SUGAR BOWL:Up close with the OU defense

Oklahoma almost made a clean sweep in terms of postseason awards. <br><br> Quarterback Jason White may have captured the Heisman Trophy, but defensive tackle Tommie Harris, linebacker Teddy Lehman and defensive back Derrick Strait brought home some serious hardware. <br><br> The stars of Oklahoma's vaunted defense met with the media Wednesday after practice in the Superdome.

DT Tommie Harris


On impressions of New Orleans

"New Orleans is nice. I haven't really seen much but my hotel room though. It is nice and a blessed experience just to be down here. I'm not really a go-out person or anything like that. I have just been sharing a lot of camaraderie with my teammates."


Thoughts on practices

"The practices have been pretty intense for about a month in Norman. We are ready to play. We are just anxious and can't wait until Sunday gets here. We hope to redeem what happened in the Big 12 Championship game."


On losing to Kansas State in Big 12 Title game

"That is a focus for us. A lot of people were high on us and after the loss they doubted us. We have to go out and mainly prove to ourselves and shock the world with what we are doing."


On so many OU players winning awards

"With all of the accolades, you are not sneaking up on anyone. It really doesn't matter. I have been getting accolades since I was a freshman and it hasn't changed my personality. As a man, you have to walk with humility to last a long time Individual accolades cannot help my team win the national championship. I want to win that crystal ball."


On LSU's offensive line:

"LSU has a good offensive line. Ben Wilkerson is a guy that I have played against and with in games in Texas. The right guard is really intense. It's a line we are looking forward to playing. I see it as a stepping stone to getting where we need to be."


On New Orleans hexes and voodoo

"I haven't seen any voodoo, but I brought my stump water just in case."




LB Teddy Lehman


On head coach Bob Stoops

"I think Coach Stoops' toughness and intensity is the way the team tries to act. He is a great leader and that is the way we try to be."



"LSU has a lot of speed and they are coached real well. They have a great scheme. LSU has a good running and passing attack. Anytime you play a team with a good balance they are tough to defend."


About playing for second NC

"It is exciting. It is hard not to get caught up in the moment, but we are here to win a football game and we are focused on that."


On seeing OU fans in New Orleans

"We have seen quite a few. I think we will have a good showing."


LSU QB Matt Mauck

"He is more mobile than people give him credit for. He has some great receivers and he gets the ball to them. Matt makes great decisions and throws. When he has to, he can tuck the ball in and play with it."


On Mike Stoops

"He is a great leader and we love to play for him. Sometimes you have to move on to do your own thing. We will miss his intensity and love for the game. I think he will do fine and we will be fine without him."


On playing this game after OU's first loss of the season

"You always want to win and we definitely want the taste of victory back in our mouth. We are ready to get back out there and play."




DB Derrick Strait


Opening Statement 

"We're always ready to go out there and play the best game that we're able to. As a defense you always have to go out and win the game; if all else to give the offense good field position. We knew they (Florida St) had a great offense, the same as LSU. They (LSU) have a great offense and great athletes. We just have to go out and play our defense."


On Big 12 Championship game 

"It was us not making the plays that we needed to make. They (Kansas St) made the plays that they needed to make as a team and we didn't."


On the challenges of LSU's offense 

"We just have to go out there and execute our game plan and try no to give up many big plays. Big plays can change the momentum of the game and give them confidence."


About LSU

"The whole group in general (stands out). They have so many athletes that can hurt you from anywhere on the field at any time. You just have to be sound in your position and what you are doing."


On the game coming down to big plays 

"As a defense, we're trying to keep them from making the big plays. Hopefully by doing that, we can give our offense good field position and they can make the plays."


On Michael Clayton 

"We've been playing physical receivers all year. We just have to go out and play our defense."


On LSU receivers 

"They are all playmakers. The quarterback gets them the ball in the position where they can do something with it. We just have to be there when they catch it and tackle them."




 DE Dan Cody


On Mike Stoops 

"We will miss how tenacious he is and the attitude he gives us to take to the field. You are going to miss the guy, but we are happy with what is still here. It hurts to lose him; I mean he is a defensive genius. He is still around to help us out. He is part of the family. Coach Venables won't let us lose our edge. He will make everybody pick it up."


On matching up against LSU 

"Their offensive line is big and physical…aggressive. They are a lot like Alabama. We are not as big as most of the lines LSU has played against but we are pretty fast and we will have to match their physical play. They have all kinds of great players on skill positions. They know where there is a weakness and where they can manipulate it. You can see that in the way they run the ball. We play our best when our backs are up against a wall. That is when we play our best football. I don't think anybody wanted Oklahoma to win a game all year except Oklahoma."


On Tommie Harris 

"He is strong up front and pushes guys back. He disrupts the running game. It always goes unnoticed. I remember against Oklahoma State, they had a fourth and goal and he just completely pushed them back. That was pretty special. He is a phenomenal athlete."


On Derrick Strait

"I can't say enough about Derrick Strait. He has a great attitude and everybody looks up to him. He wants to win more than anyone and he plays harder than anyone I have ever seen. He is just an all-around great guy. His leadership will be missed the most."


On Kansas State loss

"We didn't have that edge. For so long we were up on a pedestal with people telling us 'you are not going to lose'. We just lost our edge. We went out there and we cracked. We started the first four drives three and out and then we cracked. To look up at the scoreboard was disbelief. We never watched the tape as a team. I have watched it my self 12 or 13 times, just trying to figure out what went wrong."

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