Below are excerpts from Oklahoma offensive coordinator Kevin Wilson and defensive coordinator Brent Venables' meeting with the media earlier this week.
OU OFFENSIVE COORDINATOR KEVIN WILSON:
On Trent Williams
Wilson: He's been doing well in the timeframe he's been in there. I don't think there's been any game he has not performed solid. That's why we were playing him early.
We thought we probably should've played him a smidge earlier, but as a young guy in short games we didn't get him involved as much. But he came in Saturday and played as well as anyone who was playing on the field.
Now that the weather has gotten as such, I don't think conditioning, as far the the heat, will wear on the young guy. I think he'll be OK. I think he'll play great.
On if he will do anything to the schemes or gameplan to protect Williams as a young player on the road for the first time
Wilson: No, to me you look at your protection matchups every game anyway. But I think physically he'll match up and do well.
I think it kinda hurt them that they lost one of their good rush players in Brian Smith. He was a great player, but their other defensive end is very good as well.
Hopefully, just the matchups and calls that we make will put him in good situations.
On if Branndon Braxton was playing as good as anyone on the line had this season
Wilson: He was doing good. I don't think he was doing poorly. I don't think anyone has been like a weak link. He's just a very talented young guy that was doing well and getting better.
To say he was playing the best, I can say that. But I think we had other guys playing comparable. That will hurt because you're losing a good player, and it's tough for him because he's a great, young player.
At the same time, I think the guy coming in, that's why he was playing earlier in key games and at key times. It's just unfortunate for Branndon. You feel for him, much like Adrian's situation. You just hate to lose a guy that has so many games and so many snaps.
On if 35 carries is too many for anybody but Adrian Peterson
Wilson: I don't know. I mean, Steve Owens had 50-something carries. Yeah, but he (Allen Patrick) was fresh. He didn't have all those carries from the weeks before so it hadn't built up on him. I think Cale (Gundy) knew when to take him out. When he thought he was tired and gassed, he took him out.
Again, we'll keep playing all those guys and see how the week of practice goes. I still wouldn't be surprised to see Mossis (Madu) get in the mix a little bit down the stretch as well.
All those guys played good. They missed some things, but they played hard and they took care of the ball, and there was a lot of good. Hopefully, with that experience, they'll continue to build and be more competent in weeks to come.
On Missouri giving up yards, but also making a lot of big plays defensively
Wilson: Yeah, with their blitz package and two good ends. It's unfortunate because Brian Smith was a great player and he got hurt on a freak play running down the field. You kinda feel for guys like that because it's an unfortunate deal.
When you watch them they're different, but it looks like philosophically with their program they're doing some things like I've seen Texas Tech do. I think they feel they can score points and they'll take some chances with their blitzing or rush package to get the plays and to get turnovers.
But they don't give up a lot of big plays. They are creating some nice plays with turnovers and sacks and negatives, but they're not busting where you see people just running downfield. They're making teams snap it again, snap it again, snap it again.
I think they're doing that because they feel like it's nice that we are getting turnovers and scoring points, but let's not give up the big play. And that's as impressive as anything. They've not had a lot of just huge chunk plays, the big-yardage plays against their defense.
Listening to their comments, it sounds like they're making a big deal defensively like, 'Hey, we've got to get the negative play. Let's go create the turnover and get the ball back for our offense.'
But I do think their they're taking chances that looked to me to be very sound, very calculated and very smart, because they're not getting burned a lot, which is the sign of a good defense as well.
We'll have a big challenge this week with Missouri. I think they've created already 27 sacks in an eight-game stretch.
OU DEFENSIVE COORDINATOR BRENT VENABLES:
On his comments after the first three games early in the season that statistics didn't matter
Venables: Because we were being compared to everybody else who was playing Middle Tennessee every week. But at the same time, we stunk. I'm not trying to say, 'Well, we're good compared to...". No, we still stunk at what we were doing. The basics of the game, we were no good.
