Long answers his critics' questions

Sooner offensive coordinator Chuck Long talks about the direction of the Oklahoma's offense and what might or might not change with freshman Rhett Bomar at quarterback.

After any game the Sooners lose the offensive coordinator comes under fire, and Chuck Long understands that as much as anybody.

However, the embattled coach has more confidence in his abilities than ever before and knows his track record is tremendous.

Knowing what Long's critics are saying about him, I asked him several questions that have been batted around by Sooner fans on OUInsider.com.

JH: People say you are too conservative, your offense is too predictable and that it lacks imagination. What do you think about that?

CL: "I appreciate people and their opinions, but what we have to look at first is that we have a different team this year on offense, and mainly we have different quarterbacks. I am going to do my best to put those guys in good positions.

"The offense may become more vanilla than it already is because we have some young quarterbacks back there and we just got younger at that position. I am going to put Rhett in the best position that I can to ensure that he can have success in the football game.

"Is he able to handle as much as Jason White mentally right now? No, I will be honest with you. He can't right now. We also have a great running back (AD) and good running backs, and we are going to give those guys the ball. If we have to give those guys the ball 50 times then we might have to do that.

"I think that is where people think we are conservative. They want to see all this spread stuff, but in our offense we like Adrian in the I-formation and we like to give him the ball. That may look vanilla and all that, but that is the way we are going to be. We have to think about our players first, and I especially have to think about having a young freshman quarterback in there at this point."

JH: People are wanting to see a couple of reverses per game, deep shots in the secondary, quarterback draws and boots and things like that. What do you think?

CL: "We always have a couple of reverses and a couple of trick plays in every gameplan. The defense they presented wasn't right for it. The thing about reverses is that they are hit-and-miss too. If you hit it the wrong time then you get a 10-yard loss. We were in one of those games where we had some lost yardage on first and second down and we didn't want to possibly lose big yardage on a trick play.

"We have those type plays. You have seen them in the past with Mark Clayton and Mark Bradley and the gimmicks that we have had. We will run them again with this current group of receivers that we have.

"Right now it is a different offense in that we have a young freshman in there, and I have to do my best to bring him along in the right way. The worst thing you want is wilting confidence at that position. If you start doing all of these things that he is not accustomed to yet and he struggles, then we could really have problems.

"That is one of the things that I found out in the preseason in some of our scrimmages when we threw the ball a lot. We are not there yet where we run anything we want. I have to make sure that I put him in the best position possible."

JH: Do you have to re-evaluate how you set up game plans because of the disappointing play of the offensive line against TCU?

CL: "We have a different group there and we have to find out some things this week. How they are doing does determine what we might be able to call during a game. We have to put them in better positions to have success as staff."

JH: Will you have more of a quarterback run game in the future?

CL: "Absolutely. We have more of a run game presence in our offense for Rhett and Paul. We will continue to show more of it as the season progresses, and you will see more of it Saturday against Tulsa.

"With Rhett, he is going to want to go out and try to win this thing in the first quarter and we are going to give him more time than that. We are going to tell him to relax, keep it simple for him and we are going to let him play his game a little bit. We have good running backs and receivers so he doesn't have to do everything on his own, especially in the run game. That is the important thing that you try to preach to young quarterbacks is to let the game come to them and not force things, but they all want to play their game.

"I don't want to take Rhett's aggressiveness away from him. I don't want to take his assertiveness away. He is aggressive and he likes to play the game and he has fun playing. There is a fine line there as a coach because he is like a wild colt. He is good, but you have to hone his skills a little bit and that is what I am trying to do."


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