Post-Practice Quotes: 8/6

Athletics Communications
By Athletics Communications
University of Oklahoma
AUGUST 06, 2013

Head Coach Bob Stoops
Post-Practice Highlights
Aug. 6, 2013

On DT Chuka Ndulue’s adjustment to an interior position:
“A couple of things on the field technique-wise he’s playing better and sounder, and I think he’s becoming more of a leader on the field in that group. He’s playing well. He’s having some success and finding more consistency in what we’re asking him to do.”

On Chuka Ndulue’s leadership:
“He needs to, when you lose five seniors that’s naturally the case. We need him to be a leader and continue to push these other guys and show up on the field when he’s there.”

On DE Rashod Favors:
“He’s doing good. Rashod is very powerful and strong. He has natural leverage in there, so he’s doing a nice job as a bunch of guys are.”

On DE Charles Tapper:
“Charles is much like some other young guys we’ve had through the years. I look back at like a Frank Alexander that everyone knew very little about. He came on the scene and all of a sudden played really well. Hopefully he’ll keep coming that way in that he’s going to show more and more consistency and ability to play at that level. I believe he will.

“(Tapper) was a basketball player. I think he only played football a year, so his upside is really big. This is only his third year of playing. He’s strong, physical, can run. He understands it, and I think his upside is going to be really big.”

On recruiting players new to the game like Charles Tapper:
“That’s not unlike a lot of kids we’ll recruit in that in different backgrounds around the country have lifting programs, some don’t. Some are coached better than others, and I’m not comparing his to any other, but we recognize when here’s a guy that’s really athletic. He’s big, physical, and he’s hardly lifted weights. He hasn’t been doing the things are guys are doing, so imagine when he does. We’re always aware of that, and we knew Charles (Tapper) had a big upside.”

Comparing Charles Tapper and DE Michael Onuoha:
“Very similar. We’re excited about Michael. Mike had his operation there in the Spring, and we’re optimistic we’ll get him back after maybe the third game or so, which there’s a long year to play, and if something happens to another guy then he’s in the mix. Maybe there in the middle of the year, maybe he’s ready to help again.”

On whether LB Corey Nelson has taken more of a leadership role:
“Definitely. Corey has been awesome. His attitude, and the way he’s been working and speaking up. He is definitely feeling that in all kind of ways.”

On the one-gap defensive line versus two-gap:
“It’s easy. It’s not that difficult. The bottom line is you still have to fire out of your hips and separate from blockers whether you’re two-gapping or one-gapping. You’re still doing a lot of the same things.”

On DBs Julian Wilson and Gabe Lynn:
“Julian is doing an excellent job. He’s much more confident and sure of himself. He’s a big, physical guy in the secondary that I’m excited about. I think he has a chance to have a really good year, as do I believe Gabe, too. Gabe is playing in the free position and really looks good. He’s comfortable in that spot, and he’s showing up and making plays in practice too, so I’m excited about what he’s doing.”

On whether DB Hatari Byrd and other freshmen defensive backs are looking good:
“Definitely. He’s a guy that has the size and has the quickness and speed to run and hit and cover, so he’s definitely, as is Ahmad Thomas is a big, physical guy. These other young guys, and a bunch of those guys back there, I guess with their size you can tell that they can step right in and look and play the part. The other corners and the other young guys around them are playing well. It’s a really good looking group. Stanvon (Taylor) is looking good, L.J. (Moore), and on and on. It’s a good group.”

On the quarterbacks feeling more comfortable with each practice:
“You can see at practice that they’re figuring it out. The more and more they snap the ball, the more comfortable they become. Or when they make a mistake, wow, that’s a pie in the face, like that’s something I have to avoid, and where Landry [Jones] had been through that. He had very few of those, so as far as the way we practice is the same, but that does show up. I’m sitting back there paying attention to it, and I can see them processing every play and the ramifications of what they did and didn’t do, but that’s natural. That’s why you just keep snapping it and snapping it, and hopefully you get them more and more comfortable with what you want them to do.”

