Oklahoma Co-Defensive Coordinator Brent Venables talked with James Hale earlier this week about Saturday's Bedlam battle against Oklahoma State.
JH: Talk about Oklahoma State's offensive weapons.
BV: "Rashaun Woods is easily, and I have seen a lot of college football film this year, the best wide receiver in the country. With the quality competition that he sees week in and week out, how defenses are trying to bracket him and double him, plus trying to design their defense to stop him and yet he continues to have the success that he does is incredible. He is always playing at an extremely high level. He has the statistics to speak for themselves and he does amazing things just to catch the football. He can out-jump defensive backs and catch the football in a crowd and he has made some incredible acrobatic type catches. And he has done this since he started playing. He is somebody that has our players' attention and our coaches' attention, you just want to try to limit the amount of times he can make big plays. Rashaun is going to make some plays and what it ends up coming down to is a chess match. How are you going to defend the run,? How are you going to defend Rashaun? You have to pick and choose your battles. However, they have other quality players."
"Tatum Bell is a better running back this year. He is a more physical running back. Their offensive line is playing with some nice cohesion. They have T.D. Bryant and John Lewis also at receiver. So, they have other quality offensive players as well, including quarterback Josh Fields. They can stretch your defense and stress you defensively as well."
JH: How do coaches use the negative emotions of last year's 16-13 loss to OSU to help you get the team the ready for this year's game?
BV: "It has been easy to get their attention because of last year's game. It was obvious how they approached the game and it was a little bit different from how we normally do, unfortunately. It came back to bite us. They played better than we did, they executed better, they played with more emotion and they made fewer mistakes and more big plays than we did. Obviously, you learn a great deal from that."
"From their (players) standpoint it is easy to see how they will use emotion of the game. From where they have been, to be able to beat a program like Oklahoma is a monumental step. If I was them I would build all I could off that game as well. They have done just that and they have taken great advantage of it in recruiting and in selling their program to their constituency. Again, they should do it that way, because when you compare the programs winning that game is something they are not quite uses to. But at the same time they have done a great job of riding the wave, continuing to build and get better as a football team."
"They are a better football team this year in all facets and a more confident football team as well. We will need to have a great gameplan and we will need to execute. We will need to have a counterpunch for their punch because they will have some as well. We will need to make big plays because they have enough quality players on their football team in all phases, that they are capable of beating a lot of people. They have several big play people on offense and we have to limit those big plays and out perform them overall over a course of four quarters."
"We also need to control the field position because that was something that we didn't take advantage of last year. We had tremendous field position, particularly in the first half and couldn't punch the ball in. We had it six different times inside their forty-yard line and didn't score. The flip side of that is they took advantage of every time they had the ball on our side of the field and more often and not they produced more than we did. They kicked two 52-yard field goals that were obviously the difference in the game. They have some great, great weapons and they have a lot of confidence from some of their wins this year and obviously the success they had against us last year."
JH: Your defense played a great game against Texas Tech. How does that help you get ready for OSU?
BV: "What it does is it allows our players to see how well we can play when we come to a game prepared, practice well and study tape. When you do all of those things then obviously it pays off. You hope that carries over to this week's preparation. We believe that it has up to this point and time."
"How you play on edge and with the focus that you need to play with in big games is everything. When relaxing a little bit, like we did in previous weeks last year can be a big help. The opposite can also show you why you weren't as productive or why you don't have much success. The success from the preparation standpoint, you believe will carry over. Then the confidence peaking at the right time if you will, you hope those things will take place this week."
Venables: OSU has plenty of weapons
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