Wilson talks offense

New OU offensive coordinator Kevin Wilson talks about his philosophy and how the Sooners will prepare for Oregon without Chuck Long.

Below are excerpts from Kevin Wilson's meeting with the media shortly after being OU's next offensive coordinator.

On his offensive philosophy

Wilson: The first thing you need to do is make sure that you're sound with the ball — No. 1. I saw a comment the other day, I think the road team in the NFL has won seven of the 69 games where they've lost the turnover ratio. So, taking care of the football is No. 1.

No. 2 is is being physical. I've said that a lot since I've been here. I think a lot of people have talked about the spread stuff and things we did at Northwestern, and we did that out of necessity. But to run the football, you need to have a physical presence as a team, and that's not just offensive line and tailbacks.

The third way is being balanced, and not 50-50. To me, balance means you can do both. You can run it when you have to run it. You can throw it when you have to throw it. If you need to throw it every play, you throw it every play. If your situation is where you need to run it every play, you can run it every play. It's not balance, it's not equal yardage, it's not equal calls, it's not 50-50, it's being effective at both of them.

I've coached quarterbacks for four years. I'm a line guy here. I played offensive line, but I'm not a guy that's not adversed to throwing the football. I've thrown it a lot. The two places I was coordinator before we had every passing record within our offense at those places, so I'm not a hammer, hammer, hammer guy.

At Northwestern, we were a spread team because after our first year we lost every tight end and every fullback, and we had to go to something. We went to it and our head coach at the time was a running back that actually struggled with it. He couldn't believe we weren't going to have a fullback. But we didn't have one on campus, so we were trying to be smart and do what was best for our personnel.

I think one of the keys in running an offense is you can say what you want to do, but you have to be flexible enough to do what works within your guys. For example, I came in to work some quarterback run stuff, but after Jason got hurt we had to change. We kept a lot of concepts and schemes to do some things, but he was not a running threat. So, again, it's being flexible. Do you have a mobile quarterback? Do you not have a mobile quarterback?

The bottom line offensively is you've got to do what your offensive line can do and what your quarterback can do. If you can't block it's not going to work, and if your quarterback can't handle it it's not going to work either. The great skill players make them all look better than they really are — the receiver and tailback.

The bottom line is what can you handle up front and what can the quarterback handle on his plate. Rhett, as a young guy, has gotten better and better so his upside and handling things is going to be stronger in the years to come.

On if he'd prefer the type of running attack he had at Northwestern to what they're running now with Adrian Peterson

Wilson: All the I (formation) stuff we're doing here are the things I put in. As a matter of fact, it's the same number Woody Hayes called when he was coaching at Ohio State — the same plays he called. So, it's old school. It's old fashioned.

I felt, as a one-back team, where we struggled at Northwestern was we didn't have a fullback in short-yardage situations. Of course, Adrian is naturally a pretty good guy sitting back there deep, whether it be with a fullback in front of him or not.

One of our struggles this year has been Rhett being a gun quarterback getting comfortable under center, where Adrian being a little bit better in the I and getting those two to gel.

I don't think in the bowl game we'll see a significant philosophical change because we've got the personnel in place. We did evolve at the end of the year to doing some very solid things offensively down the stretch.

I don't see any radical changes. I think our players will determine what they can handle, what we feel we need to do to give us a chance to win.

On whether he'll coach on the field or in the press box

Wilson: If you're going to coach the offensive line and you're not on the field, there's a bunch of conversations that are handled third party. Where when you're on the field between series you're communicating with a large group, so the communication would be better as a line coach to be coaching on the field.

I think, as a play-caller, sometimes it's a little bit better in the box. Again, for 12 years I did it all, and based on our strengths and weaknesses of our staff I was in both places during those 12 years.

I know this, on the field I see the structure of the defense. I see the field blitz, they're playing two, they're playing three, they're not blitzing. But when you sit high my eyes get on the front seven and looking at the point of attack. Are we picking up the blitzes and twisters? I don't know if the corner is getting beat to the outside or inside from the field level.

