30 Minutes with Bob Stoops

The Sooners don't open training camp for another month, but the national media can't stay too far away from OU Head Football Coach Bob Stoops. On Thursday, Stoops tried to take care of all media requests so that he and his family could enjoy the rest of their days off by holding a national teleconference with the media.

The following are the questions and answers from the media conference.

CAREY MURDOCK, KREF: Could you comment on some of the recruits rumored to not be coming in, like Malcolm Williams and Chris Patterson?

STOOPS: No, I don't ever comment on guys who for whatever reasons aren't eligible. Why would I? I never have in the past and I don't think it is fair to discuss their personal information.

MEDIA: Can you say whether they are going to able to join your team in August?

STOOPS: No, at this point I can't say because it involves academic issues. And for me to be specific about that, I don't believe is fair to those individuals.

DENNIS DODD, CBS SPORTSLINE: Adrian says his dad is pretty close to getting out of prison and that he is in a halfway house and working on his transition back into society. Is that nothing but a positive for him because now his dad is going to be in the stands for the first game. Do you even feel a need to address that?

STOOPS: It has to be a positive thing. His father has still been a strong influence in his life, and though in different circumstances has helped in the discipline with Adrian, He has been the motivating factor with Adrian. He has stayed in close contact with him, and having the opportunity to be with him during the week and to be close by has to be a great thing for him. I have talked to Nelson on a lot of occasions and he has been nothing but supportive and strong for his son. He has been great for me as a coach and as a person to visit in regard to his son. Sure, I look at it as a big positive.

MEDIA: Can this make Adrian an even better player that he doesn't have to think about this issue any more?

STOOPS: That is hard to say, how that part of it will work in transition. I think if anything it will help him as a young man. He will have another support figure right here that he can visit with and help him. Let's face it, Adrian has a lot of demands on his time that can wear on you. And then on top of that, the expectations and whatnot. He has somebody that he is close with and he has somebody to share it with.

TIM GRIFFIN, SAN ANTONIO EXPRESS: Are there any specific plans on how you are going to use Adrian this year? Are you just going to keep giving him the ball until he wears down or is there some specific plan to keep him healthy for the bigger games? STOOPS: Yeah, we are just going to run him five to 10 times a game until we get to the big games, and then we are going to turn him loose. No, we are going to try to get him 2,000 yards like we did his freshman year and another 500 or so receiving. We would like to see the guy gain a lot of yards. What do you mean handing the ball to him until he wears down? What do you do with a great back?

MEDIA: I just mean are you going to be careful with him so that he can stay fresh and stay healthy?

STOOPS: What are you insinuating? Fresh and stay healthy? I don't get it. I don't get your question? I can't help it if somebody falls on his ankle and he gets a high ankle sprain. Does that mean I was running him too much in the fourth game of the year?

MEDIA: No, but it is obvious you want him to be at his absolute best for the Texas game as apposed to anything else. What I am trying to get at with you is how he compares to other types of backs and how does he compare to any other back that you have coached?

STOOPS: I can't compare him to anybody else. I haven't seen anything like him. He is a powerful, explosive guy with great speed. He has great style to him. He is a tough physical runner. I don't know how to compare him to anybody else. The bottom line is that until he was hurt he has had great success. It is not his fault or anybody else's that you catch a high ankle sprain. That is a tough situation. We plan to give him the ball a lot, running and passing, and hopefully he will stay healthy and have a great year.

MEDIA: What is it that makes Adrian so good?

STOOPS: Many things. He is incredibly physical and his physical ability is amazing. He is a guy who can run a 4.3 weighing 220 pounds. He absolutely destroys the weight room. And when you look at his ability to explode and exert the power in all his lifts, he loves it. He goes at it hard and he has had amazing stamina from Day 1 when he walked in here. It is just amazing what he was able to handle. He has all that and he has a great knack with his vision and his ability to run past or around, or make people miss him or run through them.

MEDIA: I am curious about the amount of plays that Adrian will be on the field. Do you anticipate that he will be in on more situations this coming season? If so, is that a product of the new offensive coordinator (Kevin Wilson) or his health. What would be the reason for him being on the field for more plays?

STOOPS: It would be hard for him to be on the field for more plays than he has been. He has had a lot of carries in the games he has played, outside of being injured. He is going to be on the field as long as he can handle it, as long as he feels good and he is healthy and he doesn't need a break. He wants to be on the field. Obviously, in certain situations where it is obvious that we need to give him a break, we will. Outside of that, every game is different. But I don't get the questions on how much he is going to be on the field. He is going to be on the field as much as he can be

. MEDIA: Last year the major focus was on Adrian because of the lack of attention paid to the passing game. What do you think the final games of Rhett Bomar had, where he kind of turned it on, will help take the focus off of Adrian.

