OU-Washington Locker Room Report

Bob Stoops, Brent Venables, Kevin Wilson, Paul Thompson, Malcolm Kelly and Adrian Peterson, Brody Eldridge, Jason Carter and Reggie Smith (pictured) break down Saturday's 37-20 win over Washington. (AP Photo)

With the score tied 13-13 at halftime and the stats just about even, the general thought in the press box was that Oklahoma was a pretty ordinary football team. They sure didn't look like National Championship contenders and, in fact, many were looking down the schedule to see who the Sooners might beat and who they might lose to.

But that all changed in the second half when Adrian Peterson and the Sooner offense wore down the Husky defense, and when senior quarterback Paul Thompson played the game of his life to overcome an average defensive performance to help lead Oklahoma to a 37 to 20 victory.

"It was a good win and I am very pleased with how we played, for the most part," said OU head football coach Bob Stoops following the game. "I was very pleased for the most part in the second half for 28 minutes, or up until the last two minutes or so. The guys really played well in the second half on both sides of the ball. Our special teams were again very good, very solid, and that was a big factor in the game.

"In the first half, I felt we were close to making some big plays. I thought the way we were working the ball was good. Defensively, we came out and gave up the one big play to start the game and then a big pass on third and long in a very conservative coverage, and that is just not acceptable. We have to be better than that. Those two plays lead to 10 points.

"Outside of that, there was a lot of good plays in there. But you have to be able to eliminate those couple of plays. I thought, defensively, we were good the entire second half until we get into late in the game. I thought our guys didn't play like they were capable there to finish the game.

"Still, it is a good win and it puts you in a good position to go to Oregon in a good way. We can play better and I sensed that in the locker room that our guys know they are close. But they know there is so much more potential on this team, and the ability to play better. It is frustrating when you don't. We will keep working for it."

***

Thus far the defense just hasn't been playing like the defense of old, and that is a major concern coming out of the game. Washington finished with 384 total yards on offense — 204 yards rushing and 180 yards through the air.

Washington popped a basic run play on the opening play running right through the left side of the defense. Senior middle linebacker Zach Latimer overran the play and freshman strong safety Keenan Clayton whiffed on a tackle, and Husky tailback Kenny James was off the races going 54 yards virtually untouched to give Washington a quick 7-0 lead.

"The first half was good," said Stoops. "On the first play, we are in position but one of our defensive linemen isn't in position to defeat the block. He is double-teamed and once they release him he is there and he doesn't make the play. There isn't any magic to it. A lot of times it just comes down to playing better."

For OU defensive coordinator Brent Venables any time the Sooner defense give up a 54-yard run on their first play for a score and over 200-yards rushing, it is a terrible day, even if the team wins.

"I am not happy with how we played tonight," said Venables following the game. "The first half, I was not happy with the run defense. They creased us a few different times on a basic isolation play that we should be wearing out pads. We should be begging them to run those plays. We can defend those plays in our sleep, but the bottom line is that if you are not on your feet and in your gap then that is going to happen. Anybody can do that. We just have to get better at our technique and playing off of double-teams and staying on our feet.

"It is very simple — you can't give up the big play. We give up a 55-yard run. And then we are in quarters coverage and let a guy get over the top of us for 100-yards and ten points. Then how we finished in the second half is a coach killer. It just drives you nuts. You coach your guys up before they go out there to not have any letdown, and then that happens. We have to have a bite-down mentality, and I think our guys recognized that going into the locker room. They were disappointed in the way we finished and they understand that is exactly what we talked about not allowing that to happen."

Frustration is the best way to describe the attitude of the Oklahoma defense right now, and that was the attitude in the locker room. It is frustrating considering they let Washington go 54-yards for a score on the first play, and then let back-up quarterback Carl Bonnell drive the Huskies straight down the field, almost at will, to score the Huskies final touchdown, which almost hurts more than giving up the opening touchdown.

"We had improvement in there in some points," said Stoops said following the game. "I still believe we have to become a better run defense than what we showed again today. I believe that we are capable of it. We have to keep demanding it and working it as coaches, and the players have to do a better job when they are out there defending it.

"That part, for me, is the biggest disappointment. I am never pleased with anyone when they can run the football on us. They had some big plays, and there was a good part of the game in the first half,. I know you don't take away the one run initially, but the rest of it was pretty decent. I want the consistently through the whole game.

"I was really displeased with the last three minutes," Stoops continued. "Just because we have a huge lead and they put a back-up quarterback in there, and I am not taking anything away from Washington, but I don't feel we were as focused as we had been the whole rest of the second half."

