Sugar Bowl: Oklahoma Defense Talks Alabama, A.J. McCarron and More

Oklahoma Defensive Back Aaron Colvin

(On AJ McCarron and the wide receivers) He (AJ McCarron) is a smart quarterback. He’s a really focused player and he knows what he is doing all the time. McCarron gets the ball out to his receivers, and the receivers can really catch. We will definitely have to be on our P’s and Q’s, but we have prepared, and we’re ready for them.

(On shoulder injuries) The time off, before we came out to New Orleans, has really helped me. I feel even better than before.

(On match up against Amari cooper) I am definitely excited for the matchup. I realize that he is a great player, but at the same time he’s not the only good player Alabama has. They have a lot of great wide receivers that are going to present us with different challenges. We are going to have be ready on the secondary.

(On overall physical matchup with Alabama) They are a great team and coached by one of the best coaches in the country. We are excited, and ready to go out there and give it all we got. It will be a good game.

(On senior leadership) I am one of the team captains, and I have to do anything my team needs me to do. Working with the other captains, we try to lead this team to the best of our ability.

Oklahoma Defensive Back Gabe Lynn

(On reflecting on the season so far) “I think our defense has played pretty well, and our offense. We overcame some injuries and young guys stepped up on our roster. Overall I thought we did well.”

(On the defensive performance in the Oklahoma State game) “We got some important stops early on, one was on the goal line and then we had a lot of three-and-outs. The defense was just fired up and we were flying around.”

(On the mentality of the defense) “We try to get off the field as quickly as possible and fly around, play physical. Really we want to get off the field as much as we can and help our offense out.”

(On adjusting for this game because of Alabama’s physical offense) “We have to change some things, but I think we’ve seen some similar things from other offenses, such as Texas’ offense. We have some guys who can move around and can play, so we will be fine.”

(On countering a physical offense) “We are going to have to put some bigger players out there in short yardage and goal line [situations]. For the most part, though, I think we have enough players in our starting eleven that match up well with them. It’s going to come down to who wants it more and playing physical.”

(On his position specifically, what to do to defend against a physical offense) “We have to play every play to the whistle. Their receivers have good size and they’re strong guys, so we have to fight off our blocks and play the run as well.”

Oklahoma Defensive Tackle Chuka Ndulue 

(On facing a tough Alabama team) “They’re a tough-minded team. They’re very physical. This is probably going to be the most physical game we’re going to play all season. They’re a football team, so we’re going to go out there and play football. ”

(On the confidence boost the Oklahoma State game gave the team) “The thing is, their defense and their coaching staff, they’re great at what they do. That’s why they’ve been so successful. We’ve got to execute what the coaches are telling us the game plan is at a high level, and we can be successful. That showed at Oklahoma State and, if we can do it the same way against Alabama, we have a chance of being successful out there.”

(On the progression of the defense throughout the season) “It’s involved a lot of guys going down and a lot of young guys stepping up due to injuries. That’s how we’ve evolved slowly. The young cats have stepped up, and they’re playing a big role. With them doing that at such an early age, it just makes the future look so bright for them and the rest of the team. So, that’s pretty much how we’ve evolved. We came together, persevered through all the injuries. So, things are looking good right now. ”

(On what the young players have to do and how long it takes for them to ‘get it’) “Well, it’s not all of the young guys. It’s the group around them, the seniors, and the older guys. You’ve got to have them under your wing and let them know how it’s going to be. You’re not going to let them go out there and just leave them hanging by themselves. This is why this team is so situated, especially the defense from my perspective. We’re a tight-knit group. We all love each other. We all care for each other, and that’s what makes this team so good.”

(On the extra time spent on the practice field or in the film room) “Studying film is just as important as playing the football game. Film is where you see what they do. You learn their tendencies, what they like to do on first and second down. As a defensive lineman, I can see what kind of pass stance that offensive lineman has, and stuff like that, once you pick up on film. After practice we were leaving and Drew Brees was still looking at film. He’s a great quarterback, and you can see because he spends so much time watching film. They were done at three o’clock and we were leaving practice at seven, and he was still in there. So, that just shows you how important film is for anybody.

Oklahoma Linebacker Eric Striker

(On reflecting on camp and his growth during this season) “I had to earn my stripes and I was working hard to earn my starting position. Coming together as a team; seeing some of the new guys playing together; being on that first team, and working with the older guys like Gabe [Lynn] and Aaron [Colvin].”

(On what he’s most proud of on the defense) “When you come together and play as a team. I know we can do this.”

(On the Oklahoma State game giving the team more confidence) “I wouldn’t say that. It’s a football game. We beat Oklahoma State and that was it. We beat Oklahoma State like we were supposed to.”

(On stopping A.J. McCarron) “How do you stop him? Play sound defense, it’s not just one guy you have to stop. He’s really sound, they have a really sound offense, but - all around - we have to play good defense.”

Oklahoma Defensive End Charles Tapper

(On how to stop Alabama) “We have to stop the run game. We have to stop T.J. Yeldon from making the amazing plays, like he always does. We have to get some push on the offensive line and make sure we get into the backfield. ”

(On being in New Orleans) “We are having a great time. This is a great experience. The Sugar Bowl is treating us very well.”

(On the practice facility) “It is great being in a NFL practice facility. The atmosphere is amazing. You get to see where you could be in a couple of years.”

(On his growth as a player) “I played well this season. I made a few mistakes here and there, but Coach (Jerry) Montgomery and the entire defensive line has kept my motor going. They kept me feeling like a great person and player. I have been listening to the coaches and trying to be a great guy on the field and off.”

(On being an underdog) “We have been an underdog all season. We’ve had a chip on our shoulder all season. To have to chance to go out there and play against the best team in the nation is a great feeling.”

/// SoonerSports PR
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