On how realistic it is for defenses to hold opponents under 14 points:
“I don’t think it is anywhere. Whatever wins the game. I felt that way, my defensive coordinators going all the way to Bill Brazier (at Iowa), one of the best that’s ever been. It goes back to my years of playing in 1980, when I was playing. Sometimes you win 11-12 or 7-6. Which we did by the way; we beat Michigan at Michigan, 7-6. And sometimes you have to win 49-50, whatever it is, as long as you win. It is going to be different.”

On whether there is more emphasis on getting more turnovers: 
“It is always an emphasis trying to get turnovers. So, trying to strip the ball, force the quarterback’s hand and hack the ball is what you are always trying to do.

On the freshmen linebackers:
“They are really good. They’ve got size; they are very athletic. I love them both. They’re both really good players. They are pretty natural in there and they have a good feel for where the ball is and finding the ball.”

On CB Cortez Johnson’s practice role last season after transferring from Arizona:
“He was playing a lot of scout team. But you have to understand the teams we play aren’t running foreign coverages; they are still running the same coverage’s we run. So he has been working the same techniques, whether he is on scout team or the defensive field.”

On his impression of Cortez Johnson:
“He is a guy with a chance to be a really good player. With the size and the range he has and the speed, all of it together, it just matter on how mentally disciplined and how strong he can be to play at the level. And if he does, he has a big upside.”

On whether he signed off on Cortez Johnson or took Mike Stoops’ word on him:
“I had to sign off on it, and I watched everything I could. I liked him. Here is a guy who has been on the field and had experience.”

On big cornerbacks like Cortez Johnson:
“There are not a lot of them. Andre Woolfolk was that big. There is not a bunch of them but L.J Moore is going to be a guy like that. He’s about 6’1’’.

On whether Cortez Johnson has gotten more consistent:
“Yes and no. He still needs to be pushing it because I know he can play at a higher level.

On OLs Dionte Savage and Josiah St. John:
“They are big strong guys. Dionte has great strength; he is a real big, physical guy. I don’t know what they list him at, 340-345 and there is not a lot of fat there, he’s powerful. And Josiah is doing well, too.”

On what they’re adjusting to at this level: 
“They’re getting comfortable with all of our calls to, but they’re working at it really hard and doing well at it.”

On where Dionte Savage and Josiah St. John are lining up:
“Dionte is just inside and Josiah is just outside.”

On how the offensive tackle competition is shaping up:
“All those guys are interchanging. Sometimes we’ve got two groups going at once. So we have three or four tackles rotating in there. We are only five, six days into and we haven’t made decisions yet. We are just evaluating everyone and giving them snaps.”

On freshman DB Amhad Thomas:
“Amhad is doing a good job but needs to keep learning and improving everyday”

On whether today’s evolution of explosive offenses has forced him to change his thinking as an old defensive coach: 
“It’s not a change in thinking. The game is constantly evolving and changing and you have to move with it. So that’s what you are trying to do.  You also have to be realistic with the number of snaps you’re getting. Like I said, if you going to move (up-tempo) offensively, you need to stay on the field. Otherwise, when we went to this, that defensive statistics were going to change. The year we did change though, we went to the national championship. It’s something that you are always paying attention to.”

On concerns about playing at a fast pace:
“Nothing other than staying on the field. When you have a second half like the Texas A&M game, were you’re three and out, or less than that, in five straight series, you’re not going to win. When you’re putting the defensive out there in those situations, they go hand in hand. You have to stay on the field and operate.”

Defensive Lineman Chuka Ndulue
Post-Practice Highlights
Aug. 6, 2013

On weighing in at 280 pounds:
“Oh man, I feel fat. But it feels kind of good, though because I get to eat a lot and build it up. My mom hasn’t seen me in about four months, so she’s kind of going to be shocked. The last time she saw me, I was 256 [pounds] so it’s going to be funny.”

On still feeling quick:
“Yeah, I do. Inside I feel quick. I mean, I don’t play defensive end anymore. The o-linemen, especially the new guys, are like ‘You’re too quick to be down here,’ but I like that.”

On eating habits and meal count:
“Miss Tiffany [Byrd] first said six meals a day… have protein in each one. Chipotle was my best friend during that time. I went there at least three times a day which was kind of awesome.”

On gaining weight being tough mentally:
“No, not really, because I can gain weight easily so gaining weight wasn’t really a problem, so no.”

