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Oklahoma football: Mike Stoops talks defense

Athletically, the Sooners are fine. Time will tell if OU is mentally strong enough for the grinding season.
Compiled by Stephanie Kuzydym Published: August 12, 2012

Mike Stoops sees more than one leader and more than one standout on his defense. OU's defensive coordinator talked with the media about everything from his side of the ball, staying healthy and what the strength is of the 2012 Sooners defense.

On how the secondary responds to the criticism of last year

“We just work hard every day to get better. We want to be better at what we do this year, and that's what we're concentrating on, trying to keep the ball in front of us and keep it contained and keep better position on the football. We lost position on the ball too many times a year ago, and we can't let that happen again.”

On the importance of staying healthy in the interior

“Well, I think we're a better defense with Stacy McGee and Casey Walker in there. Those are two guys that are (our) two best inside players. We need to keep those guys on the field as much as we can, but we need to keep developing depth and quality and guys that can rotate in there. We've got four guys in there, and we need to rely on four really quality players. We don't want to have a drop of when we rotate our players, and that's what we're trying to develop in the younger players.”

On any worry for injuries

“Not really. I haven't' really thought about it. You coach the players that are there, and you develop them. That's what camp is for, is develop all your players ... if injuries do happen, you just move on. As terrible as it is for another player, we've got to be ready to move forward. That's why you want to develop players in your program continuously, and that's what we're doing all spring and all camp. Once we get out of camp and we start concentrating on the opponents... we settle into a certain amount of players in our rotations, but if somebody goes down, you've got to add another young player to the rotation during the course of the year. We probably don't use probably more than 17, 18 players defensively at the most. We have a lot of combinations we can go to and flexibility in our package we can go to and that's what has to protect you from our perspective on defense.”

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