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January 3, 2009
MIAMI GARDENS, FLORIDA
JOHN HUMENIK: Coach, just a general recap of your preparations to this point.
COACH WILSON: Good morning, happy new year. We have had some practices back in Norman prior to coming, kind of game preparation as always. With Bowl practice you get a little young guy work. Prior to Christmas we've had some Bowl prep, give the guys New Year's off, traveled yesterday, had a light go and we start our routine. In our world today is Monday, with the game coming Thursday.
So we're on a Monday routine with our meeting schedule, practice schedule. We have a fair amount of stuff in place. We have already practiced and guys have traveled, everybody is here. Everybody is ready to go. Hotel is fine. Ready to roll.
Q. What makes Sam Bradford so dynamic as a quarterback?
COACH WILSON: You know, I think a combination. I think he's a better athlete than given credit for. He's got tremendous -- a lot of sports, athletic family - mom is a PE teacher, dad former college athlete, et cetera. Played a lot of sports, a lot of competitive environments that he's been a part of. As a football player outside the physical skill, he can mentally process, play within himself, he can handle a lot mentally and not stress out, and he's surrounded by a nice complementary group of players.
I don't know individually if we have a bunch of players individually that stand out on their own as individually great players, but collectively when you put our line with our tight ends and receivers and backs, he's complemented by a quality group across the board, and those guys collectively we play together very good, and he's the guy managing the whole deal.
Q. Phil, what has he meant to this team thus far in the past couple years that he has been quarterback?
PHIL LOADHOLT: He's meant a lot to us. He's been a great leader on and off the field. He's a guy you look up to, just the way he takes over in practice, and everything he does he's a leader and means a lot to us.
Q. And Chris, you're in the backfield with him all the time. Talk about the pep talks he gives you guys when you guys haven't been down much this season, but what does he do different than any other quarterback you've worked with in the past?
CHRIS BROWN: Everybody knows him as being quiet but he's a vocal leader, also. He complements the team, he keeps us up. Three-and-out drive, he keeps us coming back, motivation to get something going on the next drive.
I think that plays a big part in everybody's confidence, having faith in him.
Q. Coach, I would like you to talk about your scheme and the pressure you put on defenses and how you go about maintaining that tempo as you attack opposing defenses.
COACH WILSON: Well, the first thing I think our guys do, we need to learn how to practice and we need to learn how to coach. That way we can practice that way. You don't play fast or you don't play fast-break basketball if you never practice is, but the real key is not the tempo as much as it is the execution because if you don't execute and you go three plays and out, there's no stress on you and there's no drive. The key is your 3rd down conversions, your key is your ability to eliminate negative plays, and to us I think that's more pleasing than anything else, is that as well as we might have played or points have been scored, we're more proud of the negatives. Like our goals are not to score -- we don't have a goal total or a yard total or rushing or passing. Our goals are, and they can tell you, how many missed assignments did we have in this game, how many negative plays did we have in this game, how many turnovers, and we try to chart the negatives and try to minimize the negatives. When you don't shoot yourself in the foot offensively, you have a chance to get rolling.
Then being a no huddle team as we execute, then the tempo has an effect. But if you don't execute and you go three-and-out and you're sitting on the bench, it's null and void. To me that's the real key is the way our kids have executed, the way our coaches have been able to coach and teach these guys in practice that they can transfer that onto the field.
Q. I'd like to ask each of the players to comment on that, the tempo, and what it's like when you can tell opposing defenses are really winded and you're just getting going.
PHIL LOADHOLT: I mean, the tempo is great, I think, as long as you're in shape. You should be able to handle the tempo that we do. It feels good to look over there and see the defense breathing hard.
CHRIS BROWN: I think this is a great system that we run here. You have to be in shape like Phil said, and you have to be focused every snap. You know, it works to our advantage I feel.
Q. Has anything changed with Sam since he won the Heisman? And also, how much pride do you guys take in him winning that?