If I'm going to stay on the field there's going to need to be a pair of eyes in the box that's going to give us great input on what he sees and certain plays that need to be called and players that to be attacked. At the same time, I think if I'm in the box I see those things, but I don't know if the communication is quite as good with the offensive line. Those will be things as we go through this bowl time and into the off-season we kinda clean up and see how things shake up and what's best for us.

Kevin Sumlin, Darrell Wyatt and Cale Gudy have all had huge input in the four seasons I've been here. Chuck put a lot with me with the run game, a lot with me on protections and all that. I kind of handled all that and a lot during the game with play-calling or what not. In general, all those guys are part of that and are going to be.

We've got to be a unit and be together. For example, coming in here a few years ago the key for me was to be on the same page with Coach Long, whether I liked it or didn't like it or he liked it, because if we were together we're going to be in sync, be very cohesive and have a good staff. And if the staff is together, the players are going to be together and your plan's going to be good. Cale, Darrell and Kevin will continue to have a huge part.

We don't sit there in individual offices and come in and say, okay, here's what we're doing. We sit in one big room and we watch tape together. There's a bunch of ideas thrown out. There's a ton of ideas thrown out that never get past being thrown out, but there's a lot of rhetoric with our staff on what we want to do, and that will continue.

On why he left his job as the offensive coordinator at Northwestern to be co-offensive coordinator at OU

Wilson: I thought being a part of this program working with Coach Stoops would be a tremendous career opportunity — No. 1.

No. 2, I was with Coach Walker for 19 years. He recruited me, played for the program, GA'd for him and called plays for him for 12 years. So, he was the guy that got me directed in the coaching profession. Like I said, he recruited me and gave me an opportunity to persue an education and then I became the GA etc. I have tremendous respect for him.

It was very difficult decision to leave him, but I thought I wanted to expand and see other programs and other ways. I also thought if there is a chance to be a head coach, being in different regions of the country where you expose yourself to different parts of the recruiting aspect and what not, would definitely be a factor.

And that house payment in Chicago was awfully expensive (smiles). It's a great place, but it's tough to live there. Property tax is a little high.

On if he hoped he would eventually be the main offensive coordinator at Oklahoma

Wilson: I don't know about hoping, but you think guys can move on, but I don't think Chuck ever pursued any jobs.

The key thing to moving on is to do your job and to be as best as you can. Quite honestly, my job isn't going to be about stats, it's going to be about winning.

The bottom line is getting W's. As coaches, we can take stats and skew them any way to make us look real good or make us look real bad. The bottom line is where are you going to win games, and at Oklahoma where are you going to win championships.

I came from a place where early in my time at Miami of Ohio our offense struggled and we won a lot of games defensively. Then I went to a place where our defense struggled and we had to put up a boat-load of points to win, and we did that.

On if he's looking forward to calling plays

Wilson: Like I said, I've been a fairly big part of doing that anyway. Chuck ran the offense, but he relied a lot on his staff. And being the quarterback guy, he relied a lot on me.

I always said the best thing for me is that Chuck played at Detroit and got rocked. If I said we can't block that, he understood because he knew what it felt like to get blindsided. So, it made my job easy. His experience with the Detroit Lions was one of my good plusses of working with him. When I made suggestions or if I had a concern, I think he knew we needed to do what the line can handle.

I think the key to being a good offense is making sure you do things your line can handle and your quarterback can handle, then those skill players can take off and make you look great or maybe just look pretty good. But if you can't block and your QB can't handle it, you're going to really struggle.

On if there will be any change in the offense

Wilson: I think for this game we're going to stay status quo, and we'll see what happens with our staff and the way that shakes off.

I think right now you kinda are what you are. We have certain strengths and weaknesses that we can't do as every team has. We were playing playing very well down the stretch and we'll try to roll that in with a great challenge with Oregon.

