Below are excerpts from OU head coach Bob Stoops' weekly press conference held Tuesday in Norman.
Stoops: Getting back through last week's game, really pleased overall when you go back as coaches and watch the tape. We've talked so much about Adrian Peterson — yesterday even, and usually Sunday — everybody asks me who played well and how we did, and that hasn't been the topic when in so many ways we did play really well.
I thought, offensively, Paul Thompson's first half was just exceptional. The second half we were off just a little bit — had a couple of drops on him that didn't help. A couple of times we just overthrew the ball, but we were close still in the second half to doing what we want to do.
I thought Adrian Peterson just had an exceptional day running the football, but very pleased with our offensive line and tight ends. We're using two and three tight ends a lot and fullbacks — all blocking really well creating seams, creating yardage and protecting well. The receivers made some nice plays again — Malcolm Kelly with a couple of nice touchdown catches.
Then, defensively, was pleased. Outside of the one drive, we really played well. I think we hold them 70-some yards rushing and 56 come on one play. We really played the run game well against a quarterback that really creates a lot of plays on his own with his feet and throwing, and some receivers that have caught the ball really well and made plays on everyone and our secondary's coverage was great.
I thought the pressure, in all the different ways we brought it, really got to them and didn't allow the quarterback to set his feet. And I thought our front four guys got good pressure even when we didn't blitz. So, overall, it was really a good, solid day. Any time you win in this league 34-9, you're doing something really well.
Guys that were noted by us as players of the game — Darien Williams, defensively, had a great day. On offense, Brody Eldridge — a tight end, h-back —a guy we move around a lot, he and AD were players of the game offensively. Garrett Hartley continues to kick it really well.
So it was pleasing. Obviously, everybody is disappointed for Adrian personally with so much in front of him – the records and all the success and what he means to the team. It's disappointing. The way he's worked, for him to come to a stop that way is just crushing for him personally.
And I say that personally. For us, that is not the case. We all feel for him personally and he means a great deal to everybody, but as a team we're anxious to see what we're able to do. We feel very confident in the other guys that we have. Allen Patrick, Jacob Gutierrez have done it for us in the past.
Some young guys will get more snaps. Chris Brown, Mossis Madu, those guys have been very impressive all the way leading up to this week. DeMarco Murray — that doesn't leave him out. He is just been recovering from a bad turf toe, a sprain in his toe, that has just continued to bother him and nag him the entire way, and still does.
We'll work with those guys and our offensive personality won't change much. I'm still incredibly encouraged because of the way we're blocking up front — the attitude we've played with up front. The line, tight ends, backs, receivers are much further along than a year ago. Quarterback is much further along than a year ago.
We feel strongly that we'll be able to overcome the loss of Adrian, adapt to it, still continue to move the football well, continue to play good, solid defense, we have to, and continue to be good in special teams. And if we do, nothing we feel, has changed for us.
Stoops: We're anxious to play this week against a good Colorado team here for homecoming. Though their record says 1-6, we have seen them and studied them and they're doing a really good job.
Tight loss to Georgia at Georgia. Their defense the entire year has played really well. Offensively, they have moved the ball on everybody. Their quarterback, Jackson, makes a lot of plays with his feet and scrambling around. And they put it all together last week with a really sound win over Texas Tech.
So our players are very aware that they are a good football team — that they've I'm sure had some early growing pains with a new system and all the new coaches that are just their for their first year.
Our emphasis will be all week on us improving. I noted some areas where I was frustrated last week in some areas that I feel we can be betterand that's what we're going to keep pushing — for our focus, our intensity in what we're doing to be better and improved. And hopefully it will be as we go out this week.
On what advice he gave Peterson as far as playing in a bowl game
Stoops: It's too early for all of that. I told AD you're going to get advice from all these media guys, you're going to get advice from everybody from newspapers to TV to agents to marketing people to everybody, and I'm not going to sit here and give you advice today.
When we talked I said I want you — he's in a lot of pain the last couple days — let's let that start to heal, take care of it. He was in all of our meetings yesterday — upbeat. I said we'll sit down and talk. If I know Adrian I believe as well as anybody, he's going to do what he wants to do. He's a strong-willed guy who's always followed his heart, what he wants, and he should.
He's already expressed to coach Gundy, our trainers and a few other people that he absolutely intends to play as soon as he can play again, but I'm not going to say that that's definitive. I want to sit and talk with him once he's had some time to really reflect on it, but I doubt that will change to be quite honest with you.
Again, he's a guy that everybody's tried to tell him what to do for three years and he's a strong-willed guy, which is kinda how he plays. He's going to do what he wants to do, and you appreciate a guy like that.
On the their other runnings backs have diversity in their running styles
Stoops: We do. Jacob's (Gutierrez) kind of a guy that's hard to tackle in a phone booth. Allen's a guy that's a little bit more like Adrian — is good down hill. But he also is good in the shotgun.
