Dorrell on OU

UCLA head coach Karl Dorrell talks about Saturday's matchup between his Bruins and Oklahoma. (AP Photo/Reed Saxon)

Below are excerpts from UCLA head coach Karl Dorrell's weekly press conference. Special thanks to Tracy Pierson from BruinReportOnline.com for allowing us to use this report.

---
Is this game more winnable now that Oklahoma hasn't played necessarily very well in its first two weeks?

"We felt pretty good about it from the start of the season. We knew we had a good team. We mentioned that before. We just need to keep improving week in and week out. We have a tremendous opportunity this weekend. We're playing well. We just have to clean up some issues still and still prove that we're a pretty good team this Saturday. So nothing has changed from what we thought at the beginning of the season. We're just moving right along."

What do you have to do to contain Adrian Peterson?

"Don't let him run. That's the biggest thing. He's a tremendous player. We tried to recruit him here. Obviously he was a national recruit. And he's a dangerous football player. He can run as fast as any back, as most backs in the country. He's powerful. He's a great combination. So we just don't want to get him started. If he gets started, he's tough to bring down."

Is Oklahoma one-dimensional offensively now?

"No. Don't let that fool you. They're a very good rushing team. They have a Heisman Trophy candidate in the backfield. They have capable wide receivers, just like we have capable wide receivers. They just haven't had a consistency yet. We hope that consistency doesn't start until after our week. They're talented. This team has great team speed, both on defense and on offense. They're maybe just struggling a little here and there, and we're hoping that's still the case come Saturday. We're playing well and we want to continue to play well. They're playing with a new quarterback, and a few guys that are first-time starters. They're just finding their niche."

When the season began, this game was looking different than it is now. You're now 6 ½-point favorites against Oklahoma...

"Six and a half points, huh? When you struggle a little bit in the beginning, there might be some question marks they have in their own minds. I respect this team. I respect that coach. They're a fast football team. We've improved our speed on our football team. We're playing a little bit better. We have a senior quarterback that's playing better. They're having a new starter at quarterback, and it's been a little difficult for him to get started. I think that's the difference right now. I think he'll come along at some point in this season, and hopefully not this Saturday. They're more than capable of being explosive, in all the things they've done in the past."

Early on, though, it would have been thought that UCLA would be an upset of Oklahoma. Now it's more a matter of you guys taking care of business. It seems like a whole different mindset.

"Our mindset still is taking care of ourselves. We believe when we play up to our capabilities we're a pretty good football team. We've done that two weeks in a row, and are improving. That's still the same focal point for us this week, to see how much we can improve offensively. Defensively we made some huge strides. We still need to make a tremendous stride playing against this running back. And special teams need to keep the consistency there. So we're just really concerned about ourselves."

What do you do to compensate for Oklahoma's team speed. There was a significant difference than when you played them two years ago.

"You respect that speed. You have to respect your opponent and respect their abilities. We run pretty well, too. We have some guys that can make some plays. I think our team this year is a lot different than the team we had two years ago. We're excited about this opportunity."

Is this a big game for you?

"It's an exciting moment. We're off to a good start. Our team is playing well, the morale is good. We're playing hard..."

"It's big for our program. This is a game that is a measuring stick, like for all your guys. I'm sure your concerns are the same as everyone else out there. This is a measuring stick type of game, to see what we're all about. And our players are ready for the next step.

Does the game two years ago against Oklahoma have an impact on this game?

"Not really. Because this is a young football team. There aren't a lot of players from that team two years ago. We're a big sophomore-, freshman-laded team. Maurice Drew was there, he's a true junior. But there aren't many players on our team that were there in Norman. That's a different team. That's not a big a factor if this were a big, upper-class type of team. In our minds this is just one more chance to prove ourselves and get ready for a great opponent, and we're excited about playing on national television at 12:30 p.m."

Did that game in Norman change how you looked at special teams?

"Sure. Three punt returns against you as an NCAA record. That will stick out in your mind. You don't like those things happening to you very often. I'm in the record books. That's not something you're proud of. I think it's something we've worked on from that standpoint, and put a lot of stress into that, in terms of prioritizing that particular area. And that's why we've improved the last couple of years. Not just because of that game, but because of that circumstance."


Sooners Illustrated Top Stories