Below are excerpts from Oklahoma offensive coordinator Kevin Wilson's meeting with the media on Tuesday.
On scoring 37 points against Washington, and if it was a good offensive day
Wilson: In some ways, but as always you're never going to be perfect on offense and you're striving to get there.
We didn't particularly block as well up front or in the tight end position. They weren't horrible, but we were playing loaded boxes and they were daring you to throw. A lot of snaps, 11 guys up were there five yards from the ball. Paul played well and made some things as well, but missed a couple you'd like to have back. That's a standard issue.
I thought we played pretty physical, but still could've blocked better. I thought we ran the ball hard, I thought our receivers really competed. Paul made some things, but again we left some offense out there. I guess it's like everybody's golf game, you still think you're a stroke or two better after you play.
We're young, we're doing OK, but we've got to keep working to get better. We can't have the procedures that we had. We had two turnovers that were direct, and we told our team prior to that turnovers were a team effort. It's not just the guy with the ball. We had two turnovers caused by protection glitches — one at tight end and one as an offensive lineman getting beat.
We're going to get beat some, but we're last in the league in turnover ratio and that's got to stop for us to have a chance to win a championship.
On the importance of the Oregon game, and the fact that the Ducks have been pointing to this game
Wilson: I think everybody's always ready for us. This is a new year. They've got different players, we've got different players. We're a little bit different scheme-wise. They're very similar. They're going to load up with nine, 10 guys trying to stop the run and corners out there one-on-one.
Last year it took us a while to be tough enough and mature enough to play strong on the road. We really didn't play well, maybe until our Nebraska game. We even struggled at Kansas early, didn't play well in the Cotton Bowl, didn't play well at UCLA. So we talked to them yesterday about putting together a plan that will give you a chance to be successful and not having a great deal of thought-process so we can play fast, we can play physical. We need to take the football to them, they'll come at us.
We need to be tough enough, as a young team, to win on the road. It's just tougher on the road. It's tougher mentally and it's tougher physically to win on the road. As a young crowd, we're out there with four sophomores in the line and a freshman at tight end. And sometimes when Gresham's in there there's two freshman at tight ends with Brody and him. Are we tough enough to win on the road? That's our challenge.
We're going to have some great road games the rest of this season with the remainder of our schedule. They're all going to be tough. At the same time, no disrespect — every stadium that we play at is difficult to play in. So we've got to grow up fast and let's see if we can go out there and play solid football.
We've got to be better this week than last week.
On if there is some uneasiness on the staff taking a young team on the road
Wilson: Sometimes some teams play a lot better on the road. Sometimes there's more distractions at home — all your family's coming in, your friends. Sometimes you're together more on the road. You're just going into a different environment.
The deal is to get those guys to focus on what's happening between the field — not any noise, not anyone talking or any of that deal. It's how you play, how you perform. The key is how you play, how you prepare, trying to get a good plan together and that you go out there play fast and you need to play smart.
We cannot play as foolish as we have offensively the last two games with the penalties and turnovers, and get a win on the road.
On the idea of using ear plugs to prepare for the crowd noise at Oregon
Wilson: Ohio State told me several years ago that they had done that. They play that loud music and you can't really coach, because it's so loud you're yelling and screaming and everybody gets a headache. That way we're just making them try to focus. We're just trying to have our quarterback not talk as loud at practice, because it's going to be difficult for him to be heard.
Just trying to force them to concentrate. We've been doing some stuff in no-huddle and two-minute drills where we work on silent count. We've been pretty successful in a couple two-minute drills, so I think some things in the (shot)gun hopefully will be OK. We just were working under center for changing plays and our snap count, just trying to force those guys to concentrate and make it a little more difficult.
It's not unreasonable, but I think that's better than just blaring music, and then you can't even coach. The defensive guys are over there are trying to coach and we've got music on our field and they can't get their adjustments made. Hopefully it will allow us to coach better yet force those guys to make it difficult to hear and focus and think a little bit more.
On if they'll take their shots deep if Oregon covers the receivers one-on-one
Wilson: We've got to. They're daring you to throw. We've still got the best player in the country and a guy that can run. I'm telling you, it was tough sledding Saturday and he slammed it in there and was impressive. And we need to do that this game no matter how many guys are up there, but you just can't square peg it.
