Wilson, Venables preview Oklahoma State

Oklahoma's coordinators talk about the Cowboys' offense and defense.

Offensive Coordinator Kevin Wilson:
On what he's seen from Oklahoma State's defense

Wilson: First of all, they have a lot of fast, pretty good athletes that are running around. Having seen them four previous times, they run around and fly around as fast in our game as they do all year.

A fair amount of blitz pressure out of the zone. A style of zone pressure defense, whether it be a three-deep or two-deep. They mix their coverages up when they blitz, which is a little more difficult where some people don't.

Not only do they bring pressure, but they force your quarterback to see coverages and understand where to go with the ball. They force you to identify and re-direct and pick up blitzes as best as you can.

(They have) a loaded box always in normal downs with fast corners out there playing a lot of one-on-one. They pick their spots to go to two-deep, but they really like to involve their safety down whether it's in some type of eight-man or nine-man front.

All three backers are solid. They play a bunch of ends and are very good in passing situations. I think they've created, I don't know the exact number, 33 or 34 sacks. We counted up today 14 sacks on third and 10-plus. They really come at you on third down and create pressure, whether it be from blitzing or whether it is from the the rush.

(Ryan) McBean inside is a pretty talented, big tackle. Their MIKE backer is rock-solid and physical. They've got a young player, (Patrick) Lavine, at backer who is a solid player.

Very similar defense to ours, not exactly like it all the time but a lot of similar things with how they load the box like our defense does, how they like to blitz like our defense does with zone principles.

With coach (Vance) Bedford coming out of the pro's, it's pro style (defense) with multiple looks, multiple blitz looks and multiple coverages with it.

On if their defensive schemes are similar to Oregon's

Wilson: No, last week's team was very similar to Oregon's. This defense is very similar to ours in their coverage approach, in their two-deep, their zone pressures.

Coming from his background from the Bears, this is what you see of a lot of pro teams in their 4-3 front that kicks into zone pressures and kicks into safeties down.

On Mike Gundy saying playing in Stillwater is a 7-point advantage, and what he thinks their crowd's impact will have on the offense

Wilson: I know my two trips up there it's been a pretty unique, special place. Their fans are passionate for their team and the rivalry, and I think their team feeds off of that.

It's very cramped quarters where their fans are right on top of you. Sometimes at the larger arenas with fans away from you, you might hear them but you don't get the 'personal interaction'. Their fans do a great job.

I think it's a tough place to play. It's a challenge. I look forward to it and seeing how our team will prepare this week and go up and play. It's going to be a tremendous contest. We're going to have to play very, very, very well and have as good a week of practice to get ourselves in position to win this football game.

I don't think it's an accident if you look at how teams have played up there. I've had a chance watching them, on both sides of the ball, because when we played other opponents I've seen their offense. Now looking totally at their defense, they've got a bunch of good players and are very capable of playing a strong game. I know they'll have their best week of practice and their best plan and be ready to roll.

Again, I really have enjoyed the games up there. Some of them we've been on the short side, some of them have been awfully tough, but I think it's one of the games, as a player, that you like to be in those arenas.

The Oregon crowd wasn't a large, large crowd, but it was a great crowd and I think they have a lot of similarities up there (in Stillwater).

Defensive Coordinator Brent Venables:
On Oklahoma State's offense

Venables: This will be a different type of challenge than what we've seen the last two weeks. They've got the combination of the physicalness that say a Texas brings in their run game.

It forces you to be physical and meet the challenge in that regard. And, of course, they have the ability to spread you out and attack you vertically and quickly underneath in all their screens and things of that nature.

It's a combination of a couple different offenses that really forces you to be really good at a lot of things.

On if OSU is as balanced as anybody they've seen this year

Venables: Yeah, they're very much like Texas in that regard. Texas has the ability to kind of do the same types of things. So they're like a Texas as much as anything in the balance that they have — two and one back spread.

On OSU quarterback Bobby Reid and the problems he poses for defenses

Venables: He's got a big arm, athletic. Explosive runner. He's like a running back with the ball in his hands. Tremendous speed, can allude the rush.

When you have good coverage he can break a defense down pretty quickly. He's got great weapons to get the ball to as well.

On Reid's ability to pump fake and run with the ball

Venables: Yeah, he pumps and pulls it down. He's got a lot of natural ability on the perimeter to improvise and make plays, whether it's running or throwing.

On OSU moving receiver Adarius Bowman into the slot to create matchup problems

Venables: Rhey do a good job, as much as anything, keeping him and (D'Juan) Woods on opposite sides. And then they're very effective at running the football.

A lot of times you're in single coverage on those guys and obviously they get the matchups that they want. Regardless of who it is, whether it's a corner, a safety or a linebacker, they get what they want because of their effectiveness at running the football.

That's probably, as much as anything, the improvement that they've made from a year ago — is the consistency of how they're running the football this year.

On what receiver they've faced in the past would he compare OSU's Adarius Bowman to

Venables: He's like a Quincey Morgan that Kansas State had. Really big and explosive. He's got a great body and tremendous, tremendous speed. He can really out-physical you for the football.

He's been extremely consistent for them, which I think is why you see him as their leading receiver. And they've got another great one (Woods) on the other side.

On if the defense going up against a receiver like Malcolm Kelly in practice prepares them for facing Woods and Bowman

Venables: Yeah, but we don't get a whole lot of good on good. You're looking at 10 snaps a day maybe. But yeah, that's a good comparisson in that regard.

They're a little different type players, but there are some similarities in their size and their strength and their ability to run.

On the atmosphere in Stillwater with the crowd on top of them and close to the field

Venables: You love to compete in that environment. Anybody that likes to go out and fight and compete appreciates that atmosphere.

You certainly don't want it to where it's like a spring scrimmage (laughs). You'd much rather it be intense, loud and people breathing down your neck.

On if that type of environment brings out the best in a team

Venables: You would hope. Yeah, you bet. In regards to your players, what's important is you've prepared them to stay really focused on the game and playing between the lines.

As coaches, you're on the headset and you've been there, done that. That's what you do. You're able to block out things. But as much as anything, you're getting your players to stay focused on the task at hand.

Sooners Illustrated Top Stories