Tuesday, January 1st, 2002
OKLAHOMA POST-GAME QUOTESOKLAHOMA COACH BOB STOOPS:
(On OU defense)
“Just amazing. To keep someone to 13 yards passing, I don’t care who you’re playing. To complete two footballs in a college football game today. They threw a lot of offense at us, the two-headed quarterback we’ve heard about for a month.
Defensively (we) may have outperformed what (we) did a year ago. To play two bowl games the last two years, against two very good teams, and keep them out of the end zone, is hard to do. Just an exceptional football game.
“In bowl games, when defense has an a month (to prepare), defensive recognition has a little edge.
(On defensive MVP Roy Williams)
“On Roy’s behalf, just an exceptional game. I’m sure Roy will be appreciative. Half the time I watch plays he makes and just stand over there and shake my head.”
“I think it’s fairly obvious that we took this seriously. There wasn’t anybody here who wasn’t prepared to win. Everyone who wanted to question our attitude, our motivation coming into this football game, you got to see the character of the players we get to work with every day. Regardless of what situation we’re in, pride is on the line. To go out against a team that had won six of their last seven games, and everybody wanted to talk about how mad they were, and couldn’t wait to play us, and talking upset, our players met the challenge.”
“Offensively we had some great moments. Just found some inconsistencies and came up with some penalties on several drives that broke our rhythm. I would have liked to score more points. Nate (Hybl) executed what we asked him to do. We were very sound in what we did. We moved the ball pretty well and scored enough points in the end to win. (The first) drive we just got in a good rhythm. And executed. (Arkansas) had a good scheme. They played man most of the year and played zone all day against us.”
OKLAHOMA PLAYER QUOTES
(Defensive MVP Roy Williams was not available. Left immediately to catch a plane)
OFFENSIVE MVP QUENTIN GRIFFIN
“All the coaches coached a great game. We were really thankful for this win. (Arkansas runs) around the ball really well. Those guys were persistent. They played a really good game. I think our preparation and practice were the keys to the game.
LINEBACKER ROCKY CALMUS
“Of course, I would have liked to go to the Rose Bowl. Unfortunately we couldn’t pull one out at home (losing to Oklahoma State to end the regular season). To go out on top, to end my career with the turnover (recovering an Arkansas), it couldn’t happen any other way. It’s been a great career her with these guys. I made great friendships and great memories. It’s very (special) what happened to me.
“I saw the ball pop out and I saw the center right next to it, and I knew it was going to be a scramble. I was trying to set myself up where that it wouldn’t squirt away. Fortunately it bounced right into my hands and I kept it. (Arkansas player) wouldn’t give up. He kept on trying to get it.”
“We had a great game plan. We had a couple of new blitzes that worked really well. I’d like to say maybe Arkansas, in their division (SEC West) hasn’t seen a defense like ours. It’s the little stuff. Guys doing their thing. Our D-line freeing up our linebackers to make the plays. We had great practices all month. We just executed it today.”
DEFENSIVE END CORY HEINECKE
“It’s itching to get out on the game field, having a month to practice and going against each other gets kind of old, so you want to hit somebody else for a change. It was our intensity. Our defense came out ready to play.
H-BACK JOSH NORMAN
“I’m happy to being a part in helping OU get back to this stage where we’re at. After my freshman year it was kind of looking the other way. Coach Stoops and his staff came in and got it turned around, him bringing in assistants that had great track records. They were winners where they came from. The chemistry and the organization. I think most of us thought that spring when they came in we were going to be pretty successful. The first year we were putting it together, then last year to get the national championship. This year just a few things went wrong. I’ve been very blessed with this career that I’ve had. Hopefully, we’ve set the foundation for the players coming in., the young players and future players.
“To come in and be with those guys, like Frank (Romero) and Rocky (Calmus) who were here at the time for the down years., and the for Coach Stoops to come in and turn things around, and persevere through that stuff, means a lot, especially to our seniors. The last two years, to leave here with only two losses, a national championship, a Cotton Bowl championship, to finish in a stadium that means so much to this university, it’s especially rewarding.”
OFFENSIVE TACKLE FRANK ROMERO
“I feel very fortunate to be surrounded by so many positive people. The coaching staff, their work ethic, and believing the game is already won before you even get on the field, that’s one of the foundations we’ve built here. The last three years have been really magical.”
TE TRENT SMITH
On the game: “We felt good about the way we played today. This was a solid win for us. I thought our offense took some big steps at times today. We have been working hard on supporting our defense and today that showed. I give our defense all the credit, they had a great game.”
On Arkansas: “Arkansas played a great game. Their fans really gave us a hard time the last few days. I’m not trying to criticize their fans, I’m sure our fans our tough too, but in a way they really helped prepare us for this game. There was a lot of talk about whether we would take this game seriously and I can promise you that we did.”
