Stoops on OSU

Oklahoma head coach Bob Stoops talked about Saturday's matchup against Oklahoma State.

Below are quotes from Bob Stoop's weekly press conference on Oklahoma State and other football-related topics.

On Oklahoma State

Stoops: The guys came back yesterday and had a strong and good practice. We realize it's another big football game here to end the season this week with in-state rival Oklahoma State.

Big game for the program, but our seniors too for their last game here at home and to finish in a strong way and positive way here this week. Our players recognize that.

We're looking for a great week of practice getting prepared for it and looking forward to the challenge of it here this Saturday to complete the regular season, and then to move on to bowl preparation after that.

On if the game if the game with Oklahoma State has lost some luster with them being down and OU not having the year that you wanted to have

Stoops: Compared to which years? There are other years where we're not fighting for the national championship and they're in whatever position, and the game's always been a good game. So, I don't get the question. We haven't been in the national championship every single year.

On Oklahoma State being down this year rather than being on the way up like in previous years, and if that makes the game feel less important

Stoops: No, I think it's still an important game. The bottom line is we still need to win to try and complete our season in a positive way, and I'm sure they do.

Again, you can compare records. I'm sure if you go through there's been a number of years where we have be in situations where we're not at the top of the league or not undefeated at this time. But they're always important.

On this current group of seniors

Stoops: To me, all these seniors are special groups in that you've been with them so long — four or five years. You don't ever look at the last few games or this season, you look back at all the years or reflect back when they came in and how raw and young they were, and how many guys just really changed and how they developed through the years.

Each one's special. This is a good group of guys that really worked and fought through a lot this year, and hopefully we can finish with them in a positive way.

On if his opinion has changed on when the OU-OSU game is played

Stoops: I've made that clear. You guys can't argue that when we've played and ESPN College Gameday's been here when we've played during the year, that's been pretty good. No one was complaining about it when it was happening, right? So, that's pretty good to.

It isn't like just because it's now it makes it any better. In the end, in the years that we have been in the Big 12 Championship I would prefer two weeks to prepare for the Big 12 Championship and give my players a couple days to go home for Thanksgiving. To me, that's the ideal situation.

Being that we're not in the Big 12 Championship this year and the injury situation and what we've gone through all year, the week off in the middle of the year, I think helped us.

The way it's kinda unfolded this year, I'm glad the way it has. But my position on some of the the others, I don't think will change.

Again, I don't know how you can argue it. The times we've had in the middle of the year they've been pretty darn good and they've been covered well nationally. I don't think we've sacrificed our national attention in those years either.

On the Big 12 telling them they had to play this weekend

Stoops: It was the Big 12, the TV package that's set up for the whole conference. Part of it is Thanksgiving weekend, part of it is the Big 12 Championship.

But on Thanksgiving weekend, they want Oklahoma on four of the eight years. I don't believe I'm out of line, I think this is public ... when they put the money and dollars out there they said this is an eight-year deal and we want so many games on Thanksgiving and we want Oklahoma on four of those of those times.

But it's okay. In the end, that's just the way it is. We're part of a league, we support the league and if they want us on four times in the eight years then we'll get on four times in the eight years. Hopefully, they won't ask next time to be on all eight.

On the biggest difference between Rhett Bomar earlier in the year to now

Stoops: It is a ton. Just his overall view of the game has slowed down considerably. He's just so much more at ease in there that he reads defenses and sees it much quicker.

He makes his reads and where he's going with the ball a lot quicker. He's much more confident and aggressive in his release and what he's going after. He's been more accurate because of that.

I think he trusts his protection, and should. It's gotten a lot better. Early on it wasn't the best, and that doesn't help them.

Receivers are playing better for him. That gives him more confidence delivering the football on time and where he's going with it. There's been a lot of factors that have improved greatly, which you'd expect. We're very pleased with it.

Even the other night, he had several drops. So, he's playing in a really good way. He had no turnovers and really played in a good way.

On OSU running back Mike Hamilton and the concerns after the success of A&M and Tech running the ball the last two weeks

Stoops: It's definitely a concern. Mike Hamilton does an excellent job, but so do the people around him creating seams in their running game.

He's a good, solid running back. He's got speed, he's got good vision. They've done a really good job with him running the football.

Definitely a first priority for us, is always stopping the run. So, we've got to do a good job against it.

On if he knows the origin of the word Bedlam

Stoops: No.

On if he knows what the word means

Stoops: It doesn't much matter to me. We're playing Oklahoma State so...

I don't get into all of the terms. The bottom line is we're playing Oklahoma State, an in-state rival and we need to win it. All that other stuff, you guys have at it. It doesn't much matter to me.

Again, I say that in a good way. That's for all the fans and media. We've got to go play and that's all that matters to us.

On Oklahoma State's defense

Stoops: They're mixing it up quite a bit. They mix up quite a few blitzes trying to keep you off-balance — run and pass.

They have done a pretty good job with it, It's probably safe to say at times they gave a few plays last week early with Baylor, but then they came back and really did play pretty good.

They've been aggressive in how they've played mixing their blitzes, mix up their man and zone coverages really pretty well.

