Defensive Players Media Session

Athletics Communications
By Athletics Communications
University of Oklahoma
OCTOBER 07, 2013

Oklahoma Football
Linebacker Eric Striker
Oct. 7, 2013

On Corey Nelson:
“We definitely lose a great leader and communicator and a great athlete. As far as communicating, he was the best at it; putting guys out there on the right spot on the field if anybody was confused. Somebody else has to step up and take the role. His presence was still felt at practice. He’s still a great leader. On Saturday, he won’t be out there on the field but we’ll see how that goes. We’ll all see at the same time”

On shutting Texas’ running game down:
“That’s the importance of any defense. We need to stop the run and make them throw and then we’ve got them in our hands. That’s a good plan to go for. They’re good at running but we’re going to do our best to stop it.”

On OU/Texas:
“I just think of a bunch of guys out there running around trying to kill each other, having fun. The tradition is great, too. It was everything I thought it would be last year. It’s very exciting and everyone is jumping around. It was everything I thought when I saw it on TV.”

Oklahoma Football
Defensive back Julian Wilson
Oct. 7, 2013

On losing Corey Nelson:
“It’s a significant loss to the defense. Corey was a big time leader. He made all of the calls on the field and was really just a big time playmaker so with him going down, it hurts a lot. It is felt, but we have to bounce back and somebody has to step up. But, injuries happen and we have to find a way to bounce back. Dominique Alexander and Aaron Franklin came out there and practiced well so we’ll see who’s out there at the end of the week.”

On stopping the run game:
“Basically, we just have to do the same things we’ve been doing. I feel like Jordan Wade and other guys have stepped up this week and I’m sure they can go out there and do the same thing.”

On his play:
“I’m way more comfortable on the field now. I’m doing less thinking and more playing and I feel like I’m going out there and making plays and with Corey [Nelson] down, we need to step up and make more plays.”

On OU/Texas:
“I think of just a big rivalry, big tradition game. I think of coming out of that tunnel and seeing that split. It’s just something you can never put into words. You can’t put into words coming out of that tunnel.”

Oklahoma Football
Defensive Back Zack Sanchez
Oct. 7, 2013

On younger players stepping up:
“Coach Stoops doesn’t care. The best guys are going to play and he expects the same thing out of all the defenders. You’ve got to go out there and make plays. If you don’t expect to play, you’re going to be one of the guys that loses depth and you’re not going to be here in a couple years. You want to be one of those guys who are going to produce immediately.”

On losing Corey Nelson:
“It’s tough. He’s like a big brother. We’re both from the Dallas area so I’ve known Corey for a long time. It hurts to see a guy like Corey go down. He’s having an All-American season. He’s still there at practice coaching us and he’s going to be there for us.”

On playing in Dallas:
“It’s huge playing in the city. Growing up I never was a Texas fan anyway and Frank [Shannon] and Corey [Nelson] will probably tell you the same thing. But it’s great playing in the heart of the city. I never liked orange anyway.”

Oklahoma Football
Defensive End Geneo Grissom
Oct. 7, 2013

On OU/Texas:
“This game might as well be a bowl game for us. It’s one of the biggest games of the year. It’s a game where we practice at a different level, and it’s always an exciting week.”

On Corey Nelson’s presence at practice:
“He’s a great leader and one of the best guys to be around on the team. We’re going to make sure we rally behind him to make sure to keep his spirits up, as well.”

On the new uniforms:
“I love them. Since I’ve been here I’ve worn the same jersey for every game. To be able to wear a new one is going to be really exciting.”

On playing Texas:
“Coming into this game they don’t have probably the most desirable record. They want to make a splash. We’ve got to be ready to bring our A-game because we know they’ll be bringing theirs. They have nothing to lose at this point so we have to make sure we’re ready and clicking on all cylinders.”

Oklahoma Football
Defensive Lineman Jordan Wade
Oct. 7, 2013

On his experience getting to start against TCU:
"It was a pretty great experience going out there my first time starting. I’m just trying to go out there and make a name for myself."

On when he started to feel comfortable in the game:
“Right after that second series. I was in there pretty nervous and then after that I just got comfortable playing my technique.”

On what made him settle down in the game:
“Just getting that first play over with and getting those nerves out. When I got that first play over with, I was good.”

On what was different about this weekend for him:
“Just going out there and starting, it’s different from being behind Jordan Phillips and just going in there when they want me to. It was just a different feeling going out there and starting.”