COACH WILSON: You know, personally, again, it's a group deal for us, and I fortunately have been a part of that with other players where we've won it with Jason White before and been there close with he and Adrian, and have been a part of that.
It's a process. I think the only thing that's probably changed with Sam is he's probably getting tired of all the media requests and autograph hound guys, but that comes with the territory.
That wasn't our goal this year, and it wasn't our goal down the stretch, and it wasn't our goal down the stretch to have style points. Our goal was to play as good as we could, practice as hard as we could, go out and play. Our players embrace that. Because of that we've had some individual accolades, and that's a great honor for him. He's deserving, I'm proud of him, but our whole focus this year has been on our group and our team, and I think the guys will tell you we're proud of him, but it's been a group effort.
PHIL LOADHOLT: Yeah, we're definitely proud for him and he definitely deserved it, worked hard. It was exciting to see our quarterback win it, and we take a lot of pride in that definitely.
CHRIS BROWN: Well, I'm another guy that's proud for Sam. He's the first guy to give everybody around him credit for being able to win the Heisman Trophy, and he's a humble guy. There's nothing changed about him. He's the same guy since week one.
Q. To Phil and Chris, this is the second game ever two Heisman Trophy quarterbacks have gone against each other. Do you take any extra motivation in proving that Sam is the real Heisman winner and you guys kind of have to back him up in this game?
PHIL LOADHOLT: No, I don't think that's extra motivation. They're both the real Heisman and they both got the Heisman. We're proud of him, like I said, he was deserving, but I don't think we need any kind of extra motivation from the Heisman for this game.
CHRIS BROWN: I feel the same way.
Q. Will you talk about the Florida defense, what stands out about it to you as you prepare for them?
COACH WILSON: You know, in general just their team, it's coming out of a region with a lot of great players, great speed, great tradition, playing in a great league. They play against everyone every week. They can pressure from the field, from the boundary, a lot of challenges, they make you compete. They pick up their pressures. They play a lot of man or match coverage where there's a lot of one-on-one competitive plays and of course they've got great athletes that can cover. And of course their players up front, their linebacker Spikes is a big player in the middle but their edge players that rush and their front four kind of set the tone. With the athletes they can get to all kinds of nickel and five or six DBs and match you up if they need to.
I guess statistically they play great every week, they've played grade against every team, and it's a very complete -- they're well coached. I know Coach Strong personally. I know him well. And their coaching staff, coach McCarney used to be in our league and all those guys. So we've got great respect for their staff and we know they've got great players, and it's a challenging scheme. It's proven week after week. It's a young crowd, but it's a crowd that's gotten better, and I think that's probably what's exciting to them, is that they've seen these guys embrace and get better, and I bet you they're probably excited about the opportunity to challenge and know their best football is ahead. And I'm sure they're looking forward to playing this coming week.
So it's a great challenge. But it's also a fabulous opportunity, and we're looking forward to competing against them.
Q. There is so much talk about their speed, especially on offense. Do you guys obviously see that on defense? Can you just elaborate on that a little bit more? And does it really pop on film?
COACH WILSON: When you play any of the upper-level teams in this game -- I mean, I love to play in this game and play a dud team, but it doesn't come with the territory of the National Championship game. You're going to see a bunch of guys that are fast, that can cover. Again, you see a guy in the back end that can make competitive plays and challenge you on every throw. You see guys on the edge that can create pressure on your quarterback and stress out your offensive line. They attack you with blitzes where you've got to be able to pick them up and all that. So again, no different than the majority of top five, eight, 15 teams you watch. I mean, it's a tremendous challenge, and again, they do have great speed on offense.
When you come out of this state and you're going to play for one of three schools in the state, you're going to be a fast player. It comes with the territory.
Q. I know you guys are going to talk a ton of football this week, but you're college students. What do you guys do to get away from football off the field?
