Q&A with John Lovett -- Part 2

Defensive coordinator John Lovett talked about the development of a few players, some big plays in the OU game, what happened at Virginia Tech, where the defense goes from here, and much more. Read on to see what he's saying.

On Marcus Forston:
He's banged up. But we're all banged up. How you deal with that determines how mature you are, how ready to play you are at this level. I don't know the extent of the injury but I'd like him to play faster, harder, better. Everyone has different pain tolerances, dealing with injuries. He has several things bothering him. How he deals with that will determine how he plays. He's a real good player. You see flashes of what he can be but only play doesn't make you a player.

On Olivier Vernon:
What a plesant surprise he was in the spring. Here's a guy who should have been in high school. He came out here and jumped ahead of guys. He has a lot of natural ability. He's a work hard guy. He's smart and he's got football smarts. I go back to Whip. He's a Brown guy but he's also football smart. Olivier is smart but he picks things up. Playing at a young age, a lot of guys have talent to pay but can't handle it. You gotta pick up things pretty fast and he's done that.

On the Brandon Harris sack and fumble:
That was just an adjustment to what they were giving us. That's one of our base checks. We got the formation we needed and he executed it. We ran that before and they hit us with a 50-yard run because we missed two tackles. There was one good call and one bad call. It's not about what I call, it's about how they execute it. I'm a good coach when they do what we need them to do and I'm not a good coach when they're not. It's on me and it's on them. We try to keep things simple. He's done that pressure so many times but their protection let it up that time. That was a weakness for them and that's why we did it. It was one good time and one time not so good. It's all on how you execute.

On what happened against Virginia Tech:
If I could figure that out, I'd be making a whole lot of money. You don't know what's gonna happen. Virginia Tech, I put that on my shoulders because I'm responsible for their performance. If they don't play fast, well, for whatever reason they weren't comfortable in what Virginia Tech was showing them. We have to fix that and we didn't get it fixed. They played well enough but we struggled. To answer your question, I don't know. I'm not saying they didn't play hard but they didn't play well enough. Maybe I should have prepared them differently. I put that on me, not on those guys. It's my job to get them ready and hopefully it doesn't happen again.

On rebounding against Oklahoma:
They practiced great all week. I was more nervous about lining up. My biggest fear was lining up against their fast tempo. That first big pass, I don't know if guys were set in what they were doing. When that happens it's on me not getting it done. Once they got in the speed of the game they were OK. I told them before Georgia Tech, all you gotta do is get them off the field the first series. Once you get used to the tempo, you'll be fine. I didn't tell them this time. We practiced fast tempo all week. They seemed to handle it. We couldn't practice the tempo of Georgia Tech's offense. I knew there might be missed tackles but once they got there they'll be OK because they were playing fast. The other night, we gave up a big play when we weren't set and that kinda snowballed. Once they settled down, they were fine.

On practicing for the fast tempo of OU's offense:
Coach Shannon was as responsible as anybody. We wanted to find a way to get a lot of reps at kids fast. We had one O-Line set, two groups of receivers and running backs, and just had them running at the kids. It was hard to get lined up and go. They got those kids set to go. Literally we were running in and out at kids. That was faster than what they saw the other night to be honest. Physically, it's very grueling. There's not the amount of time between plays to recover. That's why a lot of these teams wear you down. Outside the lineup, we had to get our subs in and out. Those defensive linemen, you roll those guys. You don't want those guys going 10 plays in a row because they'll be gassed before halftime and you'll need them.

On where the team goes from here:
Our job is to get better and beat our next opponent. Florida A&M is gonna give us their best shot and we know that. The kids know that. They practiced hard today. Initially it was hard to get them going but it's always hard on a Tuesday at 5:30 in the morning. We had them going through the paces and they got going pretty good. We felt pretty good about them giving good effort. They learned their lesson about getting prepared. They'll be prepared to play. They look forward to playing.


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