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November 23, 2010

Stoops talks about Bedlam matchup

Bob Stoops gets set for another showdown in Stillwater with the Big 12 South Division on the line once again. On Monday, Stoops addressed the media about his injury situation as well as the players who will be key factors in a run to a Big 12 Championship. Check out SoonerScoop.com's Q&A and video with Stoops after Monday's practice.

Do you still feel pretty good about Roy (Finch) and Austin (Box) for this weekend?
I do. They practiced today. Roy was a little more limited than Austin was, but he's feeling good and so I'm very optimistic. Austin made excellent improvement yesterday and today and they actually did a fair amount out there today. Again, unless something else changes, I believe they will.

When you look at that back, did that look like a helmet-on-helmet hit to Roy Finch?
You guys don't understand the rule. He wasn't defenseless. That's for quarterbacks looking downfield to throw the ball and receivers who have their eyes on the ball and they're defenseless because they're defenseless.

It's like a quarterback. Once he pulls the ball down and starts running, he's not defenseless anymore so you can hit him helmet to helmet.

(Mike) Gundy had talked today about all the young players for both teams going into this game that have made plays all year - the immediate future with freshmen and sophomores is really bright. Just talk about what you've seen...
Sure. Exactly. It's the same thing. It's been obvious with all the guys that are making good plays and again, I speak in particular to our guys and so many of them that are playing great. Austin Haywood hasn't been talked about a ton and he goes down on our kickoff and was great and gets better and better every week. There's a bunch of them that are really good players.

In that regard, can you talk about the freshmen receivers and their evolution as the season has gone along?
It's been a huge plus obviously from a year ago. Kenny Stills from day one, we saw that in the spring and of course everyone was talking about him and consistently from the beginning of the year has been an excellent player. I think back to early in the season and a competitive play at Texas when he makes the one-handed catch on our first touchdown. That's a true freshmen making that play.

But then here in the last middle to last part of the year, Trey Franks has just been awesome. He's strong, competitive, catching the ball, he's got more speed than anybody, probably, on the team. It's exciting to see him coming along and should just keep getting better.

It's always important to get a pass rush against any team, but a team like this with so many weapons, how critical is it?
Well, you have to cover them too. It's always important to get to the quarterback. It's coverage, it's rush, it's all of it together.

It looks like they have one of the better offensive lines with only 10 sacks, do they sometimes force you to blitz a little more when you've got to get pressure?
There's a lot of things. There's run game involved and it isn't just blitzing. Everybody blitzes every down. It's part of the game and you've got to mix it.

Over the years they've usually had a pretty good runner, a pretty good quarterback and at least one really good receiver. Is this the best combination they've had or is it up there with any?
It's up there with any. You guys know I'm never one to say any one thing's the best. But they're obviously up there with any of the other pairs that they've had, sure.

Can you talk about going back to halftime of A&M and the way Landry is playing now? He's had 10 really good quarters in a row there.
He's played great. He really has. When you have an 11 or 12-game season it's hard to be perfect. The guy, you look at his numbers and the touchdowns to interceptions. He's 30 and 7 and two of those picks are in the first game. So he's gone what? 10 games with five interceptions. That's pretty good for a second year starter and he's thrown 30 touchdowns and he's completing 67 or 68 percent of his balls. It's hard to ask for a whole lot more. We're excited about it and he's only going to keep getting better as a young guy.

How happy were you after his first drive when he has the snap go by him and the interception, to see him bounce back and to make progress in the next series?
Yeah, and the interception to me was a fourth-down play and he has a guy and the guy just kind of fell off. To me, those aren't so much on him. That happens. It's kind of like we fell out of a blitz and a guy wasn't expecting a guy to be there and Ronnell (Lewis) gets one. He knew those things happen. I am proud of him. I think the guy is a special player. He keeps getting better.

Video by Eddie Radosevich

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