STOOPS: I think it was obvious, even a year ago, that when we started to be a little more productive throwing the football it opens up the running game. It gives AD more opportunities and there are less people for him to deal with at the line of scrimmage, and different defenses to work against. It also makes a major difference to the offensive line. That needs to happen this year. We've got to come out from Day 1 and have a good strong passing game. And if we do that, it is going to help our offense. We are always doing our best to be a strong, balanced football team in what we do and we can do both well. We are not concerned about being 50-50. We are concerned about being effective when we do each. So it does make a difference.

MEDIA: The way you guys finished after that 2-3 start, how do you carry that momentum of how the team rebounded into the season?

STOOPS: Going through winter and going through spring finishing that way, I think, gives the players the added belief and confidence that they can do it, that we were not as far off as people wanted to say we were all year. Now we have grown through a lot of this and we should be stronger for it. We have another full year to be even better if we train in the right ways. We have through the winter and we had a good spring. I can't tell what they are going to do this summer, but to me that will be the biggest factor.

SHREVEPORT TIMES: Is there a difference when you are preparing for a season after a National Championship than after losing that National Championship game?

STOOPS: No, I haven't noticed any difference. When you work really hard, you are working really hard. I have always said this, when we have won it and when we have lost it, to me it didn't matter. The team coming back is different so you start again. You start from ground zero. I don't care what anybody says, each team has its own personality, its different strengths and weaknesses. You deal with them and you then you start again. To us, that is how we have always approached it.

THE OKLAHOMAN: What do you think about getting a coaching challenge for instant replay next year?

STOOPS: I think it is good. I felt ,a year ago, we were all against it and for good reason because we didn't have and still don't have video monitors or TV screens in our coaching booths. There is nowhere for us to get any feedback that, 'Hey, we should challenge this.' We were told that whoever the officials were going to be in the pressbox with, would do that and have access to TVs. I don't need to name any games, but all of us have been in games where there have been plays that were not reviewed that should have been. Not just I, but many coaches' burn timeouts to get a review, and some were overturned. So, when we realized that whatever they were supposed to do failed at times, now we are all for it.

We said that we needed a challenge rather than me burning a timeout and getting it overturned. I don't get it back so let's get a challenge. So, again, there were some instances for whatever reasons, and I don't know what they were, some plays weren't reviewed. Well, they should've been. For instance, our Kansas game, we have two guys tie up with the football on the goal-line and it is either an interception or they are on the six-inch line. That is a big play when our guy comes running off the field with the football, they start going to their bench. Our guys are running off and the official spots it for them going in from the six-inch line. It wasn't reviewed as they were going up to the line of scrimmage and I called a time out. They fortunately changed it and we were able to change the game with it.

THE OKLAHOMAN: Following up on that, what is your take on the NCAA's overall instant replay and the improvements they still need to make? Do you feel they need to have more camera angles?

STOOPS: Sure, but that is natural. I still think, and I am not being critical of last year, I still think it is better than not having it. Last year was our first year with it, so we should only get better with it. That is a cost factor how many camera angles we can have. Unfortunately, we had a big controversy with the Texas Tech game and the best angle of that game was from our sideline. I was told after the game why that angle was not available, and they said because that camera was on you. That is so unfortunate. They are waiting for me to have some kind of reaction on TV instead of watching the game.

Again I guess that is not their job. They are not there for instant replay, they are there to broadcast the game. To me, it is crushing because it is like, 'Oh, you have to be kidding me.' The more angles, obviously, you would think the better. But again, there is a cost factor to that. How many can you have? It is still better, I think everyone would agree, to not having it at all.

JAMES HALE, SOONERS ILLUSTRATED: One thing that I have always admired about your offense is that you have been able to run different styles of running backs and have great success. This is not in any way taking anything away from Adrian, because he is as great as they come. But how does he benefit from such a versatile offense. Also, as a second question, how does a running back like Adrian put pressure on an opposing defense? STOOPS: He puts great pressure on a defense any time he is back there, in particular, with his style any time he is in back of a quarterback he is running down hill. Trying to stop him with six people or when you spread out with seven people in the box, it is going to be really tough. It helps usually to clear up some coverage issues and what you are dealing with offensively and what you are going to throw against. He does benefit from a versatile offense when we are effective throwing the football. That is a big plus for him and our offensive line in run blocking, and him finding seams when you are able to get people off your back and execute the passing game.

Of course, two years ago that was a major case. I think in the success of our offense, because we had a Heisman Trophy winner at quarterback, you have an incredible running back who was a runner-up to the Heisman at tailback, and now it gets really tough to deal with. The versatility, to me, comes when you can throw it. You can get into all kinds of formations, but to me that is being very versatile. You are only being versatile, to me, when no matter what formation you are getting in you are effective throwing the ball as well as running it.

