I guess you could say that the weekend breathed new life into the Oklahoma football. First, there was the 52-0 shellacking of Iowa State on Saturday night and then Sunday night's announcement that the Sooners were the top team in the BCS. Now the college football world is forced to pay attention to OU and the Sooners are forced to wear something that no one this side of Phil Steele expected them to as the #1 ranking bullseye will clearly be on their backs. Bob Stoops addressed this and much more in his Tuesday press conference.
"Going back through and reviewing the Iowa State game, as I said after the game, I was really just pleased overall with our players performance and preparation through the week and really focusing and concentrating on us and our part and what we can do to continue to improve and get better as a team. I thought we showed a lot of good steps in doing that. I'm most pleased with what I think was three penalties on the day, maybe an all-time low. Just the execution on both sides of the football was really solid and good."
On a record setting night when it seemed that everything that could go right for Oklahoma's offense actually did, Coach Stoops had a lot of players to point out on that side of the ball for solid performances.
"Offensively, Donald Stephenson and Ben Habern up front were credited with excellent games and were players of the game along with, of course, Landry Jones, just another huge day with amazing efficiency. And also will all of the tempo on the line, I think we had one time where we didn't have enough guys on the line of scrimmage the whole day. (Jones) is handling all of the calls, the checks, the tempo of the line really just wonderfully and spreading the ball around, throwing great balls. He's just got a great arm and really getting a good feel for everything that he's doing.
DeMarco Murray, another huge day. Just strong running the football. Setting the touchdown record at Oklahoma is really special, everyone would acknowledge that with all the great, great players we've had here. It shows all that he's brought to this program and his dedication and commitment so we're really proud of DeMarco to have that record. I guess Landry set a record also for passing percentage with at least 25 attempts. And then Ryan Broyles as well with 15 catches, almost 200 yards, just sensational again. The guy just amazes me. I can't even tell you how many times I'll say in a game, 'That guy is absolutely incredible.' Just that way that he goes after the football, his body control, he's got amazing hands. Those guys were really excellent. A bunch of guys around them played well, everyone out there."
Of course anytime your defense pitches a shutout you've got to sing some praises on that side of the ball as well.
"Defensively, a very solid excellent performance anytime you shut someone out. Iowa State has moved the ball on a lot of people. Travis Lewis was the player of the game along with Frank Alexander. A lot of guys up front also played well, Stacy McGee and Adrian Taylor, all of the secondary guys, Tom Wort. Really everyone when you have a shutout. Those guys really did well. All in all, a good solid day."
Sunday the Sooners became college football's all-time leader at week's sitting atop the BCS standings. No big deal (at least at this point of the season) for Coach Stoops.
"What's it matter? I don't remember anybody talking about a goal that Oct. 15 we want to be number one in the BCS, that doesn't matter at all. What matters is Missouri. We've played two conference games and our whole focus and attitude is on them. That's it."
The Tigers have the Big 12's fourth highest scoring offense behind the arm of talented quarterback Blaine Gabbert who reminds Stoops of a former Missouri quarterback he's faced in the recent past.
"I see him operating as efficiently as Chase Daniel did. I know Chase was there for a longer period of time so Blaine is still working on that. What you've seen to this point is a guy, just like (Daniel) was, is just very efficient, smart on where he wants to go with the football. They understand their offense and he executes it well. He throws a good ball, he has good pocket presence, all of those things."
Defensively Missouri is #1 in the Big 12 in points allowed at 10.8 points per game. Conversely the Sooners are 3rd in the conference in scoring offense at 36 points per game. Bob Stoops knows that his crew has a lot of work to do on Saturday to maintain that average.
"They're structurally very sound and disciplined. We've played them in a few championship games the past few years and they've had great defenses coming into the game. They're very structurally sound, disciplined in how they play, they mix it up when they're coming after you and when they're not, they mix up their coverages and how they work it. This isn't unusual for us to see a strong defense by them. You're not in the Big 12 Championship for a few years in a row without playing good defense. So we've seen this and how they play and always respect how they play defense."
"It's not like it's the end of the season when it means we will get to go to a bowl game or the National Championship. In the middle of the season, it's not really that big of a deal. I knew we were going to be ranked pretty high, but I didn't think we were going to be ranked No. 1." - Corner Jamell Fleming on being #1 in the BCS
"They're a fast, athletic defense. They fly around to the ball. I saw a little of the [Missouri-Texas A&M] game last week and they looked really good on defense. We're going down to a hornet's nest. It's going to be a tough road game. Missouri is a formidable opponent. They're really good. We have to go down there and make no mistakes. We have to play mistake-free football." - Receiver Dejuan Miller on Missouri's defense
"We weren't playing up to our ability. We were doing good, but not as well as we thought we could. On film, we missed some small things. Working on the small things has been a big part of our improvement over the last few weeks." - Left Tackle Donald Stephenson on the play of the offensive line