Thompson ready for his shot at Texas

Oklahoma quarterback Paul Thompson talks about his Texas ties and Saturday's matchup against the Longhorns. Thompson currently ranks 13th in the nation in passing efficiencey. (AP Photo)

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

On how well he feels the offense has performed when teams stack the box to stop the run

Thompson: I think we've done well. As you can see, we've taken a lot of shots. We're definitely not afraid to take shots. We have great receivers. Even though they're young, they're going to be able to make plays.

I feel we've done real well. Teams are going to definitely try to stop the run with a running back like we have. That's obvious. Our job as an offense — receivers, quarterbacks, linemen to protect, is so we can take those shots. And we have been able to do that the past few games.

On him feeling that his future was at receiver, and how that played into his decision when deciding whether to make the move to quarterback

Thompson: There were a lot of things I had to think about when making the decision to come back to quarterback. One of them was making plays on the field, and I felt that the quarterback position would be the best position to make plays on the field considering the circumstances. So that's why I ultimately made my decision.

On if he feels any more pressure going into the OU-Texas game as a quarterback than last year as a receiver

Thompson: My responsibilities are a lot greater, as far managing the offense, knowing everyone else's assignment. As far as my comfort level, I feel probably more comfortable than I did last year going in at receiver because I hadn't been at that position as long.

I definitely feel real comfortable where I'm at right now. I'm definitely not nervous or worried about my performance. I'm just excited, anxious to get out there. I wish the game was sooner. We've been waiting a while for this so there's just a lot of anxiousness and anxiety ready to get out there and play.

On what he can take out of what he's seen from Jason White and Nate Hybl and how they approached this week

Thompson: Yeah, just their preparation. Even to coach 'Hype' (Josh Heupel). The way he prepared for not only a game like this, but just any other game, especially having a week off. That's extra time you get. We have take-home tapes and I've definitely been studying those.

For the most part, as far as being in the game, I've taken a lot from Jason and Nate. I talked to Nate after our first game last year. He talked about how in the Texas game he threw five interceptions and stuck with it and we still won the game.

There's things like that — sticking with it and not getting down on one play and moving on to the next is what I've taken from those guys.

On if he thought he would ever get this opportunity against Texas

Thompson: After last year, my focus was on receiver. So for a situation like this to occur, I definitely hadn't forseen this coming. I'm definitely willing, as I have, to step up to the challenge and go out there and execute the best I can.

But again, after last year my mindset was on receiver and that's how I thought I'd finish my career here.

On if he came to OU because Mack Brown said he couldn't play quarterback in college

Thompson: There was a lot of factors that went into that. One was the proximity from home. I kinda didn't want to be too close to home and going home every weekend washing my clothes and begging for money every time.

There were a lot of other factors that went into that, but that was one of them.

On if Mack Brown told him that he couldn't play quarterback

Thompson: They wanted me at receiver.

On if he thinks Texas, with their athleticism, will stack the box as much as the other teams have against them this season

Thompson: They're going to man us up a lot. They feel they have the athletes to match up against our athletes, and it's kinda hard to argue with that. They do have great athletes on both sides of the ball.

They're going to challenge us to make plays one-on-one against their defensive backs. We're up to that challenge and will try to take advantage of that. They're definitely going to look to stop Adrian and our running game, and we're going to look to take some shots on them.

On if he likes the way OU's offensive line will matchup against Texas

Thompson: Yeah, definitely. I feel good where we're at, as far as our offensive line. I believe we've made great strides as far as strength from last year. We're definitely not going to shy away from any physicality.

One of our main goals is to try to knock the other team down and have at least 100 knockdowns or so. We definitely have that physical, aggressive mindset. That's going to be a big part in this game. I think the most physical team is probably going to come out on top.

On if the fact that he grew up near Austin makes this a bigger game

Thompson: It's definitely a big game, even for guys that aren't from around there. They know the tradition of this game, how big this game is.

I definitely have a lot of friends that I went to high school with from around the Austin area that are rooting against me. That kinda makes it more of challenge in itself.

They normally go for me when we play anyone but Texas. When we play Texas they say they're going for me, but not the team. So I don't know how that works out.

On if he ever considered saying no and not moving to quarterback

Thompson: I'll just say it was real tough for me to make the decision to go back to quarterback from what I had gone through backing up, to finally playing receiver last year.

