Stoops: "Blame it on me"

See inside for a complete transcript of Oklahoma head coach Bob Stoops' weekly press conference. Stoops talks about last week's loss to Texas, OU's 2-3 start and looks ahead to Saturday's matchup against Kansas.

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

Opening Statement

Stoops: "As everyone knows, Texas is an excellent football team. They really played a very good game and made the big plays in the game that made the difference. We, on the other hand, didn't make very many plays, as far as big plays go.

"I think our inability to execute in some areas really hurt us. I thought we made some critical errors and mistakes that helped contribute to some of the big plays. And that's what the result is, is getting beat that way. All we can do is watch it, do our best to learn from it, correct mistakes and try and execute better coming into this week with Kansas.

"Going up to Arrowhead to play KU, we need to do our best to be as sharp as we can, and I think that's the frustrating part for us. It's one thing to give some plays and get beat when you're in position or you execute properly and you're just not quite able to make the play, but it's another when you put yourself out of position and allow someone to convert on you or make a big play because of your own doings.

"That's what we're doing our best to correct, and we need to do it this week and just to play smarter in some areas. I still think we can play more physical and be more disciplined in what we're asking them to do.

"That's what we're aiming to going up to Kansas. We're looking forward to it. I still really believe that there's character there. We've had a lot of adversity to overcome and we haven't been able to overcome it in some games, which our record shows that.

"But again, we're going to keep working. We had a good practice yesterday and I believe the players had a strong attitude about it."

On how tough it is to deal with a losing record after their successs last two seasons and being in the top five to begin the year

Stoops: "It's difficult, but no one promises you anything. We've had a lot to deal with when you look at the entire season and all that's happened in a short amount of time.

"You do the best you can to fight through it and to keep working. I think they do have a sense of confidence that we've had a long history here, and I mean recent history, that's been stable, strong and will be again. And we're going to fight to do it this year. We've got to have some guys step up and be accountable and responsible on the field and execute it.

"They're all disappointed, but again we understand that all we can do is fight through it and keep scrapping to get better, make improvement and take each one game by game. And that's what we're going to do.

"There's something to it that you're never promised anything, as I said, and at least we're in the fight. We get to go compete and try to do the best we can to be on the field and to try and win.

"The players are the one's out there doing their best and fighting to make those plays, and we've got to make them to have the success that we're used to and need to have here toward the end of the season."

On the fans and media calling for changes

Stoops: "Well, there's another group that says you shouldn't make changes, you should just stick with these guys and get them better.

"Everybody's got their answers. To me, there's times changes definitely need to be made and at times there isn't. You don't have much of a choice, so you do the best you can to manage that. And that's what we're trying to do as far as personnel goes.

"At times, you're right. We've got to work with some other guys if somebody else isn't productive or isn't making the plays that we feel are fairly easy to make. But then if we make that change and another guy doesn't do it, what do you do then? You change again.

"We're fighting through it trying to find some consistency and players to step up and show consistency on the field. That's all you can do, and gain experience as you go."

On if he thought before the season that the team could be 2-3 at this point

Stoops: "No, I don't think that way, which you guys know. And I don't sit there and blow smoke either.

"I feel that we're better than where we're at right now, or should've been. Now, I didn't anticipate all that's happened and who we'd miss. I'm not making excuses, what I'm saying is I didn't anticipate all of that. You play the hand you're dealt, but I felt overall that coming into the year that we would've been stronger and better than we have been.

"You can name a bunch of reasons why we haven't been — blame it on me — that's fine. I'm not going to sit here and act like coming into the year I didn't feel we'd be better than this. I did. All we can do is try and improve from here."

On the what percentage does the team making mistakes count toward a loss versus the other team just being better

Stoops: "I don't know how to put percentages on that. Texas is a very good football team. We all know that, but again we contribute to some of it by a number of plays that we hurt our self.

"Not that he wouldn't have broke the 80-yard touchdown, but our first guy to the ball, right in the middle of the line of scrimmage on a five-yard play, we're trying to punch the ball out. That's just not good football.

"After we were nullified the interception they have a third and 10 or third and nine and they hit a receiver on an under route in the middle of the field. If we just execute our blitz that we've run for three years here properly — one guy underneath the back and the other guy on the outside of the back — we're going to sack them and we're out of the drive. But we don't and it ends up three points.

"If we're out there on the deep outside and they run curl and a guy on the boundary a wheel route, if we're not just standing in the backfield and recognize the route we make the play.

"In the end, those are the simple facts that are not complicated. Those are the areas that I'm pointing out that we've got to be able to execute.

"Same thing offensively. If we hit the receiver in the chest with a football we can't bobble it and let them get it. If we have a guy wide open, we can't put the ball in the dirt. If we have a guy wide open, we've got to be able to protect the quarterback for three seconds to get it to him.

"At different times, one of those breaks down. So, it doesn't take a lot for a play on either side of the ball to look bad."

On him talking in the past on wanting the team to play harder, and can they do it

Stoops: "I think with that, success and being sure of yourself and what you're doing, also contributes to that. Yeah, I think we can. That's what we're pushing for.