CHRIS BROWN: Well, I mean, it's football. You know, this is the last game of the season, so going out to the big bash on Wednesday is not important right now. We'll focus on football, that's what we're down here for, and this is the National Championship. So that said alone is enough for us to just focus on that and totally focus on that.
PHIL LOADHOLT: I agree. I mean, like I said, we don't need no extra motivation for this game. It's playing on the biggest stage we can play on. We definitely came out here focusing and got a task at hand.
Q. Could you talk about Gresham, and the way you guys use him and the impact he has on defenses?
COACH WILSON: Jermaine is a talented player, a young guy in his third year still getting better. He's got unique size where he's 260-ish, 261, 262, so he physically is big enough to be a blocker, but he's also athletic enough that he can play out in space and be a nice receiver. He's still learning how to block. He was a big high school receiver and played in the slot, so he's really great in filling coverages and how to run routes and leverages, but in the blocking game he's really got two-plus years, finishing his third year now, and not that he's a bad blocker. To me he's very unique, and to me I think he's the most complete tight end in the country. There's some guys that can block and there's some guys that can catch, but he can do both. We can put two tight ends on the field and they can block, and we can also get out there in space where he's got 22, 23, 24 touchdowns the last two years.
So he's an unusual match-up. He's a very competitive kid, he's a very prideful kid. He's a young man that is a joy to practice, and he loves to play. In his own way, he's not much different than some of our great players like Adrian Peterson and those guys. He loves to practice, he loves to work hard. He gets after it.
So he's got some unique skills, but he's probably a better kid and a better person than guys know. We've got a bunch of really nice players and good kids, and that's why we've got a heck of a team right now.
Q. Last year in the Fiesta Bowl West Virginia had kind of speedy guys on the edges, gave you guys some problems and it was one of your worst offensive performances of the year. Florida seems somewhat similar on tape. How do you look at this match-up and are you doing anything different against the speedy front line of this team?
PHIL LOADHOLT: We've been dealing with a lot of speed all year since that Bowl game last year. I mean, we did some things, work in the summertime and things like that. I mean, we're not doing anything different, though.
CHRIS BROWN: I'm not going to compare last season's Fiesta Bowl to this season. You know, like Coach said, a lot of teams have speed, we're just preparing ourselves as best as we can to be ready for Thursday night.
Q. Chris, could you talk a little about DeMarco missing this game, how hard it is. And do you feel at all like maybe you're playing for him a bit with more responsibility come Thursday night?
CHRIS BROWN: Well, it's very disappointing for a fellow teammate and friend, and I feel bad for him. I'm sorry for the situation that happened. You know, he's been nothing but positive towards me going into the game, confidence boost and stuff like that.
I think everybody is playing for everybody. I think the whole team is playing for everybody, and he's included in the team, so he's included in the team effort for playing for everybody, for the ultimate goal.
Q. Coach, if you'd touch on Chris as a player and how much of a load he can take with DeMarco's absence?
COACH WILSON: Well, this year we've had -- well, for years if anyone has covered us we've had some situations where players have went down, and fortunately we've had a lot of guys pick it up and play well for us this year. Brody Eldridge got hurt and our tight ends had to pick it up, and we still did our tight end groups and our big guys, and Brody Eldridge, he's one of my favorite players. He's a heck of a player for us. Manuel Johnson was our hot receiver and went down and Quentin Chaney came in and played great. You saw how Moses is came in and complemented us in the Championship game when DeMarco went out on the first...
Like Chris said, our story is not our team. Our team is a great group that will cover up for itself. You don't get this game every Saturday. This game doesn't sit out there every week in our world. This game is once a year for two teams, and you've got a heck of a player and a great kid missing this one. That's our story.
