"The biggest change from high school end to college tackle was the size difference of the offensive linemen. In high school I could just bull rush everybody and manhandle them but, in college, the 3-2 technique is a lot different."
Have you ever played a game as late as this? A 9 p.m. kickoff is fairly odd.
"I'm going to get plenty of rest that morning and it also gives me more time to go over all my plays and all the adjustments and everything else. It could end up being a good thing but I know the coaches aren't all that excited about it."
Obviously a quick turnaround for a Thursday game like you had last week is a huge challenge because you have fewer days to prepare but now you're on the opposite end of that. How much do those extra couple days matter in game preparation?
"It helps a whole lot. It helps us with the fact that we can go in and watch film more, we can put a ton of focus on the opponent and we can recover physically. It really gives us the upper hand."
People didn't really expect this defensive line, especially on the interior, to be good against the run but so far you all have proven that belief to be false. How well have you all meshed and how good do you feel about your defensive front?
"I feel as though we've always had a good defensive line but nobody had just seen it from us yet. This summer we worked hard, really hard, and everybody kept saying the defensive line is the biggest question mark about Oklahoma State football but we've just got to keep proving them wrong. We can't be happy with two good games, we can be happy with 13."
Did that overarching doubt serve as motivation during the summer and fall camp?
"It definitely did. Just hearing people talk about how inexperienced the line was and how we needed a nose guard and all the other talk, it was like, ‘OK, they're talking and we're the only ones who can change it. Let's show ‘em what we can do.'"
This will be the third team you all have played that you played last season. Obviously, teams change and schemes change but do you feel like playing all these familiar opponents provides a good barometer for where you all are as a team compared to last season?
"Definitely. No doubt about it. I definitely can tell when we're going up there and watching film, you can see the mistakes we made on defense and it hurts to see it. It's like, ‘how could we make that mistake?' but this year we've been good about learning those lessons and making fewer mistakes. Since we're playing the same teams, we can get what we did wrong down pat and not make those mistakes again. I think playing all these opponents again has really helped us grow."
This might be a little vague, but how underrated is your defense at this point?
"How underrated is it? It's hard to say for sure but I like being the underdog. I like people thinking we're not that good and then out of nowhere we show what we can do."
Is the improvement you all have had directly related to the fact that, in all likelihood, the best offense you'll see all year is the one you have to practice against every day?
"Oh yea, our offense in incredible and every day in practice I just look across at them and I'm like, ‘man, I'm sure glad we don't have to play these guys for real.' I just feel like our offense is so good that if I can get pressure or touch the quarterback when he's getting rid of the ball in practice, it makes me feel as though, against opponents, I could easily do the same move and get back there and get him because our offense is not common, it's spectacular. There is no way that hasn't made us a better defense."