"Again, it goes with playing a little bit smarter and more physical as well. You put those together. We've got to be able to find that though."

On Adrian Peterson's status

Stoops: "He's better than he was a week ago. He didn't practice yesterday. It will probably be a day-to-day thing this week on how much he gets and when he practices.

"But he is further along going into the game last week, so that's encouraging. All the X-RAYS and MRI's have all ruled out anything major.

"And from all that our doctors can decipher from, it is a mild high ankle sprain."

On if Peterson is disappointed about the offenses' performance

Stoops: "Like everybody else on the team. He's no different.

"It's frustrating being hurt. It's frustrating for everybody in the offensive huddle. It's frustrating for us as coaches. It's frustrating for the defense if guys don't line up right, make a mistake and they get a play.

"Again, I don't know why he would be any different than anybody else."

On why Peterson hasn't talked with the media after games

Stoops: "I don't know why that would be, most of the time he's been available."

"Lately, there was a lot written and said and talked about the week before the Kansas State game, and he decided he wasn't much interested in talking with a bunch of you or whoever it was that was spreading all the rumors in papers that wrote. He was frustrated.

"He decided if they're not going to quote me or speak about me accurately, I don't need to go and have them write it again.

"And after the Texas game, the fact that he played three plays and being hurt, he didn't feel like he needed to."

On how Peterson's handled the losing

Stoops: "He's handled how...if you asked Rhett Bomar, if you asked Davin Joseph how they're handling it. We're all in about the same boat."

On if Rhett Bomar is shocked not having success this season after watching the team have success last year

Stoops: "Probably, but J.D. Runnels has, Davin Joseph has, Travis Wilson has.

"Again, I just don't feel it's very fair to single out him as if his frustration is any different than anybody else's.

"There's some other guys who have played an awful lot and won a lot too. Even longer than he has."

On how much have the 11 players who have left from the 2003 recruiting class effected the current situation

Stoops: "I'm sure it has. There's no question. I would say even further than that.

"We had a couple of running backs that decided Adrian Peterson's here and I'm going to go to another school and play. It's hard to fault a kid like that.

"How much that hurts you? It may some and some it doesn't. Some of those guys, their production and what they've done, I'm sure does hurt to a certain degree.

"Other times it's hard to argue with a guy. We had a couple of guys that were wonderful young men that were in great academic standing, and they decided I want to go somewhere and play and get on the field. It's hard to argue with that.

"In the end, some are hurting us more than others. But it's probably not just 2003, it's probably a certain number of guys in each class that add up."

On if they've had the same problems losing players as other schools, and will they change their outlook on how they recruit because of the defections

Stoops: "I think you're always looking for guys, especially on the offensive line, that are just tough, hard-working, fighting guys. That's what you look for.

"It's not always the easiest to find, as well as you think you have it and maybe you don't. Have we had more problems than others? Probably, overall.

"But again, we don't seem to have it on the defensive line. We require the same thing of each guy, whether it's d-line, o-line or big guys in the same program as everybody else.

"You can point fingers all you want, but in the end we are thin in there and it has effected us in some degree."

On if he feels like the offensive line is close after watching the film

Stoops: "Yeah, actually there's certain parts of last week's game had we not given up some big plays and fallen behind, would've been able to run the football a little more because at times we did.

"We ran it pretty well, now we just weren't able to do it enough being what the score was in the second half. On top of that, some of the sacks are not the offensive line.

"On one, we get hit in the mouth when our tight end breaks down in protection. The fumble that we give up, we understand the guy's unblocked on this side. We slid our protection one way and we're throwing a quick throw to get rid of the football before getting hit. Well, we don't get rid of the football. We hold onto it and that's what happens.

"So in the end, it's easy say it's the o-line. It's not always the o-line,and several of those cases the other day it wasn't. You don't see that with the general public, but we see it.

"Those are situations we game-planned and that we understood when they got in that, we're going to leave him go and we're going to throw over here, block these guys on this side and throw it in a count or two. And when that doesn't happen, that's the result of it."

On how Bomar is progressing as a quarterback

Stoops: "He needs to improve. He probably took a step backward. And I don't think probably — definitely — in our last game with Texas.

"I think it was pretty obvious compared to how he had played in the UCLA game and the K-State game. Again, we still are very encouraged that he's capable of it, and for whatever reasons he wasn't as productive or consistent or played like he's capable of in that game."

On if the staff has any thoughts on recruiting a junior college quarterback

Stoops: "Yes, it's a possibility."

On if most of the mistakes are becuase of the youth on the team

Stoops: "Some of it's youth, some it's older guys that break down. It's a little bit of both."

On playing against a former assistant in Mark Mangino and him knowing what Oklahoma likes to do offensively

Stoops: "It's been a long time since he was here with our offense. Our personnel really has changed since then.

"We know what Mark kinda likes a little bit offensively too. And he has an idea too from watching us, but we've evolved quite a bit since then.

"There's some parts of what we do offensively that have remained consistent since 2000, but everybody knows that. Everyone that plays us every year sees that, so I don't know that it's any different for him than it would be anybody else."

