Dvoracek says 'D' ready to give OSU its best shot

Oklahoma's junior defensive tackle talks about the health of the Sooner defense heading into this Saturday's showdown with Oklahoma State. Dvoracek leads the Sooners with seven sacks and has also registered 21 tackles and 10 tackles for loss in the Sooners first eight games. (Getty Images/Ronald Martinez)

NORMAN, Okla. — The Sooners' defensive line has been one of the very best in college football this season, if not the very best. The Sooner defensive tackles are headed by All-American Tommie Harris, but the play of Dusty Dvoracek has been almost as impressive. 'DD' is one of the most popular guys on the team, and thus far as an active player he has yet to beat OSU. 'DD' sat down with OUInsider.com on Wednesday to about talk about the Sooner defense and the upcoming big game with arch-rival OSU.

JH: Last year wasn't it true that the defense was all banged up in the disappointing effort against the Cowboys? And if so, you are totally healthy this year, which has to give this defensive unit a much better outlook on Saturday's game doesn't it?

DD: "Definitely, the stakes are still the same, it seems like. We don't have revenge in mind, because we have something much more important, and that is a Big 12 South Championship at stake. As far as going in I would say it is a little bit of a different situation for us in the defensive line. We are definitely healthy this year and last year we weren't, but I am not making excuses for our performance. Because we weren't healthy was not the reason we played bad, they just kicked out butts. I think it always helps to play the game healthy so we will give them a better look this year and be able to give them our best shot."

JH: I expected you to not make excuses, but I am making them for you. At the time of the OSU game you guys couldn't run very well, would you say that was the truth?

DD: "Yeah, the injuries really made it hard to put pressure on people, I mean, running after a quarterback just seemed like none of us could really do that very well. It made it rough on us, especially trying to run footballs down. If you watch our games now you see all of our defensive line sprinting down field pursuing the ball all the way down the end zone. We are running around and if you can run around as a defensive line you can do just about anything. The biggest thing is staying alive and running to the football. It was hard last year to do that because of our health, and we are doing a much better job of that this year."

JH: OSU max protects a bunch, so how do you beat a max protect team so that you can get to the quarterback?

DD: "You just keep plugging and plugging. We are just going to have to keep coming and work out butts off this week and work hard at practice to know exactly what we need to do. We know what they are going to do. A lot of your pass rush is up here in your head and a lot of it is want to and will-power. Many times it is determined by how hard you are going to go after it."

JH: We talk about the OSU passing game, but because Tatum Bell is so good that forces the defense to really be on their toes doesn't it?

DD: "Yeah, they have an excellent team. Josh Fields is an excellent quarterback. Tatum Bell is one of the best running backs in the country and they are an excellent offense all the way around. We respect them as far as the pass goes and the run goes. They can do either on you and they are a great team, so it is going to be a great matchup."

JH: What has been the hardest thing to live with the last two years?

DD: "Speaking just for the defense, it is just the fact that we haven't played well against OSU. We have never given OSU our best shot. I mean, if we go out there and play our best game and they beat us then that is one thing. You can swallow that pill better than if you don't play well and they beat you. You always want to play your best and we haven't played very well the last two years."

JH: Do you subscribe to the theory that OSU has your number?

DD: "That is just a joke. We don't think about that. Nobody is in our head, just like we are not in Texas' head either. Everybody wants to say that, but that isn't true. OSU is not in our head. It is about the game of football and it is about preparation and going out there on Saturday and getting it done between the lines. It is not done in the locker room or the through the media. It is all done on Saturday between the lines."

JH: Are you guys as healthy and as prepared as for any of the OSU games?

DD: "Yeah, since I have been here that is definitely the case. We have had great practices, are watching extra film and have had long practices, but we don't mind at all. We have been able to get a lot of work done and we had a great start to the week on Monday. The rest week has been great as well and we really feel that we are as ready to go for this one as much as any OSU game that I have been apart of."

JH: Talk about OSU and what makes their offense so good?

DD: "You have an All-American wide receiver in Rashaun Woods, who may be the best wide receiver in the country. Tatum Bell is a great running back and their offensive line doesn't look like much, but they are an excellent offensive line. They move well and they play as one unit. They may not be the biggest or the best looking guys in the world, but play very well as one unit. They play very well and they are very tough. They are guys that are just going to stay on your butt all game and they are going to block you until the final buzzer goes. Josh Fields is such a smart quarterback. He goes up to the line of scrimmage and makes adjustments. hey have a good offensive coordinator who likes to mix it up. They throw a million different formations at you and overall it is just a good offense."

JH: So, do you feel good about stopping that offense?

DD: "Without question. Sure, they have a good offense, but we have a great defense and we will play just as hard or harder than they will. We also have great coaches that can mix things up and we have a million things we can throw at them as well. It is going to be a great battle, but I like our chances against any team we play."

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