OU Practice Report: New Defensive Line Coach Popular Among Players
The Oklahoma football team continued preseason practice on Tuesday morning with the first game of the season against Houston only 18 days away.
Here are some takeaways after talking with some defensive coaches and players after practice.
New defensive line coach popular among players
One of the major tasks for Bob Stoops this past season was to find a new defensive line coach after Diron Reynolds departed to take the same position at Stanford in the offseason. Luckily, Stoops didn't have to look much farther than one of his former players, Calvin Thibodeaux.
After spending the last five years as an assistant at Kansas, Thibodeaux takes over a defensive line littered with returning starters, and apparently he's quite popular amongst his new players.
“That’s a great coach," Charles Walker said of Thibodeaux. "He knows what’s expected of us, he’s played the position so its very easy to relate to him when he tells us something to do. And he understands more situations with the line blocking certain ways, so it’s a big help for us.”
Mike Stoops praises the look OU's offense give his defense in practice
There's a lot of talk about the Sooners' first game of the season, seeing OU has to travel down to Houston and play against a dynamic offense loaded with good players.
The Cougars are led by quarterback Greg Ward Jr., who uses his speed to keep the defense honest, while he also threw 2,827 yards last season to go with 17 passing touchdowns and 21 more scores on the ground.
“Our offense plays at such a high speed everyday, we see everything they give us," defensive coordinator Mike Stoops said. "Our quarterback’s pretty athletic guy too, creates a lot of plays with his feet, so we see that speed continuously, every practice is like that, so that isn’t anything different for us.”
It's definitely an advantage for the OU defense to practice against Lincoln Riley's offense on a daily basis, but even when the first team defense goes against the scout team, quarterback Kyler Murray is another guy who will give the defense a solid look.
Steven Parker very confident about the OU secondary
Returning for his third season as an impact player, safety Steven Parker is now one of the leaders of not only the secondary, but the entire OU team as well. On Tuesday Parker talked about the importance of making stops on defense and getting the ball in the hands of the offense.
“We (the defense) have a big role, just trying to get stops, three and outs, really just taking a toll, because we feel like if we’re doing our job and getting our offense the ball, they’re going to go and score, so that’s just kind of how we feel,” Parker said.
Along with his confidence in the offense, Parker echoed fellow defensive back Dakota Austin's declaration that he believed the Sooners could have the best secondary in the nation.
"We did a great job in everyone started to come together last year, but this year everyone’s really getting it," Parker said. "To me, that’s what’s the difference between this year and last year, I feel like we could be the one of the best secondaries.”