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Defensive Media Session Quotes
August 26, 2014

Tight End Blake Bell 

On adjusting to a new position:
“I have been playing against what is arguably one of the best defenses in the country so I have gotten a lot of good work against the defensive line, the linebackers and the guys covering me. I think I have done a great job of preparing, and I am not afraid to go out there and play.” 

On going into the tight end meeting room in the spring:
“It was different. It was almost like being here on the first day of my freshman year and trying to learn the quarterback stuff. It was different, but I kind of picked it up just form knowing the offense from playing quarterback, too.” 

On who he wanted to face in practice:
“I went against Geneo Grissom all the time. I went against him all through the fall and I still go against him in one-on-ones. I would say Geneo and Charles Tapper. Those guys are so big and long. They are good to go against because they are the type of guys you are going to play against.” 

On his skills as a blocker:
“I am getting better each and every day. My technique is improving every day. It is all about the little things like bringing your hips and making sure you lock on and stay inside and stuff like that. I am getting better each day and I will continue to do that through the season.” 

On the Belldozer package:
“It’s one of those deals where if we need it I’ll do it. If coach tells me he needs me out there then we will run it. Whatever I can do to help the team.”

Linebacker Eric Striker 

On if he is glad it’s game week:
“I’m glad its game week. I’ve been anticipating, the team has been anticipating – it’s been a long time coming. I’ve been dreaming about this since back in February to be honest with you. We had great two-a-days. We’ve been banging against each other so we’re ready to bang against someone else.”

On how he makes sure the defense comes out strong early in the season:
“We always practice fundamentals in tackling and stuff like that. It’s up to us to show that on game day. Everybody should be ready; everybody should wrap up and know the proper way to tackle. We’ve been doing drills – Coach (Mike) Stoops has been doing drills to help us tackle well so that should not be a problem.” 

On if he feels the defense will be ready to go after some position changes:
“We’ve been practicing really well so everything should come out pretty smooth. We took it back to the basics and fundamentals so now we should be pretty good at what we’re doing at this point. I’m not saying we’re perfect; everybody makes mistakes, but it should be a good flow.”

Safety Hatari Byrd 

On the competition at safety:
“We are out there competing and getting ready. It is game week, so it is time to turn our game up.” 

On the atmosphere at practice:
“The whole atmosphere is way different. Every one is more focused and the coaches are more intense at practice. They are making sure everything is perfect. You can really tell that it is game week.” 

On the comfort level with the 3-4 scheme:
“We are very comfortable. We are assignment ready and knowing the down and distance lets us play more freely and be playmakers. We are working on being more of a playmaker for Coach Stoops.” 

On embracing challenges:
“I am ready for all challenges that come my way. We are young back there so I know they may try us mostly. That is a good thing. We just have to be ready to make plays.”

Linebacker Caleb Gastelum 

On what playing in the Oklahoma State game last year meant to him:
“It did a lot for me. It gave me motivation. Seeing the field and the circumstances--it was Bedlam, one of the biggest games we play all year—it definitely gave me motivation for this year.” 

On being listed on the two-deep:
“Where the coaches put me is where I am going to play, obviously. I am not too worried about where I am listed. I am just worried about my job and what I need to do to be prepared to play.” 

On helping Jordan Evans prepare:
“Jordan is really smart. As a young player, a sophomore, he has picked up the system really well. I help him with what I can. I have the age on him so I know the system well. We both know the system well and I help him when I can and he may help me if I’m not in the spot I need to be. We help each other in that way.” 

Safety Ahmad Thomas

On what it meant to him to win the starting job:
“That’s really just on paper; it doesn’t really mean anything. But everything it’s meant to me – it’s big, just to step up like that.” 

On if he feels like he is playing at a higher level:
“Yeah, I’ve developed since I’ve gotten here. That was my goal when I first got here, to develop as much as possible and as quick as possible.” 

On when he knew he was playing at a higher level:
“When I was picking up on plays quicker and seeing formations and calling what I needed to call – that’s when I knew I had it down.” 

On how talented the safeties are:
“Very talented. We are very talented. We’ve got guys that can do everything – cover, hit, range – all of that.”

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