Thompson excited about Fiesta Bowl trip

Senior quarterback Paul Thompson talks about his season, the influence of QB coach Josh Heupel, Sam Bradford and Joey Halzle, and OU's matchup against Boise State. (Photo/Getty Images)

The Sooners are taking a couple of days off for finals and the coaches are on the road recruiting, and no one deserves a day or two off more than senior quarterback Paul Thompson.

Nobody celebrated harder in Arrowhead Stadium when the Sooners won the Big 12 Championship over Nebraska, 21-7, We had a chance to see the poised and stoic 'PT' let his hair down, so to speak, following the game. Nobody had a bigger smile to see than that of the senior quarterback from Leander, Texas.

Thompson has come back down to earth somewhat and is going through his final class and through the final bowl practices of his career. The difference this time is that he is the main man at this bowl practice and he will be on center stage when the Sooners take on Boise State in the Fiesta Bowl.

Recently, Thompson took time out of his busy schedule to talk to for the Two-Minute Drill.

JH: When you won the Big 12 Championship you had to let loose and celebrate, didn't you?

PT: Yeah, it was. When I celebrate you know there is something to celebrate. I was definitely real excited. I did let a lot of emotion out that I might not always show, but I knew what our ultimate goal was. I was happy after the O-State game, but I definitely knew what our main goal was and where I wanted to get. To be able to achieve that was big, especially after what we have been through.

JH: You were standing on the podium and dancing with the OU crowd to the chant of 'OU,' weren't you?

PT: Yeah, I was loving it. I was having a lot of fun. Those (championships) aren't easy to come by. You just don't win those every day. This team has fought, fought and fought, and to finally have that, I had to celebrate.

JH: You are entitled to have a little fun every once in a while, right?

PT: Exactly. That is what you play for. You want to win championships. And that is what we were able to do so you have to celebrate it. You have got to enjoy it otherwise it is just going to pass you by. If you don't enjoy it, you will not get to experience the fullness of the victory.

JH: Coach Stoops brought in coach (Josh) Heupel when coach (Chuck) Long left. Talk about what he has meant to you this year?

PT: He has been great from the day that I chose to move back to the position. It is just his ability to relate to us. He is just a guy who is five years older than I am. It is easier for me because I can joke a little bit more and relax a little bit more.

At the same time, he is very knowledgeable of the game and very knowledgeable of the position. He is very critical of little things that you might not think are important of a quarterback. He is going to be a great coach. I can see him being a head coach in the not-too-distant future.

JH: So even though he is a young guy he can still get his point across?

PT: He is very, very smart. Remember, he led his team to a national championship just a couple of years ago. He is very knowledgeable at the position and knowledgeable about defenses. He is a real good coach.

JH: What did he help you with specifically?

PT: Just my mechanics, because my feet are kind of all over the place on some of my throws. That was the main thing, but another thing I think just us being in proximity in age. Most of the coaches are older, but he is a young guy that would joke a little bit. That is the thing that is different with him that I had with past coaches. So those are just the little intangible things, as far as footwork and mechanics. He just made me precise on a lot of little things.

JH: How would you describe both Joey Halzle and Sam Bradford?

PT: Joey has more of the take-charge attitude because he is the older guy. He definitely has got more of a take charge, "Hey, this is my huddle, my team and here is where we are going" attitude. I noticed that as soon as he got here. He is always yelling at guys to move over here or there because he is a director.

Sam, on the other hand, is a younger guy. He is not real vocal yet and he is not real assertive. However, when he throws he knows where he is going with the ball. The ball comes out of his hand real crisp and there are not a lot of times that the ball will float or wobble. It is a tight spiral and that makes it real easy for his receivers to catch.

JH: You are a super athlete and Sam is one of those athletes that played four different sports in high school, and could have earn a scholarship in them all. How is that athletic ability going to help him eventually at quarterback?

PT: Athleticism is always a key out there on the football field, especially when you have to move in the pocket. That is another thing that Sam does real well. He moves in the pocket because he can feel pressure. Being a mobile quarterback is not always scrambling all the time. Sometimes it is stepping around in the pocket and finding lanes to throw the ball. That athleticism paid off for him when he played basketball because he had to have good feet, and that definitely carries over for him into football.

JH: You had a great offensive day throwing the football against Nebraska. This offense proved again that whatever the defense gives you take it in a big way, right?

PT: Yeah, you just don't know sometimes what we are going to come out and do. Our running game was slowed down. They had a great defensive line. I think they really targeted that and I think that was their goal. I think they said, "Let's see if Thompson can beat us through the air." So that is what we did.

JH: Did you feel that was their strategy as the game went along, or did you know that going in?

PT: You can kind of sense it as the game unfolds. We just had a lot of one-on-one type matchups, especially on the outside when I was rolling out. I thought we could take advantage of it.

JH: What are your thoughts on going to the Fiesta Bowl and taking on Boise State?

PT: I am excited about it. It is another BCS game. As I was saying after the game, this is the only BCS game that I haven't been to since I have been at Oklahoma. I am definitely excited about that and definitely excited about going to Glendale. I am real excited to see this stadium.

I have heard a lot about this great stadium. 'Matty' (Matt McMillen) was talking about it and how it was three or four feet up because of how they bring the field in. I am definitely excited about the facilities and I can't wait to see that and then come home with a win.

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