As Chris was saying, we kind of feel for him. Chris is a quality player. Our deal is to try to attack the defense. We have the ability to adjust, if it's running a lot or passing a lot. But it comes down to execution. We'll be able to complement Chris with Moses, we'll play -- we've have to attack each defense differently because of their schemes and what they do, so every game plan is not the same. But we have phenomenal confidence. Chris is our, quote, in the media world he's the second team tailback, but yet he's the leading rusher scoring. And I think he's about sixth or seventh in the nation in scoring touchdowns, so he's not a bad deuce. So that's not too bad.
Q. To both of the players, five straight games with 60-plus points, can you just talk about the feeling of every time you step on the field each series you expect to score, and then also kind of expectation you have for yourself going into this game?
PHIL LOADHOLT: I think like Coach said earlier, we never have a goal when we try to score and get in a game. I think every offense's goal when they step on the field is to score. Just coming into this game we're just going to do the things we've been doing all year because it's seemed to work so far.
CHRIS BROWN: Yeah, I think our execution and preparation during the week allows us to do big things on the field. You know, like Phil said and Coach said, we never just say, well, let's go out and score 70 points or 65 points or 55 points. We just want to do whatever it takes to win, and if it's scoring 1,000 points, then we're going to try to do it.
Q. Do you feel unstoppable, though?
CHRIS BROWN: No, I don't feel like we're unstoppable. I feel like when we're clicking and got things going we're a great unit. We've still got things that we can work on and we've still got things that we can build on. That's why we're here, to prepare right and put ourselves in position.
Q. This is for both the players: Guys, I don't know how much time you've spent, if at all, following what's going on with other Bowl games, but some of the other Big 12 teams have produced a little bit below their level that they've been producing at normally during the season like Texas Tech and Missouri and whatnot. Do you feel that? Do you pay attention to that? Does that really mean anything to you guys?
PHIL LOADHOLT: I've watched the games, and you always want to see your conference do good in the Bowl games. As far as why that happened, that's with them. You always want to see your conference do good in the Bowl games, though.
CHRIS BROWN: Yeah, that's a whole totally different team. We're in the same conference, but that's Texas Tech and that's Oklahoma State, and this is Oklahoma. We focus on what we have to do in our game and the situation that we're in.
JOHN HUMENIK: Thank you very much.
We're ready to go ahead and start with questions. Please address your question individually to the given player if you only want that player to respond. If you want all four, please say so.
Q. This is for Sam: Sam, before this your offensive coordinator was in here and he was asked about what it's been like for you since the Heisman. He said as much as anything you're probably sick of talking to us. How has it been? What's been the impact on you and now with it being game week? Do you kind of relax and get down to football?
SAM BRADFORD: Obviously the Heisman experience was something really special and it was fun to be in New York. But I think as soon as I got back to Norman, I got back to trying to be as normal as possible. I got back to finishing school and got back to practice.
Q. What makes Sam Bradford so great?
JUAQUIN IGLESIAS: I think just him reading the defense and his poise in the pocket and him being a great leader for this offense. Everything about Sam makes Sam a great player for us.
Q. Jermaine, same question.
JERMAINE GRESHAM: His passion for the game, just the way he approaches it and his hard work towards it.
Q. Sam, what makes you so dynamic and different from other quarterbacks around the nation?
SAM BRADFORD: You know, that's hard to say, but I put a lot of work into it in the off-season, in the film room, just trying to be as prepared as I can when the game comes and have an opportunity to be out here and playing with these guys.
Q. Sam, when you guys got off the plane yesterday I saw you were taking pictures with flight attendants, pilots. Does this ever get old to you? Do you want of just hide away?
SAM BRADFORD: Yeah, there's times where you want to go where no one knows your name. It's really cool, having the opportunity to take pictures with people, give them something that they'll have forever and they'll enjoy.
Q. Sam, the history of Heisman winners in this game has not been real good. After going through this experience can you point to any reason why that may be? And can you point to a reason why it's not going to happen to you on Thursday?
