Defensive Media Session

Athletics Communications
By Athletics Communications
University of Oklahoma
DECEMBER 16, 2013

Oklahoma Football
Defensive Coordinator Mike Stoops
Dec. 16, 2013

On the production at the linebacker position:
“Just putting them in position to make plays. It’s just structurally it’s totally different. We play with three linebackers, sometimes four, now. It’s semantically how we set up.”

On if Dominique Alexander’s production has to do with scheme or playing above his age:
“Again, it’s putting those guys in position to make plays. It’s them. He has great instincts for a young player and can find the football. It’s not that easy. He’s still learning and growing in the system. He continues to get better. Now that he sees things over and over he can recognize things quicker and react quicker. Those are all positive. This whole experience is going to make him a much different player a year from now.

On how much better Frank Shannon is from this time a year ago:
“Well, I think they’re both better (Shannon and Alexander). They’re both growing. We’re still getting better. I don’t think we have scratched the surface of where we can be. It still takes us a while to adjust to games. We’re much better in the second half than we are in the first half of games. That goes to show a little bit of our inexperience with reacting to plays and different blocking schemes. That’s what the inexperience gives you in a period of time where I think we’ll be able to react to whatever scheme we see.”

On what he remembers about Coach Saban:
“Coach Saban is just a really good person and he’s a great coach. When you come up in football maybe we can just relate to him. You understand his philosophy and his dedication to being a perfectionist. I think everyone respects that.”

On if that was one of his first places to look at as far as exchanging ideas with other staffs:
“Well, when we made this move to a 3-4 they helped us with a lot of install and Chad Walker who is our quality control guy who works with me in structuring our defense spent four or five years with Nick, two with him with the Dolphins as the quality control guy there. He’s helped me tremendously to put this thing together along with our whole staff. They understand it better than anybody. Coach Saban has been running this and variations of all kinds of defenses. We have always exchanged ideas. Previously, I wasn’t a part of those staffs but I have worked with a lot of their guys on their staff before. You go to the best to get the information if the willingness to share with us was good. That’s where you like to exchange ideas. Certainly, we have seen a lot of spread offenses on in the past. Its just exchanging ideas.”

On the matchup with the Alabama offense:
“Well, their problems are that they’re very well coached, they execute, they understand schemes very well and how to attack coverage and how to attack weaknesses of certain coverages. You have to be aware of what’s going on. There’s a lot of movement in their offense and understanding where we need to be and why we need to be there I think is critical.”

On Alabama tight end O.J. Howard:
“Their tight ends are a big part of their offense and certainly that has given us problems at times this year. We’re going to have to spend a great deal of time to make sure that we fit the run game and still be able to cover their receivers and tight ends because that’s a big part of what they do.”

Oklahoma Football
Tight ends and special teams coach Jay Boulware
Dec. 16, 2013

On if special teams was execute perfectly at Bedlam:
“Are you kidding me? You just asked a coach that? Obviously I’m pleased with the results. The results are good. They had a really strong return game as do we. We limited them to 17.5 yards on kickoff return and no yards on punt return, which they are really strong there. We had two punts down inside the 10 [yard line] and three inside the 20. There were a lot of things that went on in the football game that you can be very proud of. The kids played hard. The guys played hard. I’m pleased not to the extent that I’m saying everything went perfect, but there were a lot of things that went our way that day.”

On forcing Oklahoma State into long drives:
“That’s critical because every time you look at the start of the game it took them awhile before they actually scored. Any time you stop a team or you put them inside the 10-yard line they have to go the length of the field to score. The percentages say that doesn’t happen very often. That’s kind of our goal and our opportunity. The offense puts us in a position where we have to sky-kick a team, we have to step up and get them pinned.”

Oklahoma Football
Defensive Back Gabe Lynn
Dec. 16, 2013

On playing Alabama as an underdog:
“They’re a great team and they have been a great team for the last few years. It’s going to be a good challenge but yeah we’re kind of sick of being overlooked.”

On if he gets that from classmates or other people:
“Yeah, classmates around campus, social media, hearing about how we’re getting picked to get blown out and stuff like that. It’s going to be fun going out against another great team.”

On what he has seen on tape of A.J. McCarron:
“He’s smart. He’s real smart and has a good arm. I think sometimes he gets overlooked about his arm strength but he manages the game really well and he’s very accurate.”

On what he has seen out of T.J. Yeldon:
“He’s up there. [Lache] Seastrunk was good and a couple of other guys were good. But he’s big and has good vision. He can make you miss so it’s going to be tough to tackle him. We just have to rally on him.”

On what young guys who haven’t seen much playing time have stood out in practice lately:
“There are some good guys. There’s a lot talent. Guys like L.J. (Moore), Stanvon (Taylor), all of the secondary guys are pretty good. Charles Walker is going to be really good. They have a lot of raw talent.”

On who has been toughest to defend on the scout team:
“Probably Daniel Brooks. He’s just really fast at running back. And K.J. (Young) has been stepping up too. He’s nice at receiver. He goes up and gets the ball at its highest point. You can tell he’s getting stronger with [Jerry Schmidt] Smitty over here.”

