Red/White Postgame Quotes

Bob Stoops, Kevin Wilson, Brent Venables, Josh Heupel and DeMarco Murray talk Saturday's Spring Game. (AP Photo)

**OU HEAD COACH BOB STOOPS**

On the play of the quarterbacks

"I'm just really pleased. I think it's obvious they can make all the throws we need to run the offense the way we want to. I thought for the most part they made a lot of good decisions and lot of nice throws. They made a few poor ones that they will learn from, but we just have to keep snapping the ball and keep giving them the opportunities to learn from experience on the field."

On the play of DeMarco Murray

"He's a remarkable player that just has a knack for making plays. He would've played last year but he had a turf toe that kept him out 3/4 of the season. We're excited about him him. He's going to give us a big boost."

On the defense

"I thought some of our gap responsibility was not where it needs to be yet, which again it's the same thing you have to keep practicing and getting experience. But with some of the linebackers and safeties in different positions, that's a big part of stopping the run game for us. We just have to iron a few things out in coverage. We are not far off. When we get Ryan Reynolds back we will be fine."

On his overall thoughts on the Red/White game

"I just thought overall the guys competed in a good way, and I'm hoping Brody's (Eldridge) OK. He's checking out OK right now. I'm hopeful that is not too serious. You don't want anyone hurt, but overall I thought the quarterbacks managed the game, threw the ball well and made, for the most part, good decisions. And that is encouraging."

On how the running backs played

"I'm disappointed in the way that Allen Patrick started the game. He's played too much football to drop the ball as he did, but all those guys are going to give us a lot of change of pace. They can do a lot of different things for us.

"We're going to have another scrimmage on Tuesday, and we may even open it up to the public to watch it again. Like I keep saying, we just have to keep snapping the ball and giving them experience."

On the game drawing just over 20,000 fans

"It was great. I was a little worried. I didn't want to have this on Easter weekend, so that kinda worried me. And it's a little bit chilly, but the sun was out and it was a great day. We had a really good turnout considering it was Easter weekend.

On the play of the offensive line

"I think they had a real good day today. It's hard for me to evaluate without looking at film, but for the most part they did a really good job. The running backs had some really good holes and they seemed to protect well.

On DeMarco Murray

He's had this kind of spring the whole spring, so we've seen it. You know we've been talking about him since last year. We saw him all last year on scout team and we knew once his toe was healed he is really an excellent player. He's a physical guy when you look at his numbers in the weight room with Coach Schmidt. He has a lot of tools and a lot of talent. He loves to play and he loves to compete.

On the play of the secondary

"I saw some things that need adjusting. Some of it is because we were pretty basic in what we did. They will be fine. I think as much as anything, once we settle in on the safeties and linebackers on the seven or eight guys that are going to get the snaps, I believe they will be solid and good."

On the receivers dropping five passes

"I thought, in the first half, that was a biggest disappointment. There were some great balls out there right in their hands that we have to be able to catch. With all the focus on the quarterbacks, those guys need to step up and catch the ball."

On the lost fumbles

Again, it's very disappointing. We had back-to-back years here where we had the fewest fumbles in the country. The last couple of years that hasn't been the case. We have to take care of the football if we are going to have any chance to win.

On what the quarterbacks need to focus on during the offseason

"I think there is a such a long period of time through the rest of spring and through the summer that they have to do a great job on their own with the receivers and tight ends. It is such a big period of time that they can still make a lot of strides, and they need to to be where they need to be in the fall."

On if they put stock into which quarterback is doing what over the summer

"Absolutely. Who's the one showing up and who's the one working the hardest through the out of season is a big factor."

**QB COACH JOSH HEUPEL**

On what aspect of the quarterbacks he watched the most

All the little things are extremely important like presenting yourself as a leader of the offensive unit. So those guys need to continue to grow. Again, they are young players and some of the senior leadership that we do have on this football team is not at the quarterback position. So sometimes when you have young quarterbacks, it is tough to step up and take command. But those guys need to continue to present themselves as a quarterback here."

On the intangibles of the quarterbacks

"The guys who are here, we like what we see in them and we feel very confident in them. They are all really young, so naturally it's not always easy to push yourself to the forefront and expose all those things. When you get to a position when you name a starter, some of those characteristics will start to come to the forefront."