On making weight transition during spring:
“In the spring, it was pretty difficult. We still had practice and workouts and all that eating. I would gain five pounds today, lose it tomorrow but as soon as the spring was over and summer workouts all I did was work out and eat.”

On gaining/losing weight:
“I haven’t really lost any weight since practice started. Like, Miss Tiffany [Byrd], she’s making sure, she’s on top of us, making sure we have our meals. She’s out there in practice running around, giving us water, giving us energy pills, making sure we’re out there healthy, hydrated and full.”

On going back to a one-gap and what it means for the defensive line:
“It eliminates thinking about it. It eliminates the process of going out there and thinking too much. It just wants you to go out there and play football, just attack, attack, attack. That’s pretty much just made it simpler for players not to worry about ‘I got this gap’, ‘I got that gap’. It’s just ‘go out there and play football.’”

On being able to just go out and attack:
“I was comfortable with the last defense and I’m comfortable with the one this year. Whatever they tell me to do, I do it. So it’s pretty cool, I guess.”

On the Big 12 conference and playing defense in it vs. the SEC, considering the SEC has a lot of new players:
“This is the Big 12. Every game is a great game. You have to get ready or every opponent the same way. So no matter where you go, the quarterback might be new, but at the same time, he played with somebody who’s a veteran so he’s been ready, like me playing behind David King and RJ Washington and all those guys. Those guys helped me with position and helping me be a better defensive player. The quarterback has the same thing, so no, there’s not an advantage.”

On putting on weight and pressures that come with it:
“I mean, not really, because putting on weight, that’s easy for me. I had the pressure last year, but Coach [Bobby Jack] Wright made sure that he was on me and I knew the future looks bright for me… With Coach Wright being my coach last year, stressing on me to be a better player, work harder each day, it kind of eliminated some of that pressure.”

On meeting with Coach Jerry Montgomery and keeping him updated on his weight changes:
“He would just call me and be like ‘What do you weigh now?’ and I’d be like ‘277.’ ‘What do you weigh now?’ ‘283.’ ‘Really?’ and I’d be like ‘Yeah, want to watch me on the scale?’ because it was pretty easy for me to gain weight. He was just impressed with how quickly I could get up there.”

On relationship with Coach Montgomery and changing positions and position coaches:
“It was a great transition for me going from Coach [Bobby Jack] Wright to [Coach Montgomery] and he just came in here and picked it up right away and knew what he wanted to do. He knows what we have to do so he was just a great fit to the program and it wasn’t that hard to get along with, so it was just cool.”

On summer workouts:
“Lot of new guys. They’re pretty strong. Charles Walker, Matt Romar, all those guys, they’re pretty strong. They bring a lot to the table, like quickness and strength so it was a great summer for all of us combined, all the extra work we did in the summer. Things are looking good for us.”

On change in defensive scheme:
“It’s going help us a lot because, like I said before, it’s pretty simplified. We can just get out there and play football.”

On if this defense suits him better?
“I think whatever defense we run is a better defense because those coaches are masterminds. Whatever defense they put out there, the coach knows best that it’s going to work.”

On his first impressions of Hatari Byrd:
“He looks like a beast. Like for a [defensive back], he’s 6’3”. Like RJ [Washington] said about David [King], he looks like he’s prison swole. He’s prison swole. That kid is big. He reminds me of Q [Quentin] Carter, like a fully-developed Q Carter. Like, he’s a freshman? Yeah, that kid is huge.”

On attributes that will help Hatari Byrd become a good player:
“His size. He’s anticipating. That’s a lot of what the [defensive backs] are known for around here, anticipating where the ball is going to be and having that quickness. If he can just develop those skills and just listen to Coach [Bobby Jack] Wright and Coach Mike [Stoops], then he’s going to be a great player for us. He’s huge.”

On the development of Charles Tapper:
“Tapper is just night and day from the spring. He’s gotten so much better. You can see, if you go out there, he worked a lot in offseason to get better. His span level is getting lower, he’s coming off the ball, not thinking as much as he used to. The game is finally starting to slow down for him, which is great to see. Now he’s just finally starting to understand what the coaches want him to do, what his technique is supposed to be like, how he’s supposed to play each gap, so he’s just finally starting to be a student of the game and learn what’s going on. That just comes over time because I’ve started to be that way. The longer you’re here and the more you hear what they’re trying to preach to you, you pick it up slowly, you start to get it.”

