White says USC's D reminds him of OU's

See inside for excerpts from OU quarterback Jason White's press conference Tuesday in Norman. White talks about the Sooners' time off and USC's defense.

See below for quotes from Jason White's press conference Tuesday in Norman.

On the Orange Bowl preparations "I think everyone's extremely excited to be here practicing. We have work to do. Everybody's just excited that we're playing in a national championship again, and we know we have to prepare better than we did last year."

On what the team will do during Christmas break "It's Christmas, so you spend a little time with your family. It will help a lot of the guys on the team get their legs back. It will be good for us."

On preparing for the Bowl game this year without the Heisman talk he had surrounding him last year
"There's not as much going on, especially for me. Last year at this time there was interviews every day with different people about the Heisman. This year there isn't that, so there's definitely less attention for me, which has has been good."

On the offensive line this year
"They're a great bunch. They worked hard last year, but you could see their attitude's change this spring. They knew that we needed to be more physical up front — that we needed to establish a run game. They knew that's what we had to do to be a better team this year, and they did it. Throughout the winter, spring, summer and fall camp, that's one thing they really worked hard on, and they accomplished that. You can't give them enough credit. They don't get any credit in the papers or anything, but that's where it starts. Every play we run starts up front with the offensive line."

On if he has a sense of what USC Matt Leinart is going through right now after winning the Heisman
"Yeah, I've got a pretty good sense of what he's going through. Matt's a smart kid. He's a great athlete. I think he'll keep the distractions away and be ready to play."

On if he'll be more comfortable playing in the Orange Bowl this year after playing in last year's national championship game
"I think so. Last year there was a lot of distractions off the field, as far as media attention and fans and stuff. You kind of got a little comfort zone now that you've been there. A lot of guys on the team have been there, so we're a little more comfortable going into the game."

On if he wore USC colors at the Heisman ceremony on purpose
"No."

On if he was told later he was wearing USC colors
"No."

On if he even remembers what he had on
"Yeah, I knew what I had on. I put it on didn't I? (laughs)."

On USC's defense
"Being extremely fast and talented, they're allowed to play a lot of man coverage. They run different blitzes. Their front four are great players and that helps out their secondary putting pressure on the quarterback. I think their biggest strength is how well they're coached. They're always in the right position. The defensive backs are great tacklers. It's just going to be a matter for us of taking what they give us and being patient with it."

On how much man coverage they've faced this year
"We've seen our fair share of man. We've seen a lot more man this year than we did last year. I think that has to do with the run game. I'm sure we're going to see it again."

On what they look for when scouting a defense that plays man coverages
"You just kind of get an idea of how different players play different routes. Some corners are going to jump the slants and some aren't. Some corners are going to play the fades before the slants, so you just get a good idea of their personnel and how they cover receivers and what routes they cover well."

On the key of getting the offense moving early against USC
"Once you push down on the pedal, you have to keep going. You can't let up and you can't get comfortable with the lead. They're a great team and they're very capable of scoring a lot of points. You can't settle for 14 points, you've got to keep going."

On what he'll do different during the extra time off to prepare for the game
"Not really anything different. First, you have to make it through finals. After that, during the day it's football and then you go home at night and you have your other life. I'm treating this week just as I treated a game week. Today's (Tuesday) practice would be Wednesday's practice, so I've got certain things I watch on Wednesday's. Of course, I've watched them already today. I'm just treating this week just like a game week. Then, when I get down to Miami I'll do the same thing there. We're just going to watch everything twice, but it can't hurt anything."

On if USC's defense compares to anyone they've played this year
"They remind me a lot of our defense. They have a lot of the same blitzes and coverages. They're a lot like our defense."

On how important it was for him to graduate
"It was extremely important. I didn't ever think I'd get it done. It took five and a half years. It's one thing I came to school for. It was a privilege for me to graduate. They asked me to speak at graduation and I laughed because I didn't even get to speak at my high school graduation. I had to take advantage of it."

On the advantage he might have this year after not winning the Heisman
"I don't think it's really an advantage. It would be great to have a Heisman Trophy winner on your team, but it's just how well you handle the attention that you get, how well you prepare yourself and what you do with your time. It's a lot of interviews and a lot of people demanding your time when you could be doing other things."

On having former Sooner quarterbacks Josh Heupel and Nate Hybl around
"They usually keep me in pretty good check. They both have some humor to them and there's things that happened over the past that you won't ever forget between the two. They always remind you of that and kind of put you back in your place. It's great to have both around, especially Josh because he helps out so much with me. If I've got a question I can ask him and he's going to answer it. He's always in his office, so when I'm there watching film he's going to help me out."

On having a better running attack this time around in the national championship game
"I've seen how much it can help in the long run because I played in it last year. I've seen what happens when you don't have a run game that's effective. All they do is they play 2-man and they drop eight, or they blitz everybody. That's something with a run game you can't do that against a team. You've got to know what they're doing. As long as they play 2-man against us we're going to run the ball all day."

On when people started trying to stop the pass and start keying on stopping Adrian Peterson
"It was after the Texas game. I knew it would come eventually because after last season everybody was going to work on our pass game. I knew they were going to try to stop the pass first, but Adrian and Kejuan were both successful at the run game and then everybody had to stop the run."

On who on USC's defense jumps out at him
"The front four. They're really good and real athletic. They're real aggressive. It's going to be a great matchup for our offensive line."

On what Adrian Peterson has meant to the offense
"Adrian's a great guy. He's very loyal to his teammates. What he does for the team is he adds another dimension for the team. He's not only a hard runner for short yards, but he's got that threat if he breaks loose he's going to get a lot of yards. That's helped us out a lot this year. It's continued to help us out and we're going to need him in the Orange Bowl. He's going to have to be successful."

On Peterson's quick adjustment to college football
"I was surprised how well he adapted to college football that fast. I know when I came in it took me a while to get adapted. We play different positions and we don't have to know the entire playbook, but just for him to come in and do the things he does amazes me."


Sooners Illustrated Top Stories