As the BCS Championship Game draws closer the Sooners have begun their preparations to face the Florida Gators in an effort to bring home the university’s 8th national championship. Bob Stoops met with the media on Monday to discuss the Sooners, Gators and preparations.
On of the things that was accomplished through this news conference is that rumors of players being academically ineligible were squelched. Stoops said that all players would be academically eligible. They will need everyone to be eligible as well because the task of beating the Gators is a long way from being a simple one and Coach Stoops acknowledged that.
"We are excited about the opportunity to play a great Florida team. Urban Meyer and his staff have done a great job there and they are a very talented team when you look at them with their speed and skill. Really in all parts, you look at them offensively they like to spread it around to all the positions and they can run it with big time players. And of course their quarterback Tim Tebow is one of the best in the country.
Defensively, it's the same thing. They have a lot of skill and speed on defense. Up front, in the front seven you really see it. They are solid in everything that they do scheme wise and in special teams they a very detailed and well thought out in their schemes in all that they do. It is a big challenge and an exciting one at that and looking forward to the challenge.”
More specifically he pointed out that the defense is going to have to show up focused and ready to play against a Florida offense that reminds him of the old wishbone teams that could score in a number of ways.
"Offensively, what they do is almost similar to the wishbone and Tim Tebow as the quarterback the motion guys in and they are running the zone and zone read and optioning it. You have got to account for it and it is almost like defending the wishbone. They are going to run the veer, and the quarterback is going to pull the ball and he is going to have it with a blocker in front of him and a guy to pitch to. So, you have all those principles and they do it well. You really have to be disciplined when you defend it.”
Of course Stoops has a pretty special player in Sam Bradford who was named the Assciated Press Player of the Year on Monday. Coach is proud of his player and proud of his team.
"It's great. I guess Coach Heupel was one of those along with Jason White. Anyway that is really exciting. Again, he is a special guy, just how he handles everything. He has experience beyond his years and always poised and humble in how he is receiving these awards."
One of the players who has been thrust into the spotlight for this game is Chris Brown who normally shares the carries with DeMarco Murray. With Murray out Chris Brown becomes the go to guy.
"You look at who is at the top of the league in rushing and there he is. He is subtle; you go back and watch replays or TV clips and the plays he makes, (you realize) he is a great player, he makes people miss him. We are about to run a draw in the Big 12 Championship game and they have got a blitz coming right into him. We are thinking about checking out of the play and Coach Wilson said let it run and he gets the ball and the guy doesn't even touch him. They are blitzing right at him and side steps and nobody even sees him, he is so subtle. He is a great player getting extra yards and making people miss him. Taking care of the football, he does everything that you want and does it humbly. He doesn't worry about whether he is getting attention or not."
"They are a great defense with a lot of team speed who play hard and go to the whistle. It is going to be a great challenge. They are a great football team. They won the National Championship a couple years ago and they are back in it this year. Obviously they are a great football team." - Center Jon Cooper on the Florida Gators
"It is not a great sight to see a quarterback get loose like that. We have to come out early and stop the run game, stop Tebow from running. We have to try and make him throw the ball, which he can do. But his comfort zone is running the ball." – Safety Lendy Holmes on Florida quarterback Tim Tebow
"It is a business trip. We're not going down there to have fun. We are going down there to try and win a Championship." – Defensive End Jeremy Beal on the team’s attitude going to Miami
"I would say they are up there with Texas. They have athletes just like Texas. Fast guys and guys who can get after it. We have our hands full.” – Runningback Chris Brown on the Florida defense
"They have a great offense, especially with (Tim) Tebow. They can attack you from all different angles: running the ball, passing the ball. He's a run first, pass second quarterback. At the end of the day we have to make sure we tackle in his face and make sure we get everything done and prepare the way we need to in order to get a win. They're going to be a great test. We really haven't seen a quarterback of that caliber." – Safety Nic Harris on Florida’s offense
"They have a very unique offense, but we have our own defense. We've just got to play our reads and whatever happens, just happens. I think we'll be ready for anything they'll throw at us. They have a lot of different schemes and a lot of different formations. It's different from what we've seen this year, but we play spread offenses every week, so playing a spread offense won't be too different for us. Florida is a very fast team, but we're a fast defense. We're preparing well and we know what's in front of us." – Defensive tackle Gerald McCoy on Florida’s offense
"The muscle of the team is going to win. When we come up and tackle we have to punish those guys and make them not want to run the ball anymore. They think that our defense is not any good in the Big 12. They said they are going to come and hit us in the mouth and we are going to be able to sustain it. So we have to come in there with the attitude that no matter what they did we have to line up and make plays." – Cornerback Dominique Franks on the mentality of the Sooner defense