It is a common adage in the world of football, but during the renewing of an old rivalry from the 1980's, expect the defensive line of the Miami Hurricanes and the offensive line of the Oklahoma Sooners to take the forefront in determining the winner of 2007 addition of UM v. OU.
The two last played in the 1988 Orange Bowl where the ‘Canes' speedy defense held off the Sooner wishbone offense leading to a 20-14 victory.
Then, the Sooners started multi-time All-American guard Mark Hutson, while the ‘Canes had their All-American and Outland finalist Daniel Stubbs in the trenches. This season, it shares new stars up front.
The Hurricanes start Pre-season All-American Calais Campbell and field several All-Atlantic Coast Conference type players in defensive tackle Teraz McCray and end Eric Moncur. Oklahoma returns four starts up front that include a pre-season All-American candidate in George ‘Duke' Robinson, and All-Big XII potential in center Jon Cooper. The newest starter along the offensive line is the 6-foot-8, 350-pound Phil Loadholt, a top 20 Junior College transfer in the country.
As I said, it all starts up front, and in this game, that will sport two backfields that are amongst the elite in the nation, which means this game will draw a great attention to the play of the lines.
CanesTime.com sat down for an exclusive look-in to the play of the Oklahoma offensive line with the guys who need to know them best, the Hurricane defensive linemen.
Calais Campbell, Courtney Harris, and Teraz McCray share there thoughts on the strengths, the weaknesses, and a prediction of what might occur on Saturday in Norman.
OU STYLE OF PLAY:
Calais Campbell: "They like to run the ball and run it some more. They don't throw unless they have to. And that is what we are good at, stopping the run and we shut down the run. It should be a challenge.
Teraz McCray: "They are pretty solid up front. The guard and center…I think everybody came back except just one person. They are solid all around."
Courtney Harris: "They are real big. They cut a lot and they are going to try and run it but we are going to have to set the tone early and let them know they can't run it on us."
"I expect them to bring their best, and they better bring their best because I am going to bring my best."
THE PREMIER MATCH UP:
Defensive End Calais Campbell v. Left Tackle Phil Loadholt
CC: "I think the biggest thing for (Phil Loadholt) is he won't be able to stop my motor. Every play, I'm coming as hard as I can and he is going to have to come against me and once I get my rest he is going to have to stop Courtney (Harris) and Courtney is going to come in and he is going to be balling too, and then I will come back in and I'll be fresh. By about the fourth quarter he is going to be in trouble."
"Yeah, it is all about leverage. I go out there with Symonette, and he is 6-foot-9, 350-355+ he was 400 back in the day. And I put him on his butt before and he has put me on mine before too. It is going to be able who the lower man is."
THE PHYSICALITY OF THE OU OFFENSIVE LINE:
TM: "Coaches preach to be physical. We are a physical team too. It will come down to who wants it the most."
CC: "I expect to bring a lot of power. A lot of speed. Go out there, and play physical, and go out there and have fun."
DISRUPTING THE PASSING GAME:
CC: "The quarterback has got to be nervous looking at the defense he is going to go up against. I definitely think my height is definitely a factor in my game but playing against another guy 6'8" I definitely make sure I gotta go low and get up under him. I can't just peak over the top because we both run the same height."
"But, a freshman quarterback, we gotta go out there and put pressure on him and make it real miserable on him and welcome him to college football the right way."
CH: "When they see this Marshall film, they aren't really going to try and pass too much…we are some speedy guys. They really want to set the tone for the run."
WHAT TO EXPECT:
CC: "We are going to help each other out because we all have a lot of talent. After the year Eric had last year, people might try and double team him. We have a lot of talent on the DL and that is the beauty about Miami that someone is always coming, you can't double team everyone. When you try and block someone, somebody else will be coming. Here at Miami, it is hard to double team a person."
CH: "We are going to let them know, that whatever happens at the end of the day, you can expect us to win. We aren't going up there to lose. Regardless of the crowd. At the end of the day, it is 11 players on each side of the field and we feel like our 11 players are better. Out 11 players are going to win it."
"I never expect to lose."
Stay tuned in to CanesTime.com for complete pre-game coverage of Miami v. Oklahoma in Norman, as well as all of the fallout from the nationally televised game of the week.