NORMAN, Okla. — Senior cornerback Derrick Strait will go down as one of the best defensive players in the history of Oklahoma football. During the Bob Stoops era, Strait would rank just behind the great Roy Williams as the best defensive player over the last five years. Even with Williams on the Sooner squad, OU Head Coach Bob Stoops often said that Strait was the consistently the best Sooner player on defense.
Strait will play his last game in a Sooner uniform in the Sugar Bowl in New Orleans on Jan. 4, and he recently sat down with OUInsider.com for the Two Minute Drill.
JH: You will have to play a very good game to beat LSU won't you?
DS: "We will have to get ready and play a great game. There is no question about that?
JH: What can you say about Teddy Lehman and what he has meant to the OU defense?
DS: "Teddy has been an incredible force for our defense and for the linebackers as a whole. The linebacker core has suffered a couple of bruises, as guys were playing dinged up and we lost Lance (Mitchell) early in the season. Then Wayne (Chambers) came in and got hurt and then Gayron took over. It has been an incredible thing that Teddy has done in showing great leadership within the linebacker core. He has just kept those guys rolling."
JH: Do you feel that your defense has anything to prove after the poor performance against Kansas State?
DS: "I feel like we have something to prove to ourselves more than anything. We know that wasn't the best game that we played in the Big 12 Championship. Not to take anything away from Kansas State, because they did a great and did what they needed to do to win. However, we know that we didn't play our best game of the year."
JH: If you don't win the Sugar Bowl will this still be a successful season?
DS: "I think so, but it would hurt worse to not win the National Championship. We had a great season, but we didn't finish in the Big-12 and to not win the National Championship is something that I don't even want to think about."
JH: Do you plan to go out to the French Quarter any?
DS: "I will probably go out there the first couple of nights that we are there. After those two days you have to take care of yourself and stay focused."
JH: You need to stay off the street because you could get into some trouble in New Orleans, couldn't you?
DS: "You could do a little bit too much down there, but I know my teammates, and we will be in our rooms getting some shut-eye."
JH: What does it mean to play football at Oklahoma? Is there a lot of pressure to play here?
DS: "No, there is not a lot of pressure. We have confidence in our abilities to go out there and execute and contribute to the team. If you do that, you shouldn't have any pressure on yourself. I feel that way when I play and I am pretty sure my teammates feel that way as well."
JH: What does Oklahoma football mean to you?
DS: "A winning tradition of pursuing championships is what I always think about when I think of Oklahoma football. We are always chasing a championship one way or another. We have to take our ‘A' game every-time we go out on the field."
JH: What is coach Bob Stoops like to play for?
DS: "I love him as a person. He is just straight up and he doesn't feed you any BS or anything like that. He lets you know if you are not doing right, and if you are not practicing hard enough he is going to tell the whole team. He is going to tell the team that we didn't practice well and that we didn't get better today. I respect that as a person, because people can lie and say that we did a good job today, but you know deep down inside that you didn't."
JH: The Kansas State game was so weird in that everything that could go wrong did go wrong. Even you missed a sure tackle on Sproles that he broke for a touchdown, and you never miss a tackle.
DS: "Yeah, it was real strange, but we just didn't make the plays. The players didn't make the plays, and as you saw I was in position to make that play and I just didn't make it. I am still kind of lost on how we didn't make the plays as a unit. Our coaches did a great job of having us in the right positions to make plays and we just didn't make them. We just weren't clicking and they did and they did a good job of making the plays to win the game."
JH: For 12 games Oklahoma has made all those plays, so are you confident that you will revert back to the form that won the 12 games before the bad game in Kansas City?
DS: "Without a doubt. We know we can make those plays. Just because I missed one tackle doesn't mean that I have to miss the rest of them in the Sugar Bowl. You know that you can still go out and play your game and play it well enough to win the game."
JH: So Oklahoma will have it swagger back against LSU?
DS: "I feel that we will have our confidence when we take the field at the Sugar Bowl. I feel we pretty much have our confidence back already. We can't dwell on the Big 12 Championship and have it mess up the rest of the season. We had such a beautiful thing going before that game and we just can't throw away the first 12 games on just one game."
JH: What do you think of the LSU offense?
DS: "Their offense is pretty strong. I guess that is obvious because they are in the National Championship game, so they have to be doing something right. They have three great receivers and a quarterback who prides himself on not making many mistakes. They have five different running backs, so we have to be ready and be sound out there."
Strait says OU's D has something to prove
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