Stoops takes an early look at Texas

See inside for excerpts from OU head coach Bob Stoops' weekly press conference held Tuesday in Norman. Stoops recaps OU's win over Middle Tennessee State and looks ahead to next week's matchup with Texas, including his thoughts on the Longhorns' offense without Vince Young. (AP Photo)

Below are excerpts from OU head coach Bob Stoops' weekly press conference Tuesday in Norman.

Opening Statement

Stoops: In the past, some of our issues haven't been our opponent as much as sometimes it's been us — our positioning, our alignment, our responsibility. A procedure is a procedure, no matter who you're playing, or taking care of the football or, defensively, a safety rolling over the top the corner on a deep route where he's supposed to be.

All those issues, as I said regardless of who you're playing, sometimes our problems have been self-inflected, and we didn't have any of that the other night. We really played in a very solid and fundamental good way, which is pleasing to all of us as coaches. And the players recognize it when they've played well that way.

Defensively is where most of our inconsistency had been and we were really solid the other night in the way we played and, again, in our fundamentals and responsibilities. So we need to build on that — keep working for more and more consistency and that's what we're going to do this week.

Some guys that played well in the game the other night, offensively, the players of the game thinking back through it, Malcolm Kelly we voted, as coaches, the player of the game. (Kelly) has just been making big, big plays. He's such a big, strong target. It's exciting the way he's played.

Paul Thompson was again very, very good in how he handled everything. Our offensive line was very solid. They (Middle Tennessee) blitzed virtually every down and the protection was very good. No breakdowns in who we were picking up. We were very solid that way as well as run blocking. So our offensive line, tight ends and fullbacks were all recognized as well.

Defensively, Rufus Alexander and Zach Latimer were co-players of the game. They both had excellent games, along with a number of other players that played well. Special teams-wise, Reggie Smith was player of the game along with Curtis Lofton, who caused a fumble and a few other tackles on covering some kicks. And Garrett Hartley was again very good.

This week we'll use the off-week — practice Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday — give them the weekend off and get back Sunday evening to start our preparation with Texas. We'll start this week (on Texas), but I mean just to start the game week. We'll, of course, use the extra time working on them here (this week). We already have the last couple of days.

On if he's second-guessing the decision to start Rhett Bomar last season after the way Paul Thompson has played through four games this season

Stoops: No, in the situation the way it was, I feel very ... I don't know what to say ... I don't know how to say it. But what we did, I felt, was the right thing to do at the time.

On if the improved play of the receivers is helping Paul Thompson

Stoops: They are, and should be. Last year they were true freshmen. I said that going into the year that I expected the players around Paul to play better than they did a year ago.

Those guys are making big plays, they're very capable of it. And again, I think they'll only keep getting better. I think more and more of them will step up and make those kind of plays.

On if the freshmen offensive lineman played well last week

Stoops: They did. They did a nice job out there. Chase Beeler played at center most of the day and did a really nice job. Trent Williams is doing a nice job as well out there at the right tackle position. And Cory Brandon came in and did well as well.

On how the move of putting Reggie Smith back to safety is working

Stoops: It worked out well. Reggie, everywhere he plays, he plays well. He was solid the other day out there, of course. Obviously, we're just not as pleased as we wanted to be in our safety positions. I don't know how else to say it. Reggie, in there, may be the answer.

On if there are any concerns that the secondary players may be playing scared that they may get pulled if they make a bad play

Stoops: No.

On if he likes the off-week the week before Texas

Stoops: I do, since we have one. It works out and gives you extra time to really prepare, look at them and to work your plan. I like the fact that we can hopefully continue to polish and work techniques and fundamentals and get better here this week.

On the defense attacking more last week

Stoops: Some of it's some improvement and what I just said. I don't need to say it again, I said it over and over. We still have to keep pushing for it, we have to get the consistency we want. I believe, again, this unit is very capable of being a very good unit, but we've got to work towards that and keep improving as we go.

On it being reported that Texas, in year's past, was working on Oklahoma in the spring and summer. Yet OU doesn't prepare for them until this point, and how he addresses that

Stoops: I don't have to address it. We get ready as we get ready. All I can control is what we do so we're working on them right now like we should be. That's the way we do things.

Like I said, with the out-of-season — spring or summer — we believe in working to improve ourself and working against each other. But I can't speak to what anyone else does.

On him saying that they started preparing for Texas last season before the Kansas State game

Stoops: We look at, whether it's Texas or several other people, some of them do some of the same things and you work on certain parts of someone's offense or defense. And it isn't there's, it's maybe them along with two other people you're going to play in the next three weeks. You always look ahead and prepare a little bit for what's coming down the road.

On if he's looked at anything that Ohio State quarterback Troy Smith was able to do against Texas' defense

Stoops: You look at what everybody does. And it isn't Troy Smith, it's their offense and what they do. We watch what everybody's done against them. Just because somebody runs the triple option against them and it works, doesn't mean you do. We'll do what we feel fits our players and our schemes and what we're used to doing and go from there.

