Defensive Media Session Quotes

Athletics Communications
By Athletics Communications
University of Oklahoma
AUGUST 05, 2014

Cornerback Dakota Austin

On the competition and depth at corner:
“We really haven’t had that in the past few years, so it’s really good to have some young guys and to be able to mentor them and teach them the ropes.”

On getting experience last year:
“I feel like it made a big difference. I am practicing with the speed of the game every day. I feel like if I would have redshirted I would not be competing for the spot, or at least would not be as high as I am right now. I feel like the year of experience helped me.”

On the biggest difference in his game right now:
“Patience. I am a lot more patient. Last year I was really just jittery. I was fully depending on talent. I feel like I have a little bit of experience and I know what to expect. I can listen to coach and better understand him.”

On his playing time last year and his experience in his first game:
“Just being out there in college football for the first time—I was confident but at the same time I had some butterflies. As the game went on I feel like I just got better and the jitters went away.”

On the defense:
“I feel like the defense this year is going to be really crazy. Along with every other corner I just want to do whatever it takes to be part of this defense in any way I can: nickel, dime, anything. Anything they need me to do. I will go play defensive tackle if they need me to, whatever it takes to get on the field and to help this team win.”

Safety Ahmad Thomas

On working for a starting position:
“It’s been good. We’re just competing out there. Everybody has been competing. It’s good.”

On how being on special teams last year helped him:
“Being on special teams helped me a lot last year because it got me comfortable with being on the field. That was a good thing about being on special teams as a true freshman.”

On Quentin Hayes’ leadership role:
“We lean on him a lot because he’s a veteran and he’s been here a long time. He’s like a captain, so we go behind him a lot.”

Defensive Tackle Jordan Phillips

On his back recovery:
“I’ve been letting it go. It’s just a precaution thing. Everyone wants to make sure I make it through the season but I feel that I’m back at 100 percent. It’s good.”

On what changed for him:
“Coach Mont [Jerry Montgomery] really helped me out. He said all the right things to me, and everything clicked once we talked.”

On how this season is different than last:
“I think we’re all just going to come out with the same attitude we had when everyone doubted us. That’s all that really matters.”

On Coach Montgomery:
“He’s a lot younger and he’s a lot more understanding. He’s played the position and he’s not far out of it, so he knows what we go through. It’s what he used to do, so it makes a lot more sense because he’s been through it and he knows what’s actually possible and what’s not possible.”

Linebacker Dominique Alexander

On how camp has been so far:
“We’re playing real good. We’re playing at a really high level. Everybody is flying around to the ball, we’re physical up front and our secondary is doing a great job on the back end.”

On living up to the hype the fans have set:
“I think we’re going to live up to it most definitely. One thing Coach Mike [Stoops] is always saying is that we can’t get complacent. We have to be a better team than we were last year and we’re all focused on doing that. We want to be one of the top defenses in the country.”

On how he has changed over the offseason:
“I think I’m a totally different player than I was last year. I’m a lot smarter, stronger and wiser and I’m also faster. I’m seeing things better and when I see it I shoot in the gap and I can just play loose and fast.”

On how exciting the new stadium and uniforms are for the program:
“We’re very excited. It’s a great thing for the program, for the recruits and for us as well. We get to be the best team we can be. They’re building a new workout facility for us and we’re going to have the best things so we can be the best team in the country. Everybody is excited and we just want to live up to everything people have said about us.”

Defensive End Matt Dimon

On what he expects from himself:
“I expect a lot out of myself. Last year was my freshman year and I was just trying to figure things out I guess. This year, I’m really feeling more comfortable in it and trying to get better every day and really prove myself. So far I think I’m doing that. I just have to keep finding ways I can get on the field and contribute, whether it’s special teams or defense.”

On how much more comfortable he is this season:
“I think I’m 10 times better than I was last camp. Last camp I was tossed in the fire and this year I’m a lot more comfortable. Everything has slowed down a little bit as I expected it to. I just have to take it one snap at a time and get better every day.”

Defensive Back Zack Sanchez

On OU becoming a defensive school:
“I think its’ starting to fall that way a little bit. You’ve got Strike [Eric Striker], Tap [Charles Tapper] and Dom [Dominique Alexander], Chuka [Ndulue] and Q [Quentin Hayes]. All those guys are making plays every week. I think it’s a place to come if you’re a defensive guy with how fast we play and how spread out we play and how we attack offenses. I think a lot of recruits like that and want to be in the mix with that.”

On Geneo Grissom:
“Geneo is just a freak of nature. He’s like a one in a million person, so having Geneo with his size and speed and what all he can do on the edge is just huge for us.”

On the excitement level this season:
“The excitement level is huge. Especially with our expectations, everybody is excited and everybody is ready for the season to get here and anxious but at the end of the day we know what we have to do and what we have to get done aside from all that.”

Defensive End D.J. Ward

On not getting complacent:
“We’ve always got to get better. Never settle on what you did before, always keep working to get better. You’re never going to be at the top of your game, so you just have to keep working and build on top of everything you do.”