On Charles Tapper only having played football for a short amount of time:
“If I can do it, anyone can do it. He has the athletic ability, he has the size, he has the speed. He can do it and his pad level is getting better and better each day, so that’s good to hear.”

On the responsibility of the defensive line:
“We’re the front line of the team. It all starts with us. We want to push that pocket back. If the o-line is in the quarterback’s face and he has nowhere to go, that just eliminates everything…  it all starts up front. If we can get in their backfield and they don’t push us back to ours, that’s just how it starts everywhere. This year, it’s been a better feel. Everyone is getting better, everyone’s been more involved. Anyone out there can play for us and contribute, so as the year goes along it’s just gonna look better.”

On people doubting the defensive line since Stacy [McGee] left and if he takes it personally:
“No, sometimes it feels good to be the ones hunting people, not the hunted. Right now, no one’s given us the chance. We have nothing to prove to anyone but ourselves, so we’re just ready to go out there and play football.”

On the struggles at the end of the season and how it felt going into the offseason:
“This is Oklahoma. There’s a huge tradition, especially with the d-line and ending the season like that is not what we wanted. So we’ve had a mindset this offseason: everything we didn’t do right last season, we’re going to do right this offseason and come in to camp, just get the feel from there and that’s what we’ve been doing.”

On lack of takeaways last season:
“Just play ball. There’s no other emphasis. Just go out there, read your key, know your assignment and everything’s going come to you.”

On Dionte Savage:
“That man is humongous. He’s going be great. I’ve never seen a person so big in my life move that fast. He’s huge. He has gorilla arms, so if he grabs you, that’s a wrap, you’re not going anywhere. He has that body that if you try to beat him inside, there’s still about a quarter of his body in front of you. And if you try to beat him outside, his whole body just... you have to get his hands off of you and just run away from him.”

On Jordan Phillips getting trucked by Keith Ford during Monday’s practice:
“He’s fine. Everyone just sees he got ran over, but if you look closely, there’s someone else pushing on him. He didn’t really get run over. It’s the Oklahoma drill. He did his thing.”

On perception of Big 12 and people hyping up the SEC:
“I don’t care about that. I just go out there and play football and try to win for my team. Whatever else anyone has to say, well that’s your opinion.”

On how he did in the Oklahoma drill:
“I had fun. Apparently I head-butted someone without my helmet on which is why I have this bump right here. I think it was Keith [Ford]. I just got really excited.. because it just happened. After I tackled him, I took my helmet off, and apparently got really excited.”

On focusing on weight work as entire team in the offseason:
“Same amount of running. We still ran and we got bigger and more physical. This is Oklahoma. We have huge guys on offense and big guys on defense. Everything was still incorporated in the offseason to make sure we were bigger, faster and stronger and quicker.”

On the offensive line getting more physical:
“I have to go against the Samoans every day, Nila [Kasitati] and Tony [Feo]; those guys are always going be physical.”

On Tony Feo:
“That kid is a strong ox. He’s going be good for us.”

On his goals for the season:
“Having better rushing yards allowed for each opponent than last year. We got to get to that quarterback and get as many sacks as we can. That’s just our goal. Play with technique every game, get to the ball and play fast.”

On if he’s motivated by how last season ended?
“I’m just motivated. It’s football season. I’m tired of sitting around, watching TV. I’m just ready for the season to start and get out there and run over people.”

On double-teams:
“Double teams are not as hard as you would think with how our coaches teach it. As soon as you feel it, you know what to do. It’s fun. The offense, they hate how we play, so it’s pretty exciting. It’s not as bad as I thought it would be, but it’s a lot of load.”

On the biggest key to being good at taking on double teams:
“Staying low and knowing that it’s coming. Low man wins; it’s physics.”

Defensive Back Cortez Johnson
Post-Practice Highlights
Aug. 6, 2013

On fall camp so far:
“Practice has been going pretty good, just taking it day by day, trying to get better every day.”

On if he has the other cornerback spot nailed down yet:
“Coach is not too sure yet, I have to be more consistent. I got Aaron Colvin on the other side, he’s been showing me a lot, just going through the routines and things like that.”

