NORMAN, Okla. — The top-ranked Oklahoma Sooners open their season Saturday against North Texas a 34-point favorite mostly because of their defense. Co-Defensive Coordinator Mike Stoops talked recently with OUInsider.com about the Sooners' defense and the Mean Green offense in our two minute drill.
JH: Mike, it seems like everybody on your team is ready to play a game. Would you say that is right?
MS: "I don't think there is any question that these guys are ready to compete against somebody else besides themselves. I think our guys are tired of practicing and going through preparations, so we are looking forward to Saturday."
JH: You have a veteran group on defense, so have you been able to raise the bar a little bit as far as expanding what you do with your defense?
MS: No, I wouldn't say that is the case. Our learning curve is still hard, because we still have some younger players like Donte (Nicholson) and Brodney (Pool), two of our safeties who haven't really played a whole lot. They are kind of new in the system, so we are still going to do the things that we do. Our defense is going to be very similar and we are going to run some the same things that we always have. We aren't going to change much. It is just a lot of little
things like getting alignments and assignments to those that are responsible. Those are things that we are trying to stay on top of right now."
JH: Don't the additions of Nicholson and Pool balance out your secondary personnel for this season?
MS: "I think both of them have had good camps and they have prepared themselves well. They are both very physical and very athletic players. They obviously lack the experience on the field, but they both feel their way around the field well for safeties. I hope both of them go out and play well, and I know there will be some anxious moments for them early in the game just because it will be their first game starting. It will be their first game as starters in a big game environment, but both of them are very mature kids and I think both of them are going to play well."
JH: What are your thoughts on North Texas?
MS: "They are very diversified in what they can do. They have lot of formations and a lot of movement. They run reverses and trick plays, and try to get you to react into some bad things defensively. Then they do some things based on how the defense reacts. So, they know that we like to react awfully fast and we have to make sure that we are just sound, and that we don't overpursue by coming up on their play-action, boots and option passes. That is how they like to strike deep, by trying to get you to suck up on the run and then throwing the ball deep. Tthey are going to test our discipline early in the season."
Two Minute Drill: Mike Stoops on North Texas
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