Q&A: Defensive ends coach Bobby Jack Wright

NORMAN, Okla. — Sooners Illustrated presents a Q&A with defensive ends coach Bobby Jack Wright, inquiring about David King's switch inside and more.

Q. There's some injuries surrounding this group. What are your thoughts on how that will affect things and the rest of the unit?

A. We've still got some good, quality guys. Fortunately we've got some good guys in house that we've been working with.

Q. Do you think this group, has it shown you it's gonna be a pretty good pass rushing group this year?

A. Well, they've still got a ways to go before I put my stamp on that. You know, I think they've got a chance to be. No question. Guys like R.J. and Chuka and even Rashod, who's got very little experience rushing the passer, but they got speed. They got explosiveness. They play with good pad level. The two young kids are going to be really good pass rushers once they figure out what the heck they're doing. They look like two little--they look like two brand new colts running around out there. You know, I mean, they're just all legs and arms right now, but once they get some technique about them and really feel confident in what they're doing, knowing that they know what they're doing, they're gonna be pretty good.

Q. You've had so many guys in and out, losing guys at different positions. Having a guy like R.J. being your consistency at the position, how much has that helped?

A. Well, it's helped from the stand point not so much that R.J. is an experienced guy because he hasn't played a lot. But he's a great team guy who knows the defense, knows all the calls. He knows the techniques, and he does a great job coaching the guys in the room. So, he's a big benefit. Now he's in a role or a capacity where he is gonna play a lot and then you take that with his ability to [play], he really takes it on himself to coach these guys up. And so that's a big plus. It helps a lot to have [that].

Q. You have to really like that?

A. Oh, I love it. No question. I absolutely love it, and I appreciate the way he kinda takes him under his wing to coach him up and help him because I'm not always there, you know, to answer the questions. He's with them all the time. So, it's a real bonus.

Q. I'm not suggesting that he'd have this type of year because Frank Alexander hada great year, but you know Frank really didn't do a whole lot until last season when he had the monster season. Could R.J. have the same kind of breakout year?

A. Possibly. You know, obviously they're different body types. They're different people. They've got different strengths. You know, he could and I can see him right now gaining confidence every day. He's still got to learn how to play a lot stronger. He's a strong guy but doesn't play particularly strong. He plays pretty fast and hence he's a decent pass rusher, but he's got to learn how to play more physical and be a little better run stopper. They still kinda bang him up of the line of scrimmage and stuff like that, but if he can get to where he could really, you know, play the run game as well as he pass rushes, then he's got a chance to have a heck of a year.

Q. Do you have enough ends left to run the Indy package this year?

A. Well, you know, the bonus is we moved David in there, so we don't have to move David in. Yeah, he counts. He's already in there. And so right now, no we'll probably still leave a tackle in there and just go with David.

Q. That was kind of a unique situation with those four guys in there last year?

A. Yeah, because we had four guys who could really rush the quarterback, so that was good. And, you know, who knows? Down the road, like I said, we still got 10 days before the first ball game. But then before conference play we've got 10 days plus two games. By that time, we may have those young pups ready to go. We'll see.

Q. I know David's played a little bit of tackle for you, but what kind of things do you see from him that make you feel like you can really be successful there to help you guys out?

A. Well, he's a big guy. You know, he's a big bodied guy who can go inside and hold up physically whereas nobody else at my position can do that. He weighs 285 pounds playing defensive end, so physically he can go in there. And the rest of it actually might be a little easier for him. Rushing from inside is--obviously you're a little bit closer to the quarterback, and that's why he likes it. Because A, you're up against a guard instead of a big bodied tackle, so there's some pluses in it for him. But then at the same time there's some minuses because you gotta hold up against the heavy run game in there, so the blocking schemes are a little different and you catch more double teams and things of that nature. But like I said, he's a big bodied guy that's strong, he's physical. He plays with good pad level. So, he can hold up in there pretty good.

Q. You talked a little bit about how playing the run was real difficult, has been real difficult for him. How has he looked so far with that?

A. Well, I didn't say it's been difficult for him. I'm saying he's a guy that can go in there and play the run because of his big body. It's not gonna be difficult for him at all. He's a good player, a smart guy and he'll do well in there. David's gonna do well wherever he plays.

Q. So you get the sense that David's excited about the move inside?

A. Well, David's a team guy. I don't know whether he's excited or unexcited either. You'd have to ask him. I can't speak for him. I just got through telling you the positives of it, and there's a lot of good things that go with it. There's a lot of good things that go with the other end of it, too. So, you know, all we're trying to do is get the best four players we got on the field at the same time and he's one of the best four and we think right now he's one of the better alternatives at tackle than maybe somebody else. So, that's the reason for the move.

Q. Coach, I know you're really excited with Charles and Mike and you mentioned technique as areas that maybe they need to improve. Just what other specific areas do they need to kind of improve upon in order for them to be able to help you out this year?

A. Well, you just get your laundry list out from A to Z and they need every bit of it. So, I mean, they need it all. They're just true freshmen. They're pups. They don't know even yet what's coming, what's hit them. They don't know even after the play was run what was run. So, just experience, more snaps, more chances to get reps, more chances to see live action, people really coming at you full speed with a real game plan rather than, ‘OK, we're just working drills, technique,' and, ‘See if you can do this.' Now all of a sudden they're out there and everybody's coming at them, but they'll be fine. They'll adjust and they'll get it down. They'll be good.

Q. Is David the biggest D-end that you've had?

A. He's probably the biggest that we've had since I've been here, yeah. I can't remember exactly what Cornelius Burton weighed way back in '99 and 2000. He would have been the next biggest one, but I'm not even sure he weighed as much as David weighs.

Q. Because it seems like all the guys you have that get drafted from those spots, they get in the NFL and what they try to do is turn them into a linebacker? And it seems like he kind of breaks that mold.

A. Well, they definitely aren't going to turn him into a linebacker. We've been fortunate to have guys who were pretty fast and could run really good. And that's why, you know, you've seen some of them try to transition them to linebackers because they ran so well. He doesn't run quite like some of the guys you're thinking about right there. And he shouldn't because he's 285 pounds, so no, he would be a guy that I think in the future he might transition to a D-tackle just because of his body type.

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