On if he still has a relationship with Mangino

Stoops: "Definitely. Mark's a very close friend, and Mary Jane his wife. It goes back a long time too, not just our years here at Oklahoma. We were together a long time at Kansas State. And being assistants together, you usually have a closer relationship as well."

On if the wide receivers are coming on as he had hoped

Stoops: "It just depends on what week you're asking me.

"Last week they weren't very productive. We had a few drops that we should've had that would've helped and maybe made a difference to some degree.

"A couple weeks before that they were making improvement, making more plays, and then last week they didn't. Hopefully, we can improve from it and be more productive here this week."

On being a slight favorite against Kansas and the team realizing that every game from here on out will be a battle

Stoops: "Of course. We're not foolish or stupid. We also feel that we can beat everybody, but we also know they can beat us too.

"It's how well we play and prepare and how competitive and tough we are on the field to give ourselves an opportunity to win."

On what he thinks of Kansas offensively and defensively

Stoops: "Defensively, they have been great against the run, which they were the last year out here against us. They've got eight seniors on their defense, I believe.

"They're really structurally very sound, a lot of cover four quarters coverages across the board. They're very sound in what they do, run to the football really well.

"Offensively, they mix up their formations. They give you a lot of one- and two-back and do their best to remain balanced with the run and pass.

"They've been going back and forth with two different quarterbacks, but they are very similar. You don't get different plays with whoever's in there. They run their offense with whoever it is and they're very similar in how they play, so we don't look at that as much of a difference in that the offense doesn't change depending on who's in there."

On the injuries

Stoops: "Travis Wilson didn't practice yesterday. We'll see how it goes through the week. He's probable for Saturday. Branndon Braxton practiced yesterday and should be fine. Eric Bassey is questionable."

On Adrian Peterson being questionable

Stoops: "I would say he's probable." On what areas of progress he saw that the team can build on after watching the Texas tape Stoops: "Well, I'd rather look at the areas of progress in the Kansas State game. I felt there were some areas we went backwards in in the Texas game.

"There were still some, for instance, I felt defensively for a good part of the game we played well. Now, no one wants to hear that because of the score or the points or the yardage. But for instance in that first half, if we tackle a guy on a five-yard run instead of trying to punch the ball out. That's an if, but again you're asking me.

"What I see is a good part of that game we did play well. We gave up some big plays that broke our back. You can't do it. But if you take away a few plays, you're talking 180 yards of offense and 17 points. That's a big difference in three plays, as opposed to what you did the other 35-40 plays when you played pretty well.

"Offensively, we came off the ball and had a chance to run it well had the score be in a position where we could've stayed with it longer. But again, we weren't able to.

"The kicking game — they were a good return unit. Our kickoff coverage, our punt coverage — Cody Freeby's hitting the ball well — were solid.

"We've got to be more productive, to me more than anything, passing the football."

On if there was interference on the interception

Stoops: "Yes, because they called it. It's a very tight call and I'm not going to sit here and whine about that. Every one of you guys can watch it, everybody has TVs.

"In the end, that's what it is. It doesn't much matter. I'm not going to sit here and say that changed the game, but those kind of plays, in any game, are always big factors in games."

On if he asked the official who the player was that made the interference

Stoops: "I did and they didn't have a number. I guess I'm allowed to say that."

On if it's an advantage for OU playing KU at Arrowhead Stadium as opposed to on campus

"You still have to go play. An advantage to who? I don't know. We're going to go up there and do our best to play well and get after it."

On what they'll do to improve the passing game since it's the biggest concern

"We'll adjust our plays and schemes every week, but it's execution. A lot of times it doesn't matter how open the guy is if you don't have the time or you throw the ball off target.

"We just have to execute better. You've got to throw the ball at his chest and give him an opportunity to catch it. You've got to be able to protect the quarterback long enough to get the ball out.

"You've got to be able to run the proper route, get some separation and have some room. What do you do? You keep practicing and pushing for it."

On trying to force a fumble rather than making a tackle

Stoops: "You're supposed to tackle the guy. Five yards isn't going to break our back, 80 will.

"My point is that's not the right way to make a play. And they understand that. That's not sound football."

On if the two freshman safeties are doing things to make him excited about their future

Stoops: "They're going to be excellent players. They're learning and gaining experience, and they need to play better.

On if the mistakes are because they're true freshmen

Stoops: "No. I lay it on the fact that at times they haven't made plays. It's us coaching them and them doing it. However you want to label it, you can. It doesn't much matter."

On mentioning earlier in the season that they need to simplify the offense, and if they need to possibly do that again after the Texas game or attempt to open it up more

Stoops: "When you have guys open and you put the ball on the ground, it doesn't matter what your play is — simple or complex.

"You throw the football and the guy gets hit in the head before he can throw it — smple or complex? It doesn't much matter. We've got to be able to execute what we're doing because we've had plays that are there and between those three areas they break down.

"For instance, we hit one of our guys on a third down play right in the chest last week. He bobbles the ball and they come in off of the bobble and intercept it. Whether that's simple or complex, it doesn't much matter. If you hit a guy in the chest with a ball he's got to catch it.

"I don't believe any of that is going to solve our problems."

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