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OU at Big 12 Media Days
Season Preview Issue
Sooners speak to the media
Bob Stoops and OU players Davin Joseph, Clint Ingram and Travis Wilson addressed members of the media Wednesday in Houston at the annual Big 12 Conference football media day event. Here are some excerpts from that conversation:
Q: How are D.J Wolfe and Lewis Baker doing in the secondary?
Bob Stoops: D.J. Wolfe and Lewis Baker have adjusted quite well. They had a good spring, made a lot of press in the spring and, you know, the two-a-day sessions, 29 practices, leading up to the first game will be a big factor for them. But they fit the positions well and really embraced them and like the changes. So, I think they have an opportunity to be really solid players there.
Q: Can you give us the substance of your quarterback situation?
Stoops: Sure. Our quarterback situation for us, we are excited about it. It would be a problem if we had three guys and you didnâ€™t feel they were talented enough, and that would be a problem. These guys are all very talented, very skilled in that position, and they are hard workers. They have the respect of the teammates. They are reliable guys. They all throw the ball well. Really, they are more athletic as far as feet go than anybody we have had in the last five years, all three of them. So all of that together, we feel, in the end, thatâ€™s going to be a strong position on our team.
The bottom line is we havenâ€™t had enough opportunity for any one of them to earn it. Everybody wants it to be finished. We, at Oklahoma, have never appointed anybody in that position or any others, and for these players to respect whoever is behind the center, they need more time to earn their way on the field. Twenty-nine practices leading up to the first game is twice as many practice and scrimmages as you get in spring ball, so we will work it out, and as time goes we weâ€™ll find the right guy, and who makes the most positive plays and avoids the bad ones. I believe, in the end, itâ€™s going to be a good position for us.
Q: With that uncertainty at quarterback, does more pressure fall on Adrian Peterson to duplicate what he did last year?
Stoops: We are not going to sit here and put more pressure on Adrian. I think the most success we have had, you know, offensively, and it has been a lot because of the balance we have been able to have, that we have thrown it well and we have it well. I think they complement one another, so I believe we will give Adrian more to do, involving him more in our passing game, that he will be able to handle more of that this year, it will be an advantage to us as well.
Outside of that, you know, he ran the ball a good number of times a year ago. We are not going to sit there and run him 40 times a game. We are going to do our best to have the kind of balance we have had.
Q: The expectations seem to be down just a tad from how they have been for you the guys last three or four years. Do you like this situation you have got where a lot of people respect expecting things out of you?
Stoops: I donâ€™t know if itâ€™s fair to say I like it. I am a little bit disinterested in it. It doesnâ€™t really matter to me whether we are picked favorites or not. You know, we have been in both situations and we found our way in other years to championships and other years where we have been picked favorites and not been. You have to earn your way. I say it a lot, or every year, as long as they are going to let us play, it doesnâ€™t much matter. Whoever it is, they are going to earn their way and fight for it. I feel great that we have an opportunity to be in there with anybody.
Q: How tough is it going to be to replace Jammal Brown?
Stoops: Jammal was an excellent player and just improved each and every year. So to replace him â€” a guy like that â€” I believe we have guys out there capable of it and they are a lot like Jammal. They developed like him â€” will they develop like him? Iâ€™ll have to see. We moved Davin (Joseph) to the left side where Wes Sims was. Jammal started on the right side as a young guy when we had a left-handed quarterback, Josh Heupel, and just got comfortable there. Davin told him what to do just about pretty much every snap, didnâ€™t you, Davin?
Jammal was excellent for us, and those two together were a great team over there. We feel Davin has that exceptional ability to be a left tackle and weâ€™re going to give him that opportunity, and he did a great job all through spring.
Q: Bob, as great as your program is, and being from Austin, we have witnessed that, do you feel like your programs are invincible to take any hit in the Orange Bowl?
Stoops: Nobody is invincible and everybody knows that. It didnâ€™t much matter the year before, Kansas State beat us and everybody said that was a recipe, this how every will do it now, and we were fortunate enough to go through and win 12 football games and a Big 12 championship, so that wasnâ€™t the case.
Each year is different, each team is different. I have said it a bunch of times. You earn your way every time. You are going to line up every time and nobody thinks you are invincible. Thatâ€™s just talk out there. I donâ€™t think It much matters. We are going to play and compete like we always do.
Q: You have been in both situations, hunted more than the hunter, though. Which role do you like better? Do you like the roles of the favorite? Do you like being in the role of everybody is overlooking us a slight bit? What do you three guys think?
Stoops: Start with you Travis, and work this way.
