Defensive weekly Q&A: Linebacker Jaydan Bird

NORMAN, Okla. — Sooners Illustrated met up with linebacker Jaydan Bird, who actually played on the offensive side of the ball in game one, and talks about all things from what he thought about his performance to how the defense did as well.

Q. The running back, [Nathan Jeffery], obviously he's a very good running back. I think he had like 177 yards. Were a lot of his yards--I was talking to Corey Nelson and he said he bounced it outside and like you said gap integrity, he bounced it outside--was that just more ad libbing on his part?

A. I still think it's on us. We had missed tackles. Like his 65- or 70-yard run, whatever it was, two missed tackles. Not one. Two missed tackles on the same play. I mean, we just gotta rap up and play better defense. I mean, but I don't think not to take away from his game or anything like that, but I think it was more on us than it was for him.

Q. Overall for the first game you guys pitch a shutout. Obviously the blocked punt for a touchdown not on you. How do you feel just defensively overall your performance was?

A. I felt like we performed really well. Like I said before, we did some really good things and then we had a couple gap integrity things that we need to get resolved. We'll get them fixed. The biggest improvement made in college football is between week one and week two. That's where you see who the real programs are. If you can make the improvements, then you're a great program between each week. You keep improving each week, you're gonna be a great program.

Q. Talk about since you were playing behind them, you had a chance to see the defensive line. Can you talk about their play?

A. They're used to two-gapping I would say, and it's hard for them to want to stay. I mean, you always want to make a play and it's not your play when we're in a one-gap defense obviously. You gotta stay in your gap and just be gap sound. They're a solid front. Obviously we all have room for improvement.

Q. What's it like to be on a defense that has David [King], who took every single snap at UTEP?

A. He's an animal. He's big. Moving from a D-end to a three-technique, he's doing really well. He's very physical. Just a great player all around. He makes plays. He has fire. He has passion. He's a great athlete.

Q. What would you say, too, about I guess his conditioning because guys by the fourth quarter for the Miners are all cramping and he's still out there?

A. We obviously train hard to play hard. So, I mean, we put in the work and put in the time, put in the effort to be able to last, to have the endurance to last throughout the entire game.

Q. What about your play? I mean, obviously you came in and played. How do you think you did?

A. I didn't play any defense this game actually. I played on offense as a fullback this game, but I felt like I played pretty good. I mean, obviously like I have room for improvement. I made a couple bad blocks that I should have made.

Q. What do you think most contributed to a slow offensive start for you guys?

A. I mean, a lot of factors that go into it. I mean, we had big plays obviously. We had a big catch that got called back for a chop block. We had another catch that was ruled incomplete that was a touchdown. I mean, a lot of little things just contributed: fumbles, just not picking up on our blocks like on the blitzes and stuff like that. I mean, that all picked up and like contributed to the fact I felt like we were slow on offense. But towards the end of it, we picked it up. We came together. We got sound and we all played together and things started rolling as you could tell in the fourth quarter.

Q. When you talked about these are all things that are correctable, all the mistakes are?

A. Yeah, everything's correctable.

Q. Having Mike Stoops here this year, is that the first thing as soon as you guys get back, starting today I mean do you start watching film and he starts pointing out things you go out on the field and try to obviously work on all those things?

A. We start out meetings by watching the game film from UTEP. He typically gives us a texts reminder sheet basically that's corrections from all the things we messed up on. Then, we go over those and then we move on to Florida A&M. Obviously that's our next opponent. We got to get ready for them, and that's how it is. And then we go out in the game field and apply those mistakes, I mean, apply those corrections and fix those mistakes.

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