When a defense is not playing up its potential, yet there is talent on that side of the ball you know the competition is going to increase a bunch during practice. For the second straight week, junior cornerback D.J. Wolfe gave up a big pass. This time a 51-yard toss from Husky quarterback Isiah Stanback to wide receiver Anthony Russo in the second quarter overcoming a 3rd and 11 situation.

Following that play, Wolfe was replaced by sophomore Lendy Holmes fr the rest of the game. Clayton was another starter in the secondary who didn't play much, as he was replaced by senior Jason Carter following the second series.

"We will give them throughout the week to try to sort things out and get our trust back," said Venables Sunday from his office. "We will put them in position to see some of the things that we need to see them do. Obviously, Jason (Carter) came in and did some really good things. You would like for him to catch a couple of those interceptions, but the competition will play out throughout the week. We will make some more decisions as the week comes to a close.

"We will rotate those guys and see where we are at the end of the week. At corner, it will be the same thing. Marcus (Walker) and Lendy (Holmes) will compete it out to be at the other spot. As of right now, D.J. (Wolfe) will still have opportunities to get back on the field but at what capacity remains to be seen. Marcus has been playing the field corner, but in fairness to him he had a great fall camp and we are still trying to get our best two corners on the field. So he will be given that chance to prove that."

***

Also under the microscope this week at practice will be defensive tackle, where the Sooners have just been so-so through the first two weeks. The defensive tackles aren't making a lot of plays, but or the Sooner defense to really rock they need to be solid.

Juniors Steven Coleman and Carl Pendleton, sophomore Cory Bennett and redshirt freshman DeMarcus Granger have made up the rotation thus far through two games, but true freshman Gerald McCoy will get a long look this week to see if he can be counted on to make more plays in the middle.

"That is a possibility and something that we are going to look at," said Venables on playing McCoy. "I thought that DeMarcus came in and played well. Cory Bennett, at times, played well. Coach (Jackie)Shipp is taking a hard look at that and we will sit down and discuss what we should do to make our football team better."

The Sooners have been great at times with All-American Tommie Harris and All Big-12 Conference Dusty Dvoracek at defensive tackles in the past. And OU wasn't bad when Lynn McGruder and Remi Ayodele were in the line-up.

So, what can rock solid defensive tackles do for a defense?

"You don't get movement off the ball," said Venables. "Many times you get disruption and you get somebody in a quarterbacks' lap before the play can ever get started. So you disrupted a flow of an offense when you constantly have push from the onset, whether it is a run play or pass play. Obviously, when you play an eight-man front on defense, regardless of the front that you are playing, if you have eight guys you can create eight gaps in there and everybody has a gap to uphold. Those guys consistently held their own and then some. Again, if they run it in your gap you have to make the play. There are no magical calls to it."

"You can't get a lot of guys without Tommie or Dusty's ability to do it consistently," said Venables. "They just had a unique way of creating a new line of scrimmage. That is what they could do. The really good ones can create the new line of scrimmage for you. Our current guys just have to improve with technique and being better. They have done it before and you just have to do it every play. It is very simple — if they (opposing RBs) break the line-of-scrimmage then they are breaking into the secondary, the guy who is unblocked there has to make a tackle too. You have to be strong up front and up the middle, and on the run they popped out of there we weren't."

Stoops takes a pretty simple approach to what the defensive tackles have to do to play well.

"We need to play better in some areas," said Stoops. "Our linemen need to do a better job of getting off blocks and staying alive in the play. "The defensive tackles played OK. And it is the same thing when talking about the O-line. They are not consistent enough, but I believe that we are capable of playing better. That is what we keep pushing for."

***

At linebacker, OU needs Zach Latimer to step it up and fill the hole with some force. Latimer has not played well in the first two games, but the Sooners don't have a lot of depth. Sophomore Curtis Lofton is sharing time with Demarrio Pleasant at strongside linebacker (SAM), but at this time he can't afford to be moved. At this point, the loss of sophomore Ryan Reynolds to ACL surgery is really hurting Oklahoma. If Reynolds was healthy, he would be playing the SAM and Lofton would move to the middle. As it is, the Sooners' best bet is for Latimer to pick it up and start filling the middle gap with authority.

***

On offense, Adrian Peterson didn't hurt his Heisman chances with his 165-yard, two touchdown performance. AD worked incredibly hard last week to improve his overall game and to lead his team. The goal for Peterson is to be the best player in the country and the best player he can be, and he felt he made progress in that area against Washington.