On the play of the quarterbacks

"Off the top of my head, I thought they did a good job managing the game. They took the plays when they were there. They did not force the ball down the field or put themselves in tough situations. I think that is the critical thing about playing quarterback and where we are at as an offense.

"We have great skill around them and have a big, physical offensive line, so we can manage a game and take some shots when they are there or we can dump it off and get us in 2nd and 5, and that's not bad. That's going to be more critical than making big plays. Joey, for instance threw a ball away on a power pass. The corner wasn't there, flat wasn't there so he threw it away. That was a good play."

On what the quarterbacks need to improve on this summer

All those guys just to understand situational football. Where you are at on the field, what happened the play before, what the defense is presenting to you and what we are trying to accomplish with our play call. If they can do that, they can start grasping those things and we have a chance to be a good football team.

**DEFENSIVE COORDINATOR BRENT VENABLES**

On how the defense played today

"It was good. I liked the effort and the enthusiasm. There was some big hits and there was balls on the ground a couple of times. At times, there was some good tackling and some good plays out in space, and we he had some good coverage.

"We were able to get our hands on a couple of balls. That was good. But we have to catch them. We dropped probably four potential interceptions today. I know it was at least four. Lendy (Holmes) dropped two, Mike Reed dropped one and Lamont Robinson dropped one. But Iiked the effort.

"There is a lot to build from and improve on. We have two more practices. We had a miscommunication on the one big play that went for a touchdown and we can't have that on the one play that went zone.

"And on the one play DeMarco Murray made a really nice cut, but we have a guy that is supposed to be in that gap and he gets stuck on a block. They ran it right in his gap and they're going to find you. That's being a little bit unsure of yourself. We had guys playing new positions with the one's, but those are two plays that you're disappointed in. They're basic, fundamental  things that we can learn from. Again, it just comes from communication. You just have to communicate."

On Mike Reed's big hit that forced Allen Patrick to fumble

"That's big-time ... on the second play of the game. I said, 'There he is. There he is. That's the guy we recruited out of Yuba.' As much as anything, you are happy because of that. It got him started big time and you can build off of that. He felt comfortable and that was the sweet spot that he's been waiting for since he got here. He's knocked the snot out of a few guys, but that was the latest one and now he's ready and we can move.

On defense creating turnovers

"That was good. We kept things simple for obvious reasons, but  you want to see guys play good, clean fundamental football. There's a lot of it that you can improve on teach and and do well. We got some guys some good reps who needed it.

"Gerald McCoy and Steven Coleman didn't play, so some other good, young tackles were able to get a number of good quality reps. We have to come up with those plays though. You only get so many opportunities at interceptions or fumbles. So we have to finish the deal on the interceptions.

"They played pretty good. Again, we gave up the fullback in the flat over there. Mike Reed just has to cover the guy in the flat. He's the flat player. Again, that's just a bust. But overall, I'm pleased."

On how much they had to teach the defense during  practice this spring

"Shoot, we are doing a lot of teaching with that front seven because there's not a lot of experience coming back. The secondary returns a lot of players, but you are still working and adjusting back there, at safety especially. But there's a lot of experience.

In the front seven, there has never been a full-tine starter in that whole group. At linebacker or defensive end, none of those guys have ever been a starter. Alonzo (Dotson) may have started a game or two because of injury, and John (Williams) has started one game and got hurt. But there is a lot of teaching.

"You're  counting on guys like Austin English, who hasn't played a whole lot. Then you have Jeremy Beal, who has never played defensive end. Then you have some young freshmen tackles in there — Gerald, Adrian Taylor and Tommy Taggart. So there's a lot of coaching and teaching.

"Mike Reed has never taken a snap here. Lewis (Baker) has never been a SAM and Curtis has never been a WILL. So you are teaching from the ground up with those guys on the why's and the how's. It has really been a fast spring because of that. It's like every play there is a fabulous teaching opportunity. Whether it's inside or whether it's fundamentals, there just hasn't been enough time in the day."

**OFFENSIVE COORDINATOR KEVIN WILSON**

On the quarterbacks

"No matter to anyone's naked eye, if anyone looked kind a good today to us we still have a long way to go. To us, he (future starting quarterback) hasn't earned it yet. He's not where he needs to be yet, all of them. We just need to keep bugging along and keep going."

On the quarterbacks presence in the huddle

"As young guys, who have not really been around, they are a little bit off from where you want right now. But it is a comfort level. They just need to go through summer and see how they handle the good times and bad times, the pressure and expectation level and the ability in the summer to get their players there.

