It was a good win. It's really great to get started in Big 12 Conference play and win. Kansas State is always a difficult team to play. They always do a lot offensively and I always think Coach Snyder and his staff are creative, and it's good to have extra time to prepare for them. They're creative in how they create extra seams and what they do with their run game. It's a good win against what is year in and year out a good solid football team.
I felt like we made good progress through last week and this week in gelling as a team. I was pleased how we played in the first half. I thought overall in the first half we were excellent defensively. Our special teams created field position. I'd have liked to have had more points off of that field position in the first half, but we did take care of the football, we did put up 19 points and were responsible with the ball.
And in the second half, I thought offensively we continued to do some good things running the ball. I was a little disappointed, I thought we were a little sloppy defensively in some areas in the second half. We still need to get some of those mistakes corrected. At times we bust some things on our own and it allows people to take advantage of us. We can still grow a little bit there and play a little, I would say, smarter in some areas and not break down.
Really pleased with our special teams overall. I also thought that was solid throughout the game.
Bob, talk about the pressure you were able to get. It seemed like their quarterbacks were never able to get comfortable and you were chasing them all over the yard.
We did a good job, I think, overall. Our d-tackles and d-ends did an excellent job up front even when we weren't blitzing. They were bothering him and made him start to run. He did make some plays on the run, but that's going to happen. At least he's not able to throw the long ball and he had to scramble some. Some of our pressures really got to him and I felt our coverage had a lot to do with it where we made him hold the ball a little longer. So all of that worked together pretty well.
How do you feel about where your team is going as you head into Texas?
Well, I feel like we made some good progress. I like the fact that the players feel it, I sensed it in the locker room. They're excited. They realize that this is a big week and a huge game in the Big 12 South and we feel good that we'll work hard this week. We've got a great opportunity to go down and win. That's what we're always shooting
for and our guys will go down there confident.
We respect them and they're an excellent football team and we feel we're making great strides, too. And traditionally, we've matched up well.
What did you think of the play of your freshmen safeties?
You know, they did a really good job. We had a couple of breakdowns but overall they were very solid, very disciplined in being in position, in their responsibilities and adjusting to formations and making some plays. Reggie (Smith) made a nice interception and some great returns. So those guys are coming on.
Could Adrian Peterson have played in the second half?
He's gonna be OK. He could have played in the second half if we chose to. He has somewhat of an ankle injury. I might as well say it, everybody finds out anyway. He had one a little earlier in the year and was able to play with it and we hope that this is similar. So, we feel that he'll be able to go. It's just a matter of which day he'll be able to get back on the field.
How important was the drive after Peterson was hurt for Rhett Bomar's confidence?
He's had some series executing when Adrian was in there where he was excellent and played well too. He's gaining confidence and gaining experience out there. You can't just talk about it. You have to play, you have to get the minutes, the plays to get that experience and continue to see things. He's seeing it more and more clearly, he's making good checks. He was great with the football tonight. He's made a lot of strides in a short amount of time and I believe he'll continue to do that.
Last year, when you beat Texas Tech prior to the Texas game, you said you couldn't wait for it to get here. Is that the attitude you take into that game every year?
Sure. It's a great challenge. It's very exciting. It's a big game in our division and in our conference. So, sure, we'll work hard this week and it'll be exciting. And we'll go down there ready to compete with them. And, again, traditionally, as our team has done in other years, we'll match up good with them.
Even though you made some changes due to injury and other factors in the offensive line, it seemed that you ran the ball better. Would you agree?
I gave Jacob Gutierrez and Donta Hickson game balls. They came in and had some nice runs, really found some nice holes and the line helped create them as well. Kejuan and Adrian also had good runs. So those guys are all complimenting each other in a good way. And we've got some things in the shotgun for those guys that fit them really well, their running style, and it lets them get through and that's helping us. It also fits a little bit, well, it gives a different dimension to our run game rather than just the I and running downhill. And people have to deal with it.
So it's helping. They can put the option in with it and it's given us some running lanes.
Another dimension is that the quarterback was your leading rusher tonight. Of course, Adrian's injury may have had some effect on that. That probably hasn't happened since you've been here.
As you saw, he's (Bomar) a great runner. He's got excellent speed, he's got 4.5 speed and showed it. And he had the long run, that's where you get those yards. But he also had some other nice runs that weren't as big, but they were important. He's capable and he's got good feet and again, he's seeing things better and better.
You've touched on it, but after two weeks of hard practices are you just happy that your guys are showing that they're getting better?
Sure. We want to progress through the year and improve as we go through the year, and we're doing that. That's exciting to see as a coach and when you're a really veteran and experienced team, you want to see it and in this situation we are in here, you want to see it as well. Our guys are doing that and they gained confidence and they see their hard work in the last couple of weeks is well worth it. Isn't that right, Ruf (Rufus Alexander)? You sleeping back there?
Did you know what was going on outside the stadium?
No, I was made aware of it at halftime, but I don't have anything to say about it. I'll leave that to our administration.
Bob, have you ever had a safety as easy as the one you picked up tonight?
No. I saw it. I looked out there and I started saying on the headphones that the punter wasn't out there and then I saw the ball. And I was like, well, you know, thank goodness...We'll take anything we can get. Right Ruf?
As the head man, how does this make you feel to have your team to come out and play as well as you did?
It gives a lot of energy. You know, it's fun to see the players in the locker room with the excitement and the energy. And for them to realize that, hey, we aren't far off from getting better and better and we're capable of being a good team. That's what we've been saying to them and now they see it. They know that the hard work is worth it and if you work that way we can improve. It's fun for me to see them in the locker room having fun and feeling good about what they're doing. That's important to me and that's important to them. So it gives you a lot of energy.
Can one game turn a season around? Can that be a launching pad?
It can be, provided you win the rest of them. It'll give us a lot of energy, but we've still got to work and get ready for Texas. We've done this before where we've kind of struggled early and then catch fire and get better and hopefully, we can do that this year.
What did you think of what you saw of Paul Thompson at wide receiver?
I thought it was awesome. He got the first game ball in the locker room and he made some nice catches. He's physical, he got off of the ball and caught that slant. I thought the best one was the one he had that was low off of the boot pass was a heckuva catch. Down low and he went down and caught it. That was an excellent catch. Again, he's gonna be a good factor for us.
Can you comment quickly on no turnovers?
You know, you can look at all your statistics you want, but turnovers and scoring offense and defense – even total yardage – everything goes to that. If you're giving up possession and giving up extra ones, the yardages are going to get lopsided. The score is going to be different. Taking care of the football is important for us and tonight it was a big factor.
Are you going to play up the underdog role going into the Texas game?
Not really. We've been underdogs before and we've been favorites before. And in the end, it's what you do that matters and how you get prepared for it. Our guys understand that and we'll go in there ready to play like we always do. We don't pay much attention to that.
Bob Stoops' Postgame Quotes
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