OKLAHOMA HEAD COACH BOB STOOPS:
Stoops: On behalf of our football team, we are incredibly excited and proud to be here. As was stated, we've been fortunate to have been in some great Bowl games, had great experiences. Myself personally as a player, coach, for a good number of years, but have never been to the Fiesta Bowl.
As our players stated earlier, when we won the Big 12 championship, we have some fifth-year seniors that now have been to all four BCS Bowl games in the last five years. This completes the cycle. We've often heard about what a great experience it is. It has been that and more. It's just been fantastic. The people here are just fabulous, the way they take care of us, the accommodations, our practice site. Everything has been run in a first-class way.
We're excited about the opportunity to play a really good football team in Boise State. We're just anxious at this point in the week, you're kind of looking forward to the game. Our guys have prepared really well. I've been very pleased with how we've practiced. We've really put ourselves in a good, strong position going into the football game.
Do players and coaches get into the new stadium thing? Any added incentive to be playing in a brand-new place or does that even matter?
Stoops: Give us 120 yards of field... For us, no. Once you're on the field, you don't really pay much attention to that.
You know, this is a great venue, great stadium. But in the end, does it change anything we're doing? No. We're excited, though, to be playing a really good football team in Boise State. That's what kind of gets your attention more than where you're playing.
What did you tell us about Boise State?
Stoops: Great football team. One of only two teams in the country undefeated. A team that's very sure of theirselves in the way they play. That is always the case. You see a team that hasn't lost. They play very confidently, very fast, very disciplined in all parts of the game. A talented football team.
How about your week in general? Has it been as good as any Bowl week you've had?
Stoops: Absolutely. It's been fabulous. It's a great city. The accommodations at our hotel are just amazing. Practice site's been wonderful. Everything's been just perfect. Really, it's been a great experience.
Are you guys tapering down from here on out?
Stoops: We are. To me it's funny, I don't even know what day it is. I look at it as Thursday. You kind of go through your game week, getting prepared for the game, the way you practice, what you emphasize in practice. Today for us is like a Thursday practice when we get a chance to go practice. It's kind of how you mentally go into it. But it's been perfect.
What do you expect from Adrian Peterson?
Stoops: A great day. He's a great competitor, a guy that loves to play. He's very anxious to play. He's fresh. Looks good. He's been getting a lot of great work the last
Of all the teams you've coached, this has been an interesting year in terms of the just having to overcome so much. Can you philosophize on that?
Stoops: It's kind of hard to explain it all, all that's happened through the year. Really overcoming injuries was the biggest factor.
I would say that the players never made an excuse. Our expectations of the way we were to play never changed. They fought through a lot. Like you said, it's been one of the more special ones for sure for me because of the attitude of the players, their willingness to work, the opportunity for some young guys that haven't had the chance to maybe play a lot to step in in starting roles, play in a really great way.
When you see that all happening as a even company, it's really fun. I don't think any of us really looked at it as adversity. We just looked at it as, All right, here are opportunities for some other guys, let's go make it happen. We were fortunate that we did.
With all the situations, Oregon deal, Peterson, did that bring your team closer together?
Stoops: I don't know that you have to have that kind of adversity to come together. I felt just naturally this team was together. The way we went through our winter talking to them, the way they went through the summer. So I don't know. I'm not going to sit here and say because of those things it made us better.
No, I don't believe that's the case. I believe we just have good, strong-character guys on the team. Though we had some of these issues to deal with, they didn't let it change their expectations.
Seems like the defense has gotten better as the season has gone along. Do you feel like now you're playing your best defensive football?
Stoops: I don't know about right now. Through the course of the year, we played really good defense. Actually, I think our defensive coaches, we were fairly displeased how we played in the championship game. We felt we could play better. We played well through the year, though. I'm very pleased with how we competed through the year, defensively what we were able to do. So we feel confident, of course, going in.
What are keys defensively with the layoff, getting back into the flow of things against a team like Boise that does a lot of shifting and personnel grouping?
Stoops: Well, that part of the game doesn't concern you as much because you've had so much time to work all the shifting. Really, the last few games of the year, we're fairly used to seeing that.
