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Gabe Ikard Media Session
September 23, 2013

Oklahoma Football
Offensive Lineman Gabe Ikard
Sept. 23, 2013

On the bye week:
“The bye week was very beneficial for us. I thought we got a lot of good reps in practice, especially first-team defense against first-team offense, because of the similar three-man front that Notre Dame runs. We had a couple of the hardest practices of the year, so I thought we got better; especially our offensive line, just seeing some things. Very, very happy we got that extra week to prepare for one of the best defenses we will go up against.”

On last year’s game against Notre Dame:
“The most important thing from last year was who controlled the line of scrimmage and that was obviously them. We didn’t run the ball well at all. They started to wear us out. That’s our focus now. Establishing and controlling the line of scrimmage.”

On going to historic venues such as Notre Dame:
“We go to a lot of cool places to play football but this is one of the cathedrals of college football. A bunch of us have never been there; a couple of us have been there on official visits. We’re excited to go play there and once you step in between the lines it’s got to be the field and the other team. You can’t really get consumed by the stadium and the atmosphere. We appreciated the history that building has but what it comes down to is that we have to go there and just play football.”

On Notre Dame’s front seven:
They’re led by two first-team All-American guys so we know how talented they are up front. We have a lot of confidence in our line and our defensive line. That’s what Saturday is for, to determine if we can move those guys off of the ball and we can make some space that really hasn’t happened much against them, this year or last year. That’s the challenge. We’re definitely accepting that challenge and we know how talented they are. It’s definitely not going to be easy but we definitely have a good plan when it comes to our run game and we’re going to be able to put some guys in some good spots.”

On Notre Dame defensive lineman Louis Nix:
“There’s no doubt that Nix is the best country. It constantly takes two guys to block him. I saw on Saturday against Michigan State how active he is. He’s one of those guys where you can tell how strong and talented he is on the tape. Last year, he was certainly the biggest challenge of my season. I’m excited to block the best in the country. We have to prepare for him and the rest of the defense.”

On if OU needs a signature win:
“You don’t want to define a season in one game, but this game could point our season in one direction or the other. I think we all realize the magnitude that this game will have on our entire season. We’re very excited to go there and play. We know how talented they are. I’m glad we had an extra week to prepare. We’re going to prepare like we always do and be ready to go on Saturday.”

On if Blake Bell can replicate what he did against Tulsa:
“He’s going to prepare; he’s been preparing very well. It’s very beneficial for him to get an extra week to prepare before we play the game. He’s very confident after his performance against Tulsa, and I think he’s ready to play well again.”

On if having experience in big games in the past will help Bell:
“He has made a lot of big plays for us on the road and in big games. I don’t think pressure is one of the things that is going to affect him. He has been in big moments.”

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