Mossis Madu is kind of a combination of both. He and Chris Brown have really good moves and vision, and hit some great seams in our practices when we scrimmage with the young guys.
So we'll see, but they do (have diversity). They're good players.
On if he anticipates all of the running backs he mentioned getting playing time
Stoops: We'll see. We'll see as we go through the week what we feel we need to do.
On if there is a challenge of getting a feel for what running back should be in the game in what situations through the game
Stoops: There is. Coach Wilson will get a feel through the week how he wants to do it and what he feels is best, as well as he and coach Gundy and how they're working them.
And then I think, too, what happens is you get in games and you find certain formations, certain looks that are working or that they may be struggling with. And even if you didn't intend to emphasize them as much, you go back to them more.
On if he has a definition of a running back by committee
Stoops: You define it how it how you want. I don't need to. I never said we had a running back by committee. You did, so...
On Kevin Wilson telling the media on Saturday that they would use a running back by committee
Stoops: Then have him define it.
On if the defense is playing now like he thought it would before the season began
Stoops: We're closer to playing the way I feel we're capable and should. But I'm still upset in some areas the other day that I felt we could be better at, and we've got to keep pushing for that.
On how much of the defense's improvement has to do with Reggie Smith's move to safety
Stoops: That has nothing to do with it. I think Reggie can play a lot better than he did, and has played better in other games than he did the other day. So his move there had nothing to do with how we played, I didn't feel.
On why his program always bounces back when bad things happen, going back to last year against Texas Tech
Stoops: First of all, I think, because we're capable of it. I feel we're a lot stronger than maybe people give us credit for. Everybody loves to throw out the doom and gloom to play on all the fans' emotions, when in the end it doesn't have to be that way.
People have injuries and unfortunate circumstances. Every year, different teams have them and you fight through them. You do the best you can, and I like to say you play the hand you're dealt. I like to play cards and you don't fold, you throw 'em in when you get one maybe that is not as pretty as another, and you play it.
I still feel and like the team we have. We have to get better. I would say I do like the potential we have and the way we're starting to play. I still don't feel we play as nearly, I guess, as clean or as smart as we should. Whether it be penalties, turnovers, we've had those issues.
But the other day I felt we had some mental breakdowns and a dropped a catch or two that, again, have nothing to do with the other team and have everything to do with us. We have to push for our guys to really take a greater focus in those areas, take it to heart and play in a smarter way. And if we do, we'll be fine.
On Saturday being a great challenge for OU's offensive line against Colorado, who is No. 9 nationally against the run
Stoops: Sure, but we've had other teams come in here that have been that way too. You can go back and look, but I think a few of these other teams have been ranked really high against the run as well.
And I think too it's fair to say who all has emphasized the run on them (Colorado)? I know two teams — Tech and Baylor — primarily the run is not what they really want to do. Are they good against the run? Sure, but you have to be able to do it against them.
On if teams will defend them differently without Peterson in the line-up
Stoops: I don't think so. Everybody makes an issue of that. Coach Wilson and I were talking the other day as we came in here last week, Iowa State defended us like they defended everybody the first five games. And it was that way virtually with everybody we've played.
People don't, all of a sudden, go to a new defense in one week. So in the end that's what they do and that's what we've been seeing — is teams play what they like to play and what they're used to playing, and just work their recognition against what we like to do.
On if they'll change the way they use Gutierrez and Patrick on special teams
Stoops: Definitely. We've got to limit how much they're being used for sure. We've got to pay attention to that.
On if Gute and Patrick will still be on special teams
Stoops: Sparingly. We don't go out there fearing injuries, it's more the conditioning and trying to keep their legs fresh. And it will get to as well who we feel is going to have the bulk of the snaps and adjust it that way.
On who would replace Patrick as the gunner on the punt team
Stoops: We've got several guys. Marcus Walker, all of the receivers can be gunners covering punts out there. So we'll see.
On if he senses that Peterson will play again this year
Stoops: I want to sit and give him some time to really feel out what he really wants in his heart. But I just said that earlier that what he's already indicated he wants intends to do is to play as soon as he's allowed to.
But again, I'm not going to hold him to that. I want him to let that heal a little bit and then visit with him to be sure what's in his heart. That would not surprise me, because I know what the kind of guy he is. He's going to do what he wants to do.
On if he's stressed to the receivers that they might have to make bigger plays down the field without 28 in the backfield
Stoops: I've been stressing that to 'em since last year, even with 28 in the backfield. We want as many big plays as we can get, whether he's in there or not. Right?
It's not like now that they want to they can do it. We're always trying to make big plays from those guys, and we need to get more of them.
On if Malcolm Kelly will a bigger part of the gameplan
Stoops: Well, he's always a strong part of the gameplan.
