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November 12, 2012

Tommy Tuberville

COACH TUBERVILLE:  Obviously, before we get started on Kansas and Oklahoma State, let's have a little discussion here about last weekend.  After watching the film when I got home, it was obvious what a lot of people were upset about.  It upset me too.  You don't do things like that, and it was obvious I reached up, grabbed his headset and pulled on it.
Heat of the battle, some things happen, and sometimes you'd like to take back.  I can't remember anything like that happening to me.  But that was a tough game.  We're fighting hard.  I've apologized to Kevin.  We talked.  Of course, we talked 30 seconds after that for the rest of the game, because I talk to him more on the head set than I do anybody else because he helps me chart special teams.
But it's unfortunate that that happened.  I've got kids of my own.  I've got a hundred kids on the sidelines and coaches, and I've got to hold myself to a higher regard than that, and I usually do.
But I will say this:  Some have reported that I slapped or hit.  You're dead wrong.  I did not do that.  I'm a little bit disappointed that most of you in here know me.  I think you know me a lot better than that.  I can understand somebody in L.A. or California doing it and making some kind of statement like that by watching the film, but I never thought about it in 35 years.  Never dreamed of hitting anybody and never have.  So we'll just leave it at that.  That's also disappointing to me that that would be written here in this town, but we'll get on with it.  We'll get to this week.
We're looking forward to getting back to work.  First of all, I'd like to talk a little bit about Kansas.  Our players of the game:  Defensive scout team player was Jonathan White; offensive scout team player was DeAndre Washington; special teams player, Kramer Fyfe, D.J. Johnson, defense; and two on offense who had the best game that they've had since they've been here,  Tyson Williams and LaAdrian Waddle.
We had good performances from a lot of these guys.  It was an interesting game going into a game like this.  Coming off the Texas game, we knew we were going to have some problems.  We knew they were a lot better than what people thought or showed with how they played, and they played well.
But our team is learning how to win when we don't play as well as we possibly could.  They learn how to fight back, and I'm proud of the coaches and players for doing that.  We won when we didn't play our best or coached our best.  We've won twice in overtime, and that's tough to do.
I'd proud for this team for being 7‑3.  That's a long cry from what a lot of people picked us, and we're not finish.  We've got a chance to do even better than that.  So looking forward to it.  Coming off this game, getting better.
We've got some guys that are still beat up.  Terrance Bullitt will be operated on this week.  We're going to lose him.  We hate that.  Same shoulder, and he just couldn't go anymore.  Hopefully we'll get Jarvis Phillips back and Cornelius Douglas.
Offensively we still don't know anything on that side of the ball, if we've got anybody coming back or not.  We'll have to wait to see how the week goes.  But we need to get stronger there too.
In that game, everybody said, why didn't you run the ball more?  And that's because we felt like we could throw it better.  That puts a lot of pressure on your quarterback.  Seth had a good day, but it was a day that if we could have run the ball a little more and taken time off the clock, it would have helped our defense, but we're learning how to win together, and that is one of the main things.
Oklahoma State, good football team, getting better.  They're the epitome of a team that's had injuries in one particular position, and their team has come together, fought hard together.  They've won some games, and they're getting much better.
So we've got our hands full.  They've got a good defense that's about as solid as we've seen.  They've got a good offense that can run and throw, and they've got the best kicker and punter in the country.
So it's going to be a tough task, but we're looking forward to going to Stillwater, it will be my first trip.  I've never been there, and I'm looking forward to going to a game and seeing if we've improved.

Q.  Some of the players in here mentioned the word embarrassed after the game they played against Oklahoma State last year.  Having lost that is that a motivating factor for these guys?
COACH TUBERVILLE:  Yeah, we just got whipped, outcoached, outplayed.  I think we fumbled the ball in the end zone for a touchdown on the kickoff.  It was one of those games you'd love to have back.  The year before, we didn't play quite as bad.  They had Weeden and the wide receiver that was tough.
But they're all motivating factors.  We didn't play very well in most games last year.  I think we've improved.  I think most would say that we've improved.  We've gotten better on offense and defense.  We just need to put more consistency together.  Last week we had three or four 15‑yard penalties that absolutely continued to kill us on both sides.  We do things in practice to try to correct those and try to get better.  Hopefully these last two games we can do that.