And then the situation and how soon it happened prior to the season. It was two-a-days. It definitely was difficult decision, but I talked to may family and after a couple hours I thought that this would be the best situation.

On if he at one point thought he was going to say no to the move

Thompson: If I would've made a quick decision, that could've been the case. But coach gave me time to go back home, sit and talk to my family or call my family and talk to them and make a rational decision.

Maybe if I would've made quicker decision it might have been like that, but I thought about it.

On if he said yes to the move because the team needed him

Thompson: I knew my skills at quarterback and I knew I could definitely be a successful quarterback in this league. But as far as me personally, I felt that I was kinda going in a different direction.

At the same time, I did know the needs of this team and I felt I was a guy that could step in there and fill those needs. I'm definitely real confident in myself, real confident in what I could bring to this team. All those factors played into making my decision.

On the team coming into the game this year more confident than last year

Thompson: We're coming into this game real confident. You can't base things on the previous years, as Texas didn't base last year's success on the previous couple years.

We can't look at what's happened in the past in a negative way. But as far as our confidence, we're definitely real confident in our team. We feel we've been making strides week in and week out and we're going to continue to do so.

On if he had favorite college team growing up

Thompson: Yeah, Texas. I lived in the Austin area so that was a team I watched and I pulled for. But when it came to making a decision, I wasn't bleeding burnt orange or anything like that or thought it was my destiny to play for Texas.

I definitely was a Texas fan, but when it came to a decision to go to college there was other factors.

On who were some of his favorite Texas players

Thompson: I remember James Brown, Kwame Cavil, Ricky Williams of course. Those were definitely some of my favorite players.

On if the fact that other Texas players, like Derrick Strait from Austin, had success at OU was factor in his decision

Thompson: No, I really didn't look at previous players and where they're from. It was more of a decision on what was best for me and my family, and where I wanted to be right now. When I was making that decision, I wanted to be in a good position in three, four, five years.

On Texas' defensive line

Thompson: Just a lot of older guys — juniors and seniors. Physical. They're going to try to stop the run, obviously. I think they do a great job of that, as far as reading the line and shooting into gaps real quickly.

They're one of the top defenses in the country, real physical. They have a lot of experience so we're definitely looking forward to the challenge.

On Texas' ability to sack the quarterback and how OU's pass protection

Thompson: It's big. We're definitely aware of that. Going through practice these last couple of days, we definitely prepared for that. It's up to the challenge of our linemen, me seeing blitzes as well.

They have linebackers that like to scrape and just focus on the quarterback, so I might be getting hit in the mouth every play. I'm comfortable with that. As long as we're making plays down field, I think we'll be successful.

On how bad he want sto go out with a win against Texas

Thompson: It's real big. I want to win every game this year. This is a big stepping stone for us as an offense and as a team.

Big game, spotlight. Everbody's going to be watching so I definitely want to perform well. I want this team to perform well. I think if it was any year I'd want this game real bad, but I guess more so now that it is my last year.

On if Texas plays primarily man coverage in the secondary

Thompson: Yeah, they're going to try to man us up. They feel they they have great athletes and we feel we have some great athletes as well — some one-on-one matchups.

They're going to try to put some pressure on me and shut down the running game. They're going to try to man us up pretty much.

On if playing at Oregon in the crowd noise helped them prepare for this game

Thompson: I think so. We have practiced some silent count this week as well for when we get toward Texas' end zone.

The Oregon game was definitely a big game as far as being on the road and seeing how our guys performed. So we definitely got a taste of that now.

I think this game might have a lot more to it as far how players think about it. They might be a little bit more overwhelmed with this game, but I believe having that Oregon experience should relax them a little bit.

On if he has a hatred for Texas or does he still have a soft spot in his heart

Thompson: A soft spot (laughs). We'll just say that. It's definitely a big game and I'll definitely enjoy winning this game. Maybe even more so than others.

On who he was pulling for in the Rose Bowl

Thompson: I get that question a lot. It's kinda back and forth. One was because all the hype with USC. I kinda wanted to see them get beat — all the pretty boys from California. I kinda wanted to see them go down. They were kinda riding a little too high.

Then at the same time, I didn't want to go back to Austin after they had won the championship. It was kinda mixed. I'm definitely glad the Big 12 represented, but it's either or. If we weren't there, I could really care less.

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