SUGAR BOWL:Muschamp on defense

NEW ORLEANS — Looking to contain one of the nation's top scoring offenses Sunday in the Sugar Bowl, LSU Defensive Coordinator Will Muschamp spoke to the media Thursday afternoon about his defenses' preparations.

Coach Will Muschamp's Opening Statement


"It's great for our kids to be so close to home and be in the home state. We've had a great week of preparation. We had a good week of practice before we got down here in Baton Rouge, we basically got in about 90-percent of our game plan defensively for what we wanted to do, how we wanted to approach the game. We've polished some things up since we've been down here. The kids have had great focus throughout the week. They've handled themselves and the attention of this game very well. We are real pleased with where we are. Of course we still have a few more days to go before gameday and we're looking forward to it. We have just had good preparation thus far."


Your defense has been vulnerable to the release of the running back down the field. Can you point to why this is and what has been done to try and eliminate it?


"Believe me; we work on it a lot. When you're a pressuring team you have different ways of pressuring people. Whether it is a zone pressure, a man pressure, it is a key blitz pressure and we do all of those things. People do what you call free release on the backs and the backs are not in protection and that's two-fold. They are going to be short on protection so they better get ready of the football and when you cover the back it is usually a hit on the quarterback. We have to do a better control. It comes down to eye control. You have to watch what you want your suppose to watch and see what you are suppose to see and our kids have to do a better job of that and believe me it's something we've worked on and something we've continued to practice. I know we'll see this with Oklahoma. They have two outstanding backs with Jones and Works and they do a good job employing those guys in the passing game. We've worked on it a lot and we are going to continue to work on it and we are going to do what we do."


Does Jason White being a pocket passer benefit you defensively in your trying to pressure him?


"Jason White is an outstanding quarterback. He is a pocket passer, but he is a good athlete.  He has got very good pocket presence and he's very accurate with the football. It's kind of two-fold; you want to pressure a guy like that but he's accurate with the football. You have got to live and die with the sword. He's an outstanding player; he's the Heisman Trophy winner. The thing you watch with this kid is throughout the year he makes the plays. That's something that impresses you about him. He's a gutty, tough competitor. It's fun to watch film of him playing."


At the beginning of the season many thought that the offense was going to shine and the defense was going to struggle this season. At what point did this defense turn into one of the nation's best?


"There was so many unanswered questions going into the season. We left spring ball with a lot of unanswered questions. We've had kids like Eric Alexander, who has had a phenomenal year, Cameron Vaughn has had a phenomenal year, LaRon Landry is a true freshman who comes in from Hahnville and is playing big-time ball in the SEC. Travis Daniels moves to corner which is his better position, his more natural position. Jack Hunt has had an outstanding year for us, our defensive front has come through for us like we thought they could and Lionel Turner has had a good year for us. Everything has really come into place. When that happens, you usually have a good football team."


Discuss Oklahoma's rushing attack and their need to have a solid rushing attack to be successful on offense?


"They have two excellent running backs. Works is more of a slasher and cutter. He gets down the field well and is really a good back. They both catch the ball well out of the backfield. Jones is a very talented player. He has a great change of direction. Both of those guys are good football players. I think those guys are a great compliment in their scheme and what they do. Last year they had Quentin Griffin. He's a lot like Works."


Do you believe that you have a speed advantage over the Sooners?


"Oklahoma has got a lot of speed too. When you watch them on film, they sure look fast to me. I think that we will match up well with them from a speed standpoint, but again they do have a lot of speed on offense too."


Talk about Mark Clayton and what he brings to the OU offense?


"You always have to be aware of where he is. He's an outstanding player, he leads them in receptions, and he's a game changer for them offensively. He also has a great change of direction. The guy is a phenomenal player. He has great balance and body control. He's certainly a guy that we are going to have to be aware of the entire game."


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