Dampeer says game will be won in the trenches

Oklahoma defensive tackle Moe Dampeer (pictured above during Tuesday's practice in Miami) talks about the keys to the Orange Bowl, his recent weight loss and the dance moves that have made him famous. (Photo provided by SoonerSports.com)

Redshirt freshman Moe Dampeer was a big hit at the end of the OU practice on Thursday talking to several members of the media after signing several autographs for a number of children who had waited for a couple of hours to meet their Sooner hero's. While Dampeer may not be the most famous Sooner yet, you certainly couldn't tell that with the children that he signed for and talked to. Dampeer's infectious personality won over everyone in a matter of seconds, and his smile won over all the parents after that.

Dampeer continues to work hard on conditioning and the big man says he is in the best shape of the year. Dampeer is expected to play a bigger role in the Orange Bowl than during the regular season as the Sooners look to take advantage of his size and speed. After taking care of all the Sooner fans, Moe came over to talk to this reporter who he pointed out to all that would listen that works for his favorite website — OUInsider.com.

JH: This match-up is going to be a key with the big men on both teams don't you think?

MD: "The Trojans bring a great quality of offensive linemen, but they are young. We are pretty young, but we know just like they do that you mature during the year. I know that I have during the part of the season that I have been able to play that I have matured at some things. I think our D-line is awesome, and I can't take anything away from what Coach (Jackie) Shipp is teaching us to do with our senior group of Dan Cody, Lynn McGruder and Jonathan Jackson. We are real good up front. I think it is going to be a physical game and that is where it is going to be won is up front. I think we can dominate as well as they can dominate, but we have to play with all our hearts and with a sound mind."

JH: We always talk about all the great skill players in the game, but as you said in reality most games come down to how wins the line of scrimmage in big games?

MD: "I think that because our offensive line is great. We have an Outland winner in Jammal Brown, a great center like Vince Carter, and then you have Kelvin (Chaisson) and Chris Bush. Then you have Davin (Joseph), who is a great player, and Wes (Sims) on the other side. You also have to throw in J.D. Runnels at fullback, who you can consider a great offensive lineman. They also have some great offensive linemen and their D-Line is great.

"It is going to come down to who can control the game at the line of scrimmage because you have two Heisman winners in the game and two great tailbacks, who were Heisman runner-ups to run. That is what both of the teams have, but you also have to have a great defensive line, and I think our defensive line has managed to do some things great throughout the season. So, the battle in the trenches is going to be where this game is one so that all the skill players can run free."

JH: You have played well in the second half and you continue to do extra conditioning every day. It looks like you have got it together after your early season struggles?

MD: "I got it together pretty good. I have gone from 8 to 10 plays a game to about 20 plays per game. To be able to run and get up and down the field with guys feels great. I think I am in pretty good shape to be able to get down what is needed from me for the team. I am just trying to go out there and do the best that I can."

JH: You have to feel good about yourself in that you never gave up and your teammates, coaches and family never gave up on you?

MD: "There were a lot of times that I put my head down, but I didn't give up on myself. Maybe I didn't do it as good or as fast as some people wanted, but I got it down and I am starting to get it pretty good. Everything is starting to go well, but not only for myself. It is great to know that the guys have the pride and courage to trust me to go out there play well."

JH: How much do you weigh right now?

MD: "I weigh about 325."

JH: What do you want to weigh?

MD: "That is good for right now, especially playing nose guard. We are probably going to look at it after the season and sit down and talk about it because you can get your weight down, but you still have to be strong. I will weigh whatever they want me to, but I am not sure what that will be right now for next season. I am sure we will talk about it soon after the season."

JH: Have you had to put in a lot of extra work to get your weight down?

MD: "Yes, but it was the right thing to do. Our strength and conditioning coach and Coach Shipp have helped me and stayed after me. It has been great for me on and off the field."

JH: Are you as fast as you can be or want to be?

MD: "Yes, I feel pretty good.(At this point OU Head Coach Bob Stoops walks by and interjects — "Hey fellows, Big Moe is going to get him a couple of picks this week. We are going to have to play him safety if he keeps working his hard. He has some quick feet. Man, Moe is getting some good pub for getting his hands on a couple of balls." (That left big Moe with a big smile and a little chuckle.) I do feel good, but it is on national TV and everybody is talking about it, so I have to play good. If I can get my hands on the ball I am going to get it in the end zone. If I do, I might give the fans a little dance if I can get it in there."

JH: Will you have a new dance routine?

MD: "No, I would do the same ole, same thing. I just do it for the fans because they like it and I just do it.That dance started in Atlanta and it is called the H. Han Stomp (I think this is what he described it as. Sorry, but your reporter for this story doesn't dance much.) I did it once in the Sugar Bowl and we got a little comeback going, and I have done it ever since them. If it makes them happy we are going to keep doing it as long as we win."

JH: Out in public do you get requests to dance a little?

MD: "I have a little wiggle in me, so I throw something else at them. But the stomp is just for the team and for a win. After the season, you might see it at some function."

JH: Have you had to do it before practice when the team calls out a player to come to the center of the circle to provide a little entertainment.?

MD: "Yes, that has happened a couple of times when they have called me out there."

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