Q.  Is there anything different you guys can do this week as far as run defense after what happened on Saturday with Pearson and Simmons as far as taking on Joseph Randall who is a pretty good back?
COACH TUBERVILLE:  Yeah, he's a heck of a back.  The thing about the team that we just saw is that is what they do, and that's what they do best.  This is going to be a little tougher because they can pass the ball and get the ball down the field.  They've got good wide receivers.  They've got a strong offensive line that's very athletic.  We're going to have to be multiple.
Last week we tried to load up.  We played good at times.  When you make a tackle at the line of scrimmage, but when they load up and break the line, you've got problems.  We've had more missed tackles in last week's game than we had in three games before that.  So we'll get back to regular football this week that you normally see in the Big 12, running and a lot of throw, lot of good skill players.  So our defense has got their hands full big time.
But, again, we're better on defense.  We'll just see how much better we are than we were last year.  We've got to be much better to have a chance to win this game because we've got to play defense this week.  We just can't think we're going to outscore them.

Q.  Does it concern you that the Kansas kid was one dimensional and you had trouble stopping them?
COACH TUBERVILLE:  Yeah, we're not that big on defensive line.  I know most people know that.  We're missing Dennell Wesley.  He's probably our best defensive tackle for run stopper.  His grandfather died last Thursday.  He missed the game.  He went to the funeral on Saturday.  He'll be back.
But the thing about playing defense is you've got to keep getting better every week, and we've improved in some areas.  Some areas we've had linebackers last week.  We got cut off from the back side.  We didn't read quick enough at times.  We got lined up wrong.  It's just youth.  These guys have gotten better.  It's just the other teams have figured out a way sometimes to get us in a position that we don't play well in.
I think we're playing faster, we're playing quicker, and we're playing teams with a lot more quickness and speed.

Q.  Do you like what you've seen out of your team in overtime this year?
COACH TUBERVILLE:  Yeah, wish we started in overtime.  We play looser for some reason.  Last week the option play gave us problems.  We misplayed it one time in overtime.  The rest of the time we played it good.  I think we've got more confidence in each other, for some reason.  Offense and defense we feel like we can play looser.  I think we focus better.  We haven't had a penalty in either of the four overtimes.
If you look back at it, this is red zone all the way.  Our offense, for some reason, we scored six points in three quarters Saturday against a team that hadn't played very good defense and we get the ball in the red zone two times in overtime and score very quickly.  I think there is a common denominator there that we've got to focus better and rely on each other more and play, and play a little looser.

Q.  Can you talk about Eric Ward a little bit?  Does he get the publicity he deserves?
COACH TUBERVILLE:  Yeah, he's had three great games.  He's played well all year long.  He's played hurt too now.  He's been hurt the last few weeks and worked through it.  He's had shoulder problems, hip problems.  He doesn't miss practice.  He loves catching the football.
But the flip side of that, he's one of the better blockers we have.  He'll block well on the run, seldom comes out.  We lost some of our receivers to injury.  He knew he was going to have to play a lot more.  He hadn't complained a bit.  Stays in the training room quite a bit.  He's got good hands, good body control.  I saw him coming on, was it the first or second overtime?  Whether they decided to blitz, we hit him over the middle, and he got down to the one‑inch line, and you knew that was going to be money in the bank.  He loves one‑on‑one coverage, and he's pretty good at it.

