The dominance continues for Cody

Oklahoma's junior defensive end Dan Cody talks about his season, the possibility of leaving for the NFL and this weekend's matchup with Texas A&M. (Getty Images/Brian Bahr)

NORMAN, Okla. — To say that Oklahoma defensive end Dan Cody is having great year is an understatement. The junior from Ada, who was named the Big 12 Defensive Player of the Week after his three sack performance against Oklahoma State, has all but made the Sooners forget about the early departure of Jimmy Wilkerson to the NFL. Cody, who leads the Sooners with eight sacks, talked with after practice Monday about his game against OSU and many other topics.

JH: Congratulations you were named the Big 12 Defensive Player of the Week for your outstanding performance against OSU. You have to be proud of your effort?

DC: "Yeah, I have no complaints. I was pretty surprised, because a couple of those sacks were kind of gimmies. I will take the honor any way that I can get it and enjoy my day in the sun while I can."

JH: I know you got three sacks on four tackles, but didn't you have several pressures as well? Plus, I know your teammates played well too, so don't they have to give the award to somebody on your defense after that great performance against OSU?

DC: "Yeah they do, and I was telling some guys after the game that at times with our defense that is kind of like the luck of draw when it comes to getting to the quarterback. Sometimes plays just fall out for you and that was the case for me Saturday. Every week it seems like somebody on our defense is winning that award, so that proves that there isn't just one player on our defense doing it, but several. It is good to be a part of a defense or a part of the nucleous like we have, where everybody gets to enjoy the awards that come our way. What that does is build a better team unit on our defense, because everybody feeds off each other as we are always competing against each other to see who can make more plays."

JH: So many guys played well against OSU, and I know that the coaches had a tough time deciding who to promote for the award before deciding on you?

DC: "You know that was the case and I read somewhere that this is the fourth time this year that somebody form our defense has been named the Big 12 Defensive Player of the Week. A lot of that has to do with our coaches too. With the gameplan that we had, we said that we were going to go out there and play our defense, and it gives us all an opportunity. All of us have one responsibility on each play and it is just who they are going to attack. We had all aspects of our defensive game covered and it was just who they were going to attack the most and I got lucky."

JH: "Isn't the key to your defense to trust the great gameplan that the defensive coaching staff gives you each week and then go out and execute it?

DC: "That is absolutely true. I have never had more confidence in a group of guys than our defensive coaches. I can't speak for our offensive coaches because they don't coach me, but our defensive coaches really know what they are doing. They know how to attack people and exploit teams' weaknesses and that is what you have to do. You have to exploit peoples weaknesses and you have to do it down after down after down. Execution is the key and we do that very well."

JH: Do you know it is a winner as soon as the coaches hand you that gameplan?

DC: "They hand us a gameplan each week and it really doesn't change much. They will make a few adjustments, but for the most part they are just going to make their calls and we are gong to go out there and make it happen. You know schemes they have set up for us are pretty fundamental defense, so as long as we go out there as players and execute, then we will always play pretty good defense."

JH: What is the biggest difference for you this year compared to last year?

DC: "I think a great deal of it is having a lot of confidence in me, because I became a starter again. Last year I wasn't a starter and I was kind of being selfish or thinking too much about myself sometimes. I wasn't focused on what I could do for the team. This year I just tell myself that I want to go out there and be as tenacious as I can and play as hard as I can and just leave it all out on the field. It is true that all you can do is play as hard as you can and whatever happens, happens."

JH: You had a great summer, so how much did that have to do with it?

DC: "I agree with you that our workouts have really helped me. Now, in the middle of the summer when it is 105 and Coach (Jerry) Schmidt is really driving you I don't think much of them. You just have to look at what he has done with the athletes that he has had here to realize that if you work hard in the summer it will pay off for you in the long run. Guys like Quentin Griffin, Torrance Marshall, Roy Williams and the list just goes on and on of guys who worked hard under Coach Schmidt and become great football players. Coach Schmidt is always maximizing your athletic potential, whether it is on the bench or in the forty or something else, he is always getting the most out of you. What ever you are good at he brings out the most in that area, and whatever you are weak at he improves."

JH: Before the season started you said you had some moves that you were going to use this year, have we seen them yet?

DC: "You do need some moves at defensive end, but I haven't pulled any out yet. I have been just depending on speed off the ball and been fortunate enough to just use the speed rush and run around people. I am going to continue to that until somebody stops that and then when they do I will use something else. I don't want to spring it on them to quick."

JH: You are having such a great year. Are you starting to think about the NFL after your senior season?

DC: "Yeah, I do think about it and watch the NFL a little bit. When I am away from here I try to distance myself away from football when I am home. Don't get me wrong, I am going to watch some of the game or some highlights or something, but when I am home I just try get away from football and take my mind off of it a little bit. That way I am always hungry for it."

JH: What about Texas A&M?

DC: "Their quarterback is going to present some problems. Any running quarterback is a threat to any running defense, no matter how good it is. We struggled with Vincent Young at Texas and Brad Smith at Missouri, but we were fortunate to have a lead in both games and could afford to make some mistakes. There is going to be a lot of hype coming into this game, but we just have to go out there and play fundamental defense, but we are really going to have to be on our toes. They have a great running game, but that is one thing about it. We are going to make them one-dimensional, and once we can make them just a passing team then we can just pin our ears back."

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