Travis Wilson: It has advantages and disadvantages of being on top an have everyone come after you, but also itâ€™s great to prove people wrong and have people second-guess you, and you prove them wrong at the end of the season. It works hand-in-hand, but our motivation, our goals are all the same every year. We want the championship every year and thatâ€™s wall we work for. Thatâ€™s all we imagine our minds and thatâ€™s what we are training for. Regardless what position we are this year, bottom line is that we want to be on top at the end of the season.
Davin Joseph: I donâ€™t have too much of an opinion on that, being on top or being ranked lower or higher â€” it doesnâ€™t too much matter to me. I just looking forward to playing the games and looking forward to the competition in this conference, being such a great conference, and trying to climb to the top and get to the championship game again.
Clint Ingram: We always go out and every game we treat the same. I mean, whichever team we might be playing, we treat them all the same. The way we work around Oklahoma and our tradition and pride, the way we go about doing things, it doesnâ€™t matter where we start or if we are at the top or bottom. Itâ€™s always where you finish at.
Q: Davinâ€™s role is keeping everybody straight. Describe how important that is?
Stoops: Davin has been a great leader on our offensive line for the last couple of years, maybe not as a true freshman, but sophomore and junior year, definitely. Davin is a very sharp young man and has a great football mind, as well as being a great student. He is a guy that, up on that front line, if we have a dummy count or a late count where he can see a blitz coming, he can see the defense, and he has a great knack for telling guys next to him whether itâ€™s center, tackle, relaying it down the line, hey, you are going here, I am going here. He sees what the defense is doing and who he needs to pick up, but also who everybody else needs to pick up. He does a great job of communicating it across the group.
Q: Davin mentioned that memories of the Orange Bowl had figured in some off-season motivation for some of the players. Has that been at all in the coachesâ€™ minds, and at what point do you guys say, â€˜forget it, itâ€™s done?â€™
Stoops: I donâ€™t buy into a whole lot of that. It may some to these guys on a tough, hot day, it may jump in there. We are not sitting around talking about that. You know, each year is different. We have a different team. Whether you have won it, it isnâ€™t going to help you the next year, and what you lost isnâ€™t going to help you the next year. Our guys work and these guys will chuckle about it, but it doesnâ€™t much matter to us. The way we work, we work hard, and get ready, and win or lose, I am just not much into that false motivation or, you know what I mean, that superficial stuff. Thatâ€™s gone. We have to go fight our way back this year regardless of what would happen.
Q: Travis, you have had a quarterback there the past six years probably telling every player on offense what to do and be a coach on the field. Are you finding yourself now having to help coach the quarterback position or counsel some of these guys?
Stoops: Boy, I hope not.
Travis Wilson: I have had to mature a little bit, and definitely going into this year not having a leader, the people look for in the quarterback position, he hasnâ€™t had as much experience. I feel I help out some of the younger guys a little bit more, make things a little more smooth, but ht quarterback, they are great leaders and they know the role that they are taking over. They know what needs to be done. I mean, they are doing a great job preparing for the season coming up. They will be able to handle it their own way. I throw in my two cents now and then, and try to help our team out.
Q: Bob, can you update us on Dustyâ€™s rehab? Has he been able to lift weights?
Stoops: His rehab has been excellent. The trainers told me, really, as much as three weeks ago that they felt he was two or three weeks ahead of schedule. He has been doing virtually all of the lifts. There are a just a certain few minor lifts that he is not able to do. All the major lifting, benching and squatting, and all the major movements that we do, he has been able to do probably 90 percent of them. Would that be right, Dav? You are in there with him, right?
Davin Joseph: Oh, yeah.
Stoops: From talking to Dusty, he feels great, and I felt all along he probably would be ready right off the bat. I think he will be. Thatâ€™s not a definite. It will surprise me if he is not.
Q: This is for Davin. Can I get your assessment of how you felt the quarterbacks did in the summer, how they handled the huddle, how the guys respond to them?
Davin Joseph: Those guys are doing great. Thatâ€™s a big role and a big challenge, being the main guy. All of them have put in a lot of time and put in great effort. We havenâ€™t had enough time to see who will take over the spot, and thatâ€™s one thing we will look forward to coming into two-a-days. Everybody has a positive attitude on offense about who is going to be the next quarterback and who is going to lead this team. It has been a lot of fun so far.
Q: Bob, have you witnessed more wrinkles having a more mobile and healthier quarterback?
Stoops: Sure. You never stay on the same path. We look for what fits what we do and what our talent is. These guys are all very capable of â€” you have seen all the quarterback run plays, everybody else has, and we will have them, too. But we are not going to the triple-option. Those guys would be more of a threat, definitely, than what we have had.