We weren't everything that I've said that we weren't that we were working on to get better, that we've improved as of late. I'm not taking that away. But at the same time, it still wasn't what we wanted. It was still awful.
On the defense rising to 11th in the country in total defense
Venables: Now everybody will say we haven't played anybody yet (smiles). But the flipside is who played who at the beginning of the year?
I don't sit there and listen to the radio or anything else. I'm 'blowin and 'goin. I can imagine how people are, because I'd say that too. Listen, I know the challenge is coming now. But at the same time, who else has anybody else played?
Trust me, we're proud of our guys that continue to work hard to improve and keep everything in perspective, and know you've got to keep getting better. Hopefully, if we can continue to play with the consistency we will.
On Missouri's spread offense being somewhat similar to Oregon's offense
Venables: There's some carryover. They force you to defend the field from sideline to sideline, first and foremost. There's certain run game that's carryover. They do some certain schemes that are similar in the run game and their screen game as well. For example, the first screen they (Oregon) got out of the gate for 67 (yards). That kind of stuff.
They'll look at how did Oklahoma want to go in there and prepare against them. What was their plan and generally speaking what was the gist of their basic gameplan, and how does it fit us. There's some carryover because they're a spread offense and (use) a lot of three and four wides.
On if they'll tweak themselves defensively to defend the spread differently than they did against Oregon
Venables: You've got to improve. Obviously, we put the same thing in front of our guys, just like you did the day after the game, the night after the game, the next day with your players. Here's the basics of the game, not, "Oh my gosh. That was an unbelievable scheme."
Here's where the technique, awareness need to be better. Do you tweak this or that? Probably so. There are different ways to defend things, but for the most part it's your fundamentals, your technique, your awareness, that we knew after the game wasn't any good and needs to be better, and has been better, but wasn't better that day that has gotten better hopefully over the time since then.
On Missouri's offense
Venables: Very multiple. There's some simplicty, yet their accuracy and their precision of what they do makes them really, really good and effective.
On how much he wants his defensive ends staying home against Missouri's screen passes
Venables: It depends, but some of them are double-perimeter type screens and some of them are jailbreak inside screens that attack the interior of your defense. So if you pressure, they attack you here. If you sit soft, they attack you there. If you're soft on the perimeter they attack you there.
They like their tight ends out there because they're physical blockers on the perimeter, whether it's the quick passing game, the screens or even the run game, where you're going to need perimeter run support too.
But the interior, the ends, the backers, the spindown safeties, everybody plays a real vital role feeling and recognizing those screens. They're pressure alleviators for an offense. And from a defensive standpoint, you're either going to be soft all day sitting and waiting for those or you need to train their reactions to feel the screen.
And you've got to go for broke on those screens. The nature of those is to get leverage on you and just kinda wall you out. If you sit back they'll attack you all day, so you've got to really have guys that have that go-for-broke mentality and you've got to attack those screens.
The penetration really screws up the zone play, so does penetration on a jailbreak type of screen.
On what stands out on Missouri quarterback Chase Daniel
Venables: Poise and accuracy. Decision-making. Leadership. Toughness. Ability to run in short area with quickness. You see how the team feeds off of his energy and his leadership.
Unbelievable accuracy both sitting in the pocket and moving and scrambling around. He's got great poise, vision down the field and receivers that help him succeed as well.
A really good underneath thrower. He can throw all the routes. Really a nice player. Doesn't get many batted for a 5-11 guy, but they deepen him up. Most shotgun guys are around five yards and he's at seven yards from the line of scrimmage.
Very good runner. Different type of runner. He's not the 10.5 100 meter guy, but he's got very good short area quickness, which makes him a very effective runner. A good strong runner, he's 220 pounds. Very thick kid, good lower body strength.
On if Demarrio Pleasant will be back this week
Venables: He's back, but he's in a rotation. But again, they're going to be in a lot of spread.
Wilson, Venables preview Missouri
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