On if he feels good about how the year is going for him:
“I feel pretty good. I’m just trying to step up to where Jordan [Phillips] is. Nothing is going to change up front. I’m just going to keep on doing what he was doing up front and keep it the same.”

On if he likes the 3-man front:
“It was different. I remember when I first got here it was a 4-man front and then everything changed. I like it up front. It gives me more opportunities to make plays and come off.”

On how he felt he played this weekend:
“I feel like there are still things for me to work on, but I feel like I did all right. I still can work on my technique.”

On working with Coach Jerry Montgomery:
“Coach Montgomery is a great coach. He used to be a defensive lineman so he knows how we are and everything. He takes great care of us. He’s an outstanding coach, knows everything about technique and all that.”

On the hardest adjustment so far:
“When I was behind Jordan [Phillips]  I had to wait a couple of plays just to go in so I had to keep myself prepared mentally to go in there.”

Oklahoma Football
Linebacker Dominique Alexander
Oct. 7, 2013

On how he feels going through practice knowing he will be a bigger part of the defense:
“There are a lot of expectations coming out of me. I’ve just got to play a lot better. Corey [Nelson] is right there with me, so he’s helping me out the whole way through, knowing what I need to know and everything so he’s just trying to get me to be as successful as I can be.”

On how much his experience coming in for Corey Nelson in the TCU game will help him:
“I think the experience helped me a lot. I was able to learn a lot from that experience so it helps me a lot moving forward.”

On what he learned in the TCU game:
“I learned that I’ve got to play faster. I can’t get caught up by guards. Everything was just a learning experience. Guys are a lot faster, bigger and stronger so all I can do is just learn from it and get better.”

On if he expected to have this big of a role in the defense this early:
“I just came in here thinking I was going to work my hardest. But not really, because I didn’t expect Corey [Nelson] to go down. I just kept thinking I was going to work hard and whatever happens, happens.”

On what the underclassmen are doing to make so many plays so far this year:
“It all started in the winter for them and in the summer for me, just hard work. Coach [Jerry] Schmidt really had us working hard and had us getting better and stronger in the weight room so it all started in the summer and it’s translating onto the field.”

On if he was told that there was a good chance he was going to play while being recruited:
“They told me that a lot throughout my process. But they told me I was going to have to earn it through hard work. So they just kept their word.”

On conversations with Corey Nelson:
“He has been like my big brother. As soon as I got here he took care of me. He’s just telling me I have to step up in a significant way and this is Texas week and I can’t let the crowd get to me. He’s keeping me in the film room with him extra time. I have to be up here at 7 in the morning to meet with him and watch film. He’s making sure that I’m really going to be on my stuff and I’m not going to have any busts. He’s going to make sure I’m the best player I can be.”

On if Corey was at practice today:
“Yes he was and he was talking me through everything, he and Coach [Tim] Kish. They just want to see me be successful.”

Oklahoma Football
Linebacker Aaron Franklin
Oct. 7, 2013

On how much more focused the team gets preparing for Texas:
“You’ve always got to be focused because it’s a rivalry game and you always want to go out and compete and have a great game against your rival so it’s just added attention to detail. It’s just like any other week, but against your rival.”

On how the first practice without Corey Nelson went:
“It was good. He was back there helping us out and teaching us. He’s still around and he’s just helping us and giving us what he knows and giving us tips. So he’s still around and in good spirits. It’s great having him around.”

On if he feels the urgency to step up:
“Yeah. You’ve always got to try to step up when somebody goes down and the next guy is up. However it works out is how it works out.”

On how the play calling on defense is affected by Corey Nelson being gone:
“It won’t affect the play calling at all on the defense. We still have Frank [Shannon] who is a leader out there and we’re just going to be the next guy up and just going to keep moving, keep the defense going in the direction it has been going.”

On if he imagined he would be such a big part of the defense going into this game:
“This is what you come here for, to get an opportunity. You’ve just got to step up when the time arrives. It’s a big deal to have an opportunity to start for OU.”

On the biggest challenge he faces going forward:
“Just learning position a little bit more, taking the production Corey [Nelson] had and continuing it because he had a lot of production and a lot of plays out there. He was probably having an All-American season so that’s a lot to step up to contribute to, but you have to do it.”

On how challenging stopping the run game will be this weekend:
“It’s going to be a challenge but I believe our defense has been good this year, and I believe that we are going to be able to stop the run game this week.”



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