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November 15, 2014

Bob Stoops


COACH STOOPS:  Like always, I'll start by complimenting Tech for playing a really hard fought game.  Coach Kingsbury, I think, is doing an excellent job.  They do a really good job.  Anyway, I was really pleased to come and play the way we did overall.  I'm not pleased that we started a little slow, but missing some key guys.
You're missing‑‑ Sterling wasn't able to do it.¬† And then you're without Trevor on offense.¬† Julian Wilson wasn't able to go.¬† I really was pleased with the character of our team to be able to come in here and play the way we did and answer back in the second half.¬† When you're down 21‑7 and then to storm back the way we did, we really played well together.
The offense running the football, Samaje Perine, again, was just incredible in how physical he runs.¬† And our guys up front blocking, the O‑line and Aaron Ripkowski, Blake Bell, all those guys up front did such a good job.¬† We were able to run it, and we felt we could.
In the first half, a few of the occasions that we didn't run it as much, we got behind the chains again with a couple of holding calls.¬† And then that takes you‑‑ it's kind of hard to continue to run the ball when it's first and 20.¬† But in the second half, we didn't have those.¬† We took care of it, and then defense got its stops, and we built a lead, a strong lead.
Again, really, really pleased to come in here and do it and win it the way we did.

Q.  Bob, you only threw the ball three times in the second half.  Was that a halftime adjustment, where you said we're just going to run it guys?
COACH STOOPS:  We wanted to run it from the start, but like I said, we had procedures, we had holdings.  When you get behind the chains, you can't.  Your game plan changes.  So we felt all along that we could run the football, and fortunately got in situations in the second half where we could.

Q.  Having said that, 5 of your first half passes of the 17 came on first down so you were behind the chains.  That's different in the second half, though.  You guys figured out if we can run the ball with power and average seven, eight, nine yards a carry.
COACH STOOPS:  So are you making a statement, or what are you asking me?

Q.  I guess you've already answered it.  You don't feel like you passed the ball too much in the first half?
COACH STOOPS:  No.  We're not going to go in and throw it just three times, not while I'm here.

Q.  A big bunch of running backs that you got powerful guys and big offensive line, quarterback making his first start and the 119th or whatever rush defense, you didn't want to establish the run early on these guys?
COACH STOOPS:  We did, and when we did, the holdings came on runs, didn't they?

Q.  On two of them.
COACH STOOPS:  Yeah, two of them did.

Q.  Coach, what did you see when you started calling the bootlegs or the keepers for Thomas?  Is?
COACH STOOPS:¬† Those are just some reads that he has that, if they're over‑‑ they're closing too hard‑‑ like Trevor, we've had that with other people, and he just made a few excellent reads, held one really long, got him to bite and go down hard inside.¬† He had a clean edge to pull it to.
And then on the one boot, it's just designed a keeper, that they were overplaying the run so hard, we felt a quarterback could get out on the edge.

Q.¬† You said first start‑‑ well, you didn't say, but first start for Cody on the road, did you find something a little special about him, the way he runs that zone read today?
COACH STOOPS:  Yeah, he's really natural with it, and you would expect that, being the athlete that he is, the baseball player, the hands they have, the way they deal the ball.  Cody's got a lot of athleticism to him for sure.  Really felt he would have thrown the ball better in the first half, to be quite honest with you.
Give him a little bit of a break, it was really windy, and it would gust.  Because he had a great week of practice throwing the football.  I think, of course, he'll grow from that experience.

Q.  Bob, it seemed like Cody in the second half, after throwing three interceptions in the first half, it says a lot about his poise that he was able to come back and play the way he did.  Is that something you knew is a pretty good quality of his?
COACH STOOPS:¬† We've seen it.¬† He carries himself that way.¬† He doesn't lack for confidence, and he does it‑‑ and the way he presents it, it's the right way.¬† But he's confident in what he's able to do.
So I'm happy that it turned out the way‑‑ he made a lot of great decisions there in the second half with the way he ran it and took care of the offense, just with all of the line of scrimmage, making‑‑ changing plays.¬† He really handled it all really well.

Q.  How much of those throws, those high throws and those interceptions in particular, how much do you think of that was nerves?
COACH STOOPS:  It's hard to tell.  I'm sure there's some, would be a little bit to that.

Q.  Striker got the sack on first and ten after you guys had scored, it really kind of gave you the first momentum defensively in the game.  But was it kind of tough watching your defense in the first half give up those big plays in the secondary?
COACH STOOPS:¬† The one we‑‑ one guy doesn't do what he's supposed to do, and he's wide open.¬† Even there at the end, it's just one person that doesn't‑‑ just can't‑‑ what are you going to do?
But they still competed well, and you're up 42‑24 with a second to go.¬† You're doing a lot of things pretty good.

Q.  Can you talk about that play by Striker?
COACH STOOPS:  It was a big one when we needed it.  I saw the flag come out, I thought they got him for going up high on the quarterback, and my heart dropped.  But fortunately, it was holding.
Those guys, we did a better job‑‑ a lot of the plays in the first half where we got hurt were on scrambles, and that's on our front four rushing.¬† We've got to do a better job to keep a guy in the pocket, and we did in the second half.¬† We kept him in the pocket more, and then you don't have those breakdowns when the guy's out running around.