TED LEWIS, NEW ORLEANS TIMES: When you have a player of Adrian's talent, what can a coach do to try to monitor and guide a player to stay out of those situations that Reggie Bush got himself into at USC, with that house his parents were staying in?

STOOPS: I think constantly educating them and understanding the rules of what you can and can't do. And not only you, but your family. These are the situations and all eyes are on you. It isn't like it won't be found out, because it will. You need to protect yourself. In the end, to me it is just constant education and communication as you deal with them with what your situations are. And then if a guy chooses on his own to do it the wrong way, then it is on him. Then, as an institution, you have done everything that you could to prevent those kinds of problems.

TIM GRIFFIN, SAN ANTONIO EXPRESS-NEWS: Adrian had the first major injury of career last year. How do you feel he came back from that? What did that do for his maturity going through something like that after the early success he had as a freshman?

STOOPS: I thought he handled it all incredibly well. I was watching him very closely to see what his reactions would be in dealing with the frustration, and through it all I appreciate how many times he kept trying to come back, to come back and to come back. He felt close and he would go through a little bit of practice and it felt good. He wanted to be out there. There are a lot of guys, whether they are superstars are not, who would protect themselves. If I am not full speed totally, then I don't even want to give it a try, and that was never him. The guy really has a great toughness to him, but he is not concerned about that. If I am at three-quarters speed and I feel alright, I still want to go. Maybe I don't look as good as I always have, but I want to help the team.

That is what I always appreciated, even those games when he wasn't able to do it after a few plays or he realized after a few runs that he just wasn't effective, he still stayed positive on the sideline and tried to help guys. He never really got discouraged. He was always in a good position about it, even though he didn't like it, he understood the situation. Obviously, as time went when he came back he was back to his old self and started to show it. To be honest with you, I don't know if he was every totally back to what he is able to do, but it is hard to tell watching him. In the end, he fought through it and really was productive the last half of the season.

MEDIA: Do you feel that might have matured him though coming back this season considering what he had to go through?

STOOPS: I don't know if a guy has to experience those kinds of difficulties to mature and grow through it. I think all experiences help you mature and grow, whether they are good or tough like that. I think, with all the experience that he has had, in time he would have done that anyway.

THE SPORTSMASTER: You are your staff don't mind letting players change positions, like Reggie Smith moving from safety to corner and Lendy Holmes moving from offense to defense. What goes into your thinking when you make those kinds of moves? What do you see in a player that makes you believe he would be better on the other side of the ball or at another position? Is it more of a physical thing or a mental thing?

STOOPS: It is both. A lot of times we realize when we recruited the individual that we knew all along that he was a guy that could be either or. So you always have that in the back of your head. A guy like Lendy came to me and said, 'Coach, I want to work more at corner. And I said, 'Lendy, I have watched you a long time and I remember watching all through high school, and I think it could be good for you. So let's go give it a shot and see how it goes for you.'

To me, it is looking at what a guys' potential is. It is not only for the team because some guys always think it is for the team, but it isn't. I look at it individually. Andre Woolfolk, I think, was a classic example. He was a great receiver for us on our National Championship team and so on, but his future, I don't know if he would have been drafted as a receiver. In fact, I am pretty confident that he would not have been. Here he moves to corner and I said, 'Andre, you have the hips and feet to be a great corner. You are 6-foot-1 or 2 and they are always looking for big corner. You can run and you have range. You have good ball skills and here is a early second round draft pick and in the NFL today.

We look at their long range future too, what their potential is, and where people are really going to look at them in the future. Jammal Brown is a classic example of a defensive lineman that was just an OK D-lineman. At a lot of places, he would have played D-line, but we knew and we told him that if he moved to offense that instead of being an OK D-lineman, you become a great, great offensive lineman. He wins the Outland and is the first offensive lineman taken in the draft a year ago. Again, you look at their future and their potential.

MEDIA: Is that is a recruiting tool that you are not just out to win games to improve your record, but you will move them if that helps them in the future?

STOOPS: The one's that are aware of it trust that we will find the best position for you to be the most productive. I think we can give about 10 examples of who are pretty solid guys and the have become all-conference. Or they have been drafted and we have found the right spot for them.

CHIP BROWN, THE DALLAS MORNING NEWS: I know you don't care about preseason rankings, but I am sure your players look at them. In the past, you have had veteran teams that have come into the season ranked No. 1. You are getting a lot of No. 1 preseason rankings this go-around, so are you comfortable with how this team will take the preseason No. 1 stuff? And do you say anything to them to temper their thinking?

STOOPS: No, I am not comfortable. But for us, as a staff and a program, we are used to it. We really pay no attention to it. Our guys are fairly young still and hopefully they are smart enough to realize that we have by no means earned that position yet. I will have to talk to them and it shouldn't take real long when I look at what we did a year ago, and where we were projected. If they have any sense whatsoever, that should be pretty simple for them to understand.