Q.  You mentioned penalties.  Is that a matter of focus, and having to wait a split second longer to avoid those?
COACH TUBERVILLE:  Yeah, we've played a lot of guys on offense, and sometimes you can't get into a rhythm when you're playing a lot of players.  We're playing three backs, and wide receivers and combinations but we've improved.  We're scoring points.  Not as many as we'd like because we're not scoring in the red zone as much as we'd like.  But we're getting silly penalties, a holding penalty in the Texas game that hurt us.  That probably cost us a touchdown.
We don't get a lot of procedure penalties.  We communicate well.  I think a lot of times it's the tempo that we go at that we sometimes hurt ourselves.  We play well with tempo, but sometimes it also backfires on us.  Defensively, I'm pleased with how we're playing on defense compared to what we played last year.
But, again, it's the little things that we can shave off to make us better.  If you look at Kansas State, I go back and watch Kansas State play every week and look how they play.  They don't ever get any penalties.  They don't ever turn the ball over.
We look at it.  We always look at teams that have success, not just running plays, but doing the mental things right.  We've got to be a lot stronger mentally.  I think that's the area that we've got to get better at.

Q.  What is it with the illegal substitution penalties that's caused you problems?  Is it communication or just people not‑‑
COACH TUBERVILLE:  Yeah, well, you've got Torres and Zouzalik playing two positions.  Lot of times who is going in, who is not going in, it creates‑‑ we didn't have that problem when we had more depth.  But now we've got guys coming in that have to turn around and go back out on the field.
It's really not communication.  It's being able to go three or four plays and you're gassed, but you've got to go back in and figure out whether you're X or Z or H or Y.  If you don't huddle and you put 11 men on the line of scrimmage and you sub, you can't do that.  We've done that a couple of times which got us a penalty.  Those don't bother me as much as the 15‑yarders.  Those ave really hurt us.  Five yarders we can overcome a lot easier, but we don't need those either.

Q.  How do you approach a team like Oklahoma State?  That Texas Tech hasn't won there in a long time and your seniors haven't had any success against them either?
COACH TUBERVILLE:  You don't even talk about it.  It's 11 on 11.  We go play at 2:30.  We know what they do best, and they'll know what we do best.  We'll try to take each other on.  We can't worry about Oklahoma State or Baylor next week or the bowl game that we play in.  We've got tons of room for improvement.
Hopefully, we'll get some guys back that we can help some of these younger players that are playing probably more than they should play.

Q.  Have you talked to any coaches or anybody in terms of what to expect when you go into that atmosphere in Stillwater and what it's like playing there?
COACH TUBERVILLE:  Yeah, the sidelines different.  It's very narrow.  I've been in the stadium one time to speak at a clinic years ago when Jimmy Johnson was there back in '83, '84.  My understanding is they've built quite a bit on to it.  It's noisy.  It's loud.  We'll have to work on some things and make sure we communicate well with.  And their students and fans do a good job.
Just talking to a lot of the other coaches that have gone in there, I usually call to make a few calls to find out what they think.  That's pretty much their thoughts of the crowd noise and the sideline is a little bit intimidating.

Q.  With Terrance Bullitt out, do you always the same or do you trust Zach and Sam?
COACH TUBERVILLE:  Yeah, Winbush is going to play more.  He didn't play bad last week.  He played 15, 17 snaps.  I think that's the most he's ever played.  He just needs some reps, another spring practice as Awe does.  Awe's going to be a heck of a player.  The problem is you put him out there and he's going to play a hundred miles an hour, he might not be the right place.  He might take the right gap, but he loves to play.  Probably should have played him a little bit more earlier in the year, when we still had depth there.  Now that we don't have the depth and some guys are getting beat up, he's going to have to play some.
One thing I like about him, he's an excellent tackler, good open field tackler.  I think that's what we miss as an outside linebacker tackling in open field one‑on‑one, we don't do that very well.  We don't play with confidence in that area.

Q.  What are your thoughts on essentially having played all day games this year?
COACH TUBERVILLE:  I wish we could have had at least one or two games at night here.  I love on the road playing where you can get up and go play.  We play 2:30 this week.  Next week in Baylor, we play at 1:30.  Of course, we don't know what bowl game yet.  But I think college football is better in the daytime.  I think your fans are a lot more active when you're at home at night.  But when it starts getting cooler, I think it helps us to play in warmer weather because we do throw the ball quite a bit.

