Below are excerpts from OU quarterback Paul Thompson's press conference on Tuesday.
On how close was the offense to having a great game
Thompson: It was real close. I think you can see that a lot of times when we were in the red zone we came up short with zero points when we could've had at least three. Our goal was to get seven, especially going in right before half. We were down there twice and came out with no points, so we were definitely close to having a big game and scoring a lot of points.
On what he could've done better against UAB
Thompson: For the most part, I felt real comfortable out there, as far as going through my reads and feeling comfortable. There were definitely some passes I could've brought down. But overall, I felt pretty comfortable for it being the first game of the year out there. I felt the offense was moving the ball and was feeling real good out there.
On getting the first win out of the way
Thompson: It was big. We scored on the second drive. As I mentioned last week, not only did we want to come out and start this first game off with a win, but we wanted to start the game off quick and not be behind on the chains and behind on the scoreboard.
So, getting the game started and scoring points quickly was big for us. That definitely helps with confidence and definitely helps us going into next week.
On if he's more confident now with one game under his belt
Thompson: Yeah, I think just as a team we're 1-0. We've got the first 'W' behind us. We're definitely focused on Washington now. Any time you can get a win in the season opener, it definitely helps with the confidence for everybody, makes everyone relaxed a little bit, confident in the game plan the coaches have set for us and confident in ourselves as players to move on and know what we can do.
On what tight end Joe Jon Finley brings to the offense
Thompson: Just a big receiver. And when he's in there and we're running the ball, we've got a nice-sized blocker as well. He's real physical and he's definitely one of our hardest workers throughout the offseason, so I definitely knew the type of athleticism he's had.
He showed it not only in that game, but in many other games here as well. He's made big plays. He's definitely a target I like to go to. He's definitely a big target, great hands as you saw Saturday.
On the touchdown pass to Finley
Thompson: I think Joe Jon, on the touchdown play, was the second read. He got over the linebacker and was wide open. He just made a great play and made a great catch on it.
On the fact that Finley ran the wrong route on the touchdown pass to Adrian Peterson
Thompson: I went to my second and third read and (Finley) was running the route as if we were on the other hash (mark) so he was in position to make a great block which helped us score. It's weird how things work out. Overall, I think there were few mistakes as far as routes.
On if he feels vindicated that he played well and the fans are worried about the defense now instead of his play
Thompson: Right, when I got the position it seemed like everyone was freaking out, except people within this organization. I guess that is good to come out there and show everybody. Calm down, relax, everything's going to be alright and move forward from there.
Again, I didn't have much pressure on myself going into the first game last week. And what everyone else thinks doesn't add any pressure to myself. I normally add the pressure to myself.
On how the offensive line played
Thompson: I felt real good in there (pocket). One of our goals on this team is to have no sacks, and we didn't have any sacks except for one where we had the protection wrong and I scrambled out. It was a loss, but I was out of the pocket. It wasn't an in-the-pocket sack.
They definitely did a good job up front all night. That's another area where people might have had questions about and I felt like they really pulled through. And the effort we had, as far as downfield blocks and guys hustling around, was outstanding.
On the aspects of the offense they haven't showed yet
Thompson: Coach Wilson wanted to make sure we went into this first game with stuff we're comfortable with. We're definitely going to keep adding more and more stuff as we go, as well as taking some stuff out that we might not like depending on the defense and how they play us. We're definitely going to improve and add more and more to the offense to kinda throw guys for a loop.
On if he feels more comfortable working out of the shotgun or under center
Thompson: I started off liking shotgun a lot more, because it was easier to read or it was easier to see. You're back away from the defense. You can see safeties shifting a lot easier.
But after going through two-a-days and getting a lot of under-the-center work, I'm starting to feel real comfortable coming from under center. That's just working with Hype (Josh Heupel) getting the drop quicker, getting back with the depth so that you're virtually back in the shotgun position. But you've got to get back there quick.
I definitely feel comfortable under center now, and I think we're going to have a lot of plays that are under center so it's good for me to be able to do both effective.
On what he needs to do to improve between the first and second game
Thompson: I would probably just say getting through my reads quicker. I felt I did well on that last week, but with different defenses you're going to have to go different places quicker.
When you have different types (of coverages), as far as Washington has in terms of shifting and showing a blitz this way, you've got to be able to think quick and know where you're going with the ball. I just need to continue to improve on getting to my receivers and putting it on them so they can go upfield and make plays.
On if he understands why the fans might be concerned about the team as a whole after the first game
Thompson: Yeah, I can see that. But again, a win is a win. The first game of the year, coming out of this game I felt real confident. I think the team feels real confident. It's something to build on.
There were mistakes. We were down in the scoring zone twice before the half and didn't get any points on the board. At the same time, the two minute offense that we ran right before the half was real effective. I think we went from the 50 to the 20 or 15 in three or four plays, which was real good, real effective and something we can build on.
From the outside looking in there might be worries, but I feel within this organization we feel real comfortable where we're at right now and the things we'll do in the future.
On the shorter amount of plays they ran as a result of the new clock rules
Thompson: It was different because we definitely have goals set and some of those goals rely on how many plays we get. We want to be physical and have knockdowns as far as getting those guys on the ground.
I think we were at 50-something plays when normally we're at 70 or 80. Some of those goals weren't met, but considering the circumstances the coaches understood that.
On if he knew Peterson would score when he hit him with the screen pass
Thompson: I knew there was a lot of open field, because I came across and saw him standing there waiving his arms and put it on him. I definiltey knew it was a probably a first down, but I wasn't sure how much after that. But you know AD in the open field, he's looking for the end zone and that's what he got.
On if anything that Peterson does surprises him
Thompson: No, it's kinda expected (laughs). I think pretty much everybody, when he gets the ball in his hands can pretty much guess he's taking it to the house. It's pretty much expected.
There were some moves I can remember from last year I'm sure he'll bring some up this year with — spins and stiff arms and just overpowering two guys at a time. I don't know if it will surprise me this year, but there was definitely some things last year that surprised me.
On what he has to do as a quarterback to adjust to the new clock rules
Thompson: Just knowing that the clock is going after a kickoff, things of that nature. You can't just be on the sideline, unless there's a TV timeout or something like that. You've got to get going, get rolling. Normally, the play clock is not going so that's something you definitely have to take into consideration.
I think, overall, since the game is shorter every score is that much more important. You've got to get on the board, you've got to get points up quickly because I think a lot of games are going to be a lot more close. You definitely want to get that early jump and get ahead.
On Washington's defense
Thompson: They've got some young guys out at corner, sophomores I believe. They're more experienced up front. From what I've seen, they run similar (schemes) to what we run defensively, which is a lot easier for me because that's what we've been seeing since two-a-days. It's a little bit more similar to what we run, as compared to UAB.
Thompson feeling comfortable, confident
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