Oklahoma Football
Defensive Coordinator Mike Stoops
Oct. 7, 2013

On who replaced LB Corey Nelson at linebacker in practice today:
“Those are some big shoes to fill, but it’s good that Dominique Alexander has started games for us already this season. He knows what it feels like. Obviously he is going to have to play a lot more than he did in prior games but we feel very confident in what his abilities are and it will be exciting for him.”

On who will take Nelson’s place in a “five-man front”:
“When they go to big sets we will have to move somebody else into Corey’s position. We won’t move him from his normal position.”

On what Nelson’s absence will mean off the field:
“He’s a big leader for us and he’s had a spectacular year. His big-play ability and his ability to find the ball, those are things that we will miss but other guys will have to pick up the slack and this will be a good opportunity for Dominique.”

On LB Eric Striker’s play thus far:
“He just has a great knack for getting that first step off the snap. Then there is his ability to change his body direction and his lean. His ability to finish rushes and his athleticism and what he can do with his body is what you want in an outside rusher. He poses a lot of problems for tackles just because of his speed. He’s so quick getting off the football.”

On who needs to step up on defense other than Dominique Alexander:
“Aaron Franklin is guy that has played a lot of linebacker for us, as well.”

On if it is fair to attribute some of the confusion and trouble OU had in the fourth quarter to the play of a young player in the lineup:
“No. No, that was our fault. Those were schemes, and there was a little confusion because we were moving people around, but that wasn’t his fault.”

On if the defense will have to substitute more now without Corey Nelson:
“It changes some rotations but not significantly.”

On the Texas running game:
“I think that has been the strength of their team. That has been the one consistent part of what they have done. Those backs are tremendous, their line is blocking well and when they’re running the football. I think that’s the quarterback’s best friend. That is a tough combination to handle when you can run the ball that well and still have the ability to throw the football and this is far and away the most complete set of players we have seen across the board when you look at offensive line, you look at quarterback and you look at receivers. They go a lot of up tempo and try to keep you off balance with that. Again, this will be a big challenge for us.”

On Texas quarterback Case McCoy:
“I think he does everything that they ask him to do and he does it well. He is a very complete player and he throws the ball exceptionally well. He’s very smart and it seems like they do a lot of checking at the line of scrimmage whether he is calling it or he is calling it. We have to keep him off balance with what we are trying to do and give them some different looks. Those are all important elements of every game plan and it will be very critical again Saturday to try and create some confusion with him.”

On Dominique Alexander’s background in football:
“Dominique is going to be a great player. He is the next guy up and he has to go play. He’s very well prepared for this and I think he is going to be an unbelievable player. Hopefully it’s Saturday, we’ll see but he’ll be well prepared and he’ll hold his own I can guarantee that.”

On if this can be a great defense:
“We’ll see. We have to go out and prove ourselves every time we step out onto the field. That is how we look at it and we never look back, we look forward. That was the situation a year ago. Last year is over, and we have moved on. We have moved on to Texas and we know what we have to do when we step on the field and what is expected of us. I think our players have embraced that challenge. They look forward to it, they’re excited, they’re confident in the way they are playing and they have no reason not to go out with a lot of confidence in the way they are playing on Saturday.”

On the defense’s best quality:
“They all have played well. It’s a collective group and I think our position on the football, our leverage on the football has been good for the most part. We have given up a few big plays but other than that we make them work. We haven’t given up anything real easy consistently. When you can do that and make people work for an extended period of time you can play good defense. That’s been really our strongest attribute.”

On if he worries about Texas pulling out something unknown for this game:
“There is unknown in every game. Ninety percent of it is what we’ve prepared for but there is 10 to 15 percent that everybody changes from week to week and whatever that is for them we have to react to it and hopefully our defense is built to react to things like that.”

On if they are prepared to see a more mobile quarterback like Tyrone Swoopes:
“I’m sure he can run. (TCU QB Trevone) Boykin can run, too. I don’t know his abilities and I haven’t seen him on tape, but he is a big athlete so sure you have to respect his ability to run the football and that may change some of your calls but again, we try to build our defense so that we can handle those types of situation in everything we do.”

On defensive lineman Charles Tapper and the speed he brings to the defensive front:
You put him and (Eric) Striker in there and you have two guys who can really fly for their positions so we are much more built for speed than we were a year ago, especially on the perimeter.”

On the play of the defensive tackles against TCU:
“They played really well. Both played well. We feel good about both of those guys.

On if that changes the rotation at that position at all:
“Well it all depends on what Jordan’s (Phillips) status is. We’ll have to wait and see what our rotation will be.”

On the difference in the Texas play-calling under offensive coordinator Major Applewhite:
Their tempo is different. It seems like they throw it a little more. I don’t know, maybe that was just the last game it seemed that way. I think that is just having the ability to take what the defense gives you and that’s what I’ve noticed they are doing. They are patient and they don’t force it but they are going to take their shots down the field. It seems like they are playing smart and very efficient here lately.”

On if LB Dominique Alexander’s family background helps him:
“He just has to go play football. It is what he has done since he was 10 years old. It doesn’t change and we don’t make a big deal about it. He has a job to do and he knows what his responsibilities will be on Saturday. End of story you know. He has to play; nobody cares how many games you have played. If he lines up he has to play and he has a confident way about him that, you know, we’re not worried about him.”

On the defensive line to this point:
“This has been far and away the most production we have got out of our defensive line in a long time. They are active players. They can play a lot of different things. They can play a lot of different styles and you know they give us speed and athleticism as well.”

On cornerback Zack Sanchez:
“Zack knows that with Aaron Colvin on the other side he is going to get a lot of work. Everyone has tried him and it won’t change on Saturday. He has gained a lot of confidence through the first five games and that goes with all of our players. He is tremendously confident is his ability. His technique needs to continue to improve but everyone has tried him and he has held up. I’m proud of him. He’s halfway through the season know so he’s a veteran. That’s how I look at it.”