SAM BRADFORD: It's really hard for me to talk about previous winners and the difficulties they've had in their Bowl games because I wasn't there when they were on their trip, so I don't know what they got caught up doing and how they prepared for the game. I know as soon as I got back from New York I forgot about that experience, got back to business, getting ready to prepare for this game and help my team win.
Q. Sam, I know during the Heisman thing you and Tim got a chance to meet. Talk about him outside of the game of football. Everybody is talking about what a nice guy he is as well as yourself.
SAM BRADFORD: Yeah, he's a good guy. I think when we were in Orlando and we saw the piece on him and his family and what they do for people in the Philippines and what they do across the world, I think to meet someone and talk to him about that was really cool.
Q. Jermaine, could you just talk about the way you've evolved and become such a powerful part of this offense and how you see yourself matching up against Florida?
JERMAINE GRESHAM: I mean, I'm just another read in the offense. We just go through processes and stuff like that, so it happens as it happens. Hopefully I'll be a big impact in this game. Hopefully I'll block well.
Q. Talk about Florida and the match-up with them, just what you see as you look as them.
JERMAINE GRESHAM: A great defense, very quick, very passive defense. They fly around to the ball. So hopefully I can find some holes in their defense and hopefully we can pick them apart.
Q. What's it like to sit up there next to a guy who gets asked so many questions, his name is called so much and you sit there and hunch over? Do you ever get bothered by it, or do you poke him under the table? What do you do?
JON COOPER: I'm just excited you asked me a question. It's great. It's fun to watch Sam. He earns everything he's got, and he does a great job with it. Like he said, as soon as he's been back from New York he was business as usual, he's just regular Sam to us.
JERMAINE GRESHAM: I don't like doing this anyway, so I'm happy you ask him the questions (laughter).
Q. This is really for all four of you: I know if you win the game, you're going to be the champions and you'll be plenty proud of that, but what do you say to somebody from Utah? They won their game, they're undefeated. Obviously they're going to feel like they got left out no matter who wins this game. What would you say to any team that says, we had as much right to be there as much as the two teams that were there. In the end can this system be completely fair?
JON COOPER: I don't think there is a perfect system. And if they get left out, I don't know, I'd tell them sorry. They did everything they could. They won all their games. They did everything that was asked of them. There's not a perfect system.
SAM BRADFORD: Obviously it's a system we have and it's the system we have to deal with. Whether it's fair or not it's not for us to say. For the Utah players, I really don't know what you would say to them. To go 13-0 and not have a shot to be in this game, it's obviously tough for them. It's the system we have and it's the system we have to deal with.
JUAQUIN IGLESIAS: I mean, what to say to them, it's hard to say. But the most you can do is just keep winning. I mean, they did a great job, and for them to be left out, it's unfortunate. But it is what it is.
JERMAINE GRESHAM: I would tell them, "great job", you did everything you was asked to do to be there.
Q. This isn't really to anyone in particular but if a couple could answer: You guys have scored 60-plus in five straight games, 700 for the year. No one has ever done that before. Do you ever feel unstoppable when you walk on the field?
JUAQUIN IGLESIAS: For me, no. We lost a game already, and we haven't scored 60 all year. I mean, that's not something we set out to do. It's easy to get caught up in that you can't be stopped, but anybody can get beat on any day.
SAM BRADFORD: I don't know if we ever feel unstoppable, but I feel like as an offense we are very confident in our abilities and what we do and how we play. So I think when we take the field we're confident that we do have the ability to score every time we touch the football. But as far as going out there and setting a goal of scoring every time we touch it, it's something we can't get caught up in if we do get stopped.
JON COOPER: Like Sam said, we are very confident in our abilities, but we do go out there expecting to score every time, but we don't feel like we are unstoppable because we have been beat this season, and it's obvious that it could happen again. If we just walk on the field and it's just not going to happen, it won't.
JERMAINE GRESHAM: We got beat this year, so we've been stopped before. So we can't be unstoppable.