"I was more pleased with my performance," said Peterson following the game. "I was running north and south and that is how I am supposed to run. I came out focused on doing that and we did it and got it done. I think we were real close to breaking one or two of those runs. That is why you see me on the field beating on the ground or something, because the difference is just an inch or two. But they will come if we keep plugging away. Washington is a good team.

"We came out in the first half and did OK, but we came into the locker room at the half and made some adjustments. I knew we had to step it up in the second half and I think we came out and dominated. It is all about just finishing. The defense knows that, especially on that last series. Hopefully, this week we will come out and finish strong. A win is a win. It doesn't matter if you win by one point or 20 points. We do have room to improve, but we did get our win."

Peterson says he's also ready for another battle against the Ducks.

"I am feeling great and feeling healthy," said Peterson. "This is the third year in a row that we are playing Oregon, so I want to play with a little chip on my shoulder. And I am sure they do after last year. We are just going to go in and take it week by week and try to get it done."

***

On the offensive side of the ball, there were certainly more smiles in the Sooner locker room. Paul Thompson has proven to be a major strength rather than a liability for Oklahoma, as he connected on 21-of-33 passes for two touchdowns against one interception, while Peterson was running for 165 yards on 32 carries and two touchdown runs of 17- and 1-yard.

Peterson continued to pound away at the Washington defense and it eventually paid dividends for the Sooners.

"We sometimes take Adrian for granted," said Stoops. "He is just a monster running the football. He is just so tough and physical in how he runs the ball. He wants the ball and he is going to take it to the defense, and he did a great job. He was hammering it in the second half and he was so close to having a couple that could have gone the distance. We were just a fingernail away on one of them. He is going to make those. He hammered it hard.

"On the offensive line, we need to avoid some of the foolish penalties at the line of scrimmage. Outside of that, they did some really good things. AD hammers it and he is a tough, physical guy. He looked good the whole time."

The best thing about the game may have been the fact that Thompson seems to be becoming a tremendous quarterback. Despite a costly fumble in the red zone, Thompson's play was outstanding.

"He is going to be a very good quarterback," said Stoops. "Paul has a lot of ability and the more comfortable and more snaps he gets back there, the better and better he is going to get. It is fair to say that there are guys out there with him that are holding up their end as well. And as they get better he will get better too. I was very pleased with Paul.

"The turnover in the end zone — that is on us as coaches. We should have not put him in that position. I thought he managed the game in a great way. His checks were excellent and where he went with the football was really good. Some guys, like Malcolm Kelly, really made some plays for him. They are capable of making some big plays like that. I thought Paul was really good and I was really pleased with him."

Peterson moved past Stanley Wilson into sixth place on the OU all-time rushing chart with 3,337 yards total rushing yards. And he also made his blocking mates look good at times.

"He took a bunch of two and three yard runs and made seven," said Wilson. "He ran through some trash and he is the biggest, fastest and strongest player on the field. In the first game, a couple of times there was some hesitation looking for things. But this game he was decisive and ran through it. We were close a couple of times coming out with some big ones. I don't think he had any busts in pass protection. He was 100 percent there. He was very physical with the football and they way he attacked with his initial read. He would make one cut and play fast.

Wilson also talked about his comments directed at Peterson last week.

"I didn't mean for that to come across as negative on him last week. I just think he is an outstanding player that needs to push himself. He is a phenomenal practice player, but I just think he missed some things trying to make the big play too much. Yesterday, he was by far our best player on the field with the way he played. All that last week got blown out of proportion. It wasn't a challenge for him, it was just how we are coaching that guy.

"We want him to keep playing hard. And again, he is a tremendous practice player and he loves to play. He practices hard and he plays hard, I just thought in this game it looked a lot more like him with him taking it to the defense. We just keep feeding him the football. He is going to make some plays and break some people down, and he is going to run through a lot of trash.

"We didn't block as well yesterday as we did in the opener, but he had as productive of a day with probably less help than he had in the first game. I thought we had some guys helping him better in the first game, but he has the ability to take the ball north and south and run past people, through people and push the pile.

As pointed out by Wilson, the Sooners didn't always win the battles at the line of scrimmage. But he still feels that better days are ahead.

"Stats, yards and points can sometimes skew some things," said Wilson on Sunday forom his office. "This game was the reverse of the first game in that in the first game we were pretty solid at tight end and pretty solid in the line. We didn't think Brandon Walker played very strong, but he was our best linemen this game. The other guys weren't as effective. We had some busts and hits on the QB when the box was loaded.

