NORMAN, Oklahoma – Week three of college football is upon us and at his weekly press conference Oklahoma head coach Bob Stoops talks about the challenge of their upcoming opponent, Florida State.
The No. 1 ranked Sooners travel for the first time this season to Tallahassee to face the Seminoles, something Coach Stoops sees as a definite challenge.
"We're looking forward to it in that it will be a great and exciting challenge," said Stoops. "Their quarterback E.J. Manuel has really been playing great and defensively they've looked really strong."
"It obviously goes all the way back to last year in that through the second half of the season you could tell how much more familiar they were with their schemes and what the coaches wanted them to do, therefore you see a lot more aggressive and confident and stronger play which allowed them to finish a year ago in a really great way," added Stoops.
There's no question that Saturday's game is a big game. Even with weeks of buzz surrounding the top-five matchup and thousands packing Doak Campbell Stadium to the max, the circus like atmosphere isn't anything new to the Sooners.
"I say this in a humble way, when we show up it's usually that way wherever we go," said Stoops. "We don't usually walk in and it's all subdued and nobody is excited to see us. It'll be I am sure exciting and loud, but we've seen that and hopefully we will respond to it the right way and handle it and perform well."
Stoops said two big areas of the game are special teams play and the return game. He also talked about the need for OU to have balance and take care of the ball. Defensively they will focus on getting pressure on the run and trying to force the Seminoles into some passing situations to force turnovers.
"I feel strongly that we will invest in the week and go down there ready to play a great game," said Stoops.
On Monday, after much optimism that he would play, linebacker Travis Lewis said on Twitter he will not play in Saturday's game against the Seminoles. All along Stoops has said it's up to the doctors to decide when he plays, which he reiterated Tuesday.
"What player doesn't think he is going to play," said Stoops in regards to Lewis' tweets. "Doctors will make that decision." Stoops also added that he does not expect Lewis to play next week against Missouri either.
As far as conference realignment goes, Coach Stoops says there has been "very little" talk among the coaching staff and that he thinks how much the players are interested in it is "close to zero." Regardless of what happens, Stoops says it's up to President David Boren to make the decision, but that he "has been kept abreast of it" by the administration.
Other topics Coach Stoops addressed at the press conference include:
He says the team is still very deep at running back, with Clay, Whaley, Finch, Brandon Williams and FB Millard. Stoops added that they are still preparing running back Brandon Williams to play, but he did not say specifically when though. "We'll see who starts. I'll let coach (Cale) Gundy decide that. But all those guys will play."
Stoops: Jimmy Stevens will continue to kick short field goals and Michael Hunnicutt will kick mid-longer ones. OU is taking 5 kickers on the trip to FSU: Jimmy Stevens, Michael Hunnicuit, Patrick O'Hara, Tress Way and freshman walk-on Eric Hosek. Says freshman Hosek could get in on field goals, that he is striking the ball great right now.
When asked about awarding scholarships (i.e. for Dom Whaley) Stoops said he won't award scholarships until after the season.
Stoops: Hopes the team is credited for playing this sort of big game. Says he hopes it would "get the nod" over a team with the same number of losses because "If not, why play them?"
Stoops said Jarvis Jones is getting closer to possibly practicing next week after tearing his patella tendon.