Stoops respects 'Bama's program

Oklahoma Head Coach Bob Stoops talked about this weekend's matchup with Alabama during Tuesday's weekly press conference

Bob Stoops is a football fan, and today at his weekly press luncheon he talked about the tremendous matchup between two teams with some the greatest tradition in college football history.

"We are very excited about the fact that we are playing in the first regular season game between Oklahoma and Alabama," said OU Coach Bob Stoops. "It's hard to believe that two programs as good as these two have never played during the regular season. We are all excited for this week to be here, because it is our home opener in our new stadium. Our fans are excited about what we are doing to our stadium and we are excited for them. We know that the stadium isn't done, but they will be able to see the progress."

"It is great that we have a program like Alabama coming here to play in our home opener," Stoops continued. "We have a lot respect for Alabama, for their history and tradition, but also for what they are doing now. Coach Franchione and his staff do a great job. They have a lot of talent and they are very physical on both sides of the ball. They have talented players on both sides of the ball, they have tradition and we understand it is a great challenge. Our players are excited about playing the game. I believe our fans are excited too. This is is going to be a great week."

Will Alabama will bring an offense to Norman that looks a lot like Nebraska or Kansas State?

"They will do a little of both in that they want to run the football," said Stoops. "James, you asked me yesterday if they looked like Nebraska and I didn't think so at that time. However, the more you watch them they have some of those similarities. They want to get to the option whenever they can and then they are going to try and fool you with some option play action passes. They want to run the football and that is part of what they do. We understand that and our defense always starts with being great against the run game, and that won't change this week. We are going to work the heck out of all the options all week and we have been since this summer. You have to be smart and not let them get behind you on those option passes. In many ways it's the same defensive package that we work for Nebraska and Kansas State."

Tyler Watts is the senior quarterback for Alabama and the main man in the Crimson Tide offense.

"He is a very good quarterback," said Stoops. "Tyler is very elusive and is hard for a defense go get a hold of. He is very disciplined in running the option and is capable of making a big play for them in all of their formations. He also throws the ball well and does a good job operating in a controlled passing attack. Tyler is great at running the play action and letting his receivers get behind you and then deliver the football. He is good in all of those areas."

On defense Alabama's front seven draws attention.

"Alabama plays with a great front four," said Stoops. They have three players starting that have been nominated for the Lombardi award and that says something in itself. They try to beat you up at the line of scrimmage and can put pressure on the quarterback. We are going to need to line up and put a hat on each player in the front seven and then take our changes with their secondary to move the ball like we want."

Stoops said that no changes would be made in the starting lineup.

Other news and notes
Redshirt freshmen quarterback Brent Rawls told me today that he will wear a cast for two more weeks and then he would start rehabbing the thumb... Sophomore receiver Mark Clayton looked good at practice today and should be in the starting lineup for Alabama... Junior linebacker Lance Mitchell did not work out today because of leg soreness, but he was watching all the drills and will play against Alabama.

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