Sooner defenders breakdown USC's offense

Dan Cody, Jonathan Jackson, Lynn McGruder (pictured above) and Lance Mitchell talk about USC's offense.

Below are quotes from Jonathan Jackson, Dan Cody, Lance Mitchell, Antonio Perkins and Lynn McGruder during Oklahoma's defensive press conference Friday morning in Miami.

Jonathan Jackson:
Winning despite the player turnover

"We're still a great defense, we still have basically the same players as last year. We lost some great players last year, but we like to think at Oklahoma you can just put another guy in there and he can play at a high level that we want to play at. We had a great year this year."

On freshman cornerback Marcus Walker
"Marcus is just another great player that we have here. That's the kind of guy you want to be playing for in the back. You want a guy that thinks he should be starting right now, thinks he's the best on the field, takes that kind of attitude out there, and he has that."

On Reggie Bush
"He's a great player, dangerous guy whenever he gets the ball, one of the best guys on the field at anytime. It's going to be a big challenge going up and trying to stop him."

On the tradition of Oklahoma
"That was one of Coach Stoops' big selling points, all the national championships they had won, all the All-Americans, and all the bowl games. It's a great tradition we have here, we have a great tradition in the Orange Bowl, you just want to step in and live up to that."

On if lining up against USC similar to practicing against first-team OU offense
"I think it's fair to say that. We have Heisman candidates in our back field like they do, we have great wide receivers, a great offensive line. We have great speed on our offensive side of the ball also, so it could be of help to us in the game."

On concentrating on correcting mistakes of last year's two losses
"You always want to work on tackling, especially when you have over a month off from live action, you tend to be a little rusty. We want to basically finish this year, go out there, and just play a great game."

On USC being similar to any team you've played this year, besides your own offense?
"I don't think so. They have their own style, they like short passes, and they like to get the ball in their playmakers' hands and make big plays."

Antonio Perkins:
On how the secondary has improved since his return

"We know were capable of being a great secondary, with the year winding down we feel like were gelling and coming together at the right time. We feel like were all finally playing on the same level and competing at the same level that we all knew that we could."

On playing in second national championship game
"It's not much different. When you come to the University of Oklahoma you're going to play in a lot of big games and every game is big to us. We always have the chance to step up in big games and play well and we expect to do that here at OU."

On being out during the middle of the season and having to watch
"It was real hard for me. I was supposed to be leading the secondary. I was a senior returning starter and I thought coming into the season I was going to be the leader of the secondary. I had to sit out four games with a knee injury, but now I'm back and I feel comfortable and confident in myself and my teammates."

On the secondary struggles this season and how they corrected them
"The way we practice everyday is just like we were playing a game, and the way we workout in the weight room and in the film room helps to carry that over into the game."

Lance Mitchell:
On the improvement of the secondary from the OSU and Texas A&M games

"I think we emphasized staying deep. If you look at those games we just gave up a few deep balls in the secondary but other than that we were fine and we emphasized staying deep. We also always emphasized not getting down on ourselves. We love to get a big lead on people and then you may tend to come out to relaxed. Then they come out and hit you with a long ball then the back in it. We focused on staying on people and finishing them off."

On the improvement of the defense
"We have improved, and you're always going to improve from the first to the last game. We just continued to work hard and that was the key to work hard and it has worked out for us."

On the defense coming back and the chance to excel
"Last off season everybody pretty much knew we had a chance to come back. If you look at it we had a lot of returning starters. We did lose a lot on defense but we returned almost our entire offense. So that was the main reason."

On the last two years
"Very tough and successful at the same time, we have not lost many games the last two years but we have not accomplished and finished what we have wanted to do. For me it was up and down up to this point. But overall it has been a great two years."

Dan Cody:
On USC's Offense

"I think the biggest thing that (makes them) resemble (us) on offense is that they have a double threat in the quarterback and the run game. Their run game and passing game are different from what we do, but the same in regards to how the offense is divided up like that."

"Their offense tries to eliminate getting into third downs. They want to get into three-step (drops) and the quick game, and try to get the ball off, and get good conservative passes, and stay out of third and long and consistently move the ball down the field. They're really good at it. What we want to do is get them in third and long, we want to make them uncomfortable. When we people in third and long, you can limit what they they're going to do on offense. They're limited in what they can do, I should say. That opens up a lot of opportunities for us, to throw all kinds of different things at them. But, first things first, we have to stop the run, we have to stop the quick passing game if we're ever going to get them there."

On USC's offensive balance
"Everything we do, we have to be able to defend them (run and pass) both. When we're working in practice, every defense we have, we try to stop the run, we have to work on defending every pass they do. It creates a lot of problems. Your focus in practice, everybody has to be real intense because there's a lot more to do than (against) a team that's one-dimensional."

On Texas Tech's Holiday Bowl Performance
"It's kind of hard to say, we haven't had the opportunity to have a meeting, I haven't heard or seen anything about it, I didn't get to see much of the game last night, so I don't know for sure."

"I know from playing against that offense that it will wear you out. I've played (against) a lot of different kinds of offense, against a lot of good teams since I've been here. I've never played an offense that wears you out more than Texas Tech, there's no question about that. Maybe, It caught them (Cal) off-guard, I don't know."

On changing schemes for USC's offense
"We've stayed pretty consistent in the schemes we've used. We've just defended real well and played disciplined football. That's what you have to do, you have to be able to defend everything they do, no matter what (defense) you're in. We're going to keep the same schemes, we don't want to change anything, because we feel what we've done on defense has really worked out well for us. The biggest thing is just being disciplined throughout the game."

Lynn McGruder:
On his recent success

"I've been real fortunate. I've been through a lot. Just to end it up like this is truly beautiful. I just couldn't ask for anything more, I am extremely happy. Now we must, take advantage of this opportunity. I was here last year, and I know we lost, but now it's time to take advantage. I feel like this time it's a different opportunity we have to take advantage of."

On getting a second chance
"Anytime you get a second chance at anything, you have to take advantage of it. Not only for you but for people behind you, family and everything. There is no way in the world we can approach this opportunity right now revisit everything we did last year and fix the kinks and everything that was going on. We focus and we know what not to do now."

Sooners Illustrated Top Stories