Stoops Presser (9-1-09)

Check out all of what Bob Stoops had to say at his weekly press conference heading in to the first battle of '09 with the Brigham Young Cougars....

- Excerpts
- Complete

Opening statement:
"Overall, we're looking forward to the challenge this weekend. We're starting against a really good BYU team, a team that has a great history of success and a great tradition. Our players and our program have been aware of that since we have had this game scheduled. The recent success under Coach (Bronco) Mendenhall and the success they have had over the last four or five years is really notable. They're an excellent team, winning conference championships, winning 10 or 11 games almost every year. We understand it's a big challenge, our players have known that all year.
"This week, game week, they are excited about the challenge and working to prepare to play a good football game. This Saturday, we really need to play a good game to give ourselves an opportunity to win. It's exciting just to be starting another year with our team. I feel really positive with the way our team has handled themselves through the entire camp. They have had a good mentality with working and have been very positive. It's been an exciting group to this point. Now comes judgment day, through the season we have to earn it every week. I feel like the guys have done the work to this point to get us in a good position here in game week."
On Brody Eldridge starting at center:
"You have heard me going on four years talking about Brody Eldridge being one of our best players on the team period. He just doesn't play a dynamic position that everybody loves to talk about. He has been one of our toughest, most consistent and best players for three years, going on four. We have a lot of confidence with him in there. But we feel like Ben (Habern) has really come on and is awfully close, we will just see how it goes. I'm sure there will be time when Ben will be in there some."
On potential of the Oklahoma defense:
"The potential is really high for this defense to be very good. It has a chance to be when you look at not only the skill that is back and the overall ability, but also the experience. Last year we started a little rough and as the year went, we really played pretty well. Hopefully we can start better, the defense has a chance to be really good."
On playing true freshmen:
"I think overall we are a little bit thin, but we'll stay thin if they aren't ready to play. They are showing the ability to understand what we're asking them to do and to make plays. We feel like we should give them the opportunity to make plays."
On Ryan Reynolds leadership ability:
"That's why he is a captain. He understands the defense so well, he is very instinctive in there. The guys feel comfortable with him playing in there."
On Sam Bradford's improved leadership:
"Overall, it's just natural as you become one of the older guys on the team. It's hard to say much when you're a freshman or a sophomore, not that you can't, because guys do. Now that he's been around four years, even though he's not a senior, he's one of the guys who has played a lot and it's easier to step in and say something because guys want to hear what he's thinking or what he thinks we need to do here in practice or in a game to win. They have so much respect for his competitiveness and how he plays."
On Jermaine Gresham's work ethic:
"Jermaine is one of the best workers we have on the team. He is a great competitor. I equate him in his mindset in games to very similar to Adrian (Peterson). He's a fierce competitor, loves it. He has improved his blocking. I'm not going to say he couldn't have improved his blocking, he could have. That's one of the reasons that he wanted to come back, to be a better blocker. As far as playing hard, and doing the things we ask him, he has been one of the best guys I've had in going on 11 years."
On the excitement leading up to BYU:
"As much as anything, we're kind of anxious and tired of waiting for it. I just want it here, although I can take all the practice time I can get, I want it here tomorrow. In the end, you're excited to play and to see the personality of the team as you go. Every year the team is different, so you want to see your team out there in the middle of it and see how they react."
On OU's non-conference schedule:
"It's incredibly challenging, we're very aware of that. I'm sure it's one of the toughest in the country. When you look at difficulty and where we're playing, going down to Miami on top of the other games with BYU, Idaho State and Tulsa, it's challenging. But, that's how we do it."
On having a crowd advantage with being so close to Arlington:
"That's what I would hope for with the proximity and those kinds of things. It's kind of like last year in the National Championship game, Florida had quite a few more than we did, even though it was a neutral site, so you kind of hope that that would be the case, and we hope that's the way it works out."

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