Wednesday, Stoops spoke to the media and gave us some great insight heading in to the Cotton Bowl. A lot of what has been on the fans’ minds were answered, and thankfully, the Cotton Bowl was kind enough to post a transcript of the conference in a press release.
Stoops started by saying some nice things about Texas A&M’s program. They truly have done a great job in their first season in the SEC, especially when many thought they’d be a bottom dweller for years to come. However, first year head coach Kevin Sumlin did a superb job of taking this football and putting them in the right direction in this new era for Aggie Football. So they do deserve a lot of credit.
How the Sooners prepare for a team like Texas A&M will be easy and difficult at the same time. Oklahoma is more familiar with the Aggies system than the typical SEC school, but this is still not the same Aggies from a year ago. Thankfully the Sooners had more than just one week to prepare for the Heisman-winning quarterback Johnny Manziel and the 10-win Aggies. Stoops commented on the extra time given for bowl preparation.
“Anytime you are playing you can add a wrinkle or two. I think everyone does when you have this amount of time. Even though on a weekly basis you can add a wrinkle or two as to what fits and what you are doing. For instance, early on moving forward you work on some things that you plan on doing next year with some younger players. That is what we did with some of our quarterbacks that may be able to run the ball a bit more.” via AT&T Cotton Bowl.
Hopefully, the Sooners have done everything they can to match Sumlin’s Aggies, who lit up the SEC with the best offense in the league. Stoops had nothing but praise for the first year coach, who once stood on the sideline beside Stoops at the OU coaching staff.
“You see it in what he is doing now; he is an incredibly bright coach, I knew that. He is competitive, great worker, and I think what Kevin brings to Texas A&M is the way he relates with his players and how those players want to play for him. He has a way to bring attitude to his team. I thought the same thing when he was with us. He brought attitude and relationships with the players. That is what you need to be successful and compete at a high level.” via AT&T Cotton Bowl.
As you know, Stoops is also preparing to face the Heisman Trophy winner Johnny Manziel. The redshirt freshman will be a tough battle for the Oklahoma defense, though, “Johnny Football” has received a great deal of media attention. The distraction of the limelight is concerning to most fans, though, Stoops believes Sumlin will have his star quarterback ready for Arlington.
“As Kevin said, when you play a later game it is beneficial to that player. It is a distraction early in December, but then that fades away coming into bowl preparations. I’m sure Kevin has done the same thing; you manage those couple of weeks as to what his obligations are. You go ahead and start to minimize those so that he can concentrate on playing ball. There probably is a bit more made of it than it actually does affect the guy. Again, I think if there was an earlier bowl game it may be a bit more problematic.” via AT&T Cotton Bowl.
Maybe Johnny will come out a little rusty in this game, but I would not bet on it. This is a heckuva Aggie offense, and points are bound to be scored. Thankfully the Sooners have been in several shootouts this season, and have been quite successful. Stoops briefly commented on the possibility of high-scoring affair with the Aggies.
“Well we have been in a bunch of them. Our players have played in some tight situations in the last several weeks and have responded well. They have competed all the way to the end of those games. You never know how it is going to go.” via AT&T Cotton Bowl.
While it may be a shootout in Arlington, it will still be against an SEC school. The Aggies are not a traditional SEC power quite yet, but getting a win over Texas A&M would be huge for the Sooners. Especially for Landry Jones. With a win, Jones would have a win over a school in every AQ conference, though, Stoops does not see playing the SEC as much of a big deal.
“I don’t look at it that way. It all is propaganda and what the media does. We need to win for other reasons. I’m not worried about the media war. I am sure they have lost some of those games already, so I don’t get into that stuff.” via AT&T Cotton Bowl.
Finally, Stoops talked about things besides the Aggies in the news conference, but this one really peaked my interest. Everyone by now has seen Bob Stoops’ AT&T commercial, which involves Bob Stoops catching wind of a viral video of a high school recruit shared on the AT&T network. It is unintentionally hilarious with a crude voiceover to replace Stoops’ only speaking line. Why you would replace his voice in the first place is beyond me, but regardless, it came up at the news conference.
“They [AT&T] approached me about it and it was going to be during one of our off weeks. If it would have conflicted with our practice or work schedule I probably wouldn’t have been able to do it. It was on a Thursday during an off week. I went up to Putnam City and I was there from 11PM till about 1:30AM for the “Hello.” That is how bad I am. It took two and a half hours for that one take. Overall, I felt recruiting exposure and putting the program in front of people never hurts.” via AT&T Cotton Bowl.