"Our skill players played pretty good and we made some plays on the perimeter. Our quarterback played good, our running back ran hard, but we were not near as good on the offensive line or tight end in this game. In the first game, we thought those positions played reasonably well. The skill guys messed it up. Going into this week with Oregon, we are going to need all 11 pieces clicking together as a group.

"Nobody was bad. They did play hard, but again we just missed some things. We had way too many procedures and some glitches and got behind chains at the line. Again, they loaded up to stop the run so we are going to have to throw the ball, which we did. But we need to knock some guys down and stay on blocks and give our big guy a chance to hit some creases.

"When they pack everybody up there and he gets through, there is nobody back in support. If we can get some guys on the ground and get AD through that initial crease when everybody is loading the box, then we can create big plays. The O-line played fair, but we need to play better. And we are going to get them playing better before we go out to Oregon."

***

While Peterson was working hard to make some holes through the offensive line, Paul Thompson was throwing darts to seven different receivers and having his biggest day as a Sooner taking advantage of the Huskies desire to slow down OU's running game.

"We thought the opportunity was going to be there," said Wilson. "We told him that this team was going to commit to having everybody in the box and that they were going to leave us one-on-one outside. If we got a one-on-one shot and miss, we told him we need to come right back to it. It is not a one and done deal. Sometimes you throw that pass one time and say, 'OK, that one is done.' This was a game that we thought we needed to get the ball downfield 10 to 12 times. I don't know what the exact calls were, but we were trying to stretch it because we just felt everybody was going to be loaded up in there, just like everybody is going to be loaded up in there.

"We really felt this team was going to commit and leave our receivers one-on-one, and our receivers made some competitive plays. Our protection broke down twice and hurt us, but Paul is getting better. He is practicing well and now has two games under his belt. I think he is going to be better in the future than he was today. I don't think we said, wow, he is better than we thought, but he is doing good and gaining. We think he is going to keep getting better."

One thing about Thompson's play that has surprised many is his poise and ability to execute under pressure. Thompson executed a great two minute drive against the Huskies that allowed the Sooners tie the game at the half with a Garrett Hartley 37-yard field goal.

"We got the two minute situation going and the protection was solid," said Wilson. "He had the ball thrown on time and I think that gave us some good momentum going into the half. We had some unfortunate procedures and negative things that hurt is in the first half. I think to end on a positive note and start that third quarter, and getting the crowd involved, was big for us. That got our kids involved and we were pretty good after that."

***

Thompson has never lacked confidence in his abilities, and the coaches have always felt he would be a good college quarterback. But the fact that he had his best game as a Sooner and worked through a different group of receivers in game two, shows that he is growing up as a quarterback right in front of our eyes.

"Last week we threw to the tight ends, who were our main go-to guys," Thompson said following the game. "It just depends on the defense, our gameplan and what we feel comfortable with. There are certain occasions that I am looking for certain receivers, but most of the time I am just going through my reads and taking what the defense gives me. They were giving us some one-on-ones and I had one with Malcolm (TD). If they want to one-on-one him, I am going to take that match-up all day. That is definitely something that I am aware of. I am not going up there looking for just one receiver, but we will get great situations like that occasionally."

Thompson believes he and his receivers are on the same page.

"I definitely felt real comfortable out there," said Thompson. "It definitely felt good to be out there connecting with the receivers. The receivers were making big plays, but I don't know if it was my best performance or anything like that. I felt real good out there and I think our offense felt good as well. As far as me being nervous or comfortable, we had a different gameplan than last week. It was a little more limited than last week, as far as shots. We felt this week we could take more shots, but I definitely felt comfortable with the gameplan as we well as how we would execute it."

Thompson found sophomore Malcolm Kelly six times for 121 yards and two touchdowns, but Kelly wasn't perfect as he dropped a couple of passes that he felt he should have had.

"I won a few battles out there today, but I lost a few too," said Kelly. "I guess people think I shouldn't get as down on myself as I do, but I feel like I don't need to drop any ball. If it hits my hand, it should be my ball. Smitty gives me a hard time about that too. He always says if the ball is up, it should be mine. And that is what I take on."

Kelly's 35-yard reception in the third quarter got the Sooners rolling, and it was a perfect example of them taking advantage of what the Huskies were giving them.

