Here's what Bob Stoops and a few of the OU football players had to say about tomorrow's game against Texas A&M.
On the improvements in defensive performance:
It was playing good early in the year, we just weren't as consistent. I said that all along. A great example is Oregon. Opening play of the game, they get a play that goes to the four-yard line, they score.
I looked back through that game. What are areas we need to look at? I don't know, 14, 13 minutes to go in the fourth quarter; we're winning 20-13. That's a long period -- that's three quarters of football that we were holding them to two field goals. And they've scored a lot of points on a lot of teams.
I said early that no one wanted to listen to, a lot of parts of what we were doing was still really good. We gave up some plays. We haven't been giving up those kinds of plays. We've been more consistent but we were still playing pretty decent then. I think people have seen that Washington has scored and moved the ball on a lot of teams.
To think they're going to come in here and we're going to shut them out, I don't know if that was fair. Everyone wanted to say that back then. We still played good defense in that game. Lately, we've been making improvement. We haven't given up the one or two plays like in those games that led to some points. Even in those games, we weren't far off.
On the Challenge of playing at College Station:
"It is the same as a lot of places. They create a lot of energy and noise. But that isn't unlike any other place that holds, whatever it is, 80,000 people. But we are in that environment a lot. It is not easy to go to Nebraska, Oklahoma State, Missouri. We had a tough time in Missouri two or three years ago. It's not the easiest thing when you go on the road.
All of those places you can make them what you want. And I think it is fair to say that's not easy to come here for other teams. It's not easy to go anywhere. When you have good stands and their packed, it's tough. And again I know our record here is pretty decent, it can't be real easy to come in here. We look at them all the same.
On his expectations of Paul Thompson:
He has not exceeded our expectations. I think people are seeing what we felt all long his potential was. I think it is fair to say that Kevin Wilson and our entire offensive staff have really worked with him to really play to his strengths and to really give us a good mix and blend and what were asking him to do.
But all along Paul has been a very capable quarterback. I don't blow smoke when I don't believe something. I have said all along Paul is a talented guy. He has ability. He can throw the football better then anyone has ever given him credit for, and he can throw the football better then he can run the football, regardless of what anybody want to think.
He is a bright guy, he is a competitive guy, and he's a worker. He had all the intangibles to do what he is doing.
On Allen Patrick's improvement between his first start and second start:
I think playing last year helped him. Those experiences still stay with him. I think in the second game he just had more endurance having gone through it the week before. He handled much better the other day. I think your first time out there carrying it that much, with the excitement of it all. This time he was a little more conditioned for it.
I think naturally the more you do it, he is seeing his holes well and hitting them well. I think naturally the more you do anything the more comfortable you become with it.
Tight End Joe Jon Finley
On playing at Kyle Field in 2004:
I remember going down there (in 2004). I made a call to Jammal Brown and I couldn't even hear myself talking. I was thinking, `This is pretty pointless.' It's awesome--it's a good thing. When we score a touchdown and all of them go silent, that's the best part to me. I had my first touchdown that game. It was a lot of fun.
A&M is the best place to play besides here at home for me. It's the most exciting. I grew up in Texas hearing about the 12th man and I've been to a couple of games down there--I love every second of it.
Every time I think of that game, I think of that last pass that Mark Bradley caught to go score. I remember he ran the wrong route but he ended up being wide open--going down to score and win the game for us. We won by a touchdown and it saved our chance to go to the National Championship that year.
Quarterback Paul Thompson
On what he expects from Texas A&M's defense:
There are different things that defenses will let you take. Going in, the game plan against me, I'm not sure what they believe I do well or what this offense does well. I think we've shown we're pretty balanced. Allen Patrick has done a great job at running the ball; he's shown it last week and the week before. They're going to have to pick their poison, but we do feel like we can take some shots and make big plays this week.
On A&M's defensive formations:
They like to man up on the outside and they play with some outside leverage on that second receiver, so we're going to try to take advantage of that again. We've got different kinds of route schemes that we walked through at practice a little bit that we haven't done normally, so we're going to try and take advantage of their one-on-one matchups that they have, along with their leverage.