Pelini updates Perkins' status

OU Co-Defensive Coordinator and Secondary Coach Bo Pelini talks Antonio Perkins' possible return and the progress of the corners replacing him. Perkins (No. 28 above) hasn't played since the Sooners' 12-0 win over Texas.

The Oklahoma secondary is rounding into shape now that they have settled in since the injury to senior cornerback Antonio Perkins. In the Sooners 41-10 win over Kansas, cornerbacks Eric Bassey and Chijioke Onyenegecha played their best game as a tandem, and except for one bust the secondary played an outstanding game.

Co-Defensive Coordinator Bo Pelini is looking forward to this week's game against the Oklahoma State Cowboys and recently had time to sit down with for the Two Minute Drill.

JH: How is Antonio Perkins coming along?

BP: "He has a slight tear and those kinds of injuries take a little time to come back from. He is making good progress, but he is not anywhere close to returning to action for us. I think he is still three weeks away from playing for us."

JH: So you don't think Perkins can in any way make it back for Texas A&M?

BP: "Right now I would say that would be a stretch, but you just never know how players come around. Every guy is different, but the trainers aren't real opportunistic about that right now."

JH: How are your other corners playing?

BP: "I think they are playing well, and they played well against Kansas. They did a lot of good things. They were pretty consistent on both sides. Bassey did some good things out there as did Chijioke. Obviously, Brandon Shelby did a nice job in the dime, so it was a pretty consistent effort against Kansas."

JH: Is the coaching staff happy with what is going on in the punt return game?

BP: "Perk is probably the best in the country at it, so you are going to have a little bit of a fall-off no matter who you use. I thought Rank (JeJuan Rankins) did a nice job. And obviously, we can always put Mark Clayton back there, who is an explosive guy also. A lot of times it comes down to having the blocking right and it is extremely important to get on the guys and giving our return men a chance. When I looked out on the field there was always a guy in Ranks face. Their punter did an incredible job punting the football with hang time and distance. So, that also gives their coverage unit an opportunity to make plays."

JH: So, you think with Perkins out your return men are doing a good job?

BP: "I think so. I think they have done a pretty good job up until now. Like I said, sometimes when the punter punts the ball like that guy (Tucker) did yesterday it takes away opportunities. It allows them to get down the field and they do a nice job of getting down the field and get in the return man's face. It just gives them a lot more time to beat blocks. It is hard to sustain blocks in space on good athletes for that amount of time."

JH: You are playing O-State this week, who is one of the best rushing teams in the country. How do you feel the Sooner defense has played against the run up to this point?

BP: "I think we have been good in run support right across the board. That has been strength for us as we have been able to make teams one-dimensional. We have had some success against the run and we feel we can play the run as well as anybody. Obviously, Oklahoma State hangs their hat on running the football and they do a good job scheming and getting hats on hats. So, it will be a nice test for us."

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