Venables likes defenses' scrimmage effort

OU's defensive coordinator was impressed with several players during Wednesday's scrimmage.

The OU defense has been very good during training camp thus far, and on Wednesday they had another chance to show their might in the second scrimmage of the 2006 training camp. Following practice, OU defensive coordinator Brent Venables talked to media about the scrimmage.

JH: How did your defense look out there today?

BV: "It was good. It was a very physical scrimmage and that is what we really wanted to see from a defensive standpoint. We obviously want to get guys lined up correctly, but chasing the ball and being physical. There weren't enough big hits a few days ago at our first scrimmage and we saw a lot of hits today. We had a lot of nice plays on the ball and I am really happy with the effort. We had a chance to get a lot of guys into the scrimmage that haven't played very much. We got them a lot of good, quality reps."

JH: So you got a chance to see some of your young guys in action?

BV: "Keenan Clayton was outstanding today. He is probably the guy who stood out the most in the secondary. At linebacker, Lewis Baker and Curtis Lofton made a bunch of nice plays. Jeremy Beal also got in and he is a very physical player. He doesn't know what he is doing or where he is going yet, but when he gets there he is a knock-back tackler. I was very happy with his effort. It is hard to tell up front, but a number of times I saw some of those freshman D-linemen in the backfield making plays. So that was encouraging to."

JH: How well is Curtis Lofton playing?

BV: "He is playing the SAM and MIKE extensively. He has not taken many reps off the last few days. He is just been rotating in at the two positions. I have been extremely pleased with his progress and how he is coming along. He is doing really well."

JH: If you needed him to could he play all three linebacker spots?

BV: "He is mainly playing the SAM and MIKE linebacker."

JH: How well is Marcus Walker playing?

BV: "He will continue to be a factor. What he has to learn to do is not have bad days. He has to be consistent. He can't afford to have any bad days. So, we are working through that right now."

JH: How have your young defensive tackles come along at this point in camp?

BV: "Good. Again, Cory Bennett, DeMarcus Granger and Billy Blackard, those guys in particular, along with Gerald McCoy are all going to have a chance to be really good players. Adrian Taylor has moved inside and he belongs in that group. Those guys are all going to have a chance to be awfully good players in time. We feel good about some of the guys who have had some experience like Cory Bennett, and DeMarcus is really progressing well too. We are still working to get better and we need to get better between now and our first game, particularly inside. But progress has been made and we are pleased. They are working hard to continue to get better."

JH: There is all kinds of talk in this camp about things that the offense are adding, but on defense you are always tinkering and adding a little here and there aren't you?

BV: "Oh yeah. We continually go back and look what was good and what wasn't so good. We look at what we need to do to get better, what can help you and what can fit your schemes and some of the very subtle things that aren't apparent to the naked eye. We do what we do. People characterize us mainly a zone team, zone pressure team sprinkled in with some man-to-man. We play a lot of cover-two and we are going to stop the run, so whatever numbers we need to do that we use.

"Obviously, you would always like to steal coverage and use one less guy in run support if you can do that, and do it with consistency and still play good run defense and cover-two stuff. You would always like to do that. We are a balanced defense in regards to the variety of things that we do, but we hang our hat on playing good, physical, tough, disciplined defense. We are going to stop the run and create pressure. Whether we get that pressure by bringing people or pressure by an outstanding front four, remains to be seen and hopefully we are pushing to get pressure with the front four."


Sooners Illustrated Top Stories