Wright tweaks secondary for Texas Tech

Oklahoma secondary coach Bobby Jack Wright talks about OU's matchup against Tech's passing attack.

When the Oklahoma Sooners take on Texas Tech on Saturday, one coach that will be on his toes the entire game will be Sooner secondary coach Bobby Jack Wright.

And earlier this week at practice, Wright stopped looking at his notes long enough to talk to OUInsider.com for the Two Minute Drill.

JH: We always make the Texas Tech passing attack out as the most difficult passing attack to prepare for, but in reality is it any more difficult than any other?

BJW: "I don't know if it is any more difficult than anybody else, but let me stay this — you have to take your hat off to Texas Tech because they have the top passing team in the country, and they do virtually every year.

"They have a system and Mike (Leach) does a great job with that system. He has players who are smart, who understand it and they know where the holes are in your coverage are. They know where the holes are underneath and over the top. They understand how to break the routes off and those types of things versus your man coverage.They have a system in place that he does over and over and over.

"It is no different than when back in the wishbone days and running the option here at OU. They would run the fullback dive option every single snap, over and over again. Guys here at OU got pretty good at that and they put up 500 to 600 yards rushing a game, just like Tech puts up 500 to 600 yards passing per game. That is what they do and they do a great job of it.

"As an opponent, we have to do a good job of understanding routes and where their routes are developing versus what coverage we are in. Our guys have to have a good understanding of not only our coverages, but also where they are going to try to attack you with their passing game and their routes verses our coverages.

"The thing that has been helpful for us through the years is that we do know a little bit of what Mike is trying to do. We are able to convey that to our guys and that helps them to a certain extent. Bottom line for us is that our 11 guys have to line up and go out there and play football."

JH: So your past success can help you somewhat this year, because at least you know that your concepts have worked before against them?

BJW: "Sure, I think past success can always be beneficial, and is always beneficial. I don't think past success can guarantee more success. But I think past success, if you are smart and guys paid attention knowing where they are going to get attacked, then you have a chance to be successful again."

JH: Did Oklahoma State do some of the same things that you have used so successfully over the years? Or did they come up with some new wrinkles that worked for them last Saturday in their win over Tech?

BJW: "There wasn't much new. They did what most people try to do. They did a good job of it. They mixed their coverages up on them, which you have to do. You can't just sit there in one coverage all day long, whether it be zone or man. It can't be the same zone or man coverage all day. If you are in man you don't want to be in man all day. Then you have your zone blitzes that everybody mixes in.

"They did a good job moving around and disguising giving him (Tech QB Cody Hodges) a mixture of different looks, which buys you a little bit of time for your pass rush. It creates a timing problem. The whole deal is, if you can create a timing problem so that the quarterback can't get rid of it on time the way he is used to and the way he wants to, then his routes don't break on the right time and you have a chance. Oklahoma State did a great job of that.

"They didn't create any new coverages, and I don't know of there are any new ones out there. They did much of what everybody tries to do and they mixed it up and they mixed it in, and they did a great job."

JH: It seems that Leach puts out a quality quarterback every year, despite graduation.

BJW: "Again, I take my hat off to Mike (Leach). Mike does a great job with this system and he does a great job with the quarterbacks.

"Mike has always said that the first thing he looks for at quarterback is a guy who is smart, a guy who has a quick release and who is accurate. He is looking for a guy who is smart, accurate and who has a quick release over a strong arm. A quarterback who is fast is the last thing that he cares about. He always has a smart guy back there who has a good, quick release that is accurate. That is exactly what you see out there for Tech when you watch film.

"When Mike plugs them in every year that is what they are. You saw that when he came here and he took Josh Heupel the first year and all of a sudden Oklahoma went from being one of the worst passing teams in the country to one of very best, if not the best. The next year Mike was gone, but Josh is still runner-up for the Heisman and we go on to win the National Championship. I give Mike Leach a tremendous amount of credit for developing quarterbacks because he does a great job with it."

JH: What about their other skill players?

BJW: "That running back is fabulous. Taurean Henderson is the key to the whole offense, next to the scheme itself. He is their leading receiver and certainly their leading rusher. Mike rushes the ball more now than he has in the past, and I think that is because he does have a running back that he really trusts. He's a running back that he relies on and knows that he is a really good running back.

He runs the ball more effectively, and as he mixes it in you have to do a good job of stopping the run. To beat Texas Tech, you have to do a good job of stopping Taurean Henderson because he is the leading pass catcher on that team as well. He will catch the ball mostly on the screens, but they will leak him out of the backfield, and they will hit him on the check downs or hit him on the flats.

"We didn't cover a flat route all last week, so do you think they will throw a flat route this week? They do a good job with No. 19 and you have to do a good job defending him.

JH: Is Darien Williams going to play a different role for you this weekend?

BJW: "Darien is moving back to the free safety position because we are trying to get an extra DB on the field. So, we are moving Lewis Baker back down to the dime, which is essentially a linebacker position.

"Lewis has had a lot of experience in there, so that gives us a little more speed and some versatility in the dime position. Even though Clint is a good dime player as well, he is not quite as fast nor is he quite as good a cover guy as Lewis is. So, we are moving Lewis back down to dime and Darien back to free safety because he is the next best player that we have.

"His role is no different than any free safety as he will be a zone safety and halves cover guy. He will be a deep third guy and he will be in man coverage when we call man and blitzes and those kinds of things. His role on Saturday is going to be no different than any other free safety's role. We will start Darien at free safety this week and see how it goes."


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