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November 30, 2010

Stoops gets set for Big 12 Championship

Oklahoma's Bob Stoops gets set to take his team up against the Nebraska Cornhuskers this Saturday at Cowboys Stadium in Arlington, Texas. Stoops met with members of the media on Monday to talk about the latest on Demarco Murray, Jonathan Nelson and the development of his team heading into the Big 12 Championship.

Bob, can you talk about Quinton Carter being named to the AFCA All-American team?
Yeah. I'm really excited for Q. That was really exciting to hear and he had another huge game the other night so it's well-deserved. The guy's been a steady player and a big hitter for us and a good cover guy so he's done a little bit of everything.

He's a humble guy. He probably doesn't want any attention do he?
Yeah. He's that way. But most of our guys are. We're not all out here looking at individual awards. I'm happy for him.

What's up with the coaches not putting Broyles on there?
Ah, I don't know. It's unfortunate. But those other guys, not meaning to take anything away from them. They probably need to have more guys on there because those other guys are great players too. That is unfortunate. He's a special player and he's had a huge year.

What is the latest on Murray and Jonathan Nelson?
Jonathan practiced, went through everything. Everything looks good and Demarco is much improved from yesterday so we have a positive outlook on it. We'll see how the week goes. I don't want to say something now until it's for sure. It's looking positive right now.

It looked like the helmet just hit his knee?
Well, I'm not going to detail any injuries, you know I don't do that.

You've been just a hair off here or there on defense. How much is having Austin Box, with his experience, helping pull that together?
It makes a big difference. Austin has a lot of experience in our defense in making adjustments and it's helped us. We've had a lot fewer mental mistakes and he helps other people in making the calls and doing certain things. It's been a plus.

Coach Venables said a couple of weeks ago he just needs to be solid, he doesn't have to be Superman. But man, he's made some pretty big plays the last couple of weeks.
Yeah, he's made a lot of good plays. He's capable of that and he's been steady in other areas where sometimes he doesn't show up. He's in good position and he forces the ball somewhere else and someone else makes a play. He's been good.

If Demarco can't go you obviously have confidence in his backup, Mossis Madu. He had a big game a couple of years ago in the Big 12 Championship backing him up.
Well, I'm not going there because I said it's moving in a positive direction. But obviously two years ago (Mossis) has a huge Big 12 Championship game and these other guys have played well. We played the whole fourth quarter without them the other night in an important game and those guys played well.

Who is faster? James Hanna or Cameron Kenney?
It's pretty close but I think Cameron might nose him out. James has got about thirty pounds on him. They can run. Cameron's got great speed and so does James. For a tight end, you're not going to find many that run as well as him, which was obvious.

What does it say about Cameron? He hasn't been a huge factor for several games and then to come out and have a game like that.
I was really proud of him, excited for him. He really stepped up. We run that route and ironically it's a route we've had in since Mike Leach was here. We were running it before Okie State was running it and they run it all the time now. We ran it and three guys are looking for Broyles over the middle and we just followed him with Cameron and he runs away from the corner, makes a huge catch and Landry puts it where it needs to be, where he doesn't have to break stride or slow up. Otherwise he gets caught. The kids really executed well.

When you're a senior and then you start and you lose a job to a true freshmen, (Cameron Kenney) has stuck with it and waited for his chance…
And he's had multiple games where he's played well, from what you're saying. It isn't just this week. We feel great about his progress, his positive attitude and we expect him to be playing this week too. We'll see how those guys practice but we've got a lot of confidence in him.

What do you attribute your success to on the road in the past two games?
We've played well. Players made plays when they had the opportunities to make 'em.

You commented on the postgame when the ball was in the air to James Hanna where you said 'surely he'll…' - then you moved on. You had a moment there where you were (unsure)…
No. I didn't. James had already had a huge night and he'd already caught a lot of other balls and to me it was an anomaly what happened at A&M. James has great hands. We felt positive that - well not positive - but we were after a first down to move the chains for sure. Then from there who knows what will happen. Obviously if he's behind everybody it's going to be a big play that we'd be able to run out the clock.

One of the topics of conversation when people talked about Landry was that he needed better pocket presence. It seems like he's really started to develop that part of his game as a quarterback.
He's stepping up great and moving around in it, stepping up in it, delivering the ball when he has chances to step up and out. He's developing that way and he's more and more comfortable in those situations.

For Brent Venables to put in a defense like that last week, what are some of his strengths that you've seen that make him so good at things like that?
Brent works hard at it, he is creative, he looks for different ways and adjusts to what people are doing. Whether it's up front or in the secondary. I think that's where he really grasps the whole scheme of it and does a good job communicating it and getting it done with the assistant coaches and the players. They worked it hard, the players worked it hard and it worked out.

Even though you worked on it this summer it's really tough to make it look so smooth?
Yeah. But kids are bright and Brent worked with the other assistant coaches and everybody got it communicated properly and that's what meetings and practice are for but they did a good job with it obviously.

Video by Eddie Radosevich

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