On Arkansas Defense: “Our coaches prepared us for all kinds of formations and today Arkansas really tried just about everything. At one point I looked over there and saw something like six guys lined up over the center. I just hoped that our line would sort out all that.”
DL DUSTY DVORACEK
On Rocky Calmus: “First of all our defense was absolutely dominating today. And just like all season Rocky was all over the place. He always seems to be around the ball- it’s amazing. We were disappointed with the loss to OSU but today’s win makes things feel a lot better for us. That was still a rough loss and this doesn’t replace that but it helps get us ready for next year.”
On the defense: “We helped the offense out a whole lot by holding them to 50 yards total offense. We set the tempo early by shutting down just about everything they threw at us. When our offense gets rolling we get rolling with them and today we put it all together.”
DL TOMMIE HARRIS
On the game: “We felt like people didn’t give us a lot of respect coming into this game. We were at a low point after the OSU game and today we played absolutely perfect on defense. No question, it’s the best defensive game we’ve had all year. In fact, you’ve got to go back to the Orange Bowl game to get a better defensive effort. There were no surprises today. We just played solid ‘D’ and let everything else take care of itself.”
DE JIMMY WILKERSON
On the game: “I hopped out of the bed ready to play. This was one I really wanted. I wouldn’t say anything they did on offense really surprised us- we practiced stuff all week and we were ready. Offense helped us out a lot today. They held the ball and tried to smash it down and that was a big plus. We got momentum early but let them get those three points in the second half- we really wanted a shut out today. I’m proud of our guys. We’ve overcome a lot in the last few games. I think our defense has improved tremendously from last year. In fact, we’re even a better defensive team than last year. We’ve got more speed, size, and we’re going to be tough to handle next year.”
On the Cotton Bowl: “This is a great bowl game. Everyone was so good to us here. Our coaches worked hard keeping us up and preparing us for this game- nobody wanted a let down.”
DB BRANDON EVERAGE
On the game: “This is the most complete defensive game we’ve played all year. It was a solid win over a good SEC team. Any time you hold a big time SEC school to 50 yards total offense you’ve got to be happy. We played with a lot of intensity but it may not have been like some of those Texas games that we’ve played here in the Cotton Bowl. That’s not to say that Arkansas wasn’t a good team, because they played hard- we just couldn’t be stopped. We didn’t give them any time to throw the ball. Our DB’s really stuffed them at times.”
QUARTERBACK NATE HYBL
On setting the record for most completions in a game: “I wasn’t aware of that. I was so concerned with winning the football game and that was the biggest thing. None of the personal stuff really matters. “
On being told he passed Roger Staubach to set the record: Really? That’s pretty cool. It’s flattering because he’s (Staubach) a great guy. When you look at all the shovel passes we throw and the quick gainers, they still count as completions and it takes some precision to do that. We look for a high completion percentage.
On the offense’s efficiency: We were very efficient. That’s twice we haven’t scored points in the Cotton Bowl this year. They did a good job. Everyone talked all week about them playing man and today they played a pretty good bit of zone on us. The holes were tough to find. We had a couple of chances for some deep balls. It was just a matter of having time to see it. They were bringing a pretty good rush. I would have liked to have had the one that Savage had because they was a pretty good opportunity. Other than that, they played us pretty soft and limited us to the short stuff.
On his performance this season: Offensively, there were times this year we were extremely efficient and we looked like a national championship caliber offense. But at times we weren’t and that’s what we have to assess this off season.
On winning the Cotton Bowl: I’m extremely happy with the win. It launches us into our off season and into spring football. We have a lot of guys coming back. We will surely miss our seniors who have built this program. They were 24-2 the last two season and that’s amazing.
CO –DEFENSIVE COORDINATOR BRENT VENABLES
On the game: We’re thrilled to win the game and do it in a dominating fashion on defense. For a defensive guy, it could not have worked out any better to have 55 plays and only give up 50 yards is a great credit to our players. Going into the game, we knew we have to be more physical than them. We dominated the line of scrimmage and we tackled well. We controlled the field position all day. On their one drive, they did a good job of keeping us off balance, but they really didn’t have any consistency all day. I thought our guys played with a lot of urgency and with something to prove with our last outing. Their manhood and their character were challenged after the last game and we responded well today.
CO –DEFENSIVE COORDINATOR BRENT VENABLES CONTINUED
On holding Arkansas to only 50 yards of offense: We know that if we play with our A game, we feel we can shut most people down. We’ve got an answer for anything any offense does.
