Q&A: Talking offense with Kevin Wilson

Oklahoma running game coordinator Kevin Wilson talks about the Sooners' running game, Jason White and Kansas State's defense. Sophomore running back Kejuan Jones (pictured left) is OU's leading rusher with 787 yards. (Photo by Getty Images/ Ronald Martinez)

NORMAN, Okla. — Run Game Coordinator Kevin Wilson sat down with OUInsider.com to talk about his early thoughts on Kansas State and how the Sooners took advantage of their week off.

JH: Did you work on solely on Kansas State this week? Or did you also work on areas to improve the team?

KW: "We still work on some fundamentals, because if you are not careful you will get a little sloppy. Sometimes practice is a little boring, because it is the same routines and same drills, so without beating us down we have to make sure we are locked into good stances for our positioning points. We have to make sure our footwork is solid without boring them to death. Also, we need to make sure that some of our guys, like Vince Carter, who has been fighting through some things, has a chance to get even fresher than he was. He has played well and done a great job of fighting through his injury (knee). We wanted to practice hard, practice fundamentals and maybe not cross the line and beat us down."

JH: Texas Tech really loaded the box against you, so how well did the line play against them?

KW: "We made some adjustments at halftime, but we were surprised at what they did a little bit. Of course, Baylor had made a commitment to blitz a lot and I think if we continue to protect in a positive way, and the way that Jason is playing with our receivers that you take a chance when you blitz like that. I think they felt if they didn't do that then we would rush the ball and if we rushed the ball we could play on our terms, and if we played on our terms it would be a very tough day for them. So, even though we scored points, that was their plan and it was two weeks in a row that approach was taken against us.

"We did make some adjustments at halftime, but we didn't have a lot of success in the third quarter because we only had eight snaps. We scored the first drive after Derrick's return. The second drive we missed a block after one first down and got behind chains on third down and didn't convert a third down. Other than that we were good, so I was kind of surprised they did that. However, our goal was to run and pass and we are still not running the ball as well as we would like to be a great running team, but we are definitely a great passing team."

JH: Why are teams trying so hard to all blitz you when Jason seems to burn them so bad?

KW: "I think if we run it then it is really difficult for another team. I don't know if some teams feel, because we have protected for the most part pretty good, that if you don't blitz then our protection has been good. If you don't bring it he is going to get you in a passing game. So, if you don't bring it in the box then they are going to run and play on their terms. That is where we have had those really big offensive days and time of possession has gotten outrageous and that deal. I don't think they were worried about stopping us or shutting us down completely as much as stop the run and try to harass Jason and try to create some turnovers that way.

"I am not sitting in their meeting room, but the first play they brought seven guys. And wow, we were saying, here we go again. Fortunately, we had a better plan than we had the week before and we were a little better prepared for it. However, I would still like for us to execute better in the first half than we did."

JH: Aren't teams worried sick about you throwing the ball against them yet?

KW: "Some teams have dropped a lot, like seven or eight guys in the secondary, especially on third down just to muddy the water. However, I think we went a four to five game stretch of running it good enough that teams said if they don't get the safeties or the defensive backs involved they couldn't stop us. We have always had great passing days with our run game and I think that said something so they decided to stop our run game. So, they out-number us at the line of scrimmage, they blitz us and then they hope they get more pressure on White and get some negative plays."

JH: "Why do you feel Jason White should win the Heisman Trophy?

KW: "The only thing that can keep Jason from winning the thing is politics, and that is what wins the award anyway. The same thing goes for all those All-American teams. The fact he came from nowhere will hurt him with some voters, because he didn't have all the preseason pub and he wasn't rated because of all the injuries. However, if you look at our year, Quentin was a 2,000 yard rusher, and then you lose Trent Smith, Antwone Savage and Curtis Fagan off of our receiving core, and in reality lose three of the top receivers in school history. Then what is the reason why we are actually playing as such a high level? We knew that Mark Clayton and Brandon Jones were good players, but when you lose some of the best receivers in school history and you lose your vaunted runner and you are still scoring touchdowns and putting 50 points on the scoreboard. We have averaged 50 points in the conference, a great conference like the Big 12. I think that speaks volumes for how well Jason has played and he is the straw that stirs our offensive drink."
"It is nice that he has great players, but trust me Mark Clayton was not a national phenom recruit coming in here. He wasn't on any preseason all-conference team. Jason has always put the ball on target, and even against Baylor we weren't totally happy with how we performed, but he was still very good. Heck, we were use to seeing those 16 for 18 type games. He has had great year and nobody has had a better story and nobody has had a better year either. There are other great players.

"Does the award actually go to the best player? Well, I don't know if it goes to the best player, because it never goes to lineman and our Roy Williams was the best player in the country his junior year and he didn't come close to wining it. So, I don't know if it goes to the best player, but even if it did Jason is having the best year I have ever seen for a quarterback. He has thrown for 40 touchdown passes against six interceptions and we have had four touchdown passes called back. So, if my guys don't hold a couple of times he has 44 touchdowns.

"Before the season everybody said our defense was great and the question mark was our offense, but now we are number one in the nation in offense and averaging 51 points a game in eight league games, so ask yourself why? To me, it all comes back to how well Jason White has played."

JH: What are your early thoughts on Kansas State?

KW: "They are very much like our defense. Our defense and their defense are first and second in every category in the conference. They run an 'eagle' front that we see from our guys and they run the same blitzes that we saw early in the year until we got to Colorado. They run eight-man pressure and they will blitz about as much as we have seen. Although teams have done it the last two weeks, maybe we have shown a weakness to the blitz, I really don't know. They really don't pressure the way that Tech or Baylor pressures, although they do pressure. They are a little more of a zone coverage team that you have seen from them in the past and they have a lot of seniors on defense. They are starting three seniors up front, two redshirt seniors at linebacker and I think three in the secondary. So, it is a veteran team and most of them redshirted. They have won six straight and it is going to be a heck of a challenge. Hopefully we can get back to having some good run/pass mix this week and get really going on offense."

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