Birdine still sees OU as a title contender

Senior defensive Larry Birdine aka 'The Mouth of the South' talks about the upcoming season. (AP Photo)

There is not a person on the team more popular to talk to than senior defensive end Larry Birdine. Birdine missed all but the bowl game a year ago with a torn bicep and because of that lack of playing time and injury, Birdine decided to come back for his senior year at OU and not turn pro.

Birdine made a name for himself when he didn't speak highly of USC before the Sooners' disappointing 55-19 loss in the 2005 Orange Bowl. The coaches weren't real happy with Birdine at the time, but the media loves him and whenever there is an opportunity we try to talk to 'The Bird' for the Two Minute Drill.

JH: Last year you missed the majority of the season with the injury, so what kind of shape are you in now?

LB: "I feel great. I had my best summer of my college career. We have had some great weather for practice and have really got a lot accomplished so far."

JH: You got into the controversy for your USC comments and then got injured last year. You must be real antsy to get out on the field and let your play do the talking?

LB: "Most definitely. Two years ago I got caught up in the hype of the National Championship game and we went down there and didn't take care of business. That was the last that people heard from me because I got injured. So, now I am just trying to have some positive plays out there and prove that I am not just the 'Mouth-of-the-South' and that I am a great football player."

JH: What some personal goals that you have set for this season?

LB: "My first priority is to make the team goals, and that is to win the Big 12 South, Big 12 Championship and hopefully the National Championship. My personal goals are to just contribute to the team and help us win. And if we accomplish that, I will be alright."

JH: OU has always had great defensive ends since coach Stoops has been at OU, but this year's group may be the deepest group of defensive ends with quality players across the board?

LB: "Yeah, we pride ourselves on playing great defense. Our depth at defensive end will not do anything but help us this year and put pressure on the quarterback. We have several guys who have started a number of games over the years. I wouldn't want to be a quarterback on the other team."

JH: What would you tell the Sooner fan who is ready to jump off the top of a building because Rhett Bomar is no longer on the team, and because Paul Thompson is now the starting quarterback?

LB: "People have to understand that things like this happen when you are playing within the NCAA. Anything can happen like this. Rhett made a mistake and coach Stoops reacted to the situation. Here, among our football team, we feel confident about Paul Thompson coming in and contributing and we are going to rally around him. The defense is going to be stacked this year and I think we are still going to be a National Championship contender."

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