On the transition of playing different fronts on the defensive line:
“Since I was off for a while I never really got to get my feet wet, so this spring was my first spring to get comfortable with it. It was a change to be in there and I’m still trying to get a feel for it but it feels good.”

On watching film:
“That was pretty much the only thing I could do, so I just sat in the film room for hours to help get my technique right. It helps me because if I come out not knowing what to do after being out all that time, that’s shame on me. Being in the film room studying helps me be ready when I get my chance.”

Safety Hatari Byrd

On how much more comfortable he is this year:
“I’m really comfortable. I wouldn’t want to say I’m settling; I can always get better. But I’m very comfortable about knowing my keys and the coverages that I’m having to learn, so I’m pretty comfortable where I’m at. It’s less learning and more reacting. I don’t have to learn anymore I’m just out there playing ball.”

On short-term goals for fall camp:
“Just go out there and make plays. I haven’t really set any goals. I just want a couple of interceptions and I’ve already gotten two so I’m pretty good but I still want to get better. I’m just trying to make plays; that’s really all.”

On if he felt like last year was a lot to take in:
“It was hard learning three or four positions last camp when I first got here but now I’m way more comfortable because I’m just playing free safety so I’m not really learning a lot of things, just working on the whole defense and everything coming together.”

Safety Quentin Hayes

On his leadership role:
“I’m just trying to be a leader, trying to be an example out there. I’m trying to be somebody that the young guys can come talk to and ask questions. I’m trying to be consistent.”

On the jump from freshman to sophomore season for the younger defensive backs:
“Freshman to sophomore season you learn a lot of stuff and you’re just trying to put it all together from spring to fall from what you’ve learned in the season last year. You’ve just got to keep learning, keep learning and be consistent.”

On how different it is to have the leadership role this year:
“You’ve got to know the defense. You’ve got to have answers for the questions they ask and you’ve just got to be their leader – somebody they can come to and depend on.”

Director of Sports Nutrition Tiffany Byrd

On NCAA food deregulation:
“It changes things a lot. We don’t have to do just one training table five times a week, so that has a big impact not only on football, but on our entire athletic department. We are very excited and we are looking forward to it. We are very fortunate here at Oklahoma to have the resources provided by President Boren, Joe Castiglione and our head coach. Our athletes are very excited and are looking forward to it. It has been a missing link, not having enough food for some of the team and some of them going to be hungry. We are looking forward to the performance edge.”

On managing multiple teams:
“It is a lot. I am only one person and I have 600 athletes. It’s my job and I love it. I am very fortunate to be here at the University of Oklahoma and I love it. I am excited to be the first one to develop the program for sports nutrition here. Fueling for the football team is amazing. When I got here the running joke was that all they ate was biscuits and gravy and fried chicken. Now you will see that the fruit and vegetables go the fastest. It has been an awesome first year and I am looking forward to that continuing.”

On her biggest challenge:
“I would say the biggest challenge is being one person and having all these athletes. At Oklahoma all our sports excel and are expected to make the postseason and compete for Big 12 titles and national titles. That would be the biggest challenge. We thrive in the heat. We are proactive about that but it is not something that we fear. Between Scott Anderson in sports medicine and Jerry Schmidt, our head strength coach, and myself, we really tackle hydration and cramping. We feel like get a little sooner magic when we work at that. We don’t fear the heat. Jerry Schmidt does a phenomenal job in summer conditioning. He gets them completely fit and they are there helping out. Our players know how to handle it, and it is a mentality here.”

On getting results making nutrition and easier sell:
“You are always educating and bringing in new food and new options for them and trying to make nutrition fun. I am not the food police. I do not want them to view nutrition as punitive. It’s not just for the o-line or d-line. It is not just for those that need to gain weight. Everyone can benefit from good nutrition. That is how we go about nutrition at OU. Everyone can do better. We are here to win a national championship. We don’t want there to be any gaps in that process.”

On what a typical day for her is like:
“Every day is different, but across the board we start our days with breakfast. We encourage that and we push that for all of our sports, not just football. Just about every sport on campus is up at 5:30 or 6:00 for training. We might as well get them up and get them fueling before they go lift and then get them recovering. Their metabolism is up as we have to recover their bodies and we have to feed them.”

On how she can deliver food to athletes:
“We actually are looking into a food truck. That was our athletic director Joe Castiglione’s idea. We are probably going to have one for an enhanced fueling station. We have three prongs here at OU when it comes to the deregulation for the feeding. The first one is we have an unlimited meal–plan. That will be at the facility where we have students and athletes at Headington Hall. We have fueling stations, one on south campus near Lloyd Noble Center and one under the stadium for them. That will be almost like a smoothies or sandwich shop for them. It is something where they can go and get fresh food and not just bars and energy chews and things like that. They can get a smoothie, or they can get fresh fruit or vegetables. They can get good quality food.”



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