Oklahoma began preparations for Saturday’s game against Tulsa (11 a.m., ESPN2). After practice, defensive coordinator Mike Stoops, special teams coordinator Jay Boulware and several players met with the media. Here are some quick notes from this afternoon with the coaches:
*Stoops still bringing up the defense’s tackling issues but overall was pleased with pressure and defensive speed.
*Jordan Phillips was disruptive, Stoops said. “Getting him to understand if we can be over the nose like that, that creates a lot of problems for the offense getting up to the next level and keeps our linebackers clean. I thought him and Charles Tapper were really good and Geneo (Grissom) gets better every time he steps on the field.”
*Stoops said he really liked what Quentin Hayes continues to do in the secondary.
*The communication on the defense is better this year is better. “Our rotations and communication as a secondary, I think we hit every one but maybe one out of 50 motions. We missed one or two, I think, out of the 45 whatever motions they had Those were always a good sign as well,” Stoops said.
*Stoops very complimentary of Tulsa running back Trey Watts and quarterback Cody Green. “They make it go. They try to put a lot of stress on your line with a lot of read plays and zone read and quarterback runs. Again, he’s a very talented player. Obviously losing their receiver (Keyarris Garrett) is disappointing. He’s a great player as well. Again, they’ll try to keep us off-balance with a lot of screens and a lot like last week. There is a lot of carryover from the first couple of weeks. That part is good.”
*Stoops on Eric Striker: “He’s a good edge guy. You don’t want him taking on a bunch of big guys, but he has the speed and quickness to come off the edge. It makes it very difficult for even fast offensive tackles to get to him. He has unique speed and quickness and change of direction. That’s hard to find on the perimeter.”
*Boulware on Trey Franks’ emergence on special teams: “He’s doing a fine job. I’ve really been pleased with him so far. His speed is something we definitely wanted to take advantage of when I got here. He’s doing a good job of buying into that role and being a productive player for us.”
*Boulware on kick-off specialist Nick Hodgson and punter Jed Barnett: “We’re not anywhere we need to be, like anywhere on the team. I’d love to say, ‘Middle kick deep’ and the ball goes through the end zone every time. From the 35-yard line, I feel like at OU we should have a kicker who can put the ball through the back of the end zone whenever we ask him, just like we should have a guy where if you want the ball in the field of play, look, let’s get after them and pin them inside the 20-yard line. That’s what we’re working toward. We’re getting close.”
*Boulware on his role as special teams coordinator: “Coach (Bob) Stoops has always been big on special teams. He’s been a big part of what we’re doing now. I’ve been fortunate and blessed to be able to come in here and add what little knowledge I can bring to the table. A guy that’s been a 15-year head coach here and try to add something to it. That’s all I’m doing. I’m trying to add something to the staff and bring something to the table.”