On allowing only 5 points in OU’s last 2 bowl games: That’s playing championship type football. We’re very blessed because we have some very great, great football players with great attitudes. When you’re given 3 weeks to prepare for someone, you have the chance to figure some things out and how to stop people.
On Roy Williams’ play: He’s been consistent all year and him being the defensive MVP of the Cotton Bowl is just a reflection of that consistency. Roy wanted to go out this year with a bang and he certainly did. He was physical and was a dominating force against both the run and the pass.
On OU’s 9 sacks in the game: I think it was a combination of our players up front playing like a bunch of scalded dogs and we put some new defensive wrinkles in our rushers. We broke down their protection and the execution was great.
OU OFFENSIVE COORDINATOR CHUCK LONG
On their number of shuffle passes: We called those plays based upon the coverage they were playing.
On Hybl setting the Cotton Bowl completion record: I heard that and that’s a pretty good one to break.
On his first game as offensive coordinator at Oklahoma: I felt good early and got in the flow of the game. We had a nice drive for the touchdown and then I felt like we got out of rhythm a little bit. As a coordinator, I have to find a way to keep us on rhythm. Being up in the box , I’ve got to find a way to keep us in rhythm. They got out of rhythm a little bit today.
On staying in the press box vs. being on the field: I would rather stay in the press box because I can see more and it’s quieter. There is a lot of mayhem on the sidelines. We have 3 very intelligent coaches on the sidelines who have all played the game, so they have that experience and that helps.
OU OFFENSIVE COORDINATOR CHUCK LONG CONTINUED
On if he thought 10 points was enough to win the game: You never go into a game thinking how many points is enough. We have a lot of pride as well and we want to score as many points as we can. Our goal was to score 30 points which is our average. But at the same time, our goal was to protect the football which we didn’t do the last game. Another goal of ours was to take some pressure off of Nate. We didn’t want to put it all on our quarterback. Because of that, we wanted to balance our offense with the running game.
On Arkansas’s defense: They played really well. We knew they would play very well and very hard. Their defense is what got them here this year. Since that was the strength of their football team, we knew we had to stick with it. We had a huge goal of not taking any negative yardage. The spread offense is a great offense but no offense is any good when you have negative yardage. You have to give Arkansas credit for that. They did a nice job of getting us into the situation and that’s because they have good defensive players.
On Quentin Griffin’s play: He play excellently today. He kept them off balance. He was very quick. He runs that shovel pass very well. He’s just a nice weapon to have. He’s done everything we’ve asked. He’s a very smart football player and he protects the quarterback well. You see the rushes and you see the catches, but you don’t see the times he protects the quarterback. We are happy to have him back next year. He’s been on the cover of Sports Illustrated twice already and hopefully we’ll give him a third one next year.
OU TIGHT END TRENT SMITH
On OU’s offensive play today: I felt we did ok. We had 2 or 3 pretty substantial drives that resulted in points and we would have had another if I could’ve made a play on the ball. As long as the defense plays that way, 7 – 10 points is usually enough. The defense played great. We’re happy that we won but I’m sure there will be a lot of changes in the offense this off season. I look for Oklahoma to be right in the thick of things next year in terms of the national championship.
On his emotions after the game: I keep thinking about my best friends Frank (Romero) and Rocky (Calmus) and some of those guys and how we played our last game together. We all came in together and now they’re going to be gone. I don’t know quite what to think of that just yet.
On the fourth down play where he kept the drive alive for the touchdown: They’ve called on me a lot this year to keep drives alive. That time they asked me to make a fourth down catch and I did it. I was pretty certain the ball was coming to me. I was happy when the play was called because I like making big plays to help my team. It makes me feel useful.
On Hybl breaking Staubach’s record: That’s my roommate.
On OU’s season this year: It’s a top 10 finish and 11 wins which has only happened 11 or 12 times in OU history. That’s saying a lot. Obviously, we fell short of our expectations, but we did go out with a bowl victory. If you’re not talking about Oklahoma next year in the national title race, then something’s wrong.
WR JOSH NORMAN
On the efficiency of OU’s passing game: You always want to be efficient. Offensively, we would like to have had more yardage with our plays, but things didn’t happen that way. I think Arkansas had something to do with that, but we did a good job of distributing the ball to a lot of players. We were productive enough today to come out with a victory.
On Arkansas’ defense: All year they had shown man and today they played zone against us. When you have a month to prepare for a team, you have the time to recognize a lot of things. They did a good job today against us. They were prepared well for our offense and did things to take away we usually hit. We’ve got to tip our hats to those guys.
On Hybl setting the completion record: I’m not surprised he set the record, but I am surprised 24 completions was enough for the record. Congratulations to Nate. He deserves it. He’s put in a lot of hard work all year. He’s done a great job helping this team win 11 games.