The Oklahoma Sooners completed their first major scrimmage of the spring on Saturday and immediately following Co-Defensive Coordinator Brent Venables talked with OUInsider.com for the Two Minute Drill.
JH: How did you feel your defense performed in the scrimmage?
BV: "I liked how our guys came out and competed, and I liked our attitude. We were physical with a lot of really good hitting. It was far from being clean and perfect, but from top-to-bottom, and all things considered, I think things went well.
"I had JJ, Dan Cody, Antonio Perkins and Lance Mitchell held out. They didn't play at all and obviously that effected our performance. However, it gave us an opportunity to look at a number of young guys to get an opportunity to get out and line-up and make plays, which was the goal so from that standpoint things went well."
JH: Are you pleased with the big play ability of this current defense? You had an interception and a fumble return for a touchdown from Brandon Shelby and Brodney Pool has had several interceptions this spring.
BV: "Yeah, and those guys are put into positions to do exactly that. Making plays when they are there is the biggest thing and we have guys that are in position to do exactly that for us."
JH: What did you think about the play of your linebackers?
BV: "We didn't have many missed tackles out there. Again, when guys weren't making clean tackles, guys were just out of position with pre-snap alignments and those types of things. However, when they are in position I thought the guys were making tackles and looked good today."
JH: You have made some minor adjustments on the defense this spring, but are there many and how have they come along?
BV: "They are good and some of it is semantics. Certainly none of it is wholesale changes, some of it is personnel. Putting guys in different positions and that has come along very, very well. I am really happy for guys like Clint Ingram and Gayron Allen, and for some guys in the secondary (Jowahn Poteat, Darien Williams and Chijioke Onyenegecha) who are competing for that short-corner position. The safety position guys -- Tony Cade, Jason Carter and Brandon Shelby are all doing a fantastic job of coming in and competing and getting better. Inevitably, they are going to help this defense, whether with that first unit or building our depth where we need it."
JH: Any particular linebacker catch your eye?
BV: "I thought Clint (Ingram) came out and played well, and he has played that well the first two weeks. Zach Latimer really played well. I think I have finally found him a position at that 'MIKE' linebacker. He has been doing a really good job there. Gayron Allen came out and played a couple different positions today (MLB, WLB) and competed and made some plays. I am really excited about Rufus Alexander and Lewis Baker at the 'WILL' linebacker, in addition to Gayron.
"I am excited about the depth and the position battles that are going on there from one side to the other. Russell Dennison has been making a lot of improvement for us as well. Also, for the times that he has gotten on the field, Demarrio Pleasant has consistently made plays for us."
Venables likes what he's seeing this spring
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