"I knew it was coming because he rolled up in my face," said Kelly. "On that play, when he rolls up in my face I knew he was going to give it to me so I just made a little move on him and got up field. The play was not called on me to go deep, but I adjusted the route and Paul saw it and he threw a great pass right on the money."

***

The coaches can take what happened in this game and can point to a much better second half than the first, showing that the team can be coached and are determined to do better when things don't go well for them.

"I always amazed that everybody wants to look at the game in just the first quarter or a half, but you have to play the whole deal," said Stoops after the game. "It is a 60-minute or three-hour deal out there. I was pleased with how we came on in the second half. In the first half, nobody was pressing. We felt we were doing the right things and offensively we were close to making some other big plays. I felt defensively, outside of the two plays, there was a lot that we were doing and it was really good."

Is Stoops satisfied with a good second half and the 2-0 start?

"No, I want to be better. I think what was frustrating yesterday is that I know we are capable of so much more. At times, we are right on the verge of it. I want to see it more consistency. I just think there are a lot of areas where our potential and what we are able to do is better than what we are doing. So, as a coach, we have to get it out of them."

There have been times during the Stoops era where OU has played special teams as well as any team in the country, and this year may be another year that at the end of the year the Sooners can stake that claim. Thus far, through two games, the Sooners have been lights out in all areas of special teams.

"They were really strong again," said Stoops. "I thought Garrett Hartley was really strong with his kicks. Derrick Shaw, our young snapper, was great all day. All but one punt was really good, but downing the ball at the 1-yard line was huge. And then blocking one punt, and we should have blocked another as we made them pull it down. It was solid. Our coverage units have been good as well."

***

Hartley is having his best year on kickoffs and field goals, as he hit three on Saturday from 44, 37 and 30 yards.

"I believe I am kicking better this year and that is what I am striving for this year — to be perfect inside of 45-yards," said Hartley following the game. "I just have to keep hitting the ball. It was really funny because it was on the third field goal, my calf balled up right before I kicked it. Coach asked me how does a kicker cramp up and I told him I really don't know. I think I am a little better kicker because physically I have put on 10 pounds. Also, I think kicking is at least 90 percent mental. I got to go out there with strong head and just go through my motions, and muscle memory comes into play."

Hartley feels the Sooner special teams are going to play a big role in this year's success.

Stoops has been Hartley's biggest fan throughout his career after the head ball coach personally worked him out as the Sooner Football Camp and offered him when the camp concluded. Through the first two years, Hartley has hit on 15-of-23 field goals, but Stoops still wants to see even better results.

"It is only two games. I want to see consistency over the course of the year," said Stoops. "That is fair to say that he is kicking well, but it is just two games. The three field goals that we had yesterday were very important and he managed to hit them all very well. I guess the one he cramped up before he hit and he hit it a little lower than he is used to hitting it. It is unusual that he got a cramp just before he kicked it. I guess he was warming up or something, because I have never had a kicker get a cramp before."

***

The Sooners were once again spectacular in the return game, as Juaquin Iglesias returned one kick-off for 31 yards and Reggie Smith averaged 25 yards on three punt returns, including a 53-yard return that turned around field position for the Sooners in the first half.

"The guy hit a line drive and fortunately Reggie was able to pick it up in some space. He has that kind of ability. Our guys are really blocking well for him and hustling for him. Reggie can really make big plays and we were fortunate that he did, because it really helped with field position."

At first, it looked like the 54-yarder was going to be a disaster for Smith. Like a centerfielder in baseball who at times has trouble fielding a line drive hit right at him, Smith experienced the same thing on a football field.

"When I saw that kick I thought it was going short so I ran up," said Smith. "Then when it went over my head, I went, 'Oh man, don't know what I am going to do.' I tired to run back there and pick it up and make what I could. It turned out good as the blocks were there and I just made my cuts. At first, I was just kind of tiptoeing just trying to find out where I was and where it was going to open up. I saw the hole and hit my burst and took off."

When Smith was recruited, one of things he was told was that someday he would be the Sooners' punt return man. That is one of the reasons why he picked OU over USC, but when it didn't happen right away he wasn't sure it would.

"I am really happy with how things are going in punt returns," Smith said. "When I first got there, I didn't know if I was every going to get the job because I was struggling catching the ball. But this summer, I just stepped it up more and now I feel a lot more comfortable out there. I am just trying to make plays and now it feels natural."

***

If it seemed like the Sooners ran more plays against Washington than UAB, well, they did. The Sooners only ran 54 plays against UAB, but managed to run 68 against the Huskies.

