Stoops says OU matches up well with Texas

See inside for excerpts from Oklahoma head coach Bob Stoops' weekly press conference Tuesday in Norman. (Photo by Ronald Martinez/Allsport)

Below are excerpts from Oklahoma head coach Bob Stoops' weekly press conference Tuesday in Norman.

Opening statement on Texas

Stoops: We have a big week in front of here playing Texas. Year in and year out, a very big game and a game that has major implications in the Big 12 South and who's going to represent the South and have an opportunity for a Big 12 Championship. It's not the only game, but it's a big game definitely on the way to that.

Our players are excited about the opportunity to compete with a very good Texas team. They are every year. We're really excited and looking forward to the challenge of it.

I really believe that we matchup in really a good way with them in what we're doing and what we like to do, and how they're playing. I feel that our guys will matchup well and compete hard. We're looking forward to the challenge of it like we always do.

On the difference between Vince Young now and two years ago

Stoops: Two years ago is a long time to think about. Naturally, everybody continues to improve as you gain experience and gain maturity. But we have always felt, and particularly last year, he was a very good quarterback.

We came into last year and he was completing 65 percent of his passes and was really an excellent quarterback a year ago as well. To me, you're splitting hairs. When a guy is really good, he's really good. And we realize that.

Everything runs through him when you look at not only the passing, but definitely the run game all goes through him. He's a big factor in the game and we've got to be really good defending him.

On if the win steak against Texas will help his mentally team going into the game

Stoops: Yes and no. Our guys have an excellent feeling and confidence knowing that if we do things the right way, have a big week in preparing, that we've got the opportunity to go down and there and win like we have.

But in the end you've got to do the work. We've got to recognize when we get on the field by playing smart, recognize what they're doing and what we need to do, react to it, be physical and aggressive when we do and make plays when we get an opportunity.

So in the end, you still have to earn it. I've always said that year in and year out. You have earn it each time and that's what we're going to try and do again this year.

On when Adrian Peterson will return to practice and how close to 100 percent will he be on gameday

Stoops: The game's a long way away. It's only Tuesday afternoon. It's 12 o'clock Tuesday.

He'll get the boot off today, they'll check him out. We're hoping he'll practice tomorrow. But it's too soon to say all that. We anticipate him practicing tomorrow. If that changes, we'll say so.

To give any kind of percentage, that's impossible to do. I believe he'll be fine, and I believe he'll look good and ready to go come Saturday.

On Texas freshman running back Jamaal Charles

Stoops: He's a very good player. I look at Selvin Young and Jamaal Charles — those guys are excellent backs. They have really good speed, ability to make people miss them, great vision in there.

They're good, solid running backs that can really do anything you ask them to do. They've got good hands as well catching the ball out of the backfield.

On if they welcome the challenge of facing Texas' rushing attack

Stoops: Well, we welcome it really against anybody. That's where we always begin defensively is doing our best to be really strong and efficient and tough against the run game.

We've never made a secret of that for seven years here. It's definitely a challenge here this week. That's where it begins. In the past, we have been able to do that. And that will be a big factor in this game.

On why they've had success shutting down Texas' running game in the past

Stoops: It gets down to execution, being physical on blocks, recognizing plays and canceling gaps and tackling well when you have the opportunity to make plays. There's nothing magical to it. It gets down to execution and recognition.

On who has the harder job this week — him preparing for Texas or his brother Mike preparing for USC

Stoops" We've both got difficult jobs, as do they. Hey, I didn't even know who Mike was playing. So...(laughs). I'm kidding, I did (laughs).

On if he's talked to Mike about their big games this week

Stoops: No, we're playing SC and Texas. We've played them before. That's all it is.

On where he would like to see the OU-Texas game played in the future

Stoops: I've got total belief, faith, respect for the opinions of our administration and what's best for the university, what's best for the program overall. If they feel we need something different, I'm all for it.

In regard to our fans, even you covering games, there are certain aspects of playing there that I guess need to be dealt with. Again, I don't see that. I'm on the field, the field looks great. I don't have to deal with that part of it. Everybody else does, and all of the financial aspects of it as well.

That is for our administration. I understand my place and my place is to run our football team. If they say go across the street, we'll go across the street. If we go to Texas to play down in their stadium, we'll play. If they come up here, we'll play.

We'll do whatever is necessary and what we feel is appropriate and right for our programs. And I'm all for whatever they feel that is. And I trust Texas' administration as well to be on board and do what's best for our programs.

On if this is the best Texas team he's seen since he's been at OU

They're a good football team, but I don't recall them having a bad one. Do you? To me, I always feel like you're splitting hairs.

I believe they're a very good football team, but I don't recall being up here and truly thinking that any other time either. Maybe they are, maybe they're not. Again, I've always felt they were good.

You mean they weren't last year? I thought they were an excellent football team a year ago. You could pull out about any of those years, just look at the records and where they finished.

