Long: "The future is bright"

Oklahoma offensive coordinator Chuck Long talks about the development of quarterback Rhett Bomar (pictured above) and Saturday's matchup against the Kansas defense. (AP Photo/Tim Sharp)

Below is a transcript of Oklahoma offensive coordinator Chuck Long's meeting with the media earlier this week.

On Rhett Bomar's progress

Long: "He's going to get better. You're going to have to wait and be the judge of his career four years from now, and write about that. But I do believe he's going to be a fantastic football player before he's finished here.

"I certainly would like that to accelerate to now, but I also do know the fact that he is going to go through some growing pains. He needs to be developed and you have to let him develop — let him go through some of these pains and experiences of playing games. And sooner or later he's going to get better.

"There are certain players that are young and it takes a little time. I can honestly say it. You look at all the guys that have played the position of quarterback, and at some point in time they started somewhere, went through their struggles and ended up, at least the three we've had so far, ended up on a good note.

"I forsee Rhett being part of that elite group in time."

On expectations that highly-recruited high school quarterbacks should be ready to play as freshmen in college

Long: "You have a coaching staff here that's been through 60 victories in five years. You just don't throw guys away after you've done something like that. You find a way to fix it and give it time to fix it, and we will.

"I have confidence in our entire coaching staff. Not just offensively, but defensively. We all do. We're good coaches. We've proven that.

"With Rhett, I know 'what have you done for me lately' happens in football, but he's a freshman. He's a young guy starting his fifth game. He's playing in his fifth game this week."

On how he played as a freshman quarterback at Iowa

Long: "I was rough. I got benched after my first game. I didn't play my second game. I threw three interceptions the third game. We did win the third game. I was hit and miss the rest of my first year of starting. It was rough.

"With Rhett, it's still fast for him right now. It was fast for me that first year and then in time it slows down. It will slow down for him, but right now it's really fast."

On if Hayden Fry tried to trade him for a junior college quarterback

Long: "No, he had brought in a junior college player the year before — my redshirt year. He ended up doing with me what we're doing with Rhett at this point in time. He (Fry) just said we're going go with him and live with him and let him go through the aches and pains of the first year, and it paid off.

"Over time, we ended up having a four-year run there. And by the time I was a senior, it all slowed down and felt good. We ended up going to the Rose Bowl and winning the Big 10 Championship and all that.

"That first year it was fast. My head was swimming at times. For me, it slowed down at the end of the year."

On if Bomar would do better if he had the starters from the Orange Bowl around him

Long: "That is a big part of it. He has a lot of youth around him. We're playing a lot of true freshmen at wide receiver.

"We look at it as, hey, bright future let's let them all grow up together. He has some young linemen in there at times. Duke (Robinson) and Branndon (Braxton) are getting in there a lot. J.D. Quinn is in there a lot.

"The present has been a little rough, no question. But the future looks great because they're all going to grow up together, much like our previous line did. They were rough at first, but they all grew up together and were pretty darn good by the time it was over."

On the fact that most freshman quarterbacks struggle, but what happens when a freshman quarterback does succeed

Long: "I don't know. Let's look at the case of Chad Henne at Michigan. He had a terrific freshman year. He had Braylon Edwards and a lot of guys around him.

"Now they've lost three games as well this year, and he's a sophomore. He's a year older. You don't have Braylon Edwards anymore. It's a different team, different chemistry.

"You look at that situation as your present situation, and he had a year of starting already. I don't know. You'd have to look into that little deeper."

On Bomar's mechanics throwing the football

Long: "His reads are good. It's just a mechanical thing at times. He was throwing off his back foot, and sometimes that happens with quarterbacks. He has to work that in practice.

"It's a chronic thing that quarterbacks go through. Without getting in a lot of detail, they lock that front leg and don't get through the ball, much like a golfer not getting his hips through on a golf shot. It's a mechanical thing that can be corrected."

On the Texas game being Bomar's first big game from home, and how it compared to Jason White's first big road game at Nebraska in 2001 with both quarterbacks looking unsettled

Long: "Very similar. We're up in Lincoln and it was a tough deal for him. He was not settled in and he was a little tight before the game. It was a rough start and it got rougher when he got hurt."

"He was a sophomore and it was his first year to start. We were going through, with Jason at that time, some growing pains until he got hurt. It was very similar."

On what he does to calm a young quarterback down during a game

Long: "You just keep him as calm as possible when you're on the phone with him. It's just a hard lesson to learn sometimes. You just have to go through it.

"And then when you watch the tape the next day, it looks a lot simpler than it was. Gosh, that's there, that's there. It's just different when you're on the field."

On if he's thought about being on the sidelines and not the booth during games

Long: "I haven't. I just felt like he was progressing pretty well, and I still feel good about it — from the UCLA game on and then Kansas State. We had a setback last game, but we'll see how that fares in the future."

On how many more games can Bomar get hit like he did against Texas and stay healthy

Long: "We don't like that. We don't like our quarterbacks getting hit like that. We got behind at the end of the first half. Coming out of halftime you try to establish some things with the run.

"Our run game actually was good. We had a lot of production with our run game, but when you get behind and you're trying to catch up you have to throw the ball. That's when they start to tee off, and that was a situation we didn't want to get into."

On how his calm personalty meshes with Bomar, who has more of fiery personality

Long: "I try to present an even-keelness, because I've been brought up that way and that's the way I am by nature.

"Hopefully, that rubs off in a way that you can keep your fiery nature, but over the course of the long haul keep an even-keelness about you. Don't get too emotional all the time, otherwise you start to wear out and you get mentally fatigued when you start to do that. Hopefully, it will rub off over time. Rhett and I haven't been together as long as I have with the previous quarterbacks.

"I think we mesh well. If I was fiery to and he was fiery, I don't think that's a good mix. I think he needs some opposites there, just like a marriage."

On if he feels the need to be more aggressive coaching Bomar because he's more of an aggressive player

Long: "I'm just more exactness and more striving for perfection.

"When I correct him, either during a game or on tape the next game, I'm more like I'm talking to you right now.

"I'm not a big yeller and screamer. I don't believe in that."

On if he's more aggressive with him on the phone during a game

Long: "If I have a situation where I thought he could've done better, I will be more firm or raise my voice a little bit more just so he can feel that.

"But I'm not a yeller and screamer. I don't believe you should yell and scream at your quarterback."

On if he's worried about the offensive line's protection this week against a good front seven from Kansas, a team that is good stopping the run and who also likes to zone blitz

Long: "They do a lot of blitzing. They're very sound defensively. They have a lot of experience back there. They're actually one of the better defensive teams we'll face during the course of the year.

"We have to do a good job in our protection schemes and make sure that we pick up those blitzes. One of the things that's been real positive for us the last two weeks that we've been pleased with, is not as many negative plays.

"If you take away the sacks from last game, we had about five or 10 yards in negative plays so that's been cut out. Now, we needed more positive plays last game, but that's helped us.

"We know sacks will happen and we know there might be a breakdown and we get hit, but we're trying minimize that all the time."

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