Stoops confident in matchup with Texas

Oklahoma Head Coach Bob Stoops talked about this weekend's OU-Texas matchup on his weekly press conference Tuesday at the Barry Switzer Center in Norman

On OU-Texas week
This is a great week. It doesn't get any better. Our players really love and enjoy this week. We love the challenge of it. The competition of it. The excitement of pulling into their State Fair and going into the Cotton Bowl and playing. We look forward to the challenge of it and we're excited that it's here. We don't have to wait for it anymore, it will be hard to wait until Saturday.

On if there are similarities between Chris Simms and Nate Hybl
Both are pocket type quarterbacks. I just looked at the statistics and Nate Hybl is second in the league in passing; has not thrown an interception. He's been very good completing 60 percent of his passes. If you look at pass efficiency, as a team we're fourth. I think Texas is right behind us. There are similarities. I think both have been good at taking care of the ball; both have made big plays.

On Nate Hybl taking over for Jason White
Nate's been exceptional. If you want to look at what he's done in five games, throwing the football and passing, he's been very good. Not only is he taking care of the football, he's making big plays. Made some big plays the other night against Missouri. He's throwing the ball downfield deep. Very poised and confident. Nate is really playing well. What's helping him too is we're giving him a better pocket. He's able to step up, finish his throws and that's making a difference.

On if Chris Simms is a different quarterback now then he was three years ago when he first played against Oklahoma
From three years ago, yes. We thought he was very good last year. Coming into our game a year ago I don't think he had thrown but maybe two or three interceptions and was taking care of the football. We thought he was very good a year ago and we still think he's good, and has a lot of good people around him.

On what it will take to win
The bottom line is when you get in these games and these pressure situations, tight games and strong defenses on both sides, who is going to make plays when you really have to make them? You've got to be able to make some plays. Stick the ball into some tight throws and come up with big plays. That's a big part of the game. Sometimes when you have good leads it's fairly easy to be conservative. When you're in a tough game and fighting to win and have got to make plays, sometimes you have to go for it. Whoever is able to do that the best and come up with plays when you have to have them is going to have an advantage.

On Nate Hybl's ability to make big plays in big games
He's done it already. He's been doing it for us this year, sticking the ball in great places and good spots. Hopefully he'll continue to do it. I couldn't be more confident in a guy coming into this game in the way he has played in these five games. All the poise and the way he's playing right now is great.

On if Nate Hybl played to not make mistakes last season instead of playing to make big plays That's not true. That's something people want to label, or the media want to label. Nate was trying to make plays last year. For a lot reasons we weren't able to. A lot wasn't his fault.

He's getting supported better this year. I believe he's grown from that. I don't mean to say he hasn't matured and he isn't playing better. But being able to have a better pocket and a little better protection to step up and finish your throws; to not feel like you have to go with your first read because you're not going to have time to go with your second or third are all factors that you don't see that we see when we watch tape the next day. It's easy to say he should have went here, well that was his second read and he didn't have time to get to it. We're getting to that now. We're getting a firmer and stronger pocket and that's going to be a big factor in this game. If we can protect him we're going to have a chance to get some plays.

On the importance of the turnover battle
It's always important. Not just in this game but in ever game you play. We've been very fortunate in our turnover ratio, getting turnovers and making sure we're smart in taking care of the football without being too conservative with it. It's always a factor. It's a factor in field position and points. And those two factors, points in particular, are what's going to help you win or lose. Turnovers are always a factor in points.

On if Chris Simms' style plays into the strength of OU's defense, as opposed to the running style of Missouri quarterback Brad Smith
We've had more success against guys who are pocket type quarterbacks then guys who run around. Statistics and the way we've performed have shown that. We like how we match up in all situations and how we defend what they do and what we need to do to have an opportunity to win.

Same thing offensively. I think we give ourselves a chance. They're very good defensively in what they do with so many guys and so much pressure at the line of scrimmage it makes it difficult to run. But if you have receivers and a quarterback to get them the ball you've got a chance to get some plays. And that has to happen. When it does it gives you an opportunity for some runs. I think we matchup well.

On Texas having the threat of a running game this season with Cedric Benson versus last year
Last year they came in talking about Ike Williams and their other running backs who were going to be a factor. The bottom line is if you're able to run then it is a factor. If there are no seams or holes and you can be physical up front, defeat their blocking and get to the football, then you have a chance to stop their running game. We've known last year that was their plan of attack; to come in and run the football first and make sure that was part of the game. It's up to us to stop that. If we can stop that we've got an opportunity to get pressure and have a chance to be successful.

Everyone knows how we play defense. Whether we're playing Texas, or Florida State in the national championship when they had the Heisman Trophy quarterback, we start at stopping the run game first. We'll work hard this week to load up on it and make sure we're prepared to get after the run game first. That's been the case for the last three year's when we've played Texas.

