Post Practice Notes and Quotes (Defense)

Coach Mike Stoops

– In talking about the safety position Mike said “I’m pleased with all four of those guys”. Said they havent really set a final rotation. Said that they are all playing different spots so that the safety positions are interchangeable. Also said that “all four will play”. Mike said that all of them will have an opportunity to show what they can do in a game.

– On which freshman will play this year, “Jordan Thomas and Steven Parker…they’re right there with our starters…pushing our starters.” Mike said for both of them he foresees considerable playing time.

– Said that they will use Eric Striker as a pass rusher but he said that Striker can do a lot of things…”he has a great feel for the game”. “You can see his instincts truly as an outside linebacker”

– On the development of the 3-4 defense…said that they’ve “tweaked things” but the foundation is the same. The personnel will change depending on what they emphasize. In general said that the defense gives them a lot of “versatility”.

– Said that the players feel more comfortable in the defense.

– Said that the 3-4 gives them the ability to come at different angles and better utilize their zone pressures. “It gives us a lot of different looks and a lot of different angles to come at the quarterbacks”

– On Jordan Evans, “he has grown…he’s a guy that has a very high ceiling…he can be an outstanding football player.”

– “I think it’s (this is) our most complete defense”. Talked about how there is a lot less indecision now and he said he feels like they’ve made adjustments that will allow them to play the run better. Pointed to two things specifically to help against the run, the fact that they are playing faster and can’t react to the run better and by adding size to the edges.

– On whether he felt better as a DC in his second year in the 3-4, “I think we’re more confident in it…the players understand what we’re doing better…I understand what we’re doing better (laughs)…it was controlled chaos a lot of times last year.” Also said, “the way we were trying to play things didn’t fit certain situations that we saw as the season went on…there’s a lot of moving parts that didn’t actually fit the right way…we feel like everything fits a lot better than it did a year ago.”

– Said that the defense has developed to a point that “it’s a lot simpler for our players to understand…to react to all the things we see…the crazy offenses…we feel like it will adapt even better than it did a year ago”

– Said that the development of the defense of line is always going to be what dictates the ability of a defense to be successful and he said that the defensive linemen have all gotten “bigger and stronger and faster…we feel like we’re a much more physical team than we were a year ago”

– Said that Jordan Phillips “gives us a different guy that can make plays as a nose guard…he can take up a lot of space over the center…that’s a critical position in this defense”

– When asked who he feels has really made a big jump from last year to this year Mike said, “I think Dominique Alexander stands out…he’s gotten better…his position on the football seems to be better.” Also mentioned Tapper and Chuka. “I’ve been pleased overall with our overall scheme, attitude and our athletic ability…I don’t think we became complacent in any way. I think we want to be better and these guys want to have a dominating defense…we’re very confident in this group of players”

– On Julian Wilson, “Julian’s played well. We love him out there at corner. He’s got great speed and length. He’s just gotta go out and play and get a lot of reps out there. I think he feels very comfortable and he’s very confident…he feels as confident there as he did playing nickel”

– On Charles Walker, “Charles has got a lot of potential and that’s the key word. Again, he has to continue to work…He has a chance to be an outstanding player if he continues…he has the right attitude and effort on the football field. He has all the tools that you need to be a dominating defensive lineman but you’ve still gotta go out there and do it…he’s gonna have an opportunity here in another week like the rest of our players…we’ll see what he can do”

– On DJ Ward, “DJ has shown improvement too. He’s another guy who is on the fringe trying to crack into that two-deep. He’s probably behind Matt Dimon, Charles Walker then him…behind…Chuka and Tap. He’s probably the fifth guy in line.” Also said that he now weighs about 255 or 260. Said that DJ needs to continue to develop his size and strength.

– On having to deal with the new bigger running backs that OU has in practice (Ross, Perine, Ford), “A lot of times you butt up and they run into you and knock your ass over…you don’t want to go low…you want to butt them up and our guys are getting knocked back five yards…they’re all very big and very physical coming through the hole”

– On some of the things that stand out about Samaje Perine, “maturity and strength”.

– Talked about the conscious effort to get longer athletes on the defense and said “I think size matters. Size takes up space on the field and that’s what you realize…it takes up inches here and there…length covers the field…longer people make the ball go higher…those inches matter”

– On Obo, “He’s probably the one I’m pleased with the most as an outside linebacker. His ability to show some maturity and development and be consistent…I’ve been really impressed. He’ll be a guy who will have an opportunity to play for us next week hopefully…we feel like he gives us another guy that’s electric off the edge. He compliments Striker very well. He’s got great speed and quickness and strength.”

