ASKED AND ANSWERED with Chuka Ndulue

Defensive end answers questions about Week 1, teammates

Has it hit you that it’s opening week yet?

Yeah, it’s awesome. I woke up (Monday) morning refreshed. I finally get to watch film on other people. … It’s great.

Are you more excited about it last year than in year’s past?

I am because it’s my last go-round. I’m very excited. It’s game week. It’s awesome.

Fans can get excited too, does your excitement defer?

It’s a different excitement. Fans are excited to go out there and tailgate, watch and cheer for their favorite team. I’m excited I get to hit someone different. It’s just a different level. I’m excited to hit someone else. I know Daryl is tired of seeing me. I’m tired of seeing him. Our whole offense is tired of our entire defense. We are ready to play somebody else.

How different is preparing for this season with the four-team playoff?

It’s kind of different. Normally, it’s like we have to be No. 1 or No. 2. Now we wanna be No. 1 through 4. It’s a different dynamic, but at the same time, you want to be the best in the country at what you do. … We want to be No. 1, but in the back of your mind, you still know that if you are one four teams, you can still make it. We are talking about trying to make the playoffs this year, and it’s kind of weird to say, but we like it.

So the pressure is off about going undefeated?

This is Oklahoma. We want to beat everyone. We don’t want to go anywhere and lose. We still want to be undefeated.

This team has gone from a chip on its shoulder to target on its back. How is that different?

The only difference is everyone is just expecting us to be great, unlike last year. For us as a team, we know that we haven’t done anything yet. There’s still a lot to be proven, starting with this game Saturday and moving on through the rest of the season. We have to win. We haven’t proven anything yet. Last year was great, but this year, we still have a lot of work to do and we have our goals in mind.

As a player, what do you think has allowed Bob Stoops to stay at Oklahoma for 16 years?

Well one, winning of course. Just being a great leader and a great head coach. He cares about his players, both on and off the field. He likes it here. We love him as a coach. It’s just winning and his players, that’s just what makes him stay here so long.

What’s it like having Jordan Phillips back at defensive tackle?

It’s great to have him back. He’s a force to be reckoned with in the middle. Now that he’s back, everyone is going to be like, ‘Now we have to worry about him.’ There’s so much that you have to worry about on the defense. You’ve got to worry about Tapp. You’ve got to worry about Jordan. You’ve got to worry about Strike. You’ve got to worry about Geneo. Having all that, you might forget about me. I might just sneak back there. … Having him back, we just have so many weapons.

How do you feel about Jordan Evans being ready to start at middle linebacker?

He’s had a little bit of experience last year. He knows what it takes. He’s gotten some experience under his belt. I don’t have to babysit him anymore. He’s ready to go. He knows what it takes. … We’re not really worried about him. We know he’s going to go out and execute at a high level.

Sooners Illustrated Top Stories