On the Longhorns' defense
I thought they were awfully good last year. When you're really good, you're really good. I thought they were awfully good a year ago and they still are.

On if he likes playing the OU-Texas game in Dallas
One guy crusading hopefully won't get it changed. I don't think that's the overwhelming opinion. I know it isn't mine. I love it down there in the Cotton Bowl. I think it's a tremendous atmosphere. It's great for college football. It's great for both programs. I think the fans love it. I don't see it changing.

On if he thinks playing in the Cotton Bowl is a homefield advantage for Oklahoma
Why not? We're home this year anyway. We'll have our red jerseys on I believe. It's just as much ours as it is theirs.

On that knock against Mack Brown not being able to win the big game, while he has a great track record for winning the big games
I'm not commenting on at all on Coach Brown and Texas. You're asking me what does it mean to to our team that we have been successful in big games? It gives us confidence.

Our players have been in a lot of big games in the last couple of years, and most of those players are still on this team. It does give us confidence playing in big games. They understand it takes a lot more then just being mad and excited. You've got to get prepared and you've got to know what you're doing. You've got have the poise and confidence when it comes time to make plays late in the game, when all of that madness is gone. Fortunately, we've been able to do it and hopefully we'll continue to.

On if this game will make or break the season
No one game is ever make it or break it, unless it's the national championship or the Big 12 championship. The only way to have a chance to win them all is to take each one as they come. If you're fortunate to win this one, you get a chance to go on to the next one. Having done that just a two years ago, I don't believe we would have won them all if we put all our eggs into just this one game. It's easy to win one game. If we wanted to just concentrate on this game, that's easy to do. But to win enough to win a championship, that's not easy. The only way you can do that is by making each one important. And that's what we do.

On walking into the stadium for a rivalry like OU-Texas
It's the best. Pulling into the stadium, getting dressed, it's hard to wait for kickoff. It's exciting. It brings out the best in you and sort of raises the hair up on the back of your neck.

On the amount of great games this weekend in college football besides OU-Texas
Who else is playing? I thought we were the only ones. In all honesty I couldn't tell you who else is playing. I know we're one of the better games to watch.

On the health of Brandon Everage and Andre Woolfolk
They both practiced well yesterday. He's (Everage) not hurt. And Woolfolk was solid yesterday. In fact, he probably looked faster then all the other guys because he's been rested up. He looked really good yesterday.

On the matchup between Oklahoma's defensive backs and Texas' wide receivers
It's a good matchup. We respect the heck out of them. Very talented group. We feel fortunate we matchup really well because we're pretty decent in the secondary in matching up to cover and the way we work against them. We like the way we matchup with them. That's going to be a big part of the game. You've got to stop the run first, but when you do they're going to throw it. You've got to be able to cover. Fortunately, we have in the past and hopefully we will again.

On Tommie Harris' lack of statistical production
Stats don't always tell the story. He's pressured the quarterback well. On one interception Antonio Perkins had, he's about to sack the guy and forces a rotten throw that we picked off. He's had great penetration on a good number of run plays that have been tackled behind the line of scrimmage.

Tommie's been very active and is more then holding up his end of the deal. It's not his fault that the media has him before the season on every magazine in the world. We're very happy with what he's doing and he's been a strong player for us like he always has been, regardless of what the statistics say.

On if the same thing he said about Tommie Harris can be said for Trent Smith
Exactly. We can't just drop back and say we're going to get the ball to Trent this time. If you do that and he's double covered what do you do? You take a sack or throw it out of bounds. Sometimes it comes, sometimes it doesn't. He's doing a great job. Trent's been very solid.

We're about team success, not about individual success. Fortunately, we have a group of players that understand that regardless of how much media attention they want to get. We've had a good foundation. Guys like Josh Heupel, Rocky Calmus and Roy Williams. Though they got a lot of it they were great team guys. All that stuff is really secondary to what we see in our meetings.

On if he is surprised OU is the underdog again I didn't realize we were. We wouldn't like it any other way. That seems to have been the case the last couple of years, I think. It hasn't held us back a whole lot yet.

On Mark Clayton's status and the emergence of Will People's in his absence
(Clayton) Looked very good in practice yesterday. Hopefully he'll get open and find some big plays. Will (Peoples) is going to start. The last two games, since he's started, he's been player of the game once and was right behind Quentin (Griffin) and Nate this week.

On if he's had a chance to see ‘Big Tex' at the fair
Who's that? I don't know, we've probably driven by him. I've probably asked somebody on the bus who that was. There are too many angry Texas fans yelling at us as we pull in that distract me.

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