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November 29, 2010

Venables gaining playmakers by the bunch

STILLWATER, Okla. -- Brent Venables threw a curve ball at Oklahoma State's offense during the Sooners 47-41 win during Bedlam. The Sooners went heavy with defensive ends, even in place of defensive tackles. The tactic worked as OSU's Brandon Weeden was off-balance most of the night. And even facing adversity due to inopportune turnovers, Venables unit got it done in a big way.

You did a great job of keeping them in front of you, other than the Blackmon play, the busted play on different coverage, but for the most part you guys did an outstanding job all night.
A big emphasis was for our guys to have good eyes and just execute basic coverages. More than anything else we wanted to get bodies on them and keep the quarterback holding the ball and they did a nice job in the front that allowed the guys in the back to make plays. I thought Quinton Carter made some terrific plays on the ball and Tony Jefferson made a really nice tip on the ball. Then we had a blitz on late in the second half that we got another pick off of where guys did a nice job staying in the rushing lanes because he likes to throw through those windows and timing it up.

We were really disciplined through all eleven guys and I'm really proud of Javon Harris for coming in on short notice and being ready for his opportunity. That was a big part of our success tonight, was being able to handle it. He didn't have to be Superman and nobody did. We just had to execute and play with discipline.

Austin Box said it was a struggle for him at times this week. How much of a gut check was that for him tonight?
I thought it was huge. I really wondered. He practiced all week and he didn't miss anything this week but I wondered how much he was actually sharing with us and how he felt, but boy he played terrific.

And how about the pick at the end where he dove for it?
Yeah. It was a batted ball and he did a fabulous job. That was a helluva play. I didn't know he was that kind of an athlete. Not at least since his high school quarterback and free safety days. Those pounds he put on when he was sitting out for those six or seven weeks - I thought that was going to be our nemesis this week.

But no, I couldn't be more proud of him and the things he's had to endure physically, let alone the emotional - I thought just last week his career was done again. For him to come out and play in a very unselfish way and make some big-time plays was big-time.

You mentioned Javon Harris and they really are known for attacking the middle of the field, it seems like maybe people don't understand how well he played in the second half with what they do offensively?
No question. They put a lot of stress on you because of their ability to run the football. He had great position, really, for the most part all night. The guys up front help him make plays too and I'm really proud of him stepping in for Jonathan. He did a nice job.

What are you calling your defense, a 50 front? Because that was a big key for you guys tonight.
I really don't think it's schemes as much as it was guys just playing with gap integrity. It doesn't matter really what front you line up in, whether it's 4-3 or 3-4 or 4-2-5. I mean that. If you're supposed to be the 'A' gap, be in the 'A' gap. You stay on your feet, make the tackle, hit guys flush, rally to the ball - guys really played hard and flew around, flew to the ball and that's what limits big plays in the running game. I think that was more key than anything else, was just guys understanding their job and just executing their job.

When you had those defensive ends out there is that more of a product of if you had more healthy defensive tackles?
I just really felt that would give us the best chance to be successful. That was something that we went back and forth and we had our best pass rusher (Jeremy Beal) not rushing the passer all the time. So that was a concern. He was in position and he did a really nice job. He did rush the passer at different times and really played well in the run game as well. What that says is that just kind of gave us the best chance to be successful.

It seems like when you hit a quarterback, it kind of takes him out of his rhythm. You may not be getting sacks, but it was like he was looking for it.
Yeah. We missed a couple of opportunities but I hear ya. I just think guys did a nice job of coverage in the windows and we understood what was coming in the throwing game and that kind of forces them to hold the ball longer than they want to. So that was our biggest thing, trying to keep them off-balance, trying to keep 'em guessing and there was nothing real magical about it. The credit goes to our guys for executing what we've wanted to do.

Best defensive performance of the season?
Oh I don't know. I was proud of them last week, Florida State was pretty good, you know, all things considered, with our backs against the wall and considering our opponent, I thought our guys really played terrific tonight. Oklahoma State's playing as good as anybody in the country right now and we knew that it would take a pretty good performance for us to have a chance to win. I couldn't be more proud.

Video by Eddie Radosevich

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