Talk about Rhett Bomar. It was interesting day for him, getting off to the great start and then the fumble late.
Coach Stoops: Yeah, he threw the ball well all day. And it was gusting, I don't care if you had the wind or not, I mean it was pretty difficult down there. He throws such a good football that it doesn't affect him all that much. I thought he and Malcolm Kelly, Travis Wilson, those guys, Juaquin Iglesias late, really did a nice job. All of them working together. And when he had protection, he was very solid. Threw the one bad ball, but outside of that was really, really good.
Did the wind hold that one (interception) up?
Coach Stoops: It affected it a little bit. The pressure more than anything, I felt, there was somebody closing in, he might have thrown it a little bit sooner than he wanted to.
Bob, did Dusty (Dvoracek) get hurt? He didn't play much.
Coach Stoops: A little bit, yeah. Nothing too serious, I don't believe. We just wanted to be sure and he's had a little bit of a nagging injury, just reagggravated it a little bit.
When you look back at it, is there anything that they did in terms of defense that really put the clamps on you after the first quarter?
Coach Stoops: I felt, no, watching them they ran what we had expected and they didn't change in the middle of the game. They started to pressure a little bit more at times but they were pressures that we had seen and expected. I think it gets down to in certain parts of the game they executed their defense better than we executed our offense. I would say is to me is what happened.
In hindsight, do you feel that early on the play calling was looser? You called some reverses, a reverse pass. You were mixing things up in the first half and then in the second half a lot more vanilla.
Coach Stoops: No, it just looks that way when it isn't working. When you try to throw it and you get sacked, it doesn't look as pretty as when you throw it and it gets 15 yards and you move the chains. It looks like you're playing more loose, but you're not. We were calling the same plays.
Now, late in the game, when you have a lead, that's different. But, you know, second quarter and early third quarter, we're still playing the same offense. Again, it just appears that way when you're not executing real well.
When Bomar went down late in the first half, it appeared initially that it was a pretty serious injury. What went through your mind at that point about him and the strategy the rest of the game?
Coach Stoops: I always hope Rhett or any of my guys, hopefully it isn't too serious. I'm always thinking of them first, personally, and then individually. Then after that, alright, let's get Paul (Thompson) ready to go.
And you didn't think it affected his play in the second half? That he was OK?
Coach Stoops: It may have early. Then I think it loosened up and he got more confident on it shortly after. But I think it was more overall execution. And I think that's where we're at. At times in probably every game, we've really played consistently and played well, and then we're not able to do it for four quarters and that's what we're fighting and pushing for.
Talk about not being happy just to win. Do you feel like you just keep shooting yourself in the foot with penalties and fumbles?
Coach Stoops: Absolutely. Just frustrating. I don't know how many third downs we had penalties on and the turnovers, you know, and you keep allowing someone to hang around and that's dangerous. That's how people come back and beat you. Very aggravating, no question. I just felt some of our play, the interference on the third and 15 or 16, the facemask we got when we've got him sacked on third and long, all of that led to points. The turnovers all inside or near our red zone. You just can't do those kinds of things and we've got to keep learning to play smart.
Is that the big thing about the learning process with this team? You get up 28-7, you've got your foot on them. Now, keep your foot on them, keep them down.
Coach Stoops: It could be that but I don't know if it's mentally that we relax. I don't think that's the case. Or is it that we're just not truly good enough yet or experienced enough yet, seasoned, grilled, tough, whatever, to stick with it and to execute that way for four quarters. And you have to give other people credit. They have good players and good coaches, too. I say that a lot. The mental part that we talk about is the turnovers, some of the penalties, some of that kind of thing and the way we defended the option is where we can be a lot better ourselves.
Clearly the entire offense was clicking in the first quarter. Was there any specific detail you can point to that helped you play so well there?
Coach Stoops: No, again I think it just gets down to execution. We came out and we were playing well. The line was protecting, creating seams. There was good balance. So I don't think there was any secret to it.
After the Nebraska game, you mentioned how upbeat the locker room was. This was a really strange game today. What was the atmosphere like and what did you present to the players?
Coach Stoops: Oh, it's upbeat. The guys are excited. They understand. I think what's good, maybe, is now we're expecting so much more of ourselves and when it isn't there, they're a little more aggravated with it when they know in some areas we can play better than this. I've said this here forever. There's a big difference in winning and losing. To win, I don't care, there isn't an ugly win. Any way you win is good, especially when you're in your division and in your conference. What I like, though, is they're expecting more from themselves and they're frustrated when they don't get it.
With the problems defending the option, did you feel like it was more of a technical thing or more of a "go get ‘em" type of thing?
Coach Stoops: No, it was how we were reading it and the cross action of the backs. It was what we were prepared for and what we had worked on all week. We felt we were ready for it and then when we get out there, we don't execute it. We make the wrong reads and not position ourselves to defend it. It's frustrating when you draw it up on the board, they understand it, but we're not getting it done on the field.
Were they doing some things you hadn't prepared for when McGee came in?
Coach Stoops: No, those were the same options they were running with McNeal and ones we worked all week on.
Bob, what's the book say on going for two when you did?
Coach Stoops: When you're in the fourth quarter up 12, you go for two to be up 14, two touchdowns. My feeling is usually in the first half that wouldn't be what I would do. Maybe even early third quarter. But late in the game, in the fourth quarter, that's usually fairly accurate.
They made it a one possession game and you guys went right down the field and scored after a long period of not going down the field. What clicked on? Was there a sense of ‘We're gonna go get it'?
Coach Stoops: Again, everyone wants to think like, ‘Alright, now we've made it close, let's go and do something'. (laughter) We executed. I appreciate the fact that they don't get discouraged because we haven't lately and they stayed with it. And then when things come together, you execute and you make those plays when you have to.
To me, it's really encouraging, too, as a coach that when the pressure's on, we make it and that's exciting. I look out there today and on that third down (the 34-yard pass play to Iglesias), there's a redshirt freshman quarterback throwing to a true freshman to seal the game. That's the kind of stuff you like to see, guys stepping up and making those plays.
In that drive, you gave the ball to Adrian, I think four our five times. Did you challenge the team and say ‘Let's go out and run the football'?
Coach Stoops: Well of course. We're trying to run the clock out and pound it and get the game iced. And fortunately, we were able to do it.
Stoops: "Any way you win is good"
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