Q.  Coach, going back to the linebackers for a moment.  Which of those guys is likely to start in Terrance's place?
COACH TUBERVILLE:  Oh, they'll all play.  Sam Eguavoen last week hurt us a little bit on the first drive.  He got hooked a couple of times.  We put him on the line of scrimmage, they ran speed (No Audio) other than that, he played the best game he's played all year.  He tackled well.  He's playing with a lot more confidence.
He's the type that it doesn't come natural too.  He loves to play, but he's one of those that everything's got to be perfect until he gets his experience and understands how to play.  But I think him and Winbush probably will get more playing time this week, those two.  All the other guys are pretty much how they were a few weeks ago.  I haven't seen a lot of improvement because we've gone back and forth, passing team, option team, running quarterback.  It's hard to get a grip on what you're doing in defense in this league because every week is something different.
This week we'll see two backs; we'll see three backs; we'll see no backs.  I mean, you've got to adjust to all of that mentally before you can actually play a hundred percent.  I think that's hurt us at linebacker.

Q.  Asked you about playing two quarterbacks with Texas, Oklahoma State's got three different guys playing.  Is it a challenge because they all do stuff differently?
COACH TUBERVILLE:  Yeah, one's a little bit more of a runner.  I don't know who they're going to start.  It really doesn't make any difference.  They run the same offense though.  One will scramble more than the other.  One likes to throw the deep ball better than the other.  I think one has a lot more confidence standing in the pocket.
So you've just got to prepare for all of them.  It's not being able to say we know who it's going to be.  If we want to scramble, slide to the left.  He has a hard time throwing to his left.  This is totally different.  Number one, not knowing who is going to play, and knowing that probably you're going to see more than one anyway, so we'll prepare for all of them.

Q.  Does that give you an advantage knowing what each of them does when they come in that you can sort of anticipate what they're going to do?
COACH TUBERVILLE:  Yeah, it would be if there was experience defensively.  Lot of our guys get in too much of that.  4 is in the game, you know, he's going to do this or that.  You start thinking, and it slows you down.  We'll pretty much prepare for the offense, how many backs they've got in the game, where the wide receivers are at, and especially where No. 1's at, their running back because he's a guy that can really hurt you.  He's had a great year.
It's hard in a three‑day practice day to jam everything into playing two quarterbacks and all these formations.  You've got to play a lot of fundamental techniques and that's what we're teaching all year long, and we're getting better at it.

Q.  Kansas did some good stunts on the front line with their defensive line.  Kind of slowed down the run and got pressure with Doege will we be expecting that this week?
COACH TUBERVILLE:  Yeah, we're starting to get that.  Texas did that, and we'll get it.  It's like anything, if you see something and you don't play well against it, get ready.  You're going to start seeing it until you get an answer for that.
I'm sure we'll see that.  We saw a lot of movement from Iowa State during the year.  I think that's where people started picking up on, if you move young guards inside, they don't play as well, they don't play as hard or play as fast.  We've gotten better there.  Le'Raven Clark and Bo Carpenter are much improved.  So hopefully we can start running the ball better when people do run stunts on us.
But it has given us problems, and we've got to come up with an answer for it.  The answer is to have some success to where you can make them think about something else.

Q.  I was watching the Texas and Oklahoma State game they had these, I don't know if they were boards or screens behind the benches.  Do you have something like that to help with the crowd being right on your head?
COACH TUBERVILLE:  No, we hadn't‑‑ I hadn't seen that.  I don't know whether you legally can put anything behind your bench.  You'd have to put it in front of all your fans.  And we'll have tough enough time, I'm sure, with the people behind our bench.
But we'll go and try to prepare them as we always do to get ready.  It's an away game.  Not a lot of friendlies at an away game.  You'll have to focus better, concentrate better.  When you're on the sideline, understand what you're getting ready to get into.  Hopefully we handle it a lot better than some of the away games we've gone to.