"The quarterback position is going to be made a big deal of, but if you look at what happened today we have to help them out. We had some turnovers and some drops. A quarterback looks good when those guys are blocking up front and those guys are running the routes on time and spacing out — when he delivers the ball and the guy makes the catch. That's when the quarterback looks good. We had a lot of drops today.

"Bob (Stoops) made the comment to the team, 'We will be OK at quarterback but some of you guys around him need to play at a higher level to help them out.' You saw today when we struggled, sometimes it really wasn't the quarterback play. Sometimes it was the other positions on the football team.

On what he learned about the quarterback race today

"I would say we have built a bigger body of evidence. Personally, I saw them all kind of play good. I think you saw a lot of good from all of them. I don't think you saw anyone falter. Al the guys moved the ball and managed it pretty well. I think Keith (Nichol) is a young guy that still just needs a lot more time to get comfortable with the language, lingo and all that stuff.

"We called plays today based on what I wanted to call. It wasn't based on whether Joey was in the game or Sam was in the game and we should do this. Whoever went in we just tried to run the plays we wanted to run There is no plate that one guy can handle that another guy can't."

On the running game

"It was OK. We were kinda of vanilla today on both sides of the ball, and so was the defense. We weren't trying to do a bunch of junky stuff. We just wanted to line up and play hard. So sometimes we can take stuff and skew it and look good or bad.

"The early part of the scrimmage, I thought we looked a little lethargic. I thought we were walking around, weren't getting in and and out of the huddle and that was as a whole group. And we had a couple of turnovers. I thought as we went along we got going, but I thought early we were pretty lethargic.

"But I do think our offensive line will be solid. Will it be as great of a line as we have had in years past that have played good every week? That remains to be seen.

"I think our tight end group is solid. I have a couple of kids at fullback who are flying around, and I thought the receivers did a nice job blocking. Now we dropped a couple passes today, but on some of those nice runs we had some nice perimeter blocks on the safety support and corner. Some of those plays where we should have got 3 or 5, we got 7 or 8."

On the status of Brody Eldridge

"What I was told was it was a MCL low-grade sprain. To me, he's one of our unsung special players that gives me a great deal of comfort. I was up there just beating wall the whole time because I wanted him just to come off (get up). The other kids are good too, but he's really important to us. But they're telling us it's not as severe as maybe it looked."

**CORNERBACK REGGIE SMITH**

On tackling DeMarco Murray

"I think it's a disadvantage to the defense when a guy  like DeMarco has the ball. I used to do that to high school defenses and thought I had the advantage. He can make one move and go this way, and it's over. When you see DeMarco coming, you've got to keep your feet going and try to guess where he's going and at least get a piece of him and slow him down."

On the play of the defense

"I only thought it was average. We actually gave up a lot of big plays -- DeMarco's runs, Chris' runs then the touchdown to Pooh (Tennell). We have to eliminate those, those will kill us in the season."

**RUNNING BACK DEMARCO MURRAY**

On if he feels he's proven himself this spring

"Man, I hope so. I'm just trying to have fun out here and just work hard. I think I've done a good job this spring, but it's not over. I still have a lot more to do. I still have a couple other practices this spring, and then I realize this summer is very important. Every practice, I have to show up and play hard."

On battling the turf toe injury and not being able to play last season

"I was frustrated a lot. I was always talking to my coaches and teammate telling them how down I was, and they were always cheering me up telling me it was gong to be alright. Our training staff does a real good job with injuries, but I was real frustrated.

"I don't think it really hurt me not playing last year. I got to work against the No. 1 defense when I was on the scout team. That's one of the best defenses in the country, so I got a lot of work on my vision of seeing the defense and learning how to be patient.

On him excelling at running back rather than receiver, which is where a lot of people pegged him to play before the spring started

"I like to run the football. I have made a couple of plays here and I have made some people miss. I'm a good player, but our offensive line did a realy good job today. Hats off to them. There was a lot of grass in front of me. There was a lot of grass for the running backs to run through."

On his 68-yard run

"I just saw grass, man. The offensive line did a real good job. I really can't remember all of it. I just made one little cut, you know. One cut and I was gone.

On the juke move he put on D.J. Wolfe

"I haven't talked to D.J yet. I don't know if I should talk to him because there's going to be a time when he gets me."


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