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Sooner Quotes on North Texas

Game week is not only upon us it is almost halfway over. Sooner head coach Bob Stoops held his first game week media luncheon on Tuesday and had a lot to say about his 07 Sooner squad and the game Saturday night against North Texas.

Of course we told you earlier in the week about ESNP's Game Day crew picking the Sooners to win the Big 12 again this year and to make an appearance in the BCS Title Game but Coach Stoops says that kind of speculation is earned and not given.

"It is early, you have to earn that. I feel really good about the team. If the players will improve that have had experience here and will play better with a year more maturity, then we should have a strong team. But we still have to go out and do it. I like the team, and I am excited about it. It is time to go out and start earning it."

On of the reasons that the Sooners are picked so high this season is that their defense is loaded with talent and experience. Particularly in the secondary where Coach Stoops thinks that they have the potential to be really special.

"They have the potential to be very good. We have got experience now, the past couple of years we have been fighting that issue. Last year they really came on and played well. Any time you can lead the league in both total defense and scoring defense then you are doing something right, particularly in the secondary because that is where points are held and given up. We expect those guys to play well. They have really performed well in our camp and have been making a lot of plays and are more sure of themselves with their adjustments. You can just see the experience when we practice. We expect to see it on the field, and hopefully they will do it."

While the defensive spotlight is on the secondary the offensive spotlight is going to be on the running game. With Chris Brown suspended and Allen Patrick still limping Sooner fans want to know which backs are going to see the field Saturday night and what we should expect.

"We will continue to work Allen Patrick. Each day he is a little better and has less soreness. It is all about him getting his strength back. Hopefully, it is our intention to work him through the week and get him prepared to play. Each day he has been better. We will see. We have already talked about the suspension for Chris (Brown). The other guys are set to play. The last time Jacob Gutierrez was out there, he rushed for over 170 yards. We have seen what DeMarco Murray can do against a pretty good defense out there. We are really excited to see him play. Mossis Madu has been awfully good as well. All those guys will play, and we will see how far along we can get Allen. It is our intention to work him to be prepared to play."

Stoops also said that he isn't concerned about quarterback Sam Bradford's inexperience either.

"I don't think so just because I have watched him year for a full year and have seen what he has been doing against our defense every day. I think he needs to take some comfort in that he sees a pretty good defense across from his all spring and summer. Those snaps have been good experiences for him. Ultimately, you do have to get out there and do it. I have all the confidence he will."

We know that North Texas is pretty solid on defense but offensively they are going through some serious changes from seasons past. However, according to Stoops, the Mean Green offensive attack won't be anything that the Sooners haven't seen before.  

"They are a wide open, spread team. You get all of the zone and zone-read stuff. They have the quarterback run plays. I think as much as anything they are a team with a good running back that will spread you out and try to run it. Like all spread teams, they are going to spread you out and try to get their throws in. We are used to seeing this style of play. Everyone has their wrinkles and I am not going to say everyone is the same, but we are used to seeing them."

Player Quotes

"He is carrying himself a little different now. Now when he gets into the huddle he tries to be leader and take charge, rather than trying to find himself in the offense. He is an all-around good athlete; he is good at golf, basketball and football. He has talent and can do anything out there. Some think he can't run, but he has speed and can throw any kind of ball, even on the run. He throws a very catchable ball." - Receiver Malcolm Kelly on quarterback Sam Bradford since he won the starting job.
"We are out there working hard every day at practice, but it does not count until Saturday. Everybody in the secondary has been playing for a while like D.J. Wolfe, Darien Williams and myself. A lot of our guys have experience and that's definitely a factor." - Corner Back Marcus Walker on the secondary.