"We are doing everything we can to get the number of possessions we want," said offensive coordinator Kevin Wilson. "We come to the line of scrimmage ready to snap the ball. I was very happy with how we handled the clock. I thought it was very clean and very good. I thought we used the clock well at the end of the game when we have a strong lead and we were up 17 points. Really, the clock is the whole issue now and I thought we did a nice job using it."

As he calls plays and thinks ahead in a game, Wilson says he is very aware of the clock and what the situation is with what precious seconds he has late in a half or the game.

"It seems like the game is going a little faster," said Wilson following the game. "We stayed efficient and converted a nice third and long one time when we got behind chains. We converted a nice third and medium after a critical turnover that we made, and our defense got the ball back for us. I think that was a nice drive. Any time you go 90-plus yards on someone, that is a big back-breaker. So that is a nice statement for that offense to make those plays. We try to have a lot of mix and we want to feature that big guy as much as we can. We have to mix it up and that is what we are trying to do."

***

There are always so many heroes in a game in every Oklahoma win, but none are more important than that player who will do anything for the team and play any position for the team. One of those players on Saturday was redshirt freshman Brody Eldridge.

Eldridge came to OU as a defensive end, which was his position of choice, but moved to tight end when it looked like the Sooners were lacking depth. Yet despite the emergence of super frosh Jermaine Gresham, Eldridge has found a niche on the offense because of his great blocking ability.

That blocking ability proved even more valuable to the Sooners against Washington, when he lined up at fullback in place of an ailing Matt Clapp, who was out nursing a bruised knee.

"The role that you play for both positions is pretty much the same," said Eldridge. "Tight end and fullback are pretty much the same thing. It is a different angle, especially coming from the backfield. But we are in the meeting room together and it makes it a lot easier. You have to read the line slants and stuff, but it is not that difficult.

"It feels good to just get on the field and help the team any way that I can. I am glad I moved to offense. If I was still at D-end, I wouldn't be playing with the D-ends that we have. Coach (Stoops) moved me to tight end and gave me a shot. I worked out as hard as I could all summer and now I am getting an opportunity to play."

And Eldridge's unselfish play certainly has caught the eye of his head coach.

"Brody is a good football player," said Stoops. "Matt Clapp was a little nicked up, and we believe that we will have him this week, but Brody just went out there and played a lot of fullback plays. He can catch, run and he is physical. He is a real impressive guy."

On defense, when you are a fifth0year senior who has hardly played you are just looking for an opportunity. Coming into training camp, Jason Carter was shocked when redshirt freshman Keenan Clayton was moved in front of him on the starting unit, leaving him with no way to reclaim the job.

"I have great confidence in my ability, no matter if I am starting or not," said Carter. "I understand what goes on with a football team. You have a lot of talent and the coaches want to go with it, because they have so much time to go. I have a lot of experience here and I understand our defense, and I understand the offensive scheme that they are trying to run against it. That put me in the best position against Washington. I have been here forever and I know our defense in and out. I probably know our defense better than anybody on the team.

"I don't think coach would hesitate to put me at any position if we needed it. I probably can't play cornerback, but I can play both safety positions. I know both to a tee. If anything happened to any other person, I would be the guy they called on. I thought, except for the two dropped interceptions, I played exceptionally well. I need to make those catches in the upcoming games, but I felt I played well and I helped the other DBs as well."

Carter played well in relief, but he did drop two sure -ire interceptions.

"I took my eyes off of them," Carter siad. "I was probably so excited to see the balls coming my way that I just dropped them. I am sure I am going to be catching a 1000 balls on the jugs gun this week. But that is OK with me because I want to make sure I catch the next one."

***

The win not only made the Sooners 2-0 on the year, but was a great birthday present for Stoops, who turned 46 on Saturday.

***

Finally, I felt sorry for Husky linebacker Tahj Bomar, who was booed every time his name was mentioned. The poor lad didn't know why early in the game. He was later told that the Sooner fans weren't booing him, but their dismissed quarterback who has the same last name.

"I couldn't figure it out at first," said Bomar. "I mean, I knew I was on the road but their fans weren't booing all of our players — just me. At first, I tried to think something that I might have said during the week, and then I remembered I didn't do any interviews. I mean, nobody every interviews me. Then I remembered that they had that quarterback here that was kicked off the team. One of my teammates said it must be that, so I just had a good laugh in the huddle about it and kept playing."

***

Fullback Matt Clapp is expected back for Oregon. And offensive guard Brian Simmons is also expected to see his first playing time against the Ducks.


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