On who's playing well in the offensive line

Stoops: Branndon Braxton's doing well. Duke Robinson's really doing pretty well. Chris Messner. Most all of them. I have been very pleased with them. I'm not going to sit here and say everybody, but they have all at different times done better than others. But I don't know that there's any case yet where we'd say somebody's been disappointing. So that's good.

On Brian Simmons finally getting some playing time

Stoops: He finally got some the other day and seemed to handle it well.

On if it's a challenge to keep his team relaxed this week knowing that Texas is next on the schedule

Stoops: No, kids pace themselves pretty well. I'm sure they're all looking forward to going home on the weekends, seeing family or relaxing. They understand the scheduled and can pace themself through it.

On the confidence level of the team going into Texas

Stoops: The confidence is strong. I like the way we're practicing and preparing. They'll be excited to play. I just realize the experience level from a year ago is drastically different on our team in a lot of areas that really matter.

On the play of Nic Harris

Stoops: He's doing a really nice job. Nic is showing up more and more and making plays. Again, he's one of the guys you talk about — just the experience factor. He's getting more and more back there recognizing plays and where he needs to be.

He's a big, strong guy that's got a lot of ability and he's starting to show it for those reasons. He's just feeling more comfortable in what he's doing and making more plays. He's doing a nice job.

On why he doesn't feel comfortable putting Harris in the strong safety role

Stoops: There's a lot, mentally, in both (positions). They're two different positions (nickel and strong safety). So you take the chance of he's playing so well in this one, now you give him this and maybe it's too much. There's a lot of balancing there, so we'll see.

On if he'd rather see the officials on the field watch the replay on the field rather than someone in the booth

Stoops: Yeah, probably. That probably wouldn't be a bad idea either. It's their game that's on the field. That's how the NFL does it. It probably seems to be a good suggestion. I don't know if that will solve anything or not.

On if he's concerned there will become a pattern of trouble with instant replay

Stoops: I've said it all along, it's only our second year in it and you would hope the more we do it the better we'll get at it.

On Paul Thompson having more experience going into the Texas game as opposed to OU's situation at QB at that point last year

Stoops: Absolutely — his maturity, the way he's playing through four games and the confidence he's built. The receivers around him the way they're playing. Adrian Peterson — different story than a year ago coming into this game. Secondary — totally different than what they had experienced a year ago. So there's a lot that's different.

On his thoughts on Texas with Colt McCoy at quarterback rather than Vince Young

Stoops: Well, you don't have the plays where people are covered and all the sudden he still gets 50. That's something that's different.

But Colt McCoy's doing a great job, as you watch him, of managing their team and the way they play. He's done a really good job of that. He's been very efficient. They're running the football well with Selvin Young and Jamaal Charles both. They've got good receivers.

So they're solid. Defensively, very sound structure in the way they play you. It's a good football team, but that's what we expected to see.

On if the tight ends not getting many catches is a case of the receivers getting open

Stoops: Sure. How could you complain? They are getting open and there are seams in the way people are playing us. Sometimes too when they're blitzing you every down the tight ends need to be in there protecting along with the fullbacks. Or if you're in a one-back set, the tight end is in there with the one-back.

We're getting the tight end's the ball a good number of times and throwing it at them. I don't know what anyone expects. Some people expect you to throw to them every time. There's a lot of kids out there and you have to spread it around.

On the threat of Adrian Peterson helping the passing game

Stoops: I know this — if I'm the defensive coordinator and he's not playing, the game has changed. It changes everything. I say it all the time, he's as valuable without the football as he is with it, because of the threat of him getting it.

The play-action passes or faking it to him here or there gets people on edge, or they get to chasing him and then he doesn't have it. It changes things.

On how Peterson has pass blocked this year

Stoops: He's done well. He's been excellent.

On how good Texas is this year compared to last season

Stoops: They're good. As you watch them, a lot of things are similar to what they've always done. It's just obvious the player Vince Young was. There's a difference as far as his ability to run, which everybody knows. But everything else, as you watch them, structurally and scheme-wise is very similar to what they've always done.

On how the quality of Texas' play has compared to last year

Stoops: Well, they're good. As good? I don't know. I don't think they'd complain about having Young back there again, so without him it's different.

On how Texas compares to last year defensviely

Stoops: Well, I think they're very good. I don't compare year to year. I don't know how to do that. We've only played four games.

Everybody loves to say that, but everybody's non-conference schedule is different. So how really good is someone? I think you have to see against some conference play to really compare. But I see them as solid and good like they have been.

On if having played in a tough road environment at Oregon helps, as compared to last year when they played at UCLA

Stoops: I don't know that it matters. Oregon was a great environment to compete in, but I didn't get that everybody was all enamored with it like we haven't played anywhere. We're going to go on the road all year and it's going to be that way.

On if teams will start kicking away from Reggie Smith

Stoops: As far as kickoffs it's easier to do, but we're going to have Adrian back there as well. And the better and more looks he gets at it, I think he has a chance to be good at it as well.

Punting, I just always feel it's easier said than done because you take the chance of hitting it out of bounds. Of course, you have a chance for some of those 20 yard punts and all when you're trying to aim it out of bounds.

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