Big 12 Football Notebook: Oklahoma's early struggles not new to Stoops

Tuesday, October 6, 2009 | 12:01 a.m. CDT

COLUMBIA – Near the end of Oklahoma coach Bob Stoops' session in Monday's Big 12 football coaches teleconference, a reporter withdrew his question, explaining that it had already been addressed.

"Must have been about a chance of Sam playing," Stoops said. "Just kidding, trying to find a little humor here today."

Repeatedly throughout the session, Stoops was peppered with questions regarding the health of quarterback Sam Bradford, who has not played since the season opener. Stoops said it's impossible to be firm about when Bradford, who is recovering from an injury to his throwing shoulder, would be available to return.

"The plans are the same as last week," Stoops said. "We haven't practiced this week. He hasn't done anything. So we'll see, it's too early. I haven't seen him do anything this week to change anything, so until we do, I won't know anything."

Oklahoma lost Saturday night at Miami, and fans are not accustomed to seeing the Sooners, the Big 12 champion three years in a row, lose many games early in the season. Stoops emphasized, however, that the football program has dealt well with adversity in the past.

"We've been in some tough circumstances (previously) with injuries," he said. "We lost (former running back) Adrian Peterson early in the year and we also had to remove the quarterback from the team to start the year (in 2006)."

Former quarterback Rhett Bomar was kicked off the team before that season started.

"With (replacement quarterback) Paul Thompson ... and without Adrian we went on to win the Big 12 championship," Stoops recalled.

The Sooners are 2-2 going into conference play Saturday against Baylor.

"They've hung in there really well," he said of his players. "In the end, you deal with the circumstances and the hand you're dealt. They understand that."

Stoops said he will challenge his players to contribute more on the field.

"It was encouraging to me the other night, for instance, (junior wide receiver) Cameron Kenney all of a sudden stepped up and had a big night, made some really competitive plays," he said. "So other guys have to step up and play. We've had a great couple of weeks in preparation, and they had a hard fought, tough game the other night. So I appreciate them for that."

Hawkins addresses his team's weaknesses

Colorado has struggled in its early games, going 1-3 with a win against Wyoming. The Buffaloes, though competitive against West Virginia, lost to the Mountaineers 35-24 on Thursday night.  The defense also gave up 54 points in a shootout against Toledo last month.

"Obviously we'd love to have more wins, that's for sure," he said. "I think primarily on defense, we've just given up some big plays. That's been the big bugaboo."

Hawkins said the offense will also have to improve for Colorado to be successful. Currently, the Buffaloes are the only Big 12 team with a losing record.

"(Quarterback) Cody (Hawkins) has thrown too many interceptions, we've got to limit that," coach Hawkins, Cody's father, said.

"When you're searching for some more wins, there's a lot of targets out there."

Gundy discusses late games

At the time of the morning teleconference, the Big 12 announced that the Oct. 17 game between Missouri and Oklahoma State would be at 8:15 p.m. It will be shown nationally on ESPN2.

Oklahoma State coach Mike Gundy was unaware of the announcement until he was asked about it.

"Well we just adjust our schedule throughout the week," he said. "The players have to not allow things to affect them they can't control. Television controls kickoff, so we go about our business the same we would every other week."

He did not discuss whether he had a personal preference for game times, explaining it didn't matter.

"I think traditionally most coaches and players would probably prefer to play at 1, and get up and have pregame meal and go play the football game," he said. "I think they're all ready to play. I don't think that's relevant anymore. (The regularity of afternoon games is) not going to be that way forever."


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