Oklahoma Football
Defensive Lineman Chuka Ndulue
Dec. 16, 2013

On playing Alabama:
“I’m excited. I’m ready to go. My blood is boiling. I’m ready to get after it. They are going to hit us in the mouth and retaliate and vice versa.”

On if the layoff makes the anticipation difficult:
“Oh, yeah. It is. Oklahoma State was a great ending to a great game. That’s why they call it Bedlam. It’s crazy. Now we have to wait, I don’t even know how long, until after the New Years. Jan. 2? It’s just the wait; it’s hard. I want to go.”

On which young guys are standing out in practice:
“There are a couple. Matt Dimon. Of course, he has already played. You guys have already seen him out there. There’s Charles Walker. I’m excited for that kid. He is going to be something. There is also Matt Romar. We have a lot of guys coming up. When they get it figured out, because right now they are just doing it off of raw talent and making plays… They are kind of like Tap (Charles Tapper). Just imagine a bunch of Charles Tappers running up and down the field. That’s going to be good.”

On the difference in those young players after a few practices:
“Now they are starting to get the concept because they haven’t been in the meeting room with us because they have to do the scout team thing but now they are just back in there with Coach [Jerry] Montgomery and he’s teaching them the technique and fundamentals. A lot of them are starting to grasp it. I forgot about D.J. (Ward), oh God. He is going to be good, too. I’m excited for the future. When all is said and done you can see a difference. They are slowing starting to get a grasp of what they are supposed to do and what the defense is asking them to do.”

On Jordan Wade playing every snap at noseguard against OSU:
“That’s awesome. People don’t notice us. We don’t score touchdowns or get interceptions and we are content with that. We are happy to just be fat and go out there and make plays. If Coach gives you credit for playing well, that’s all you need.”

Oklahoma Football
Linebacker Eric Striker
Dec. 16, 2013

On the production of the linebackers this year:
“It’s not like we had to prove something. We always knew we could do it. We knew what we were capable of. Being a linebacker at Oklahoma, we take pride in that. We go out and practice every day and get better and I thought our production this year showed that. Linebackers are necessary and we are needed on the field. I thought across the board we all had great production this year.”

On adjusting to the new scheme:
“I didn’t know if we were going to change anything at first. It was from the spring and we switched in the fall. We really didn’t know where we were going, we just went with it. Spring was cool and then we came up with a new one in the fall and we ran with it. It fit us well and I fit into it well. It was a defense for the linebackers to go attack and have fun. It was a great opportunity for us.”

On Alabama:
“Those boys are good. They have a good offensive line, a great running back and a great quarterback; you don’t even need to speak about him. They execute and it’s all about attacking. We are going to have to be good at that. They are a great team all around.”

On what the linebackers need to do:
“We are going to have to attack, just like we did before. It’s no mystery. Everyone knows this is the best team, even though they did lose. Even though they lost, I don’t see it. I think they are still one of the best teams. It is a great opportunity for us to show what we can do.”

Oklahoma Football
Defensive back Zack Sanchez
Dec. 16, 2013

On if he thought after the Bedlam win they had a chance for a BCS bowl:
“No, not at the moment. I think it was just excitement from winning. But we went in there and did what we had to do and came out with a victory. It was a crazy victory, but a good one.”

On if he has watched film on Alabama:
“Since the first night I heard we were playing them, I’ve been watching film since then. Those guys are explosive and fast, and if we do our job and take care of things we’ll be fine.”

On the team’s attitudes toward playing Alabama:
“I think the first night we were excited. We wished we could play that night. Everybody is excited. You know it’s going to be a tough task, but all the guys are on track and are out here working hard every day, so we’re really excited.”

On watching Alabama film:
“Two hours later we got film from Hudl, so I guess the coaches and the film guys were excited too.”

On AJ McCarron:
“He was a Heisman finalist, so I think that speaks for itself. He has a lot of weapons, and he’s a smart quarterback. This is his fourth or fifth year he’s been there, but he’s smart and he makes good decisions. He’s not going to make many mistakes, so you have to capitalize when he does.”

Oklahoma Football
Linebacker Dominique Alexander
Dec. 16, 2013

On playing Alabama:
“I’m very excited to play against Alabama. They’re one of the best teams in the country, and we get to show what we’re all about as a program.”

On the linebackers this season:
“All of the linebackers that have played have all produced to a high level. We led the team in tackles. We all produced and our production speaks for itself.”

On starting as a freshman:
“I just knew that I was going to come here and work for it. Whatever happened happened, but it wasn’t going to be because I didn’t work hard.”

On the attitude in the locker room after Bedlam:
“It was really exciting in our locker room. Everybody was happy. We beat a rival and we had a great chance to play in a BCS bowl and things like that, so everybody was pretty pumped up. It was a great feeling to get that win.”

On being the underdog:
“We’ve been the underdog all year. Nobody expected us to do what we’ve done this year as far as making it to the Sugar Bowl and beating some of the teams that we’ve beaten. It just pushes us harder. We’re going to continue to do what we’ve been doing.”

On the opportunity this game brings:
“It’s great. Like I said earlier, it just gives us a chance to show what we are as a program and bring us back to the top.”



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