Tuesday, January 1st, 2002


On Oklahoma’s defense:
“Obviously, they’re very, very talented, very fast. They gave us a lot of problems today. They’re so fast that they would get us behind the count. It’s really hard to call a good game when you’re behind in the count like that. You’ve got to give them a lot of credit. There were just no weaknesses.”
“We made mention before we knew that they were going to be one of the finest defenses that we’ve played. On film, they’re the best we’ve seen in about 15-20 years since we’ve been coaching. Give them a lot of credit.”
On Arkansas’ performance: “I thought our defense just hung in there so well. They did a great job of getting us their ball there. I just wanted one more score. I just wanted one touchdown (or) something good to happen.”
“They never gave up. When our defense got that last turnover, I really thought we were going to win the game. I really felt like it was going be 10 to 10, go into overtime and that’s when we were going to win. That was our mindset. It’s just tough to swallow. Our special teams and our defense were outstanding. Our guys really gained some confidence by halftime because we thought we could run the ball on them.”
On what Arkansas tried to key on offense: “We knew there would be much exploiting of their defense. What we were trying to do is get 14 points. We really felt like 14 to 17 points would win this game. We knew our defense was going to play very, very well. We thought it was going to be a long day with a one-yard gain, a two-yard gain but just be patient. There was going to be a time when we hit a 20-25 run and that would give us the momentum.”
On Oklahoma’s nine sacks: “The bottom line – we weren’t blocking on the edges. They got us. Of course when it’s third and 10, they’ve got their ears back and they’re coming. That’s the one thing we wanted to stay out of those situations. They were just out-quicken us and beating us one-on-one on the edges.”
On Oklahoma’s defense:
“I looked at their defense for a couple of reasons -- one, they’re a really good defense, and two, I wanted to see how they played Texas Tech. I have great respect for their offense and defense. I didn’t get to see their defense out there today because I was talking to our guys. They did a great job today but we have a good defense too.”
On Carlos Hall’s fumble recovery: “If we get that thing clean, we were going to score and that’s what we needed to do. That’s the only turnover we got all day. We could have had a couple more. Our pass defense was good; we rushed them with three and got pressure on him (Oklahoma’s Nate Hybl). But in a defensive game like this, you have to get more than one turnover.”
On Arkansas’ defensive game plan: “I think they were pretty conservative in where they threw the football and what they did. He (OU’s Hybl) pulled it down and ran a few times. We missed two or three sacks. We zoned them up a lot more than we have all year long -- a lot more. It was effective but he played smart. I thought he kept his poise and did some things by not turning the ball over.
On the game:
“They came after us. Our offense couldn’t do it today. We looked like we did in the first game against UNLV. Rocky (Calmus) impressed me a lot.”
On Oklahoma’s defense: “They were a lot better than what I expected. We knew they were good, but they were amazing. We had three main things we wanted to accomplish – Zak’s running ability, my passing from the shotgun and the option game – and they shut all three of those down. If we want to be successful we have to be able to score some points.”
On Oklahoma’s defense:
“We knew all along that they had a good defense and that’s why we practiced for the last three weeks on them. Their game plan worked a little better than ours did. They did what they had to do to win the game. It also says a lot about our defense that we held them to 10 points. We gave our offense a chance to win the game at the end.”
On the game:
“We had our chances. We have been such an emotional team this year that we figured it would come around but things just didn’t work out for us today. They took us out of our game plan and we never recovered.”
On Oklahoma’s defense: “To completely take someone out of their game plan on the front four like they did is awesome. You have to take your hat off to them.”
On losing a New Year’s Day bowl game:
“You put so much time and effort into this and then get beat by seven points is extremely frustrating. We have to take it in stride and get ready for spring ball.”
On what the team learned from this game: “We learned a lot from this game. They were not taking us lightly and for them to only beat us by a touchdown says a lot about us.”
On stopping Oklahoma’s passing game:
“We knew they were going to try the underneath passes and we just had to stop that and not let them get many yards after the catch. We had to wrap them up whenever we got near them.”
On what the team needs to do next year: “We have got to work hard and set our goals real high. With our youth, we have to come out of the blocks real fast.”
On his feelings after the game: “Disappointed. If we had gotten one more turnover, our offense would have gotten the job done. We had the momentum in the fourth quarter until the fumble.”
On Oklahoma’s fourth-down conversion in the first quarter: “He (Oklahoma’s Trent Smith) just went straight to the flats and caught us in an area we were not. We had to just play the next play and that’s what we did.”
On Arkansas deserving to be in the Cotton Bowl vs. Oklahoma: “We knew from the beginning we deserved to be in this game. It was everyone else who thought we weren’t going to be a match. We came out and played hard like we always do. I think we proved we had a chance to win. We just didn’t capitalize. We’ll just try to build for next year.”
On the game:
“As a player, you know what you have to do and we didn’t get it done today.”
On Arkansas’ defense: “We have a good defense and I think we showed that today. They came in here and had won 10 games and were the defending national champions and we held them to 10 points. We should be very proud of that. Their offense is good but their defense is their backbone, just like with us.”
On Oklahoma’s defense:
“They blitzed a lot and they were precise on their blitzes. The one thing about Oklahoma is that they have great chemistry on defense. They always follow their assignments and with the athletes they have, it’s hard to stop them. That’s the one advantage they had over us.”
On how he felt playing with his back injury: “I felt pretty good but I wish I’d gotten more carries to try and help make a big play. Fred (Talley) and Brandon (Holmes) did a good job and coach just didn’t put me back in the game.”
On Oklahoma’s defense:
“They were as good and more. They were everything as advertised. They have a great defense. They are young guys but they play hard every down and they just bring it.”
On Arkansas’ season: “Most people doubted us and said we weren’t supposed to be here. A lot of people had little confidence in us and we telling us that they were supposed to blow us out but that’s just didn’t happen.”
On Arkansas’ defense vs. Oklahoma:
“We played hard and that’s what you expect out of the seniors.”