The Oklahoma football team landed at Sky Harbor Airport in Phoenix last night to begin preparations for the 2007 Fiesta Bowl. Bob Stoops, Rufus Alexander and Chris Messner addressed the crowd which showed up to greet the Sooners during a short press conference. SoonerScoop.com Editor Carey Murdock will be in Arizona on Wednesday morning to begin our coverage of the Fiesta Bowl.
Oklahoma Head Coach Bob Stoops:
Opening statement "Obviously we are excited to be here. Coming on Christmas night, I apologize to everyone out there greeting us that we got you out on Christmas night. But we were anxious to get here. Everyone that we have been in contact with, not only this year, but through the years, says that the Fiesta Bowl is just an absolute first-class organization. We understand with the many teams that have been in the Fiesta Bowl, they all have told us what a fabulous trip it is. Our team is incredibly excited about the opportunity to be here, to spend time in Glendale and Phoenix for the week. I am looking forward to the challenge of playing a great Boise State team. They are an undefeated football team that has played exceptionally well throughout the year. We have a great challenge in front of us, but we are excited about it and really looking forward to getting back to work tomorrow.
"We have two players here with us, senior captain and defensive linebacker Rufus Alexander and also senior captain and offensive left tackle Chris Messner. They are dressed pretty casual. I didn't let them know that we were coming to a press conference. So please excuse their casual wear."
How often have you been serenaded getting off an airplane? "Fortunately, we have been a few times. We have been in some great bowls. These seniors, this is their fourth BCS game in five years. It would be hard to say that we haven't been. But we appreciate this group and the great crowd that is out there is just exceptional. There are so many people out there that it is just exciting. I didn't know if that line of greeters would ever end. It's fantastic."
How has your practice been going since the Big 12 title game? "I don't believe we will (have any rust). These guys will attest that we really haven't taken much time off. A few days during finals. The week after the Big 12 Championship game we were fortunate we got to compete during an extra week in regard to getting ready and playing in the Big 12 Championship game. We have had very little time off overall. We practiced in a great way leading up to our few days break and we will get back at it tomorrow."
What is Adrian Peterson's status? "Looks great. Practicing well. These guys have been wrapping him up in inside drills. He's starting to target the defensive guys and going after them a little bit. Everything looks good."
Senior LB Rufus Alexander:
What have you accomplished to get here? "We accomplished a lot. As a team we had to stick together. Playing hard and getting better every day at practice. At the beginning, it looked like we were out. And everybody counted us out. So we had to be a self-motivating team and Coach Stoops was the front-runner for that. He was making us motivate ourselves and encouraging us to go out there and practice hard. He was telling us that we have a lot out there to play for. If we continue to win, we would reap the benefits like right now."
Senior OL Chris Messner:
What is it like playing in four BCS bowls? "It is a great experience. It is just a testament to this organization. Bringing in great players and everyone is expected to play at a high-caliber level whenever you come to Oklahoma. It is just a privilege to be here."
What do you know about Boise State? "They are a great team. They haven't been beaten in a while. They work hard and they play hard. They are a very physical team. We look forward to playing them."
Senior LB Rufus Alexander:
What do you know about Boise State? "I really have only watched offense, and they have a high-powered offense. From what Coach Stoops said about them and what we have seen on tape, they are an excellent team. Well coached. They haven't lost in a long time. They have only lost one game in the last two years. They are a team that is used to winning and they know how to win. We have to go out there and match their intensity, which I believe we will."