Q.  What is this time like for you when your job starts coming up as a coach and people start throwing your names around for places like that?
COACH TUBERVILLE:  I never listen to that.  That's all message board stuff.  We're happy here.  We're excited.  When I came here I wanted Tucker and Troy to both graduate here.  I'm tired of moving them around.  But it's good.  I mean, other people might think that you've won a game or two in your lifetime.  But I never get caught up in that.  It drives you nuts.

Q.  Regarding the sideline incident, was there a discussion on Sunday that involved you and Kirby or Kent or the President?
COACH TUBERVILLE:  Well, of course, that's between me and KO.  Of course we talked on the headphones during the game.  No, there really didn't need to be a lot of discussion.

Q.  What did you say to your offensive line through ten games what are your thoughts on that?
COACH TUBERVILLE:  We hadn't played as well the last two weeks as I think we played in, I'd say, in TCU.  I thought we played pretty well there.  But it goes hand in hand on who you're playing against.  Each week they'll see it, whether it's a three‑man front, four‑man front, active line, defensive line, stronger defensive line.  So they've got to adjust to it.
Waddle has played well.  Terry McDaniel is probably the most improved of all five of the guys.  The three guys in the middle, Deveric struggled a little because he's trying to help one on the right and one on the left grow up.  And he suffered a little bit with his snaps.  You see some low snaps and things, and that's because he's having to communicate right up to the last minute and helping all those young guys on both sides.
But I'd say in the middle of the year we were probably a B, a B‑plus.  I'd say at this point after the last two weeks we've dropped down just for the simple fact of run blocking.  Pass protection has been good and that's our bread and butter.
But if we're going to win any of these game that's we're getting ready to play, we've got to be more balanced.  We know that.  If not, Seth's got to have a great day.  He's had some good ones.  But I hate putting it on his back.  I think we've got good running backs, and we can run the ball better.  We need to be able to do that and try it more.  Last few weeks hadn't worked out that well for us.

Q.  The guys on the radio said they've seen more chop block penalties called this year.  Is that something the league is looking for more?
COACH TUBERVILLE:  Yeah, and we as coaches want them called more.  We had one start called because the guard thought he was lined up on the center, and one guy blocked high, one guy blocked low.  That is one of the most dangerous blocks that you can have.
None of us like to lose players.  You can lose one quicker on the defensive line by guys blocking high and low.  So that's an area that we've really stressed with Walt Anderson, that's over our officials.  That and the quarterbacks, protect the quarterbacks.
I think we all know in this league we've got some guys that can play.  They make a big difference in how exciting the Big 12 is, but it's not as exciting if you've got them on the sideline.
We hit the quarterback from Kansas like‑‑ we didn't hit him with our head, we just pushed him.  But we asked that to be called, because can you fall on the shoulder, get a concussion on turf and all those things.  So chop blocks and roughing the quarterback, I really never have a problem with that.  Of course you're disappointed if you do it and it goes against you, but you also want your quarterback to make it through the year.
I always visit with the referee before the game about it.  How are you going to call it?  Are you going to be strict?  Please protect them on both sides.  That's really been important for us with the guy that we've got and the experience that he has.  He's been able to play so far this year without injury.

Q.  Situation aside, what led up to the 4th and 1 miscommunications?
COACH TUBERVILLE:  We just had punt guys going on the field, and where we were going to go for the fourth down.  We were going to go for it, and we ended up with 15 guys out there.  It's just one of those things where just communication broke down.  We had 4th and less than a yard, and we ended up 4th and 10.  Ironic, Erxleben probably kicked the best punt he kicked all year and kicked it at the 3‑yard line, so things happen for a reason.  But we were going to go for it at that position.  You've just got to have better communication at that time.

Q.  You said on Saturday that you reached for Kevin's shoulder‑‑
COACH TUBERVILLE:  We're not going to talk about that anymore.

Q.  ‑‑ there are people who want to know if you still stand by that?
COACH TUBERVILLE:  No more, no more, no more.

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