Oklahoma Prep: All Business

Having wrapped up fall camp, the Cougars turned their focus towards the Oklahoma Sooners Friday in what was the first day of game preparation. On the practice field the Cougars were all business, and the intensity level and a sense of urgency were visible as the season opener looms on the horizon.

Although the Cougars have been focused on personal and team development and laying their foundation during the past few weeks, much of the groundwork for the Oklahoma-game preparation has already been laid over the past couple of months.

"Basically today was a prep day for Oklahoma," said middle linebacker Terrance Hooks. "We've had some guys watching film on them for over the past couple of months, and so today was basically the first day we split up between the offense and defensive scout teams to go live against each other.

"A lot of guys have already watched a lot of film and have already picked up their tendencies, and we feel like we'll be really prepared. It's great to have our scout guys going as hard as they do and they're taking it very serious. We have to rely on them to get us ready and they're not taking it lightly because they know they have to prepare us for what Oklahoma brings to the table."

On Friday the Cougars were all business, as could be seen in their demeanor. The seriousness of the practice could be seen on the faces of the players as they came off the field.

"This is all business for us and we're not going to go down there and go sightseeing," said Hooks. "I mean, everyone is excited to go down there, but this is all business for us and we are not taking it lightly. Some teams might go down there and just be excited to play in a new stadium against a great team like Oklahoma in a premier game, but we're there for business and for a win and nothing else."

"Everybody is getting ready to go and it's all business," said outside linebacker Coleby Clawson. "I know everyone is excited and I think everyone wants to get in and learn and be prepared. The mentality is very businesslike."

In terms of preparation, one challenge the Cougar defenders faced Friday was simulating the speed and tempo in which the Sooner offense operates.

"Oklahoma is really quick and have a quick tempo," said Hooks. "They're a very fast-paced team with great athletes. From that standpoint it's kind of hard to mimic them. When you run scout, it's very difficult to get the same type of look because of their athletes in regards to their running backs, quarterbacks and tight ends. One thing that I feel we do have is a great scout team offensive line that will give us a great look at what Oklahoma does and how they block."

"It was a little tough for us coming back from that little break we had yesterday in getting our mindset right," said Clawson. "Overall I think we did alright as a defense. Oklahoma runs a lot of plays in a short amount of time, so they're a very faced-paced offense. We don't think we're where they're at in this point in time but we're trying to pick up the pace to get to go."

Even though the opener against Oklahoma isn't a conference game and the Cougars aren't expected to challenge for a national championship, that doesn't mean they have the perspective that there's nothing to lose. They don't want to miss an opportunity by not taking advantage of what can be gained by winning a game such as this.

"I don't want to say we don't have anything to lose, but we do have a lot to gain," said Hooks. "We don't want to start off the season 0-and-1. I feel like we do have something to lose and we're trying to gain some respect for our program and for the bigger picture of where we want our conference to be BCS-wise. We're definitely going to go out there on edge and I know the defense is going to be playing on edge. I know Max [Hall] and those guys are going to have the same mindset that this is all business. From a certain extent we want to go out there and play on that stage and represent what we stand for and go out there and get that win."

"We're definitely the underdog in everybody's mind," said Clawson. "We're going to play to win that game and we're not afraid. I think a lot of people get scared because they're Oklahoma and it's a big game, but we're not going to play just to have a good game or have a good time. We're going there to win at that's how this defense feels. I also know that's how the guys on the offensive side of the ball feel as well. I know Max really feels that way and no matter what anybody else says we're going down there to play hard and play to win."

Along with Jan Jorgensen, Max Hall, Dennis Pitta and Scott Johnson, middle linebacker Matt Bauman was named a team captain for the 2009 season. Bauman recorded a team-high 108 tackles during the 2008 season, including a career-best 50 solo tackles. He gives his thoughts on Friday's Oklahoma preparation in the interview below.

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