Change is not always good either. I don't think we need to change just to change. I'm big on what's best for our whole group. What's best for our staff, what's best for the offense and what's going to be best for the team.

My comment to coach was that my ego is not big enough that that I feel I have to do certain things.

On if he and Long will communicate about the offensive gameplan for Oregon

[bWilson: If he's going to be there it would be nice if we could do like we're doing. He could be a guy in the box that has a great feel for our personnel and players. I don't think he's going to be a great part of our initial game-planning for this game, but we may get a chance to get with him when we get out there.

I think his plan, from what coach thought, would be to stay through Thursday (gameday). So, maybe if he's going stay he can help us. He's got a lot on his plate, but if we could get a little bit of his help it would be good.

On how his job will be different and can he still be the offensive line coach and offensive coordinator

Wilson: I think coach's (Stoops) comment is how much change do you want to have? You start guys moving around and then who do you feel good working with and the working relationships you have? Sometimes you're upsetting the apple cart by moving a a guy here.

You look right now, I've coached quarterbacks for four years, coach Sumlin has coached quarterbacks, coach Gundy played quarterback. So, internally, you've got three guys that have experience at the quarterback position.

We'll be a quarterback friendly room because we all have dealt with that guy and know things that are problems for that guy. I think in some ways, no matter who is coaching quarterbacks, whether it be an internal thing or an external guy, there's going to be a good feel of that position because there's going to be a number of guys who have dealt with that position, either as the player or the guy coaching him.

To me, the first thing you start with is what can that young man handle, what's best for him? And then what can those guys up front give him and the other guys a chance to do? That's where it starts. And from there you take advantage of everything else you have going.

On if they need to hire a quarterback coach with the experienced coaches already on staff who have coached quarterbacks in the past

Wilson: Well, that's for coach (Stoops). I think coach has flexibility in his thought process. There are guys that have dealt with that position. Is that something he wants to do?

I don't know what his thought process is with it. Like one of the coaches said the other day, we're still Oklahoma. There's a lot of people calling that will have interest in working here.

So, it will be a great situation.

On which coach will work Rhett Bomar during bowl preparations

Wilson: With five linemen going every play it takes me an eternity to get through film sometimes, where with a quarterback it's — good hand-off, next play. Play-fake a little bit better next time. It's a quick conversation with one guy versus five.

My comment to coach was I think I would drag him down to just stick him in my room right now. What I think we need to do, and I think coach agrees, is he meets with coach Wyatt when we're looking at the passing part of our video meeting, because you want the quarterback to hear the receiver coach saying we want you to be in this curl window or this dig hole right now. Or the receiver is hearing the quarterback coach saying he's throwing it right now. You need the timing and those aspects of passing. So, they will meet together as far as that part of the game. They practice a fair amount together anyway.

He'll meet a great deal with Coach Gundy as we're looking at our inside running period when we're running the ball. Coach Wyatt will do some one-on-one film work, so the quarterback's really not involved in his other meeting. But Coach Gundy can cover up the run game part of it.

And I'll probably get with him each day at a set time 30-45 minutes to an hour. Here's what we're thinking, here's what we like. What do you like? What do you think? I had a conversation with him in a game this year on the sideline. I said, hey, what do you like? What looks good to you?

And that's a big part to me dealing with quarterbacks. It doesn't matter if I think it's good, if he doesn't think it's good it's no good. It's just when the caddie says hit this club and the guy doesn't want to hit it, he ain't gonna hit it good.

I want to make sure in this transition that me and him are on the same page and that we're not putting a gameplan in place together that he doesn't feel comfortable with. So, I'm going to get with him and put a great deal of confidence in him. For a young guy, he's a very smart player coming along with great, great momentum in the way he's practicing and playing. I have a lot of confidence (in Bomar).

Those two guys will kinda coach him up a lot on the field and I'll probably give him about an hour a day in the gameplan thought process making sure he is feeling comfortable with the direction we're trying to go.

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