On Lendy Holmes' play against Iowa State
Stoops: He played really well. I mentioned who the players of the game were, but I didn't mention all the guys that were listed. But Lendy had a really good game, as did Marcus Walker. All the linebackers played in a really good way. The guys all up front.
On if it will help Peterson to wear a harness...
Stoops: Well, he's in a harness. We'll do all we can to help him get back earlier, but we're not going to sit and talk about that. The doctors will do whatever is necessary, but in the end I believe time, just like with all breaks, time is the only thing once their splinted or put into a certain position. They need a certain amount of time to heal.
We'll do what we can, but we're not going to obviously put him in jeopardy and put him out there before it's right either.
On what kind of progress DeMarcus Granger is making
Stoops: Good progress. He's practicing well and keeps getting better. He's still a young guy, but the more he plays the better he's getting.
On if he'd like to go into the next game with Patrick and Gutierrez, and to not have to worry about playing the freshman
Stoops: We're not worried about playing the freshman. If we need to play him, we're going to play him. In fact, our mindset is to get him ready to play and that we're going to play him.
On if he's met Colorado coach Dan Hawkins
Stoops: I've just met him at our coaches meetings, so I haven't spent much time with him.
On at what point will he know from the NFL scouts where Peterson stands as far as the draft
Stoops: No, because it's too early. I love how you read articles and everybody's got it all figured out. In the end, those people right now are going around — we have scouts in every single day and will through the year. And then they'll come back again after the year.
They're formulating opinions and whatever their opinion is here today, but they've got 50 other schools to go so. In the end, it's a process for them and it's too early for them to be truthful. It's a long process and anyone who thinks they have it figured out right now is just guessing.
On some people saying that it would help Peterson to come back and play and show he is healthy, while others have said it's ridiculous for him to come back and risk another injury
Stoops: This isn't something that I know of a case that's ever been lasting. They (collarbones) always heal fine, so it isn't like something that could be chronic or an issue.
I don't think Adrian, or a lot guys in this situation, they don't go out there anticipating getting hurt. Now you can always say what if he does? But you know what? What if he gets hit walking across the street? I guess he's going to get hit on the field. You're not going to get hit across the street most times. But anyway (laughs) bad analogy.
But my point is I don't think that's him. He doesn't live his life that way or he doesn't play that way in fear. If you look across the country, in all these years with these guys that have come back and all, the young guy from Miami (Willis McGahee) is the only one I believe that's ever had something that's kept him out of the NFL.
If finishing your college career — whether it's the record, whether it's helping his teammates — that's more to it too. He's a guy that values his teammates, values Oklahoma. He wants to win and he wants to be a part of it until he can. So in the end, those are valid reasons whether people look at it as just 'what if' or protect yourself, and that's not his nature.
He's going to do what he feels he wants to do in his heart and finish here. Whether this is it or not, we'll see. Again, I know that's what he's indicated he wants to do to some people, but I still want to talk with him once he's had some time to reflect on it, heal up and get the pain out of there a little bit and see what he wants to do.
On not being able to catch a break over the last seven or eight games
Stoops: We've caught a lot of breaks. I'm not argumentative, I'm just saying we've had some unfortunate but we've also had some good things too.
On if he'll try to sacrifice any goats if one more bad thing happens
Stoops: You know, I just don't look at it that way. I understand what you're saying, but in the end a guy getting injured — that's our game. The poor guy from Iowa State blew a knee out. I felt bad. He was one of their best defensive players.
You feel bad for guys, I do, for other teams as well. It's part of the game. So, to me, that's just part of the game. I don't look at that as for me like I got a bad break. I feel bad for Adrian. As far as for the football team, we've got to adapt and move on, which everybody has to do when they have those situations.
Heck, I've been here a long time and we've had a lot of awfully good things too. Sometimes everything doesn't go your way. That's the way it goes. You fight through it and, as I said earlier, you play the cards you got and we're going to keep playing ours.
On if he still believes their best game is ahead of them, even without Adrian Peterson
Stoops: I believe it can be, yes. If we will, like I said, eliminate some of the bad plays we inflict on ourself.
On if the loss of Peterson puts more emphasis on Paul Thompson's play, and if so is the way he has played to his point make him more comfortable
Stoops: Well, it makes me more comfortable with the way Paul's played. I've been comfortable with him. He's really playing well.
But Paul doesn't play there alone. It makes it more important that everybody plays, as I've been saying, plays smarter and that we don't create the problems for ourself that we have, and that we all play in a cleaner and a better way.
AP's the best though. I tell ya, he plays hard. I'm excited to see him out there, and Gute and these young guys. They'll make plays. Everyone last year saw that. Those guys got in there and made a lot of nice plays.
They're a year older and the line's a year better. Not a year better, but they're new and better (smiles). How's that? That's a better way to say it (laughs).
Bob Stoops Press Conference Quotes
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