– Mike said that Jordan Thomas would be the third corner and Stanvon would probably be the fourth (need to update our depth chart). But said that they are all still fighting for the position.

Charles Tapper

– Said that Jerry Montgomery “knows we are the best defensive line in the country…it’s just bringing it out in the rest of the guys…it doesn’t take just us three…it takes the Charles Walkers, the Matt Dimons, the DJ Wards, the Mathew Romars so we can all be great…it starts up front”

– Said that Jerry is like a father figure. Said that he’ll discipline you when you mess up but he’ll be the first to pat you on the back and brag about you when you do well.

– Tapper with an interesting note on young Courtney Garnett and Dwayne Orso saying, “Courtney Garnett is a guy that today…he showed some monster…he can play the 4 technique and the nose but he’s a lit bit more quicker than Chuka…Chuka doesnt like that (laughs)…Big Dwayne Orso is a massive 6’6 300 lb guy that is just like me, came in here raw…hasn’t lifted a weight”

– Talked about going against Alex, Keith and Samaje, “those are massive running backs…when we have live scrimmages it feels like they’re hitting you instead of you putting the hit on them.”

– On Samaje, “he’s like a grown man…Samaje is a massive human being…it’s a scary sight seeing him coming at you full speed”

– Talking about a collision he had with Samaje, “I had a little long stick (stunt two gaps) and he has an inside zone and we met and I felt all of that…between him and Keith it’s two nightmares running at you”

– “I can’t wait to see Samaje’s turn…actually get to go full speed and just run through somebody. It might be ESPN top ten plays”

Geneo Grissom

– Said that he feels great that people are starting to talk about Oklahoma’s defense more and more but said that they have to actually go out there and show everyone.

– Said that Obo is very difficult to block. Also said that Bond has great hips and excellent speed off the edge. “If I go down there won’t be much of a drop off”

– Said that he loves the transition to LB. Said he feels like he can make plays there. He did admit that it’s been difficult moving further away from the ball and having to read coverage but said that it’s getting easier and he’ll be ready come game time.

– Said there are so many pass rushers that he felt the coaches could create a package for just to back ups.

– Said that he weighs about 260 lbs right now.

– Also said that he sees that Dom Alexander has made a big jump…”seems like a completely different guy”

Eric Striker

– Said that he feels like he has a knack for making the big play. Said that his attitude for every game is to be a game changer on the field and make critical plays.

– On how he handles the preseason hype, “I pay it no mind…all that stuff is just writing…I’m hungry. I’m out there to prove myself again this year”

– Said that he’s taken on a leadership role and feels that now that Corey Nelson is gone it’s on him to really show the young guys what to do and how to act. But said the his leadership style is more “lead by example”. Said that he’s not the type that will “belittle” someone if they make a mistake.

– Said that he doesn’t feel like the players are living on the glory of last year.

Zack Sanchez

– Praised Jordan Thomas and Steven Parker saying that they are really smart and felt that they were guys who have really stood out. NOTE: This is an important point that doesn’t get enough emphasis in evaluation…intelligence on the football field is huge.

– Said that the addition of the bigger receivers to the team has helped him advance his own physicality. He said that it’s also helped Julian because people forget that he’s used to going against smaller slot receivers. Said that the process of covering the bigger guys is the same but because they can get into you, you’ve got to be more physical with them and use your strength.

– Talking about the safeties said that “Q (Quentin) is a vet…Q is always making plays and Ahmad has coming on really strong this past week…you can tell he’s a lot more comfortable now than he was going into camp”

– Said that he feels like Julian has picked up the outside CB position really well.


  • shawn

    I love that this team is getting bigger but seems to be maintaining the speed.

    • Fear The Magic

      Bigger plus more experience plus the influx of talented kids plus just knowing the system better = lots of optimism.

  • I know this isn’t about the D, but does Durron Neil remind any one else of Mark Clayton?
    I wish we could have kept Brent to run the. LB’s but I’ve always felt Mike was best suited to run our D.

    • Zack

      Yeah but venables didn’t want a demotion even if his pay didn’t change. It would have been bad for his career if he stayed and became the co DC after running it for so long. And I don’t think his philosophy is much different than mike stoops but mike was willing to take risks like going to a 30 front that venables may never have done. As far as everyone saying venables schemes were too complicated I don’t think that’s true that just tells me he lost the locker room so to speak if they weren’t willing or able to do what he asked.