MEDIA: You would rather not have preseason rankings?

STOOPS: I don't care one way or the other what magazines do. I don't think we as coaches should have anything to say until we have played a couple of games. That isn't going to happen because too many newspapers sell with it, and the same thing with magazines. They are going to make them, but they don't matter.

MEDIA: So the fear is with a young team reading those magazines?

STOOPS: They believe they have arrived when they haven't done anything. With a young team, some guys think they are pretty good when they aren't yet. They haven't earned that kind of reputation.

EARL SMEAD, THE OKLAHOMA DAILY: You touched earlier on trying to get Peterson 500 receiving yards and he says he wants to prove he is an every down back. Are we going to see him more on third down packages? Or are you going to use Allen Patrick exclusively as the third down back?

STOOPS: We will use AD in there on third downs as well. A lot depends on how many times he has carried it or whether he is winded or not. You know how that goes. We want to keep him on the field as much as possible. He does have good hands. However, it is a little easier said than done. People say slip him out on a screen, but he is not a guy that people forget about. When he starts sneaking out on a screen there are about six guys looking for him. So, sometimes it is better to have somebody else in there. But again, we want him to be in there more. In passing situations, he wants to be in there more and he has to be good in his pass protections and blitz pickups. If he does improve that way and he does catch the ball well, then we intend to have him out there as long as he is fresh and ready to play.

MEDIA: Does it make your offense harder to defend if he catches more passes?

BS: Anytime you can get him the football, especially if it is in some passing situations where he has a little bit of space, it can't hurt. Give him the ball and there isn't anybody any better running with it. And again, if you start getting it to them with any kind of space, then it can be trouble.

TED MILLER, SEATTLE POST: You took over a program that was a tradition power in disarray. How did you overcome some of your players having sort of a loser mentality to win every weekend like they do now?

STOOPS: It was definitely here and definitely something to deal with. It was constantly trying to coach them. I will say this though, the guys had a great attitude. The guys that we had here in 1999 really grew a lot during the year and really started to expect more of their abilities. I think, more than anything, I guess, is the way we worked from that winter to the following season. I think they started to feel that the way we have worked here that we have earned the right to expect to win now. I think they had worked like they had not worked before and they started to realize that we should deserve to win.

Then we started to get that kind of attitude and we fortunately had a couple of big games in the middle of the year that gave them a good feeling that we can win. There was a process. You think back to that year and we were ahead of Texas 17-0 in the first quarter. We had Notre Dame down at Notre Dame by 17 points in the middle of the third quarter and lost it. Maybe not 17, but it was at least 14. However, we had guys on the sideline laughing and giggling and the game wasn't over. I told our coaches that they have no idea how to finish games off here. So we talked about that and later on in the year we had a couple of big games. We got ahead and we kept pouring it on. It is just a constant process of trying to teach it.

MEDIA: You guys have so dominated your rivalry with Texas, so what was it like this year to go to your booster meetings and such actually having lost to Texas?

STOOPS: I haven't heard anything from fans about it. They understand the situation. They had a good football team and they beat us, but those kinds of things don't concern me, what a fan says. I think our fans are smart enough to realize what we have done the last seven years. We have had a lot of good. It is not always going to be perfect and you are not going to win every game. I haven't had anything to deal with, to be honest with you.

CSTV.COM: What are you thoughts on the new NCAA rules allowing kids to transfer who have already completed undergraduate degrees to other schools looking to continue their post grad?

STOOPS: Whatever, I think it is great. If a kid has graduated and he wants to do something different with his life, whether it is grad school or what not, he should have that opportunity. What really needs to be looked at are cases where the NCAA says they are penalizing all institutions for players who do transfer when you look at the APR rating. They are penalizing schools with transfer, but then are granting waivers for the transfer. So, they are penalizing you if they want to transfer, but they are over there saying it is OK, 'You can go play right away.'

That doesn't seem to make a lot of sense, but that is what they are doing in a lot of cases. Hopefully they will start to realize what they are doing a little bit, that they are encouraging transfers by giving transfers to so many. But then they are going to go back and penalize the school. If you grant a waiver to somebody then that means it is OK, so they shouldn't penalize the school. That is my beef with the transfer rule, but as far as the guy who has graduated and has his degree, to me, he is ready to move on to another part of his life and he should have that opportunity. If he wants to go to grad school at another school and play if he has another year, then that would be fine.

MEDIA: The only issue is that they are allowing the graduates to leave without missing a year of school. Do you feel that is right?

STOOPS: I don't think so. I don't think there are going to be that many guys who are going to be in that position. One, not many are going to want to leave after four years. Two, that are already in position after four years that they have already completed their degree.

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