On what he needs to do to secure a starting spot:
“Basically I just need to work more on my technique, staying low, little things like that, but I’m just taking that day by day, trying to get better every day.”

On his athleticism giving him the potential to be a premier cornerback:
“Yes sir, I know I’m big, but at the end of the day that really doesn’t mean anything if you don’t have technique. You can’t really do anything with your body, as big as you are. It doesn’t really mean anything, I don’t really take that to the head, I just try to make myself better.”

On the difference in fall camp from last year, knowing he has the chance to play:
“It’s really exciting, I finally get my chance to touch the field again and I got a great feel for it. I just can’t wait till August 31 and just to bust it wide open.”

On the new freshman in the secondary:
“Ahmad [Thomas], he’s been here since the spring, he’s looking real good. Hatari [Byrd], he still has to learn more but he’s getting better every day, also. I can really speak on Ahmad because I was in the spring with him. He’s looking almost like a veteran.”

On what Saturdays were like last year as a redshirt:
“Every game I was just like I can’t wait until I get out there and help my team out. I just used to be kind of down because I wasn’t out there but I’m here now so it’s game time.”

On his relationship with Mike Stoops:
“He’s probably one of the greatest coaches I’ve ever had. He’s hard on everybody; he makes sure everybody stays on the same level and since Arizona he believed in me. That’s why I’m here with him and working hard for him, I just love Coach Mike.”

On Mike Stoops recruiting him:
“When he first recruited me he came to my school, then he came to my house and the front room and told my Daddy like, ‘No matter where I go, I’m taking him with me.’ He stood by his word. So I just love Coach Mike.”

On if he knew he wanted to follow Mike Stoops to Oklahoma:
“Yes sir, most definitely. As soon as I knew I was transferring, he hit me up and we took it from there.”

On what Mike Stoops told him during recruitment that was different from others:
“He wasn’t giving me anything, I had to work for whatever, so he was just like come out here and work and earn a spot and you can play as true freshman. My dad asked him, ‘If you were to leave Arizona, would you take him with you?’ Coach Mike said most definitely, and that’s what he did, he stood by his word.”

On freshmen in the secondary:
“Dakota [Austin], he’s a real small guy but he has a lot of heart, he plays with a lot of instinct, he’s very smart, he could do big things, too. Stanvon [Taylor], he’s pretty cool, too. He just needs to work on his technique, all of us need to do that but he’s getting better every day, too.”

On which side of the field he’s on and who is working behind him:
“On the left side. We got Zack Sanchez, he’s pretty cool, too. All of us just need to work on our technique, play hard, play physical and just get ready for any opponent we have to face.”

On using last year as motivation:
“Moving forward, we have a lot of people that are kind of going against us, think we aren’t going to be that good, so we just let that go in one ear and out the other. We are just going to play our part, against everybody we play against.”

On what part of the corner position is the hardest for him, mechanically:
“It’s my footwork, my hands are pretty good but if you don’t have feet your hands won’t mean anything at the end of the day, playing in the Big 12.”

On the potential for creating turnovers:
“We want a lot of picks. We got Gabe [Lynn]; we got Quentin [Hayes] sitting right behind us. I believe in both of those guys, they are sitting behind me and I feel like they are going to help over the top, and you got [Aaron] Colvin, the All-American on the other side. I mean he can lock down one side by himself so we are going to be pretty good.”

On playing in the Spring Game:
“The spring game was pretty amazing; I felt like I had a pretty good spring. Coming out knowing that they were going to put me in the mix, I was just working my way up to the starting spot. When we got to the spring game it was amazing, just getting back in front of that crowd and just putting on a show.”

On how it felt to sit out a year:
“It was one year but it felt like two or three years, just not touching that field.”

On if sitting out will help in the long run:
“Yes sir, a lot. Just by learning the play during the off season, then we got Coach [Jerry Schmidt] Schmidty working us really hard over the summer so I’m just getting stronger and more physical and things like that.”

On working with Graduate Assistant Courtney Viney:

“He’s really the technique guy; he shows us a lot of technique like how to stay low, how to read the quarterback and things like that.”