      Also many don’t think about how tough of a change that was for him. He was here for 12 years enjoyed having his family grow up in Norman and never took the bait of leaving for a head coaching job.

      • Yes but Brent’s D’s were sometimes great but mainly mediocre. IMO Couldn’t they same be said of Mike coming back? Also the only reason Brent didn’t leave earlier is because he didn’t get the HC’ing job he wanted.

      • JB

        Venables philosophy has always been centered on run stoppage over pass defense, and he relied heavily on zone coverage. Coach Mike is the exact opposite; his priority (and this dates back to his first stint at OU) prioritized stopping the pass and utilized more man coverage than zone in his scheme.
        But Mike has also been better at teaching and practicing fundamental skills, particularly tackling. Tackling suffered greatly under BV. I’ve always thought BV’s heart was in the right place, but Mike Stoops is simply a superior defensive coach.

        • EasTex

          I will never understand why Coach V put Colvin at Safety and not as a cover corner. Still scratching my head and it’s been almost 3 years now.

          • Super K

            My guess is because of the responsibilities and the complexity of the back end, he wanted someone really heady at the safety position.

          • Zack

            Plus venables had 2 corners he trusted in Fleming and hurst.

        • Zack

          I think they are more similar than that. I think it comes down to mike being better at putting the right guys in the right position. And mike and all good DC want to stop the run and make teams one dimensional just like in the sugar bowl and it worked because bama and the teams mike coached against in the early 2000s were not as complex or fluid in the passing game making it easier to sell out and play man coverage behind it.

    • Oscar

      Clayton was much more fexible and lanky than Duron. Duron has more mass and strength and doesn’t quite have the quickness of Clayton, but has the ability to break a few more tackles than Clayton.

  • rphdenton

    …….no mention of bond………still injured?

    • Super K

      Devante was mentioned a couple times.

  • Jackson1006

    The 3-4 really changes the kind of athletes we can recruit at LB and DE. Lot of talented athletes out there that dont quite fit the traditional d lineman mold. Now those tweeners will be looking at us. One downside is that finding NTs at the college level might be tough, especially for a two deep. Could make it so that every year, the NT becomes our most precious position, in the context of injury or otherwise.

    • Zack

      Good point about the NT. I think some years we may recruit a OG that is being slept on like an Alvarez or a Paul and try to convert them to defense.

    • soonerthunder

      However, it looks to me like our NT is the most deep position on the team.

  • EasTex

    I think the Sugar was a preview for our D. Coach Mike not only had them prepared, they showed they not only felt comfortable in the defense, but took ownership of it. They also played with their hair on fire, which is Coach Mike’s standard mode.
    If they can retain that attitude, while being bigger, stronger, faster, this could be a very special unit.

    • Zack

      This defense if healthy is going to be dominate. It may not end up in the top 10 in ranked defense but it should be the best in the big 12.

      • soonerthunder

        I think it could be a top 10. Even if our defense didn’t improve one bit over last year, they’d improve in nearly every category b/c our O should stay on the field more than last year, i.e., we should not have so many 3 and outs. I’ve never in my life remembered an OU team whose O had so many 3 and outs. That alone would make their D rank better. However, not only should our O move the ball more and keep the D off the field more, but our D should be much improved also. Things look promising.

    • Eric Hoffpauir

      I agree, as long as they can wrap up and make the tackle after contact. We had too many big plays last year allowed after a corner, linebacker, or even a d-lineman got his hands on the ball carrier.

  • EasTex

    If our RBs don’t kill our D in practice, it will certainly make them stronger.
    Don’t want to see anymore reaching and grabbing instead of tackling this year.

  • Indy_sooner

    Really appreciate these updates,TFB. I feel like this offseason was much, much shorter with all the current updates lol. Kudos. The Soonersports page has been hopeless for the most part.

    • Super K

      Thanks Indy!

    • WilliamJack

      Totally agree! TFB has made this off season much more bearable!

  • Big Higg

    Running backs sound like beasts. I love it.

  • Sooner Ray

    If I keep reading stuff like this, I’m gonna have to call my heart doctor between now and season starting. Damn, I’m getting pumped!

    • ToatsMcGoats

      Thinking about how good the D was last year, and hearing that they’re more comfortable and better equipped to play our schemes this year?? I think we’ll be in the top 10.

      • Sooner Ray

        If they are as good as advertised, it won’t even be a fair fight which is fine by me.

        • EasTex

          If it is a fair fight, you didn’t plan your mission properly.

          • Sooner Ray

            Would be nice to start the season in stealth mode but we lit up the radar in the Sugar bowl.

