Stoops: We will need to be on top of our game

OU Head Coach Bob Stoops talked about Saturday's showdown with Texas Tech at his weekly press conference

Below are excerpts from Oklahoma Head Coach Bob Stoops' weekly press conference at the Barry Switzer Center in Norman on Tuesday.

On the showdown with Texas Tech
"We have a big challenge coming with Texas Tech here at home for our final home game of the year. We're all excited about it as a staff, players. Really looking forward to the challenge of playing for the Big 12 South championship this weekend with Texas Tech.

"A team that's been very explosive, scoring a lot of points, moving the ball on the everybody, at least in their last three games. They're playing in a great way right now. We understand that, we recognize it's a championship game. It's a big which our players have usually responded really well in. We're looking forward to competing and the challenge of it.

"They're quarterback - Kliff Kingsbury - everyone's talked about. I agree with all that's written about him. I think he's a great player, running that system for three straight years now. He does an excellent job of executing in it, getting them in and out of the right plays and knowing where he's going with the football."

On if Texas Tech and Kingsbury are doing anything different this year in their passing game
"There's always some slight wrinkles. He throws the ball in some vertical seams maybe more then he has early on. There's more use of the running back screen passes then there was initially. Just subtle changes that are a few plays or wrinkles here and there. But the biggest majority of it is still the same."

On if it's harder to defend a passing offense or a running offense
"They both wear you out if they're having success. Neither one wears you out if you're stopping them. It pretty much depends on how you're playing."

On his teams' success against Kingsbury and Texas Tech over the last two seasons
"We have played well in the last couple of years in particular. I think some it is we have played well. We have played very good defense the last two years that we've played them; been in the right spots; broke on the ball well; challenged receivers; blitzed well and got pressure. But every year you have to earn it again. We don't take it for granted that everything just stays the same. We've got to go be on top of our game and be able to do that again. Our players understand that. We have got to be on top of our game this week. If we are, we feel confident that we can contain them and hold them down. Again, we have before."

On the importance of disguising their defense to combat Tech's offense
"You're constantly trying to get them out of rhythm by blitzing, by covering, by changing up what you do and make them continually have to work to find their spots. That's part of the chess match."

On if Kingsbury is good at reading defenses "Yes...or one of the best I've seen at operating their system. Whether he's reading defenses or reading his receivers and where the holes are, he does an excellent job of it."

On Texas Tech's receivers
"A lot of good receivers that make a lot of plays for them. They get a lot of yards after they catch the football. That's always a big factor in playing them, that once they catch the football that you're in position to tackle and limit their yardage. That will be a big factor this week."

On Tech receiver and Oklahoma City native Wes Welker
"Wes Welker is an excellent player for them and has been for several years. Big play guy for them. He's an all-around player for them. He's an excellent special teams player on top of being an excellent receiver. Very competitive. Makes a lot of plays."

On how Tech has surged into a contender for the Big 12 South title
"They've won. That pretty much will get you in it. Beating A&M and beating Texas in the last three weeks will get you in there. They've won three straight since Colorado. That's what it's about. If you win enough you're going to have a shot."

On if OU's defense has an advantage going up against a similar offense to Texas Tech's everyday in practice
"We have some plays that still we operate in. But we go against each other through the year regardless, just to keep speed and to stay sharp. And this week we will as well. We will go against each other maybe a little more this week then we normally do."

On the importance of OU's offense operating efficiently this week because of Tech's ability to put up big numbers
"They have given up yards and some points and we have to be able to do that for a number of reasons. You need to score points to win. We've been doing that. It also limits their opportunities. It's a challenge for the whole team as it is each and every week."

On if he ever talks to Texas Tech Head Coach Mike Leach
"Yes...I talk to Mike. In fact, I called him after the A&M game and congratulated him. We talk from time to time. Last summer he was through here and brought his daughter to soccer camp and came up in the office and hung around for a while. When we're at head coaches functions together we always end up having a sandwich together, talking and hanging out a little bit."

On if they watched film together
"We didn't get into particulars about that. It wouldn't be beyond us to sit and discuss how somethings going. You still have to stop it. Everyone knows how you run certain things. That isn't any big deal. We're not much on secrets."

On if the defense is going to be good enough to beat Texas Tech playing the way they've been playing over the last two weeks
"The way we've played the last two But if we play like we have for sever or eight over games, then sure we have a chance. If we play like we do for the last 30 games around here we've got a good chance. Our players understand that, recognize that. I saw a lot more intensity and focus and concentration yesterday. They realize the magnitude of the game and challenge in front of them. I've got confidence our guys will meet it."

On if having the running game OU does now benefits them in a big game
"If you score points it does. It has helped us in all our games. Quentin has impacted every game we've been in. He's created big plays running and receiving. So, hopefully that will continue. We'll need it to."

On their success against Tech
"We have played awfully well on defense, which can limit their opportunities as well. When you stop them and get the ball back that helps. In last year's game we were awfully good defensively. So, that limits them. And on offense, you still have to score. I'm not much on trying to hold the ball. If we score in 30 seconds that will be fine with me. If it takes us six minutes to put it in the end zone that's fine too, but you need to score."

On if he feels the two best offensive players in the Big 12 are playing Saturday between Kingsbury and Griffin
"That's a good question, but there's other awfully good ones. Those two would definitely be up there, but you've got Chris Brown at Colorado, Rashaun Woods at Oklahoma State. There's a number of other guys if you watch the impact they have on their team and the big plays they make, you have to recognize them. I'm never one that one guy is the best. There's always a handful that you choose from. I'm forgetting others, like Seneca Wallace at Iowa State. There's a number of guys that deserve that recognition. Usually, there's about one on every team."

On if his team plays better when the challenge is bigger
"Usually, that has been the case. For the most part, defensively, we have played well in big games. You look at most of our championship games, some of the ones that have been higher profile games, we have usually played pretty decent."

On if he characterizes this weeks game as a 'Big' game
"Absolutely. This year, right now, this is the biggest one we've got. The biggest won we've had. It's for the South championship."

On the timing of post season awards
"I think it's unfortunate. I think terribly unfortunate that everybody's in such a hurry. We still have two games left, and possibly three, and the bowl games for everybody. I don't know why everybody doesn't just wait until it's finished.

"I think Josh Heupel, in 2000, was a perfect example. You have two top candidates in the national championship game, why not wait and see it play out. As close as that voting was that year I wouldn't be surprised had everyone waited another few weeks until after the game, with the way we won and how well he played, if things might have been different. I'm not saying that it wasn't fair, Chris (Weinke) won it through the season and earned it. But I don't understand the hurry about it all. You like to see things played out and let everything be finished up before you start casting all your votes."

On if thinks the coaches who vote in the Coaches Poll should be have their votes be made public
"I think it would be great. And I don't know why any coach would object to it. I think it would be great to see who we vote for in all the polls and who we vote for in all-conference. I wouldn't have any objection."

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