On how he ended up at corner given his height:
“Coach Stoops, he just believed I could play corner. He said he hasn’t ever seen anyone that can move, like as big as me, like the way I move so he just kept me at corner and said work your technique and we can make it work. So I did.”

On the difference in Mike Stoops as a coordinator versus as a head coach:
“I feel like he’s still like he was at Arizona; he’s the same person. He’s hard on people; if you mess up he’s going to be on you. If you do well, he’s going to give you props.”

On following Coach Mike Stoops to Oklahoma:
“As soon as he got fired I was kind of down because I didn’t know what to do, whether I should transfer to another school. Once the word got out that I was transferring he hit me right away. One of the first people to let me know he was leaving. He was like, ‘You trying to come man?’ I was like, ‘Most definitely.’ He took me in.

On the differences between the Big 12 and the Pac 12:
“Both conferences like throwing the ball. Playing against teams like Washington and Stanford, teams like that, they like throwing the ball, pretty fast receivers. It kind of relates to the Big 12, they both look the same to me. So I’m just going to treat them the same.”

On Trey Metoyer:
“Trey Metoyer, he’s going to be one of the best receivers, probably to ever come through OU. Trey Metoyer has the best hands on the team, that’s why every play I’m trying to go against him, trying to get myself better, get myself reps with an opponent like that, if I ever face one like that.”

On what makes Trey Metoyer so special:
“He runs good routes, he knows how to get in your cushion, open you up. Trey Metoyer has good footwork, great hands, he’s just a great player. He has a lot to work on still, but other than that, he’s going to be pretty good.”

On if Trey Metoyer needs to be more consistent:
“Yes sir, sometimes he can take plays off which can hurt him, but that’s on both of us. We just need to work hard on every play, whether we are getting the ball or not. Just got to stay on our feet.”

On other receivers that are standing out in fall camp:
“Jalen Saunders, he kind of speaks for himself, pretty quick, fast, he’s a great leader also on and off the field. We got Lacoltan Bester. He’s another one running great routes, got great speed, he could be a great player, too.”

On going up against the quarterbacks in practice:

“They are just competing man. Whoever wins the spot, it’s just fine with me. They are just competing man. I think they are all great at the end of the day. Blake Bell, you got big [Trevor] Knight.”

On what Trevor Knight has shown so far:
“He can break down a defense pretty good. He can lure you in just by looking; he’s a very smart quarterback. He has great accuracy; he can run the ball also, him and Blake Bell they just on like the same level.”

On Hatari Byrd:
“He’s a big ol’ safety. If he can get his technique, like we are all on the same level, we still working on our technique, trying to get it right before the season comes. But Hatari, he could be a big-time player. He can move pretty well, he’s got great footwork, he’s got a great attitude, physical; he’s got all the tools.”

On what attributes, other than his size, will help Hatari Byrd the most:
“Just playing physical, physical and smart.”

On using last year as motivation:
“Last year we just took some plays off, but this year we are going to get all that fixed. We aren’t taking any plays off; we aren’t having any of that. Like I said we got an All-American on the other side and we got me on the other side and you got Gabe [Lynn] and Quentin [Hayes] and we just going to handle business.”

On giving up yards at the end of last year:
“We just throw all that out the window and we just got to do better. We just take it game by game; you know things happen at the end of the day.”

On how much the offenses in the Big 12 affected the defensive stats across the conference last year:
“It used to be a lot of broken coverages last year that we just had a hard time trying to fix, but this year, that’s what we are working on right now in camp just trying to get all that right so when a game comes we can be ready for anything coming at us.”

On the perception of the Big 12 versus the SEC:
“Whether it’s the SEC, Pac 12, we don’t really care. We are just ready for anybody we play against. The SEC can think they are the best conference or whatever.”

On getting a hard time back home about not going to an SEC school:
“People always ask why I didn’t go to LSU and all that but that doesn’t mean anything. I am at Oklahoma and this is where I am at, this where I’m about to do work at.”

On what people in New Orleans say about the Big 12:
“They are always talking about the SEC, they don’t speak about the Big 12. So I just let all that go in one ear and out the other.”

On his accent:
“It’s New Orleans. I’m from New Orleans; we talk different. I know it’s kind of hard to understand me, but it’s cool. No, we don’t have a name for it.”



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