Postgame press conference opening statement
Coach Stoops: It was a good win tonight. Any win is a good win. Compliments always to Baylor. We knew coming in they were a good football team. Coach Morriss, his staff and team have done an excellent job.
But I'm proud of our team to hang in there. You know, I'm not proud of some of the plays that I feel we could be better at, but I'm proud of the fact that in the end we hung in there and won in overtime and made the plays that made the difference.
You know, I go through the game and it's funny, I'm gonna watch what I preach to my team. I preached all week about three factors that to me were always the big factors – turnovers, penalties and special teams and that's the whole game. Because we really played so well in so much of this football game, but we keep lettin' them hang around, and for those reasons.
We turned the football over when we're at the end of the game, trying to ice the game or we've got the ball in field goal position to try and get three more points to be up 11 and we fumble. We've got second and goal inside the one, literally with a foot or six inches and we get a procedure penalty. And then also we've been really good all year in our kickoff coverage and we give up a 100-yard kick off return.
The penalties and turnovers when you already possess the football, there's no reason we can't take care of that. And those are areas that we allowed them with some of our mistakes and miscues to hang around. Then at the end of the game in the secondary, we're in the safest coverage that you could possibly be in and we don't keep position and stay on top of somebody when you see the clock ticking down and what the situation is. To me, that's another major mistake.
We're still growing from them, learning from them. Fortunately, we won and made plays there at the end of the game that won the game.
Talk about the play of your running backs, (Jacob) Gutierrez and (Allen) Patrick. It looked like they played terrifically
Coach Stoops: Absolutely. I'm really proud of those guys for the way they played. Jacob is a special guy. He's on about virtually every special team. He's out there running up and down the field. It's the same thing with Allen Patrick. He's also in there running. And with some of our depth problems, it was hard to take them off special teams in some areas with some of our other guys who were out, we were out of people. Those guys sucked it up and had a great game.
You know, Jacob will take care of the ball. It's not like him to fumble. But some of the great plays he made really do not surprise us. We've seen him in practice quite often and he reminds us of that old 22 that we used to have around here — Quentin Griffin. He just has a way of making people miss him, finding seams and making some plays. I was really, really proud of their effort.
Didn't you think your young quarterback continued to improve in a lot of ways tonight?
Coach Stoops: Absolutely. He continues to progress. He made some really nice throws and hung in there. You love seeing it there at the end of the game also. He just threw a beautiful ball there in overtime and he'll continue to make progress. He's a tough, competitive guy and he can make all the throws and reads. It's just continuing to develop him and he's gonna continue to get better.
You had three freshman receivers who showed a lot of progress in the way they played and executed.
Coach Stoops: They did and I'm proud of those guys. They're good players and the same thing with them. The more they're on the field, they're going to continue to improve and make their plays. You could see them gaining confidence and they're going to keep that confidence for sure.
Another guy who needs to be complimented is Garrett Hartley.
Coach Stoops: Garrett was given a game ball. He was very solid and I'm kinda glad I stuck up for him last week, because he's a very good kicker. I knew that last week was kind of an aberration from what I have seen from him, so he got a game ball. He was excellent out there tonight with all his kicks. And so were Jacob Rice (snapper) and Cody Freeby (holder) handling the ball with him, they really did an excellent job as well. I don't ever take that for granted.
Maybe the stat that blows me aware here is time of possession. You had the ball for almost 42 minutes and they had it for 18. Does that surprise you any?
Coach Stoops: No, I saw all those and I was aware of it during the game. Like I said, I understood that there was so much of that game we played so well, but the areas that I spoke of are what allowed them to stay there, to stay within striking range for too long. And then what happens, you have to be perfect defensively.
You can't give up one play. That's the game, no matter what the statistics are, if you're going to turn the football over and you're gonna have penalties when you're in position to score, or if you're going to give up plays in the kicking game, you're gonna be in a tight game.