On the differences between OSU quarterbacks Al Pena and Bobby Reid and how they fit into the offense

Stoops: Not offensively. The offense is the same.

Bobby Reid, as you watch him, can run with the football maybe a little better overall, but Pena still makes his plays running too. He's thrown the ball maybe a little more accurately, has produced a few more yards that way.

But as we watch them, you see them in the same sets, a lot of the same plays. It isn't like one comes in and it's all quarterback run game or option and the other guy's strictly drop back. You see the same style of offense.

To us, that's what matters. That's what you get ready for. Each of them can pull the ball and run if you're not sound with it, and each of them can throw the ball if you're not where you should be.

We don't look at it as that big of difference offensively.

On OSU's no-huddle offense

Stoops: Well, definitely the pace you have to get used to, and we'll practice that through the week.

We never have huddled for seven years here defensively. I guess we haven't huddled any where I've been for 12, 15 years now. We're used to not being in the huddle and communicating and getting our calls.

We'll work that. We'll practice it and try and get used to. It isn't the easiest thing to simulate in practice, but we'll do our best as well as watch some of their TV games on the pace of their offense and trying to get used to it.

On the injury status of Adrian Peterson and Dusty Dvoracek

Stoops: AD looked good yesterday. He practiced yesterday and went the whole practice. He's a little sore, but I'm sure that's natural from the game and he'll improve as the week goes on.

Dusty is more sore from the weekend. To me, he's not comparable to AD at this point. But he is much further along than he was last Monday, and he came back and played a heck of a game against Tech.

I anticipate somewhere towards the end of the week, he didn't get any practice time last week, he'll probably get some practice time by the end of the week and be in a position to play on Saturday.

On Dusty Dvoracek saying this will be an emotional week for him and what he's meant to the program, especially after what he's had to overcome during the last year

Stoops: A lot of people have talked early on about Tommie Harris and what a great athlete and player he was. People forget Dusty came in at same time and also started as a true freshman, when we had a little depth. It's not like we definitely had to have him play, but he was so good we felt this guy needs to play as a true freshman. That doesn't happen a lot.

Dusty is not only is a hard-working tough guy, he's a talented guy. You look at his production through four years, and especially what he's doing this year, he has been as productive or more so than about anyone we've had in our seven years.

I think what I appreciate most though in all these years is his commitment in the weight room, his commitment in classes. He's a great example for young guys as you watch him. He is always on a 3-point (grad average) or better. You never see him on a missed class list. The guy does everything you ask of him, as far as his academic requirements.

He's always enthusiastic about it, always pushing. And then you get him in the locker room and he's not afraid to speak up and say something. He's all those things.

Now, the bad situation he put himself in were some bad mistakes and things that he can't go back and repair the hurt maybe he caused other people. But I also believe he's learned from it, he's grown from it and if he could take it back he would.

We had no intention of bringing Dusty back when he was let go a year ago. I figured he'd enter the NFL Draft and that would be it. Then after he had gone through what the University and we required for him to even remain on campus and all the steps he took, and then it came back that they did file for another year and he was given that opportunity.

To me, the biggest difference was that I felt that he had paid a strong price. He had improved himself and taken steps to really correct his behavior, and for it not to happen again. I felt here was a guy that through all the good I had seen for so many years, that it shocked me when this did happen because I've seen so much good there. It isn't like he's been a chronic problem. This guy has been, as far as all the things we require, the best we've ever had.

When he said to me that, 'I want to finish here the right way and a positive way.' He could've went in the NFL Draft a year ago, and he would've been taken and playing for somebody today, but he felt I want to bring my kids back here 20 years from now and say, 'This is where I played. This is my legacy. People welcomed me back and I finished in a positive way.' And that mattered to me.

I felt really in my heart that if there was any risk that this could happen again, I wouldn't have had him back. But I felt that there wouldn't be. I felt that he's a strong enough character in what he's done that this is a sure thing.

The administration felt the same way and, in the end, he was given that opportunity. He's made the most of it and I believe it will end in a really positive way for him.

On if he feels that Dvoracek has been a better player than Tommie Harris

Stoops: If you look at statistics, yes. Now, I'm not sitting here going to compare players. Tommie's a great player.

What I'm saying is if you look at his production — his sacks, his hurries, his tackles for loss. He's up there or past about anyone we've had.

On his thoughts on Mike Gundy has a coach and their relationship

Stoops: I think Mike's an excellent coach. I know Mike a little bit through being assistants together.

When I was at K-State before I went to Florida, I think he might have been at Baylor at that time. And at those assistant coaches outings, we'd get together for a day or two of golf and go over some rule changes and whatnot, we spent some time together there.

Then we'd bump into each other at conventions here or there. And then of course, hiring Cale and being around Cale. Whether we're at a convention or somewhere, we'd see Mike at different places and talk.

We've always had a fine relationship. Are we calling each other every day? No.

Again, I think Mike will do a very good job there. You've seen they have shown a lot of signs of it through this year.

On the physical condition of the receivers

Stoops: Travis Wilson, obviously, had surgery so he'll be out for a few weeks.

Jejuan Rankins is closer. He's back and he's able to field some punts. Is he really able to do what he's used to doing? Not quite. The rest of the guys are out there ready to go.

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