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Sooner Comments on the Huskers

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Here's what Bob Stoops and a few of the football players had to say about their season and the Big 12 Championship game against Nebraska.

Bob Stoops
 

On receiving Big 12 Coach of the Year and Rufus Alexander being awarded Big 12 Defensive Player of the Year:
"I'm pretty sensitive about it in that I appreciate it -- anyone that recognizes individuals on our team -- but you preach year-round that team accomplishments are what really matter. The sum of all our parts is what really matters, not any one individual.

"The University of Oklahoma, our team and this program are much bigger than any one person. I look at it and I'll make a point that they do, too, that it's just an example of a team award. I'm the head coach and Rufus is the defensive player of the league but it's because of how they've played. How our assistant coaches have worked and put them in position. They deserve the credit.

"The players, the way they've played, they deserve the credit. I'm sure Rufus would say that. The guys around him have played in a really good way. Usually, these awards are given to teams that have won a lot of games. We're number one or two in almost all defensive categories. It's a reflection on the team overall. We appreciate it and are thankful for it."

On overcoming this season's adversity:
"I think we were maybe underappreciated with the strength of our team and the overall depth of the team and the strength of the youth on the team and how good they are. All of that was maybe a little undervalued.and everyone wanted to focus on just Adrian. I love the guy and he's something special but there's more to it than that. I think our team has showed that. Guys in all instances have stepped up and have been very good in how they have played. It's a very selfless team. No one it sitting there self-centered about who is getting what. The attitude has been incredible to work with.

"It's a special group because of how they come to practice everyday, show up to meetings, the way they travel and the way they get ready for games. We don't have distractions. We don't have those one, two, three individuals who cause all the problems that some people say we still need to have in this program. We don't have any of those guys.

"The guys are all for each other and pulling for each other. It's a great team that way. They have an incredible attitude and they work hard. They like to compete and they get ready to compete. When you can do all those things and you're not trying to beg a guy to compete -- how come you're not going to class, how come you're not showing up to your workouts -- we don't have any of those issues and you can concentrate on what you have to do and that's play ball. These guys have been great.  It's been a fabulous group to work with. There hasn't been any selfishness. They've been taking care of their business in the classroom, in workouts and everything else.

"You have character. You have guys that are about the right things and trust in one another. They realize `Hey, there's a bunch of us here, we can overcome this.' This team has definitely been that way."

Quarterback Paul Thompson

On the OU-Nebraska rivalry:
"I'm definitely expecting another close game. We would definitely like to get out ahead quickly and not make it a close game, but with how games in the past have been each team is going to continue to fight the entire game. One team is not going to get down if the other team scores first or vice versa. I'm expecting a good, hard fought and physical game with whatever the weather is, so I'm excited about it.

"We've definitely watched films of the old rivalries. When you get here, Coach Stoops does a great job at showing the traditions with all of the teams. Nebraska is definitely one of those teams. It kind of maybe died a little bit lately because we don't play them every year, but if you look back on the Big 8 it was pretty much Nebraska and Oklahoma every year. We're definitely real aware of the tradition between the two schools and hopefully we can keep it going."

On what a Big 12 Championship would mean:
"Both programs are back at the top right now, and the drive to get a Big 12 Championship is one of the biggest drives you can have in a season. I've been a part of Big 12 Championships here with Jason White and Mark Clayton, in that era, but it's kind of like a new era with not as many recognizable guys maybe from the outside. It's kind of a new era of players and a young team, so I'm looking to get a championship for them.

"I have been a part of successful teams here when I redshirted my sophomore or junior year. To actually have a bigger part in winning a Big 12 championship would mean a lot to me and also for a lot of these guys that weren't a part of it those past years. It's a good experience for them to have that driving factor for them to have that type of experience, and so they'll be able to lead good teams for the next two or three years."

Linebacker Demarrio Pleasant

On the rivalry and the Big 12 Championship:
"Being my fourth year here, every time we play them it's a big game. We always know it's going to be a tough path to play them."

On Nebraska's offense:
":They have a big running game and they have a really good quarterback that can do a lot of things. We have a lot of things to prepare for to take on their running game. We focus on stopping the run first, and once we do that we'll be able try to stop the pass."

On the cold weather:
"It's going to be cold, but to me and any other guy on the team, weather doesn't matter. This is a big game and everybody's going to be ready to play regardless of the weather. Probably the Big 12 Championship against Kansas State was the coldest game I've played in. I'd rather it be 70 degrees, but I mean if it has to be cold, it has to be cold."

Safety Reggie Smith

On making it to the championship despite misfortunes this year:
"I think it comes with us doing good, staying together as a team, being tight and winning games.  That's what we've been doing since the very beginning of the year."

On the atmosphere of the Big 12 Championship game:
"It's very exciting.  I think it's going to be very upbeat. We're just all ready to go there and ready to play this game."