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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

/articleid/3700392/1/pictures/1800092">Photo - OU COLLEGE FOOTBALL: Defensive Coordinator Mike Stoops speaks with the media during the Meet the Sooners event at the University of Oklahoma on Saturday, Aug. 4, 2012, in Norman, Okla.  Photo by Steve Sisney, The Oklahoman
OU COLLEGE FOOTBALL: Defensive Coordinator Mike Stoops speaks with the media during the Meet the Sooners event at the University of Oklahoma on Saturday, Aug. 4, 2012, in Norman, Okla. Photo by Steve Sisney, The Oklahoman

On any young players that have stood out

“Athletically, they're everything we thought they'd be. We're out there and really not full-go, so it's hard to say, but all of them can play and help us at some point. I don't know when that will be. Like I said, it will depend on if we need them, but I think they are all going to be high-quality players on our side of the ball. I think all of them have the chance to be high-level, BCS conference players.”

On who has stepped up as a leader

“Oh, I think we've had good leadership out there from a lot of the guys, but we need to continue to get better. They're all working hard. In camp, it's an everyday struggle, mentally and physically to push yourself. We need every player to do that for us to be a stronger, tougher football team, and that's the area of concern for me is how strong are we going to be. I have no problems with what we can do athletically. If we're tough mentally ... then I feel good about our chances. I think we have all the pieces to be a very complete defense.”

On the strength of the defense at this point

“I think it's all 11. That's what I feel our greatest strength is. We're going to have to play as a group right now. They've shown when they play as a group and they do things right that this is a very complete group. I don't know if we have, you know, we have some impact players. We'll see in this system — we don't' know who they are going to be, but we'll see them as they emerge. Right now, we're just trying to understand where we need to be defensively, and everybody's trying to do their job the best they can.”


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