Q.  Was that the major adjustment you made in the second half, keeping him in the pocket?  Or were there other adjustments?
COACH STOOPS:  That was the major one for us.  Other than that and communicating on the one route where we got caught in man and one guy passes a guy off and the other wasn't supposed to, and something we worked on but doesn't transfer to the field.

Q.  You went through a lot of big sets today, and they worked to a big advantage to you.  Ripkowski had a really good game at fullback.  Can you talk about giving him the ball more.
COACH STOOPS:¬† It's just something with his power and giving him the ball in some of those short yardage situations where we haven't been as effective, he gets the ball quicker up in there, and it ends up it's almost the equivalent of a sneak.¬† Rip does a‑‑ he's a really good athlete, powerful guy.

Q.¬† The importance of Samaje's long touchdown.¬† You guys go down two scores, and if you ever needed a big play to get you guys going.¬† It's not just the scores, but it's the‑‑
COACH STOOPS:  The momentum.

Q.  Exactly.  I take it, you really, really needed something like that.
COACH STOOPS:  Yeah, we do.  We felt that, if we kept at it, somebody would pop a run.  Fortunately, Samaje did.

Q.¬† Bob, you're down 21‑7 early third quarter.¬† You said you wanted to run, but down 14, you still wanted to stay with the game plan, but did you have to fight the urge to, hey, let's get back in the game quicker?¬† How do you make sure you stick with the game plan even down 14?
COACH STOOPS:¬† Not really.¬† Just because there was so much time left that you felt‑‑ you know, you felt‑‑ with what was there, 14 minutes to go, I think.¬† Anyway, there was so much time left, that we felt that no one needed to panic, that we could continue to stick with it.
And then fortunately, what goes with it, we started to get the defensive stops, and that's a major part of being able to stay with it too.

Q.  Can we get an update on Geneo Grissom?
COACH STOOPS:  Sprained MCL.  I would imagine that would be a couple, three weeks.  That's what they usually are depending on the degree.

Q.  Did Sterling reinjure his?
COACH STOOPS:  I don't believe he reinjured it.  He just knew that he couldn't explode and do the things that he has to do when he has to get behind people.

Q.  What was your impression of Mahomes?
COACH STOOPS:  I thought he was really good.  I thought he played well.

Q.  Bob, with Trevor having such a sensitive injury and Cody with this performance today, does it change the way you move forward or the type of caution you use moving forward with Trevor?
COACH STOOPS:¬† I don't think you're ever‑‑ I don't ever envision running‑‑ I envision it like today, like with Cody, where they run it enough, you have to be‑‑ you have to account for him, but I don't see us running him 20 times.¬† What did Cody run‑‑ 8.¬† You know, 8 to 15, that's what I see.
And sometimes is the opportunity there?¬† The way they were aligning, some of the plays we have called obviously worked and fit.¬† Had they changed up some things, they might not have.¬† Same thing with the read option, if they ‑‑ everyone can play it a little different.¬† So it just worked that he made some great decisions with it today.

Q.¬† Samaje became the first 1,000‑yard rusher since DeMarco.¬† At what point did you know that he was going to be capable of this at such a young age?
COACH STOOPS:  When you've got seniors talking about him in workouts that I'm not at, or when you've got seniors coming around saying, Coach, wait until you see this guy.  In the weight room or out training, he's just so powerful.
And Samaje, more than that, he's just so mature for a guy his age mentally and everything that he does.  Disciplined in his life, he's really a sharp, sharp guy that way and mature in how he handles himself and how serious he is about getting in and watching tape and being prepared to go with all that strength.

Q.¬† Bob, you've been asked so much about how you recover from your losses, and you come out down 21‑7.¬† It seems like players were kind of‑‑
COACH STOOPS:  Seems like not so well.

Q.¬† Seems like things are going‑‑ how big is this win now?
COACH STOOPS:  It's good.  It's positive.  Again, I credit the players' character.  I said it, just because you lose a few games doesn't mean your players have bad character.  I think they showed that tonight, today, that even down they were going to continue to play hard and try and execute the right way, and we did.  So we're going to keep battling.  We're going to keep trying.

Q.  Bob, on the two long touchdown passes that were called back, holding penalties and offensive line, but guys were wide, wide open.
COACH STOOPS:¬† Off of the scramble, we lost a guy.¬† Off of ‑‑ the one was a scramble.¬† The guys are‑‑ our middle safety didn't stay in the middle.¬† He saw a guy down lower, started to go down after him, can't do it.¬† You've got to stay deep.

Q.  It wasn't always easy for Jordan, but he hung in there.  Jordan Thomas we're talking about.
COACH STOOPS:  Jordan was great.  He competed really well, no doubt.  Made a mental error in the last play, but he competed really well throughout the day and felt really good about how he played.

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports

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