I think the fact when you haven't played in a while, you always want to be able to tackle well and be physical and be very disciplined in your assignments. But, you know, the tackling and the speed of the game, when you haven't played in a while, is something you're always, you know, concerned about. Though they're in the same position we are. So in the end, you just got to be able to tackle well.
What was the first thing that went through your mind when you heard Boise State was the team you were going to play?
Stoops: I mean, I think it was being said before we won the Big 12 championship game, so I wasn't really thinking about that. I was thinking about the Big 12 championship game.
Our feeling was, we need to win the Big 12 championship. That's where our focus is at. Whoever we get to play after that, that will be great, because coming here to the Fiesta Bowl is special, being Big 12 champs is special. Playing an undefeated, really good football team is, as well.
We recognize it as another challenge in our season. We need to finish it.
Do you associate anything in particular with them?
Stoops: I've said it all. We have great respect for anyone that's won as much as they have over the course of a great number of years. That's how we look at it.
What about last night in watching Texas Tech? Did your guys stay for the entire ballgame?
Stoops: No, we left. And not because we didn't think they could win, but to get out of there, get home, not fight traffic. We listened to it on the bus on the way home. Just excited for them.
Of course, we have to all have great feelings for Mike Leach here, what he did for us. He's still a good friend. Then being in the Big 12 Conference, you like to see that.
None of us were really surprised that they could come back like they did because we've all seen them plenty of times do it. With their style of offense, it just happened for them. Excited for them.
Were the guys excited, though? Were they paying attention?
Stoops: I wasn't with them at that point. We only had about 25 guys or so go to the game. A lot of them, they just like to sit at home, resting, watching the game, doing what they like to do.
BOISE STATE HEAD COACH CHRIS PETERSEN:
Petersen: It's our pleasure to be here. The words that come to my mind and our players' minds and staff's mind is, "Wow!" We've been treated like royalty. We've had a fabulous week. We can't say enough about hospitality.
We've had a good week of practice. We're getting very anxious to play. I'd just like to from the bottom of my heart thank the City of Glendale, the state of Arizona, the Tostitos Fiesta Bowl for inviting us here. We're excited to be out here in a couple days.
Seems like you have lived like rock stars ever since the BCS was announced. How have you guarded against the guys having it go to their head or losing focus?
Peterson: Well, you're right. We have been treated like royalty and rock stars. And they deserve it. How these guys have worked the last five years, it's kind of coming to a head this next couple days.
But we talk a lot about that. It's really different than how we kind of pride ourselves. We pride ourselves on being a blue-collar outfit. It doesn't matter where we play, how we're treated, we're always going to show up ready to go.
This has been kind of the far extreme. I think this in a way will test our blue-collar mentality, to see if we stay focused.
Is the billing that this is the biggest sporting event in the history of the State of Idaho, do you think that's accurate?
Peterson: It probably is. I've been in Idaho six years. Certainly in that short time, nothing's compared to this in my experience there.
I think it's an awesome situation for not only our team and the City of Boise, but the whole State of Idaho. We just really feel all the love. Everybody's enjoying this. It's our job in a couple days to come out here and represent everybody in the appropriate manner.
When you look at Oklahoma, are they indeed the best team you will have played this year or do they compare with anybody?
Peterson: Oh, yeah, no question, this is the best team we've seen. We've been saying it all along, I think you guys know as well as anybody, a play here and a play there, these guys are playing eight days from now. When you put a tape on, study them, you can see there's a reason they're Oklahoma.
What is the first thing you think of when you hear the word Oklahoma?
Peterson: Great tradition. I said it the other day, I grew up watching Oklahoma football myself when I was a little kid. It's a tremendous honor for us to be competing on a stage like this, against a program like Oklahoma. We appreciate the opportunity. We're going to enjoy it. We're going to give everything we got to make this thing an interesting contest.
What advantages do you see or what matchups do you think will be critical in this game with them?
Peterson: Well, I think the one thing is, our margin for error is just so much different than it's been in the past. When you're that big, that fast, like they are, we got to make sure we're good tacklers, because you miss a tackle, it could be over right then and there.
We can't throw the ball late. We got to be accurate throwing it. Those type of things. When you play a team that's this caliber of athlete, I think the margin for error across the board just changes.
Some of the OU DBs have talked about how good Jared is, getting outside the pocket, making things happen when the play breaks down. How much is that stuff y'all practice? How good do you think you are at that?
