Venables Sees Progress in Defense

The Sooners traditionally have one of the best defenses in the nation, and so far things appear to be going well in the spring, even with the loss of several starters from last year, including expected top five NFL Draft pick Gerald McCoy. In light of that, Sooners Illustrated caught up with OU defensive coordinator Brent Venables to talk about his group's progress.

On his overall thoughts about the defense—It's going good, really well. I'm real pleased with our guys' attitudes, and we're doing a lot, you know, with them. They're able to handle quite a bit, a lot of things that are in right now as far as in stock, and [I've] been really pleased with the amount of reps we're getting, a lot of recognition, technique, fundamental, playing hard, playing physical, all of the above.

On how the scrimmages have been—We scrimmaged last Thursday. The scrimmage went real well because they had 20 possessions, and we had 10 three-and-outs. There were some gap check releases here and there, but overall I thought our guys played good. Our last scrimmage we played extremely well. Then last Thursday we scrimmaged before we let them off for break, some situational things, short yardage, long yardage, we played really well.

On the cornerbacks' play—They're all doing good things and occasionally a few bad things, but overall they're all making progress.

On where the team was Thursday compared to their Saturday scrimmage—I've seen them get better pretty much every day.

On Jeremy BealYes, Jeremy's got great instincts, very physical, very smart, very intelligent, very intelligent. Things are easy for him. He picks up on things extremely, extremely well.

On Ronnell LewisI've been pleased with his progress. Again, I'm naïve to believe [it's going to be perfect right away]. Again, he's polishing up, getting [a grip] on concepts, which is very important. He understands coverage, and he understands what to do. But that doesn't mean he's playing mistake free football by any stretch, you know, because he's not.

On how the defense has adopted the team concept—All of them bought into the team concept, all played their roles extremely well just comes from a team concept. There's nothing better or pleasing to a coach than guys that accept those roles, play within the confines of the system, whether it's basketball, baseball, football or what not, so that's where [winning] comes.

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