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2005 Season Preview Issue Available Now!!

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Wilson Weighs In
Sooner offensive coordinator talks about the upcoming 2006 season

Kevin Wilson is not afraid to tell it like it is. Ask him a question about his Oklahoma offense — any question — and then make sure you keep your guard up. The man’s not pulling any punches in regard to expectations for the 2006 Sooners, individual performances or any shortcomings his crew needs to get past.

After serving as OU’s offensive line coach and running game coordinator the previous five seasons, Wilson is ready to settle in as full-time offensive coordinator this fall. He actually got a jump on the job this past December by earning high praise for his play calling during the Sooners’ Holiday Bowl victory over Oregon.

Sooner Spectator caught up with the outspoken Wilson to discuss the dynamics of his new role and plenty of other topics concerning the upcoming season. The following are excerpts from that conversation.

Be sure to pick up Sooner Spectator's 2006 Football Preview Issue to read all of Wilson's comments and a whole lot more about the 2006 Sooners.

Sooner Spectator: What is it like being an offensive coordinator under a head coach who has historically been a defensive guy? Does that translate into a more conservative approach for the offense?

Kevin Wilson: Coach Stoops is not like that. Maybe that’s because of his time being around Coach (Steve) Spurrier. Coach Spurrier is always reasonably aggressive. With Coach Stoops, it’s not necessarily playing things close to the vest — it’s that you not play foolish and have negative plays — plays that can get you beat. The thing about (Bob) is if he feels offensively that the negatives are minimized, he wants to be as aggressive as possible. Some people, offensively, get so aggressive and so attack-minded that they get foolish. I think if you cross that line, he’s going to tell you.
Sometimes he realizes a fake kick or an offensive play we need to go for. Sometimes he feels the momentum and he’s very observant on our end. Even though he’s a defensive guy, he’s got a great feel when the offense has momentum. I think a lot of people make a big deal about the risky plays he makes, but they’re not risky because he felt they were there. I think sometimes offensive coordinators can get conservative because they’re worried about screwing up. I think Coach Stoops has the opinion, ‘Don’t let the results or the fear of what the result might be — don’t let that make you not take a chance.’ Don’t let the criticism of something not working talk you out of doing something.

SS: In the past, you’ve heard offensive coordinators talk a lot about taking what the defense gives them. Is that the biggest difference in what you want to bring to the table — that you don’t want the defense to dictate what you can and cannot do as an offense?

Wilson: The defense can dictate to you if you’re limited offensively. If you have some weaknesses that they don’t have to worry about, then they can concentrate their efforts on stopping things. Therefore, they can take your offense away. The idea is to be competent in the running and passing game so you can take what the defense is giving you. Defenses can take away aspects of your offense if you’re not physical enough to run the ball or if your quarterback isn’t talented enough to pass the ball. I’d like to think every offensive coach will say that you want to take what the defense will give you because there’s so much space, they can’t defend it all. When they try to stop the run, they’re giving you opportunities to throw the ball. Taking what they give you, that’s nothing new. To me, it’s kind of like basketball coaches. If you have confidence in your team and you trust your players that have the ball — your quarterbacks, your receivers, your running backs — if you feel you have a great deal of confidence in those guys, you stay more aggressive.

SS: Chuck had a reputation of developing quarterbacks like Josh Heupel and Jason White. You have a young quarterback in Rhett Bomar. How do you feel and how does Rhett feel about the support he has now that Chuck is gone?

Wilson: I personally think Josh has some characteristics similar to Chuck. He was a very, very good player. And he was a very, very good player because of instinct and feel — not just physical talent and a tremendous arm. Josh was a great player like Chuck and it was more about being a well-rounded player than it was about his physical ability. I believe Josh will do a great job. I’m more than confident he will do a great job. I think he did a great job this spring and I think he will be the same way as we go through the preseason. I think Rhett truly likes him and I think liking a guy and feeling good about your coach is something that helps you do well. I don’t know if Josh will be as good as Chuck, but I think Josh is going to be really, really good. I think they will do really good together.

SS: Doesn’t it seem like the offensive coordinators at Oklahoma get a lot more credit and criticism than at other places? Is that because Bob is seen as the defensive guy?

Wilson: I think all our coaches get a lot of notoriety because it’s just Oklahoma. I think Coach Stoops and the success he’s generated has gotten a lot of notice for a lot of guys. Bob has a background of being a defensive guy, but he’s very involved in the offense. He tells us to run our offense, but he tells us the things he’d like us to do and this is how he wants it done. I use him as a resource because of his knowledge of secondary play and his knowledge of blitzes. He’s a great resource for us. And people talk about all the pressure, but pressure to me was when we were at Miami of Ohio and we had to go play Michigan. What’s stressful to me is trying to make yourself look good when you don’t have any talent. We’ve got talent that allows you to do a lot of things. Some people don’t want to have all the talent because they’re afraid to screw it up. I’d rather have all the talent and go attack someone else.