Peterson: We'll find out here shortly how good we are (smiling).
Yeah, he can run. That's one of his strengths. I think he's a very fast player when he gets outside of the pocket. He can make some things with his feet. We've kind of coached him that way.
I think last year we might have gotten away from that a little bit, hanging in the pocket too much for the kind of player he is. We've emphasized that, he's taken advantage of that.
What has been your strategy in the past four or five weeks? I'm sure your guys could be almost overprepared, but how have you handled that?
Peterson: We're at the point right now where it's time to play. We could practice another three weeks and it wouldn't do us a bit of good. You get to that point where you get this close, and you just need to go play. As coaches, you'd love another three weeks, but I know it wouldn't help us. We need another good day of practice today, and then some good mental time the next two days, then it's time to cut it loose.
When you try to figure out games like this, you use opponents as barometers, does it help when you win a game like Oregon State? A lot of people are focusing on that. Is that a fair barometer?
Peterson: I don't know if it is. It was so long ago. Oregon State is a good squad. They proved that in their Bowl game.
The situations and circumstances are much different. That was a home game for us. It was early. You never can tell what their mindset was.
I know this: our guys, the bigger the challenge, the better they have played. They'll come out and play as hard as they possibly can. They'll give great effort. That's the thing that I always feel good about this crew.
Is there any pressure in terms of finishing and having an undefeated season?
Peterson: Not necessarily. We try not to focus too much on that record. We really haven't. As weird as that sounds, because I know we wouldn't be standing here unless our record was perfect. That isn't our mission. Our mission is to play at the best level we're capable of playing, to try to keep all this hype in check so our kids -- that their energy level isn't way out there, they're making mistakes we wouldn't normally make.
We want to make sure we play at the best level we're capable of playing. If we can do that, we'll be happy.
What do you think of this facility, walking into this stadium, playing in this venue?
Peterson: Yeah, it's impressive. I've certainly never been in a stadium like this. Boy, the builders and architects, I'm sure they won many awards getting this thing done. It's awesome.
Our kids will enjoy this, appreciate it. I think that's the winning thing you can really get from this group, so much of this stuff is new to us that we just truly appreciate and marvel at all the surroundings that this can be done for a football game.
Besides a typical coach speech about Adrian Peterson, what do you think makes him special? Also your thoughts about the timing of you playing him?
Peterson: What makes him special is he's the size and the speed, a guy that big doesn't usually run that fast. Plus he's got the instincts to go with it. You combine those three elements in any back, you got a special player that comes along once every many years.
He's one of the guys that I really think about when you talk about that margin for error. I mean, we watched the tape. Many times the guys were there hitting him at the line of scrimmage, one or two yard gain, he bounces out of it, he can go.
That's why he's going to be playing in a stadium like this permanently here shortly. He's special.
I think the thing that's interesting about Oklahoma, the other backs and the other players they got to go with him. They didn't miss much when he was out for the last six weeks. It just speaks a lot about those guys' program.
The Big 12, it's not maybe the power run conference it used to be with the Texas Techs and the Baylors. People say the same thing with the WAC. Is it unique in that your strengths are both things that you haven't really faced a lot during the season, the power running games?
Peterson: Yeah, it could be. I think if you look at the schedule from top to bottom, there's been a few teams that have been in there that have tried to really run the ball on us. I think there's probably a few teams that have tried to run the ball on Oklahoma.
The stats don't lie. You look at their stats in terms of stopping the run, that's what they're geared to do, they're very good at it. I think a lot of times teams have tried to attack them a little differently by throwing it, thinking that was the best chance for success.
When you play 12 games, I think you see the full gamut of how teams have tried to attack different teams. When you're playing a team like that, there's not a lot of weaknesses on the other side of the ball or they wouldn't be here.
Do you think your team was overlooked throughout the season?
Peterson: No, I don't think so. I think people were paying attention to us, waiting to see how we did each week. I think you got to wait till the season's over, see what the records are. I think that's one of the things about every week, the coaches voting in their poll. We do it from the very start. I'm thinking, Why are we doing this so soon? We hardly know our team, let alone everybody else's team. I think it's appropriate to wait till it's all said and done. If it turns out as it should, you get to come to a place like this.
Stoops, Petersen Media Day Quotes
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