For the Sooners to beat the Kansas State this weekend, OU must shut down the power running game of the Wildcats. That means the defensive tackles will need to come up big against the Wildcats for the Sooners to be successful, and thus we recently talked with OU defensive tackle coach Jackie Shipp to find out the latest on his unit for the OUInsider Two Minute Drill.
JH: How are your young players coming along that you are currently redshirting?
JS: "They are doing well and they are learning. I am really happy for Cordero Moore and DeMarcus Granger. Demarcus came here this summer at 352 pounds and right now he weighs 313 pounds. Cordero Moore got as high as 325 and now he is down to 298. Brian Simmons' weight has always been good (292) and he needs to gain weight. Hopefully those guys will give Brian some of their weight.
"Physically, their bodies are coming around and now they are just trying to learn the technique. They physically can do the technique, but right now it is just psychological. They are trying to put their hands on the guy instead of moving their feet and attacking a certain point of the line of scrimmage. In time that is going to come, but psychologically they have to let it happen and believe it is going to work and then do it. That is what is going on with them right now."
JH: How about Billy Blackard?
JS: Billy had ankle surgery and he will probably not practice until bowl time. He hand ankle surgery two or three weeks ago and he has to stay off that leg for nine or 10 weeks. Before he got hurt, we saw that he has quickness and all that. He has all the physical tools, but psychologically he has to learn the technique. All these guys probably played head-up in high school. Granger did, while Moore played real wide and just ran up the field.
"Billy played more of a get-up-the-field and line head-up on a guy. Brian just matched-up with an offensive lineman and just bull-rushed him all day. They all aren't comfortable getting on the edge or shoulder of a guard or center and coming off straight where the pressure point shows. However, they have gotten better and they have really improved their pass rush, and that run defense is going to come here eventually."
JH: Weight seems to be an issue with defensive linemen coming out of high school any more because more and more guys are coming in over 300 pounds. Does this alarm you any at all that guys are coming in to big for their freshman season?
JS: "For some guys, who are young and big in high school, once they get recruited and they aren't involved during that second semester in high school so they just gain weight. Then they see those guys on television weighing 300-something pounds. What they have to realize is that those guys playing professional football are 25 to 30 years old while they are only 18 years old.
"One thing that always helped a Kory Klein, Dusty Dvoracek or a Tommie Harris is that they came here at 275 to 285 pounds. Early in their career, they were able to go through the practices because they were in good shape. When you are heavy like that some guys an't go all day, which they need to do at this level.
"They need to get their weight down and their stamina better, and then they get better at their techniques because they don't get tired. You don't have to be a gigantic man at 17 to 18 years old. That weight is going to come as they get older.
JH: How have the veterans played through three games?
JS: "They have played well. The first three football games have been good football games for all of them. I would say out of the three that Remi (Ayodele) had his worst game against UCLA. That was the only disappointment there.
"Look at Cory Bennett and Dusty Dvoracek, Carl Pendleton and Steve Coleman, and you can find great play at different times from all of them. With Steve Coleman, go back and look at Tulsa and then look at see what those other three guys did against UCLA. Then go back to the TCU game and you will find that they all have done some good things. They are improving and doing a good job, and those guys are going to get better. That is what I feel good about."
JH: Dusty doesn't play like a guy who missed a year does he?
JS: "Dusty is not only a good football player, but he has been going through this system for his fifth year. He was out for a while and he did miss some spring practice because of the injury, but he still worked his footwork and that kind of thing. Like any sport, you have to get yourself in position. It is all about footwork."
Two Minute Drill: Jackie Shipp
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