Stoops on Nebraska

See inside for OU head coach Bob Stoops' quotes from his weekly press conference Tuesday in Norman on Saturday's matchup against the Cornhuskers.

On playing Nebraska in the Big 12 title game

Stoops: We're excited to be playing in the championship game here this week against a long rival, a storied Big Eight rival and still a rival with Nebraska. Everybody understands the history there. We even have a current history. Since the Big 12's been formed we've been playing them since we've been here about eight years.

It's exciting. They're a good football team. Coach Callahan and his staff have done an excellent job with their team being 9-3. The noticeable differences this year is they're running the football very effectively and much more often, and have been very successful running it.

Zach Taylor is an excellent quarterback. I believe (Taylor) is one of the better players in the league in the way he's played through the entire year. They've got a lot of skill guys, a bunch of tight ends running around and making good plays, good backs, receivers. Defensively, very physical and strong up front when we watch them in defending the run and the way they play, and very sound in their schemes.

So it's a solid football team that we're playing. We're excited to be going up to Arrowhead in Kansas City again and compete in a great atmosphere.

On if he realistically thought they would be playing in this game three weeks ago

Stoops: Well, if you say yes then you sound arrogant. I'm not that way, but why wouldn't we? We were playing in a good way.

On if he thought Texas would lose twice

Stoops: Well, I guess that's part of it. But still you had seen some of their early games were pretty close. Nebraska played the heck out of them and they turned the ball over when they have a first down. Otherwise, they have chance to run the clock out.

You always feel that that door's open. You don't ever shut it. We always felt there was a chance and fortunately it worked out.

On the status of Adrian Peterson

Stoops: Adrian is not going to play. Without being too technical, he's close. He could be cleared to play, but each week that passes the likelihood of it re-occurring is less and less.

From what I understand there's a certain point of healing that there isn't anything major, like damaging arteries, if it were to break. There's enough healing that, yes, he could possibly play but there's still a chance if he fell on it wrong, took a severe hit, that I don't know if they're ever totally sure will it hold up at this point.

So we're not going to take that chance. In all likelihood though, the bowl game is a very likely possibility and very likely to happen. Talking to Adrian, he absolutely wants to play. And by that time that's another four weeks of healing that they're really sure he'll be fine, and that there is a really small chance of anything happening to it.

On the status of safety Darien Williams

Stoops: Practiced yesterday and looked much better. In all likelihood, will play. He will play. He practiced well enough yesterday. I'm sure that he'll just get better through the week.

On if he thought it was about time they caught a break — with Texas losing to Texas A&M

Stoops: I don't look at it like that. I haven't truly felt that way through the year. I haven't looked at it like we've had a lot of bad breaks. I know that sounds crazy.

We had a few way back about the third game. Now outside of that, I haven't looked at it that (smiles). I'll acknowledge those. The rest of it, you know it's just working through the year.

It's hard for me to answer that. I don't look at it like that.

On the weather forecasts saying that it will be nasty in Kansas City on Saturday, and if he'd like the Big 12 to address the fact that the weather isn't a factor in the championship game

Stoops: I'm kinda mixed on that. I don't mind it. Just being up in that atmosphere in Kansas City several times, it's exciting. You see pro teams out there in the middle of that kind of weather all the time. You see them in their playoffs runs, they're out there playing in that.

I think it's part of the game that you've got to manage. I think you make a great point, if those venues are going to bring the same kind of excitement. I've heard other people say some of the other areas aren't really Big 12 towns or the atmosphere isn't going to be as great as it is in these kinds of settings.

Though it could be cold, in the end it's just part of the game you have to manage. But I understand the other side of that is you want the factors of just the play to decide the game. But, hey, weather's part of it.

Then when you don't have the weather dictating it, the teams they decide the games. So, I don't know. That's why I'm kinda mixed on it. The venue up there has been exciting. Incredibly exciting. So again, I've got mixed reviews on it.

On it being a road game because Nebraska is expected to have more fans

Stoops: I look at that as they haven't played there all year. We just played KU there last year. I mean, how bad (cold) have their games been this year? I saw them the other day and it looked like they had a sunny, perfect day up in Nebraska playing last week.

I guess my point is you can say all that, but we don't look at it that way at all. I don't buy that. They're going into a different atmosphere the same as we are, and we've played in cold weather before. We don't much care what the conditions are.

At least that's my feeling, and I think it's valid. I don't think it has to matter.

On the game being played in Kansas City because the North needs to have a game in the area

Stoops: There's merit to that. But in the end, I don't much care where you play. I never felt that when we played in Houston that that mattered. We hadn't played in Houston.

Take us anywhere. It doesn't much matter as long as we're not going to Lincoln, right? And I'm sure they feel the same way, 'As long as we're not going to Norman.'

Other than that, it's different for both of us.

On Paul Thompson saying the only place he wants to be when it's 17 degrees is in bed, and if there's anything they can do to prepare the team for the cold weather in Kansas City

Stoops: Ride up to Minnesota and have some practices I guess. That's not gonna matter.

I think more than anything, wind matters in games more than cold does. Like last year when we played Nebraska, I thought the wind was a factor more than cold was by a longshot.

On if the cold weather means it's a good time to go conservative (on offense) like they did against OSU

Stoops: I don't believe so. I believe if it's windy, that's a factor. It's cold and there isn't a whole lot of wind, I don't believe that effects you much at all. You get out there and get to running around, that's not a big deal.

On how Nebraska is better this year than last year when they played

Stoops: Their running game is much stronger, more effective, emphasized, however you want to say it. It's a bigger part of their offense.

Zach Taylor and his group of receivers are very efficient. I think he only has four interceptions on the year. He's been different from a year ago. That's been a big factor for him.

Defensively, I felt last year they were strong and physical, and they still are.

On the importance of stopping Nebraska's running game

Stoops: It's the first thing we start with and it's a major part of the game. No question. But any time you ask me that it's going to be that way, and it definitely is for these guys too.

On Zach Taylor and Nebraska's offense

Stoops: Really good player. I think he's one of the better offensive players in the league the way he's played the entire year.

I'm very sensitive to say THE best, but I think he's definitely one of the best when you look at his performance through the entire year and what he's done for his team and his efficiency. He's done an excellent job.

On if they'll prepare for Saturday's game like they would a road game

Stoops: To some degree. We always go into those games being prepared for crowd noise. It can't hurt that four of our last five have been on the road.

I'm sure we'll have a good number (of fans). More than we would on a road game. We'll prepare for sure to be prepared for it. But again, I just don't look at it that way that it's a true road game.

They may have more fans, but in the end we'll have our share. We always do.

On if it's exciting that he's getting to coach in a big OU-Nebraska rivalry game

Stoops: I recognize and appreciate the history of it. We've got a fair history now going on my eighth year with them, so sure. It's exciting.

On Paul Thompson saying he thought the OU-Nebraska rivalry had died a little bit

Stoops: It's changed. Everyone knows why. We only play every two years and it's not the last game of the Big Eight season anymore. It's just different than it used to be.

On if he'd been in favor of schedule where OU and Nebraska could play every year

Stoops: Well, if they're willing to get rid of a championship game and everyone played nine games and don't have North and South divisions, then it's worth talking about, sure.

Sooners Illustrated Top Stories