Bob Stoops met with the media on Tuesday for his weekly press conference. For the first time this year he faced the media following a loss which always sparks more interest in comments and questions asked. After battling back and taking a lead into the 4th quarter the Sooners completely collapsed, giving way to a Missouri victory. By Coach Stoops' own admission the fourth quarter was a disaster.
"There's no denying that through and through this year we've had trouble in the fourth quarter. In this game it was our worst one. Offensively, we go three-and-out, interception, we have the short field for a touchdown and then three-and-out. We had the ball for less than two minutes in the fourth quarter with no production offensively. Defensively, we give up around 98 yards rushing in the fourth quarter and 16 points where in the three quarters prior to that the defense is giving up 13 points. Schemes didn't change, they were running the same offense; we were still trying to mix up our defense, they executed. Give Missouri the credit, they made plays in the fourth quarter in their execution as a team and how they played and we did not. They earned a good victory.
Everyone knows that the have been struggles in the fourth quarter for the Sooners but the question of the day is what are they going to do to change that around?
"For us, those were issues. People want to ask about the fourth quarter. We'll try and change up some of our practice and with some of the good-on-good stuff that we do. We'll try to emphasize more at the end of practice just to promote that kind of emphasis at the end of the game. Playing better, playing our best, those kind of things. And in the end, just be able to go out in the fourth quarter and do it. We'll try and make some adjustments in practice just to emphasize it more."
Outside of the team's play there were also a couple of possibly questionable coaching decisions such as punting late in the game and the timing of the attempted two-point conversion.
"I felt, at the time, that you have to have it. If you miss it late or miss it then, either way you're not going to win. And I felt maybe you get them not on point, where they still have a comfort zone as opposed to the end of the game where you know you have to have it, that kind of thing. So in the end I felt go for it now and have the opportunity to get it within seven."
Then the two-point conversion not working just opened the door to more second guessing and the question was asked if Stoops regretted going for it when he did?
"You know you can, but the bottom line is the way you doubt it is if you feel the outcome would've been different later. In the end, we had the play drawn up. It was a play we were going to call whether later or then. When it doesn't work you shouldn't have done it.
"In the end, if you don't make it, you're still not going to win and you're still going to have to do something different. The other side is, time wise, if you wait till the end of the game and you get the same result you have no chance to do something different. I get it. In the end, it's not what the book says, you're in a bad situation at that point. The ball hit Kenny (Stills) in the shoulder and he has great hands and Ryan (Broyles) is within an inch of the deflection and it just didn't work out."
When looking at this week's opponent the reality of the situation is that the game should be settled this Saturday night by the time the fourth quarter rolls around. Of course, Bob Stoops won't come out and say that. Instead, he said this.
"That brings us to Colorado back here at home and a team that, even though they're 3-4, is very obvious when you watch them play that they're a much better football team than that. The last two losses they've had were very tight, close games against Texas Tech and Baylor. Cody Hawkins at quarterback is a guy that, as a freshman four years ago, beat us. We're very aware of what he's capable of and how he plays. They're a team whose offense is good and balanced, good running backs, good schemes. Defensively, very aggressive in how they've played. They've always played quite well. When you look back defensively and how they've been playing and how they are this year, we know we have to make some improvements. We have to be able to take care of the football and play like we have before this last game and not making the mistakes that really put us in a hole and not give us much of a chance to win. Hopefully we can make some improvement here this week."
As we mentioned on Sooner Nation Sunday night there is still a lot to play for this season, even with a loss, and Bob Stoops reiterated that on Tuesday.
"It's still a long year. The true message is that we have Colorado this week, our last north division team, and then four south division teams from there. There's still a ton in front of us. But not only us, everybody. You look at everyone playing across the country it's pretty balanced everywhere. In our conference I think it's pretty obvious that anybody can beat anybody. We have to be ready to play and have to do our work this week to be as good as we can be."
"I would say I'm 85-90 percent. It still kind of bothers me whenever I'm on the field, but whenever you're playing you don't really think about it. You don't feel it until after the game." - Roy Finch on his health
"We're a little disappointed, but we know we're much better than that and more capable. Now we have a chip on our shoulder and we just want to get better. We have to move on throughout the season, try to get better and learn from that game. It was our first loss of the season so it was a little bit of a let-down, but now we're picking it back up.
"As far as yesterday at practice, we were back and energetic and we have confidence in ourselves. It's going to be a little bit tougher road now, but we can do it, we still have faith and we've got to get better and progress." - Demontre Hust on the team's mentality after the Missouri game