got to be able to complete that. And we were behind them a few other times. It's easy to say, aw those don't work. Well, they do. And if you're a team that's gonna be good, you've got to be able to convert.
Was there ever a point today when you talked to Chuck (Long) and said "Don't throw it again"?
Bob Stoops: No. No, I didn't say that, but I knew in the second half, particularly in the fourth quarter, what we were looking to do and that was run.
Bob, Rhett really didn't have the greatest statistics a week ago. You did play Bomar more, you said you weren't ready to do that. Can you expound on why?
Bob Stoops: No, I'm not going to sit here and critique our quarterbacks in front of everybody. Again, they weren't very productive. We need to do a better job and that's what we're going to try and do.
What were your thoughts on how well you did defensively today?
Bob Stoops: You know, it was decent at times. What I looked at is how many times we were so close to sacks and pressures and they made some plays. We need to tighten it up but they made some plays out there where we're hanging on them. We've gotta make some plays. We stepped in front of that goal line interception, it's right in our hands, we've gotta catch it and go. There were parts of it that they (Tulsa) did a nice job on some third downs that I'd like to see us (do) better. Hopefully, we can.
Talk about your defense in the middle on the passing game. It seems like that's where they had some success against you.
Bob Stoops: Well, yeah, a few of the times, you're in man coverage and they work just inside of you. That's the easiest throw and if you get too far inside, they break out, then you're ten yards away from them. So, it's not as easy as you think. At times, yeah, with some of their crossing routes inside you have them for a second and then you don't. We've got to do a better job in there.
What improvement did you see from a week ago?
Bob Stoops: Well, we're running the football better. That's obvious. I felt good about our kicking game. Outside of that, there's not a ton.
How about the toughness quotient?
Bob Stoops: Again, I felt good about what we did in the second half. I felt good about the way we came out to start the game. So I felt there was more of it, definitely.
How about the play of Rufus Alexander?
Bob Stoops: I thought Rufus played really well, all over the place, as well as I thought for the most part Clint (Ingram) played pretty good.
Who starts at quarterback next week? Is that decision still to be made?
Bob Stoops: Well, yeah, we'll talk as a staff tomorrow and see what we need to do.
Does that mean the competition for the job is still open?
Bob Stoops: It will be until the end of the season. And it will open back up for next year, just like every other position. Nobody has any positions that are cemented.
Adrian only had 13 carries in the first half after getting nine in the first quarter. You said you were going to try to get the ball to him more.
Bob Stoops: If you count snaps at halftime, he had at least half of them. (Note: Peterson did have half of them 13 carries and 2 catches out of 30 first half plays). Guy gets a little worn out, too. Did you see him huffing and puffing and drinking water, coughing? He can't play every snap. It's easy to criticize until you count up the snaps. We didn't have the ball much in the first half.
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