Below are excerpts from OU defensive coordiantor Brent Venables' meeting with the media ealier this week.
On the defense holding their last three opponents to under 250 total yards in each game
Venables: We've been pleased with the consistency. Guys are just getting better with a lot of little things and trusting each other, playing more aggressive and just being a little bit more focused. There's still a lot of room for continued improvement and hopefully that's what we'll continue to do.
On the improving pash rush
Venables: Again, I think the first week (UAB) it was a bottled up offense that it wasn't fair to really judge it (pash rush).
Against Washington, we had great pressure on the quarterback all day. It's funny, I talked to Mike Stoops and he said you guys gave up 500 yards of sacks in that game. In the end, he didn't throw for many yards as a result, so the pressure was good in that game. But just because we didn't produce the sacks then all the sudden we weren't pressuring the quarterback. That's just the way it is I guess.
Against Oregon, I thought we got blocked and I thought they were a lot better than us that day. And that was a big part of the game obviously. The last three weeks has been more consistent.
On the defense improving their blitzes
Venables: I think timing is a part of it — understanding angles, trusting your leverage. There's a lot to it, but we still need to get better.
Nic (Harris) ought to be our leading sack getter right now, and he's not because of missed opportunities. We're working hard at it every day. Every position on the field, as a matter of fact, is working.
We're seeing quarterbacks that are mobile that can move around and move the pocket. We're not going to change, as far as our pressure, we just need to be better at executing it.
On the linebacker play
Venables: I think there's been good improvement through the last X number of games. I've seen steady improvement and a lot of the fundamentals and technique.
We're becoming better tacklers and being better in run support — being more downhill and being a little bit more physical. Again, like all the positions across the board, we need to keep getting better.
On the status of Demarrio Pleasant
Venables: He's supposed to be cleared to go, so we'll see. He got his finger caught in a jersey and tore the tendon. Too much reaching instead of bringing your hips and your feet.
On Colorado quarterback Bernard Jackson's ability to throw the ball
Venables: They move that pocket. Every other snap, that quarterback's on the move. Great athlete.
They do more moving, shifting, motioning pre-snap than anybody we've played in eight years. Nobody's remotely close. They do a lot before the ball is snapped, and they do it for obvious reasons.
There's a lot of window dressing, but a lot of it is to create confusion and get you out of gaps to get you thinking and temper your aggressiveness. So we'll need to really be sharp as much as anything mentally, as well as physically, because he's going to force you to run around all over the field to corral him.
He's their leading rusher if you take away the sacks. That just tells you he's carrying the ball a great deal. They've got a lot of run-pass options on their sprint plays and their boot plays, and a lot of quarterback-designed run plays as well.
They utilize a lot of their weapons, particularly their tight ends, in a lot of different ways.
On the difference between Colorado's running attack now and when Gary Barnett was the coach
Venables: A lot of stretch zone plays, and then a lot of counters, misdirection, power plays. He's (Hugh Charles) a very, very good back with a veteran offensive line. They know how to get a hat on hat.
They're very well-coached, very good schemes. They know how to get leverage on you. And again, talking about all the jumping, the trading, the shifting and motioning pre-snap. They know how to get you mis-aligned six inches off here or there and they've got a crease.
That's how they're able to run the ball effectively, let alone a very talented back in Charles, who was in my recruiting area the same year we signed Adrian or else he might've been a guy we would've had a chance to get. Very, very talented player.
On Colorado's offense being one that their players will take time getting used to
Venables: No question, because of all of the things they do. I mean, they do a lot. More than most. And they were doing a lot right away and it takes time.
If you look at their last three and four games against the better people, they've been moving it with great consistency. And then they've been their own worst enemy at times particularly in the red zone. They've been snake-bitten a little bit. No pun intended there.
But they obviously had things clicking against a well-coached team in Texas Tech last week and really hammered them.
Venables talks defense, Colorado
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