          • EasTex

            That’s okay, the fire is lit and the national sports media keeps dumping fuel on it in the form of disrespect.
            I just had the espn Big 12 Preview on while I was posting an article on a blog…listened with one ear with my back to it. The usual college football experts were on and the one guy who was a DE at Florida and played in the NFL cannot and will not disguise his hatred for OU. He and their recruiting director(don’t watch them enough to know their names) both were predicting Baylor to win it and the former Florida guy thinks Texsa wins the RRS.
            Who are these people?

          • Boom

            Saw the same Eas Tex. ESPN is sending a clear message to OU and it’s one we can’t win. They threw more jabs at us than Ali in a 15 rounder.

          • EasTex

            They threw more jabs at OU faster than Bruce Lee punched through a cast of Filipino extras.

          • Doobie74OU

            When Chuck Norris saw the Sooner defense he decided to retire and give them the name Chuck Norris!

          • soonermusic

            heard ESPN’s star Herbstreit on the radio today–his final four: UCLA, Michigan State, Alabama, Florida State… wow. and not much Big 12 love there either…

          • Birddawg

            I watched it too and couldn’t finish it. Got so mad I had to take my blood pressure meds.. “Show me OU… show me”
            Stoops ripped the SEC all year and stomped on their premier program.
            Just wait.. our team is going to take care of business again this year/
            I’m glad I don’t have to watch that crap anymore.
            I found a new home in TFB.

  • soonerthunder

    Man, that’s excellent stuff. There is no need to WASTE time listening to people talk about food or everything but sports on the radio. Come here once a day and learn 20x more than listening all day to “sports(??)” talk radio.

  • lovethemsooners

    You guys are awesome. They put out a 2 paragraph post on today’s practice report on OUI today. Not sure how they justify charging people hard earned cash for that kind of information. Thanks guys!

    • Steve Cooke

      Why do you care what OUINSIDER does? How about we keep it about the brainiacs & not another site.

      • Krys Allen

        Probably the same reason you care what he says about OUI. This isn’t one of those sites where we aren’t allowed to mention other websites. TFB doesn’t need you to white knight for them.

        • Steve Cooke

          White knight? Yeah ok superstar!

        • cpearc00

          Pay him no mind. Some people just like to start drama and clearly miss the point of a message.

      • lovethemsooners

        Steve – Maybe because I’m a paying member of OUI(which by the way gives me the right to criticize)? Yet I consistently get better information here? Why bash me for my opinion on the subject anyway? That’s exactly the kind of thing that goes on over there……which is why I come here.

        • Steve Cooke

          Maybe you need reading comprehension classes. I’m not bashing you or saying you can’t criticize oui just saying why do it here.

          • lovethemsooners

            Again, what’s with the condescending tone? I’m not going to get into a pissing contest with you over this. If you don’t agree with what I post, just simply move on and leave me alone. Posts like yours are what will quickly make this board appear a lot like the boards over there.

  • Mason

    I’m so pumped for Samaje. I really hope he gets some touches against Louisiana Tech.

  • ouguy777

    “I think size matters. those inches matter” I knew it!

  • tforce

    In addition to providing depth and competition, having multiple reliable players with an array of strengths will allow the defense to test teams and individual players weaknesses.

    I fully anticipate the depth chart being fluid week-to-week because of this. Furthermore, I think the coaches’ll throw out multiple defenders at specific matchups in the first halves. This should be a fun year!

  • soonermusic

    Great report! Thanks.

  • OUknowitscomin

    Grissom “- Said there are so many pass rushers that he felt the coaches could create a package for just to back ups.”
    Striker on the preseason hype, “I pay it no mind…all that stuff is just writing…I’m hungry.”

    Thanks TFB, incredible stuff. These 2 phrases made my day, gotta love these guys.

  • AW

    I pray that we have a huge upgrade at Safety this yr. when it comes too tackles or missed tackles. As much as I appreciate G Lynn, he had some pretty awful games.

  • Jake

    As a Sooner fan, I don’t know how you can’t get pumped for the season after reading these quotes.

    Seems like the defensive mentality and schematic IQ has come full-circle to align with the talent that they have out there.

    Sounds like a rude-awakening for opposing offenses, and a sight that Sooner fans will relish week in & week out!


  • Shelby is a Patriot

    We really have a great group of guys this year, I can’t wait for this season.

  • James

    Just like many I’ve been stalking for months but this is my first post. Just bought two tickets to the opener! Taking the wife to her FIRST sooner game. Can’t wait! Boomer!