It was just three weeks ago that we were talking about Oklahoma getting its first big test of the season, going on the road to face Florida State. The Sooners passed that test, and now it’s time for another of similar magnitude. Oklahoma will take on Texas in the Red River Rivalry on Saturday in Dallas.
The Sooners are hoping a victory not only keeps them near the top of the rankings, but perhaps propels them back to the top of some of those that have seen them fall behind LSU and Alabama. For Texas, it’s the Longhorns first real big test. They’ve beaten the likes of UCLA and BYU, but haven’t seen a ranked team yet.
Oklahoma coach Bob Stoops joined 105.3 The Fan in Dallas on New School with Shan and RJ to discuss the start to the season, where the Sooners sit in the rankings, running back Dom Whaley, how the Texas offense looks as it has shifted throughout the season, what the rivalry means to him, if he’s happy the Pac-12 rumors have been put to bed and how the Florida State game prepared his team for this one.
How do you feel about your football team about a month into the season now?:
“We’re making good progress. I think so much of the time everybody wants a finished product in the second, third game. Heck, it’s still early in the season. We’ve done well and we’re making good progress and hopefully we’ll just continue to get better.”
You started the year ranked No. 1 and haven’t lost, but are ranked No. 3 now. Does that matter to you?:
“At this time of year, it really doesn’t matter. At this time of the year, it’s probably just as well. … We’re No. 1 in the coaches poll, so at the end of the day we’re up there with several other football teams with a ton of football left to play. It’s just fine.”
Talk about the improvement that Dom Whaley has made at running back:
“He’s a guy that’s really developed here and he’s having a great year so far. He’s a big, powerful guy that’s really come into his own. He’s making good, big plays for us, taking care of the football. He’s been a real plus for us.”
How has Texas’ offense changed since it switched quarterbacks?
“I think as much as anything, just the overall offense has changed with all the shifting and motioning and all the different players they have running the football. The two quarterbacks that are playing right now are really, as you could see in the last couple of weeks, are really blending or meshed into where they’re each doing the same things.”
What does the Oklahoma-Texas rivalry mean to you?:
“First I think of Big 12 championships. Now that we’re in the same divisions together, where we used to be for the last 12 years in the same division and going for championships, that’s what it’s meant to us more than anything. This game usually was a significant step and factor in winning the Big 12 championship.”
Is it nice to have some stability with the Pac-12 rumors put to bed?:
“Yeah, but you know, in the end, sometimes the landscape’s always shifting. Sometimes you have to research those opportunities and ideas and explore them. That’s what everyone has done. At the end of the day, we do realize this has been very good for Oklahoma, this league.”
How much do you think the big road game at Florida State prepared your team for this one against Texas?:
“It definitely has made us prepared to go on the road here in this game, although it’s not a road game. It’s a neutral site and we’ll have as many fans there as they will. But being in that atmosphere so early in the season, with such a loud crowd, it can only help us.”
Does the possibility of rain on gameday change the preparation in any way?:
“No. That’s something that if it happens, it happens and it happens for both teams. … In today’s world, too, they keep those balls so dry and they’ve got protective sheen on them. They keep them in these bags that keep them dry. Usually that isn’t much of a factor.”