On how much of a factor OU's defensive ends will be in containing Vince Young

Stoops: It won't just be the defensive ends containing him. You contain him with the entire defense really. But our defensive ends have played well. Calvin Thibodeaux and C.J. Ah You were both recognized as having excellent games last week.

Those guys — Alan Davis and Auston English — will all have to be accountable and responsible containing Young on many plays, but so will linebackers, DBs depending on the defense we're in and what we're asking them to do.

You don't stop the pass with just the secondary, you don't stop the run with just the front. You don't contain a quarterback with just the d-ends. It's everybody.

On if using a spy on a quarterback compromises a defense

Stoops: Sure, you could sit there and spy on him and they'll do other things. It's easier said than done — to sit there and have a guy just responsible for him.

In a lot of cases having one guy responsible for him isn't going to cut it. You better have a couple. We can't have three guys spying and let them do everything else they want.

On the importance of beating Kansas State from a confidence standpoint

Stoops: It was big. One, it shows the players that all the hard work is paying off and we're not as far off as maybe people want to think. We realize it and see a few plays here or there that can change some of what's happened, and the players see it.

And to see it start to happen for them gives them a boost. It gave them a lot of excitement just to feel good about what they're doing and to see that the hard work is worth it.

On if they'll pull Rhett Bomar aside and talk to him more because of the magnitude of the game

Stoops: To a certain point. Coach Long has been there before, played the position, is with him everyday.

I will to a certain point, but I'm sure that Coach Long will as well. We'll have some things to say to him, definitely.

On what they'll say to him

Stoops: I'd rather not say. Use your imagination. Private conversations between us and a player are just that.

On what is the worst thing a Texas fan has said to him

Stoops: I don't know what that would be. I don't listen to them so...I wouldn't know. I get a lot of signs if you want me to tell you what those are (laughs). Especially on the way in.

On how much he's concerned with having a young team play in a game against Texas in the Cotton Bowl

Stoops: I'm really not that concerned about it. What I want to see is us do is the work ahead of time before we get down there.

If we're prepared like we can be and go in there with the attitude we went into last week's game with, then it just gets down to competing. And I feel that the way we're competing and our level of our intensity and effort, we're starting to get it.

If we do and continue through this week, then I feel we'll go out there and go after it like we always do.

On if he's worried about having such a young team

Stoops: What's worry going to do for me? We're going to prepare them well and get ourselves ready to play and go down there with the attitude of making plays.

I remember going down there in 2000 as an underdog and Kansas had just worked us the week before out there in this stadium. We were behind at halftime and rallied to come back in the second half. Nobody was picking us to be any world-beaters, but we got it together and went down there and competed.

I think Derrick Strait was a redshirt freshman in that game. Michael Thompson was a true sophomore who had never started before that year, who made some big plays in that game. I could go on and on. Brandon Everage played the whole game, he was a redshirt freshman. Quentin Griffin, who nobody really knew about yet, had a heck of a day.

You still have the opportunity to go down and make plays. And I feel our fifth game into it, we're learning. We have matured some already in four games that I believe has helped us.

On the Texas defense

Stoops: Very sound as you watch them. They're kind of a four-deep shell and a 4-3 base.

Very structurally sound defense as you watch them. They tackle well, run to the football, pick their spots to pressure you. Very athletic, which doesn't surprise anybody. I don't even need to say that. Very solid.

On how their defense is different from last year with the hiring of Auburn defensive coordinator Gene Chizik

Stoops: Their base structure is fairly different in the way they line up and what they do, which is natural with a different defensive coordinator.

On if they blitz more with this defense than in the past

Stoops: Coming into last year they only blitzed a fair amount of the time. If they want to come in and blitz more that's fine. You deal with it.

They're two different coordinators. They're different. Without getting a board out here and showing you everything, it's just that they're different.

On how much film of Auburn's defense have they watched

Stoops: We've watched it through the spring, winter and summer. You see a lot of similar structures in what they're doing, and you would expect defensive coordinators to take with them what they do.

They're very sound and disciplined in what they do.

On the talk of the coaching matchup between him and Mack Brown

Stoops: To me, there's too much made personally. He and I aren't out there playing. He and I don't set the entire gameplan. Too much is made of that.

I think it's programs. I've never looked at it individually. To me, it's our program, their program. Do you know how many bodies of entities make it up? There's so many.

We've been fortunate that we've had a run here and have played well in these games and have won them in a lot of different ways — tight scores, big scores, behind in the fourth quarter.

In the end, I just don't look at anything as me against anybody else. It's our program and their program and that's it.

On the pressure on Texas to win

Stoops: Other years when we've had pressure on us, we liked it. I don't much care one way or the other whether they've got pressure that they have to win. Hey, so do we. We've got to win too. I like having the pressure.

We're going to go in there and go after it like we always do very aggressively. I like the plan that we're putting together and I feel like we do really matchup better than maybe everybody gives us credit for.


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