Thompson likes off-week before OU-Texas

Paul Thompson talks about the state of OU's offense and next week's showdown against Texas. Thompson is currently ranked 13th nationally in passing efficiency and 23rd in passing yards per game. (AP Photo)

Below are excerpts from Oklahoma quarterback Paul Thompson's meeting with the media on Tuesday.

On how far along the offense has come this season

Thompson: I think we feel real comfortable where we're at. I think from Week 1 to where we're at now, as far as goals we have set for ourselves — turnovers, false starts, penalties that we can control, and we chart it so we have a visual of where we're at as an offense — where we're at now compared to where we were the first game is a significant difference. We feel real comfortable where we're at and definitely where we're going.

On the fact that he seems to be getting more comfortable every game

Thompson: Yeah, I'm just out there having fun. Again, I don't put too much pressure on myself. I feel real comfortable about the gameplan we have going in each week. I feel comfortable in our offense and how we can execute. I'm going out there and having fun, not holding back and just going all-out.

On getting more experience with each game

Thompson: I feel real natural out there. I have played in games in previous years in a different role, but coming in here I feel like, as one of the older guys, I should be more comfortable and more relaxed on the field than anybody should be. I should have, I would think, the least to worry about because I'm comfortable in myself, comfortable in what I know I can do.

So, me being a senior, I'm kinda looking at helping other guys out. I'm not really too much focused on myself. I know that the experience I've had in the past, the reps I've put in as well as film work, that I'm definitely going to be where I need to be. So I'm kinda looking at this as I'm comfortable where I'm at and I'm trying to help the rest of the team now.

On the importance of his connection with Malcolm Kelly

Thompson: It's real big. A couple times I see him open for a split second, I just throw it up there and I know he's going to make a big play. And that's what he's done the entire year, all of last year.

He's just a big receiver — great hands, great body control. Again, you just throw it up to him. Any one of you all in here could just throw it up to him and he'll make a play.

On if he likes the week off before Texas because of the extra preparation, or would he rather play them after the momentum they gained in the Middle Tennessee State game

Thompson: You can take sides for both, but I would probably say I like having the off-week more so than not having it. It's good when you're rolling to keep on rolling like that but going into Big 12 and going against an opponent like Texas, you want to make sure you're as prepared as you can be. You want to make sure you're as rested as you can be.

And I think, being that we didn't have to play many of our starters at the end of the game in the fourth quarter, that rest plus this week off getting guys healthy is going to be a big factor for us winning the game.

On if he'll try to get as far away from football as he can this weekend or way he stay in Norman and study for Texas

Thompson: I probably won't head back home. I'll try to stay away from the Austin area a little bit (smiles). I'm definitely going to relax. Coach 'Hype' (Josh Heupel) knows that there's a lot that I need to learn, but he tells me a lot of times when you have a chance just get away from it. Don't worry about it because you can over-bogged with it at times. So I'm going to stick around Norman, but I'm definitely going to relax and watch some other football.

On if it's hard to relax during the off-week with Texas next on the schedule

Thompson: Yeah, calls and stuff. I'm real aware that we're playing Texas right now from the phone calls, from seeing it on television. Just far as a mental state, I'm aware that I don't have a game this week so I'm gonna try to relax. Through these next couple days during practice, I'll definitely study hard on it but then I'll relax and get off my feet this weekend.

On if it will drive him crazy not being able to play Texas this weekend

Thompson: I don't think so. Again, I think it's going to benefit us. I think getting the rest, getting the bumps and bruises out, getting the extra studying in is going to benefit and help us as far as what we want to accomplish next Saturday. But I'm definitely real excited to get out there and play, so it might be a little bit of both.

On what they get out of beating a team 59-0

Thompson: Not beating ourselves. It doesn't matter who you're going against, as far as offensively, if you're taking care of the ball. Those are things you can control. No matter who you go against, if you're taking care of the ball you're taking care of the ball. Jumping offsides. It really doesn't matter who you're playing, if you jump offsides before the snap that's a penalty on you.

We wanted to make sure we went into this game with a strong mental focus, not overlooking anybody, not looking in the past at previous games. I think we were able to accomplish that, and defensively as well. Knowing your assignments, knowing where you're supposed to be on a post route or a corner route or out route doesn't really have much to do with who you're playing, but it's just your mental preparation and where you are mentally.

That's the main thing we want to do is stay focused and make sure our mental assignments are correct.

On his success throwing the ball downfield

Thompson: I definitely like big plays, big shots. When we have the receivers we have and the playmakers we have on the field, it makes my job easier. It makes my job more fun, but I've definitely always been comfortable with deep balls. And with the types of defense we're getting, they're allowing us to take those shots.

We're going to take advantage of that, like I said at the beginning of the year. They're going to try to bog the line of scrimmage up and we're going to try and take advantage of that, and I think we've been able to do that these past few games.

On if he's noticed his name now being mentioned as one of the top quarterbacks in the Big 12

Thompson: I'd definitely rather have that than the opposite. It's hard because being in the position I'm in, I really can't tell how I'm perceived from the outside. I don't read the papers too much. I don't watch the news too much as well. I'm really not aware of where I'm at or how I'm perceived from the outside.

On going up against the coaching staff that didn't offer him as a quarterback, and if that's gone through his mind this week

Thompson: No, I haven't thought nothing about that (smiles). And there's not much I'm gonna say on that.

On if he's worried about the team coming out rusty after an off-week

Thompson: I know I'm not gonna to come out rusty, or I know I'm not going to come out mentally rusty. I'm going to be prepared as much as I can mentally. A game like this is exciting as it can be. The bigger the game, the more excited I am to go out there and compete and prove, not prove to myself, but prove to the team, the coaches what we can do.

Again, I think the off-week is going to help us and I definitely feel comfortable where we're at going in.

On when was the last time he went home (Austin)

Thompson: I think it was right before summer workouts. Maybe the beginning of June. I was there for about three weeks or so.

On if anyone recognized him

Thompson: A little bit. I wasn't on campus too much. People didn't recognize...

On if he wore any OU stuff while in Texas

Thompson: No OU stuff, no (smiles).

On having Juaquin Iglesias his second receiver

Thompson: Him, Manuel (Johnson) and the other guys, our receivers are pretty good. Juaquin is a guy that might be overlooked at times, but he's a shifty guy.

He reminds me a lot of Mark Clatyon. He hasn't got to that level yet, but I think where he's at now he can definitely put up numbers similar as Mark Clayton did. They have the same playing style — real shifty, real quick, able to get open.

A lot of the times on certain routes we have he's able to adjust according to the defense. He does a real good job of that. Teams are going to start taking notice of Malcolm and it's going to open up more and more things for us.

On if he thinks Texas won't try to cheat as many defenders in the box as other teams have done against them this year

Thompson: I'm not sure what the coaches have thought about that. They really haven't mentioned much about that at this point.

On if they've looked at the gameplan Ohio State used against Texas

Thompson: That's definitely one of the film tapes that we're watching is the Ohio State-Texas game. It's still early on the week. We've got this week as well as next week for gameplanning.

Yesterday, I watched film of the Ohio State-Texas game, but we really haven't taken much from them. We're just trying to focus right now on the defense and what they're doing and what they're going to try to stop from us.

On what stands out to him watching Texas' defense on tape

Thompson: Just the response to the ball, real physical. I saw the Ohio State game getting pressure on the quarterback. That was the main thing, and trying to make the quarterback feel uncomfortable. They definitely get to the quarterback. They're real athletic, which is well-documented, and get to the ball real quick.


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