Oklahoma Sooners captain Charles Tapper talks Kansas State

Defensive end says Sooners need to bounce back against Wildcats

What was the feeling after the defense’s performance against Texas?

It hurt us a lot. We came out first drive and had a lot of missed tackles and had a lot of busts. It hurt the seniors, a lot. It hurt me because this was our last one. We’ll never get this opportunity again, to play against Texas and to play in the Cotton Bowl. We lost the opportunity to have an undefeated season and to win the Red River Rivalry. It hurt me a lot, and I know it hurt all the guys a lot.

How do you bounce back?

We can’t beat ourselves. We beat ourselves with a lot of missed tackles and mental errors. We’ve just got to make sure we go into the game ready to tackle. It wasn’t like we weren’t prepared. We were ready for the game. We played physical. We just have a lot of things we didn’t do as players like missed tackles and wrapping up and things like that. We practice it a lot. The little things are going to help us the most.

You hade Heard dead-to-rights for a sack but he escaped. Was that a big play in the game?

That’s a big game-changing play right there. That’s a play I have to make, being a senior and being one of the captains. If I make that play it might change the whole game. But you have to live and move on from it.

What do you have do to stop Kansas State?

It’s gonna be another exciting game for us up front. We’re going to have a lot of opportunities to make plays. We’ve got to make the plays up front. It’s going to start with the big three. If we go out there and we dominate them up front and take the fight to them, because they’re kind of conservative. We have to take the fight to them and show our aggressiveness early. If we do that, we can have a lot of fun up front.

Is there something to prove against the Wildcats?

It’s a statement game for us up front and for the Big 12, period. . . . They’ve lost two games by two field goals. They’re a great team. If we go out there and dominate them, we’ll show ourselves that we’re capable, and we’ll show everybody else that that last game was just a fluke.

Are you backs against the wall?

Our backs have been against the wall. We’ve gotta keep fighting. It’s just like the beginning of the season. . . .  We’re back to fighting like we’ve got nothing to lose right now. K-State is a great team. They’re gonna come out ready. They’re gonna give us our best shot. So we’ve got to come out fighting.

Is this your time to be a leader?

It’s just like my sophomore year. We came into the Texas game 4-0. We lost that game and then we finished the season going to the Sugar Bowl and beating Alabama. Now we’re back to a minor setback for a major comeback. We’ve got to come back hard and be ready to fight. We know what to do in this situation. We’ve gotta show the young guys how it’s done. Us older guys, we know the feeling.

How big is the chip on your shoulder?

It’s big, man. It’s big, period. It’s my last year. Every game counts for me. I don’t get them back. It’s big to prove to the young guys. Adversity is going to hit you at some point in your life. Something is going to push you back in life. How are you gonna bounce back? We just gotta show everybody we’re going to bounce back strong.


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