Coach Stoops: I was very pleased with Paul. He'll learn a lot from it. I thought he managed everything really well. He was clean at the line of scrimmage, huddle, you know, just managing the game he was very good. He made a lot of nice throws and managed the offense and led it in really a good way. And I anticipated that he'd play well. I really did feel good because he is very capable. We really believe he has a chance to be really good. We just have to keep working him and get better as we work through the year. Guys around him have got to make plays, too. A couple of times out there we busted in protection and he gets pressured. On one of the interceptions and then on a third down he had to take a sack because of protection.
You know, the turnovers were the issue in the first half when we turned the ball over in the red zone where you're just cutting your foot off. You're right there for points and you make an interception. – we made two of ‘em – and those hurt, there's no question. Juaquin tipped one and they intercepted it and the other one the guy had tight coverage and Paul got pressured, you know we needed to protect him better. When you're in the red zone, we've gotta get points.
We had a couple of strips on us that can't happen and we've gotta be better. You cannot turn the ball over four times and win, usually. We're lucky in that and that's a big reason why we're in the situation in the fourth quarter we are.
But I was pleased with what I did see. I saw Paul make a lot of nice throws, reads, handle the offense in a good way, saw AD run like he's capable of running. We just have to take care of the ball and I believe we've got a chance to get better and better.
How do you feel you defended UAB's option?
Coach Stoops: Well, at times good and obviously at times, not so good. To me though, it was more a couple of the big passes that set ‘em up and then we missed some tackles a lot. I thought we're in position most of the time but overran or missed the quarterback some. We need to tackle better. That to me was the biggest factor.
We were usually where we should be. On a couple of quarterback reads where he just on the option pulls it, our defensive end a few times played it pretty poorly. Chased the ball instead of staying at home waiting for the quarterback.
Did the new rule to start the clock faster after plays affect UAB's decision not to go for fourth down on their last series?
Coach Stoops: Well, I'm sure it did, but it was also fourth down and 20-25 (actually 4th and 12) when he punted it. I understand what you're saying, but I'm sure he was figuring maybe he would still have an opportunity to get it back and maybe have a desperation pass or two.
We knew it was going to be close to being able to run it off is the only reason we handed it off. Fortunately, we did, got to third down and it was :25 seconds and we just took a knee. In the end, we went in even with some other plays with the quarterback and not handing it off but we knew it was going to be pretty tight.
Is that rule going to be a factor late in games this season?
Coach Stoops: Sure, I think it is. I've been watching games on TV all day when everyone's in those situations, how much time has actually run off on change of possessions, being out there if you want to get more snaps, actually getting out there at the line of scrimmage ready to snap it as opposed to running off the sideline.
And teams that want to run the ball, like UAB, and run the clock off even in the first half and keep it close. They did a nice job of it, they controlled the ball on a couple of drives, doing a nice job of executing and it changes the game a little bit.
But did you really think they were going to punt the ball with 2:20 left, since they didn't have any time outs?
Coach Stoops: No, that's why we had punt safe, you know, we didn't put our return unit in. We had our defense still out there, so we were looking for something.
Would you have like to have gotten Peterson more carries early in the game?
Coach Stoops: Sure. In the first half, I would have like to have gotten him going a little more sooner. But we did move it well in the first half, so I'm not second guessing what we did. We had it down there. We just can't turn it over in those situations. But we have to get him the ball. There's no question.
But we're running the offense. And I think it's fair to say we can't just sit there early on and just try to hammer Adrian and they're cheating their coverage and sittin' in there squeezing it. That's why Paul had some of the opportunities he had early. And you have to get people off your back from cheatin' the box like that.
It looked like Joe Jon Finley had a solid game. Four catches and a crushing block on Peterson's long touchdown run.
Coach Stoops: He did. He had a nice day. Joe Jon has a chance to be a really good player and it's good to get Adrian the ball so many times out there with some space and let him go with it.
How about the special teams? You had some good runbacks on punts and kickoffs tonight.
Coach Stoops: That's another part that I'm really pleased with and I anticipated that we had a chance to be better in our return game. Those guys, Reggie with the ball is a strong, really good football player and Juaquin Iglesias is as well. Those are guys that can run with it and they did a really nice job. And the guys with them out there blocking I was real pleased with, really were hustling and trying to make something happen.
A couple of times after you scored, UAB came right back with a big play to move the ball right back down the field. What was going on that allowed them to do that?
Coach Stoops: We need to play better defensively in those situations. We had guys on ‘em and they let ‘em get behind them. We've got to play better. It's not that complicated what they did.
When the players came off the field, they didn't seem overly excited about winning the game. Were they?
Coach Stoops: Absolutely. And they were in the locker room. They felt good about it, but they understand we can be better and we've got to correct mistakes, but there's a big difference. It's a lot more fun to be criticized when you win than when you lose. There's a big difference. We felt we can play better in a lot of areas and we didn't and we still won.
We're not far off. I think that's what I'm pleased about. I thought our offensive line was physical for the most part in how they played. I'll have to watch it on tape to see that. But I thought they did a pretty decent job as well.
Why did you challenge the play in the first half? Did you think you had any chance at getting it overturned? Or were you just trying to take some momentum away from UAB after the turnover.
Coach Stoops: I didn't really think I would get it, but I thought, what am I gonna save it for? So I might as well throw it out there. And yeah, that's right I thought it would slow their momentum a little bit. I figured, well, let em sit on the sideline here for a while and regroup.
Were some of the problems you had with the option of UAB because players were missing assignments?
Coach Stoops: Yeah, some of it. On one of ‘em with the fullback had a big opening, our weakside linebacker didn't run through the backside gap, he scraped over the top and had a huge gap in there. And a time or two when the quarterback kept it, the defensive end squeezed too far trying to chase the ball instead of sitting at home. So there's usually a guy or two in different situations where that happens.
We need to be better. No question. Defensively, we've gotten a lot of attention, they've been bragged on and they weren't nearly as good as they were built up to be.
On the touchdown pass, was Adrian just a safety valve?
Coach Stoops: He was. I'm glad you asked that question. Paul started his reads on the other side of the field and went through a progression. That was his last and fourth read. A lot of guys, after two or three, start to break down. He went all the way back and I chuckled to him, "That's not a bad fourth option on first and ten, getting it to that guy." You get a 70-yard reception out of it. And he laughed.
Oddly enough, Joe Jon ran the wrong route so it put him in position to help him get in the end zone. Probably shouldn't have admitted that, huh.
Allen Patrick didn't get any carries tonight. Was that just a function of not having the ball as much early and the fact that Adrian didn't have any long series where he got tired and needed a rest?
Coach Stoops: Exactly. They worked the clock and they style that they play and yeah, Adrian was feeling good and he wasn't overworked. Allen will play as time goes.
Peterson seemed to have more success when Matt Clapp was in the game as fullback.
Coach Stoops: Matt seemed to play well. I'll have to see it (on tape). But yes, he seemed to do well when he was in there.
Fred Strong had a couple of catches. Did he play well in your opinion:?
Coach Stoops: Yeah, Fred had a nice game, thinking through it. He seemed to play well. He's starting to show more reliability and accountability, so we'll see where that keeps going.
Bob Stoops' OU-UAB Postgame Quotes
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