When they're giving you those one-on-one shots, first of all, you need to protect and give your guy a chance to throw on time and throw on rhythm. Secondly, your receivers need to work their routes and you need to have the right route structures and how you're attacking DBs and leverages. And the last thing is him making that shot, but there's a lot of things happening before you get to there.
But this team we're playing this week is a Virginia Tech style of defense, where it's basically nine guys — their free safety is playing right on the tight end at six, seven, eight yards. When you're in a two-back set, they're basically in a nine-man front. They put a lot of stress on their corners, but that's the structure of that defense. It's in the 4-2-5 when you get a running team and where those corners get on islands.
We've got to make some shots, but the key thing with those shots will start with protection. But we're going to have to throw the ball, we're not going to be a dink and dunk team. And if we miss a shot we've got to come back and keep coming at it, but at the same time we can't get away from the running game because that runner is a guy that the more you feed him the more physical he gets the better you can run the ball.
There's balance of both, but we'll definitely have to take some shots every game, not just last game, not just Oregon.
On if Oregon might change their style of defense because they lost their top cornerback to injury last week
Wilson: No. This defense is what it is. Always has been, always will be. If they change their defense they change to play pass defense, which I don't think you're going to do with Adrian Peterson sitting back there.
This defense is going to load the box. If they want to take their blitz chances they can, and their eight-man front. But this defense plays their safety as an extra run defender in the middle of the field, where he's reading through the tight end playing run to pass.
That being said, there's no post help so the corners are basically out there locked up a lot one-on-one. That's just this defense. That's not Oregon's defense, this is the Bud Foster-Virginia Tech old school 4-2-5.
On if they'll test Oregon's new corner
Wilson: They lost both their corners last year and their best player, I guess, apparently has gotten hurt. But again, no matter who it is they're going to play us one-on-one.
I think you saw that the other night with the Ohio State-Texas game. When you get guys out there one-on-one you've got to protect, your playmakers have got to get open and your quarterback has got to deliver it. Again, whether it's a deep ball or a short pass, we've got to take advantage of that one-on-one.
We don't want to get away from the running game and we're not going to be a total passing team, but we've got to definitely take advantage of one-on-ones. We're gonna get that last week, we're gonna get that this week, we're gonna get the next week, we're gonna get it every week. You're not just gonna let us just hand the ball to 28 without a lot of guys up there to stop him.
On if the offensive line is playing as physical as he'd like
Wilson: The first performance, I thought, was significantly (better). And we dropped off the last week. Whether that was how we prepared or what we're doing, we just didn't play as strongly at some positions that had played well in the first game. We know we're capable and were just a little bit off.
I think the physical style of play during the season, I think that's a little bit of a snowball deal that you can build on. The numbers were up there last week against Fresno. They've got a good back and good line and they kept running the ball and they made some plays. Sometimes it was tough sledding, sometimes the guy made some plays.
But we're gaining with the physical toughness. I think as we go through the year, I personally think it always builds. It has every year since I've been here. It seems to snowball if you're doing things the right way.
Our challenge yesterday — are you tough enough, strong enough, mature enough to be a good offense on the road? Like I told them, we don't need Superman. We don't need a perfect performance, but we need to be tough and strong and smarter to win on the road.
On why the tight ends weren't utilized more against Washington
Wilson: It wasn't like we weren't going to, but those guys last week just sitting in the middle got a little clogged with where all their safeties were, and everything was outside because those guys out there one-on-one.
Like Joe Jon's two throws were outside. Everything was kinda bunched in the middle. Their ends were trying to keep Adrian inside and the backers and safeties just had eight, nine guys up in there trying to muck up and make the running game muddy.
If that's the case this week, and each team is going to be a little different, if that's the case you think outside. If you think they're spreading out and you have seams down the middle, that's when maybe those internal players, tight ends are more inside guys, and you get seams and overs and stuff like that.
Each week is week to week. It will be interesting to see exactly how they line up, but the true structure of this defense is nine guys up in there on the run and two guys on the island outside.
Wilson says offense will take their shots
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