Talk about the overtime. Did you feel your young players kept their poise and hung in well in the overtimes?
Coach Stoops: Yeah, I thought everyone reacted in a good way, the way we felt our assistants were in good shape and the players were. Even J.D. Runnels, I walked up and we were talking about the coin toss and I said we'll defer, thinking we'll go on defense. And he said, no, you mean we need to go on defense. So J.D. gave me an assist right there.
What was it like going into the game where you don't have Adrian Peterson and you don't have Kejuan Jones and you don't have Donta Hickson. You have good backs, but you have no depth behind them?
Coach Stoops: Well, you have what you have. You play the hand you're dealt and I'm proud of our guys the way they went out there and competed and played. We have been through a lot with this ball club. A lot of adversity in those areas, but as I told the players, we can choose to use them as excuses or we can go out and do our best to win and fight like we're capable of, and I believe there's enough ability in this room that if we play like we're capable of, we'll win and we'll continue to.
Talk about the winning touchdown pass. It was a big third down play.
Coach Stoops: It was and from what I could see of it, we caught them in an all-out blitz and straight man coverage and we had Juaquin (Iglesias) on the fade and he's a talented guy. He got separation and Rhett threw a perfect ball in there and he made a great catch.
You talked about being tougher earlier in the year. Are you seeing more of that now?
Coach Stoops: Yeah, I am. As I talked about earlier, we just have to play smarter. And if we do, then we're going to be better. But our guys are working hard, fighting hard, so I respect them for that.
Talk a little bit more about Jacob Gutierrez.
Coach Stoops: I thought he was spectacular. And again, you can't take away the fumbles, that's the part that hurts and I know he hurts from it. But some of the other runs he does, he just has a great, great knack of seeing the seams and holes and then he just has that uncanny ability to make people miss him or bounces off people.
Coach Wright and I were talking when we recruited Jacob, and of course I say this is a big compliment, he reminds me of 22 that used to be here — Quentin Griffin. Big guys can't make those kind of moves. They just can't. And he had just such incredible balance and ability to go sideways. He goes sideways faster than anybody you'll see. So, it really doesn't surprise us to see him go in there and play so well.
And Alan, he did a nice job. He's a good, hard downhill guy and a physical guy and he loves contact and so he came in and I'm just proud of him. In the limited time he has been here, he went in and executed in a great way, took care of the ball and made some nice six and seven yard runs and caught the ball well.
They both, for the most part, protected pretty well.
And J.D. Runnels made a few moves we hadn't seen him make before.
Coach Stoops: J.D. is an excellent athlete. When he has his hands on the ball, he'll make people miss him and run them over or get around them. He's got great hands so he's a big factor out there. The more we can get him the ball, the better.
Do you feel the offensive line played better?
Coach Stoops: I believe so. The offensive line I thought really did. The balance with the run and pass. Some of the breakdowns with the sacks weren't really the O-line. Sometimes it was a back and sometimes a tight end. I thought they were pretty solid.
Are you getting closer offensively to what you want to do?
Coach Stoops: Yeah, outside of turnovers. We've gotta take care of the ball. So we're just gonna keep hammering it home on that. But yes, the execution as far as the plays and giving ourselves opportunities to make plays, the run game and pass game are there, and there was more consistency.
I thought Rhett threw the ball really well and the receivers caught it and found their space and we protected to get it off.
Is this a perfect situation in that you got the win, but you've got a lot of areas that you can show guys that they need to improve on?
Coach Stoops: Yeah, you don't have to worry about us being overconfident. We don't just have to beat them in the ground this week about what our mistakes are, because no one is sitting in that room with a big head. But it's always good to win when you know there are these areas that you surely can play better at.
Talk more about Rhett besides the throws. How did he perform in the other areas?
I thought he was excellent all day long, with his communication at the line. He threw a lot of nice balls and just managed the offense in a really good way.
Stoops: "Any win is a good win"
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