Q. Sam, could you just talk about what you see from the Florida offense, what kind of things -- Florida defense rather, what kind of things they do? And is there anybody they compare to what you've played so far with what they do scheme-wise?
SAM BRADFORD: Yeah, the Florida defense is a really good defense. I think it's probably one of the best defenses we've seen all year. They're very aggressive especially in the secondary. They're not afraid to come up and play man coverage and jump routes. Their front four is extremely talented.
I don't know if you can really compare them to anyone that we've played this year. I would say if anyone, it would probably be similar to Texas.
Q. Sam, obviously I'm sure you've seen Tim Tebow, whether on TV, film, whatever. Talk about both you guys as field generals and just break down you guys a little bit.
SAM BRADFORD: I think Tim is a great player. I haven't had a chance to see him play a whole lot, but from what I've seen he is a great leader on his team, not only a great player, and I think he gets everyone else on his team motivated to go out there and play as hard as they can.
Q. Sam, I know you had said there hasn't been much change since you got back from Norman, but the reality is it's a little different with you winning the Heisman. Can you talk about the layoff, though? You guys are probably used to this by now, been through it a little bit. What do you guys do, is it total focus even when you're off at home during your holidays a little bit? Switch it on and off? How do you maintain that focus and study for this game in particular?
SAM BRADFORD: You know, I think there's kind of a balance that you have to come to as far as when you're fully focused and when you allow yourself to take time off. I think if you spend a month trying to focus as hard as you can on this game, you'd burn yourself out before you got here. I think you have to find time to get away from it and just relax and get away from it. But at the same time, I think it's something you need to think about, not as much as possible, but as much as you can without getting burned out to make sure that you're ready for the opportunity.
Q. This is for both Jon and Jermaine: Could you talk about matching up with the Florida defensive line, what kind of things you see from them and how you think things will go in the blocking.
JON COOPER: Their defensive line, they're really good up front. All four of them make plays. They're very active and fast and move around. Another thing they do really well is free up their linebackers to make a lot of plays. I think it's going to be a great match-up. It's going to be fun to play and they're really good, and we look forward to the challenge.
JERMAINE GRESHAM: Yeah, what he just said. They treat their backers like they're real good, and they're big and fast, so it's going to be a challenge. So it's going to be go out there and have fun.
Q. Sort of building off that a little bit, the last two games you guys lost, the Fiesta Bowl and Texas, it could be argued that the offensive line didn't play very well. Jon, do you guys do anything differently in this game? And Sam, what do you believe how far this offensive line has grown, why this will be different than those two games?
JON COOPER: I don't think we do anything differently. If we do, it's not really up to us, it's Coach Wilson and his scheme and his plan, and I think so far he has a great plan, and we're going to buy in and do what he asks us to do.
SAM BRADFORD: I think our offensive line, obviously they're very experienced. They've played in big games. They know what this going to be like. But I think really since the Texas game, since we've got beat, they've taken on a whole different attitude, especially towards the run game, and I think that's something that's really helped our offense.
Q. Sam, how is the hand? Any issues in terms of --
SAM BRADFORD: No, it feels great. It's going to be fine.
Q. Sam, you always hear about in the NFL if a quarterback or a running back has a huge game, they take the offensive line out for dinner or anything. Have you had to do that yet? And if so, are you broke yet?
SAM BRADFORD: (Smiling) Well, as Coop will tell you, I took them out to eat last year, but unfortunately we lost the next week, so we kind of stopped that (laughter).
But when they come back to down in Norman, I do have something planned for them.
JON COOPER: He takes care of us. He's all right.
Q. Guys, for any or all of you: There've been reports about Bob Stoops and the Denver job. I know that doesn't affect what happens in the game this week, but has he brought that up to you guys to say, "don't worry about it"? Has it even come up at all?
JON COOPER: No, he hasn't brought anything up.
End of FastScripts