The Award-Winning Magazine Offering The Most Complete Coverage of Sooner Sports
  HOME FEATURE STORY SUBSCRIBE OU SPORTS IN THE NEWS COVER ARCHIVE WRITERS CONTACT US      ADVERTISE
More Recent Stories

Marquise Brown Q&A

Road Warrior

The Greatest Rivalry

Road Warrior

Hard Work

Road Warrior

To The Point

King's Corner

The Draft

To The Point

NFL Bound

Looking Back: Billy Vessels

Road Warrior

King's Corner

NFL Spotlight

Boomer Bio

Lincoln Riley Q&A

Keys To Success

End of an Era

Stepping Down

Dominating Force

2017 Recruiting

OU finished off a memorable 2016 season on high note

Road Warrior

Emmanuel Beal Q&A

Fast & Furious

Road Warrior

OU vs. Texas: By The Numbers

King's Corner

Steven Parker Q&A

Orlando Brown Q&A

Speed Burner

King's Corner

Next Step

Welcome Home

QB Questions?

Common Cause

Right on Target

Flying High at No. 1

Headed North

Playoff Bound

Dominique Alexander Q&A

California Connection

Red River Rejuvenation

To The Point

Ty Darlington Q&A

Aaron Ripkowski Q&A

Sooner Flashback: Jakie Sandefer

Next Generation

Hiring Time

Sooners hire new offensive coordinator

Samaje Perine Q&A

Aaron Ripkowski Q&A

Mike Stoops Q&A

Josh Heupel Q&A

All in the Family

Road Warrior

On Point

King's Corner

Sugar Bowl Review

Editorial

OU to meet Alabama in Sugar Bowl

Josh Heupel Q&A

Josh Heupel Q&A

Boomer Bio

The Closer

Sooner Success

Mike Stoops Q&A

Bill Bedenbaugh Q&A

Spring Football Review

Spring Football Review

To The Point

Boomer Bio: Julian Wilson

Boomer Bio: Chuka Ndulue

Boomer Bio: Bronson Irwin

Jalen Saunders Q&A

Patience Rewarded

Boomer Bio: Sterling Shepard

Taylor-made for Oklahoma

Tony Jefferson Q&A

Attention Getter

A Change of Plans

A Change of Plans

Proud Heritage

Hot Commodity

Boomer Bio; James Winchester

Boomer Bio; James Winchester

Boomer Bio: Aaron Ripkowski

Cornerstone

Playmaker

Playmaker

Strictly Striker

Javon Harris Q&A

Boomer Bio: Austin Haywood

Locked In & Loaded

Ben Habern Q&A

Landry Jones Q&A

The Classics

Top Ten Recruits

Bonus Prospects

Oklahoma Influences

Tight End Tough

Marquis On The Mark

Sooner Stars Set To Return

Jeremy Beal Q&A

Jamell Fleming Q&A

Boomer Bio: Trey Millard

Stacy McGee Q&A

Red River Tradition

Red River Tradition

James Patton Q&A

Boomer Bio: Eric Mensik

Quarterback Race

Quarterback Race

Boomer Bio: Kenny Stills

Boomer Bio: Marshall Musil

Getting His Kicks

Making The Right Moves In Recruiting

Bradford looks sharp in workout

No Doubt About It

Boomer Bio: Willie Martinez

Boomer Bio: Ronnell Lewis

Boomer Bio: Ronnell Lewis

Norman Bound

Showdown In The Sun

Jay Norvell Q&A

Jay Norvell Q&A

Boomer Bio: Dejuan Miller

Adrian Taylor doing just fine

Joseph Ibiloye Q&A

The Real Deal

Road Warrior

Meet Dusty Dvoracek This Saturday!

Casey Walker Q&A

Best of The Red River Rivalry

Bradford To Start Against Baylor

Facebook & Football

Tackling Machine

Keith Jackson Appearing this Friday in Norman

Josh Heupel Q&A

Boomer Bio: Stephen Good

Top Targets

Brent Venables Q&A

Boomer Bio: Cory Brandon

Tisdale and Griffin

Wayman Tisdale Dies

Sam Bradford Q&A

Auston English Q&A

Blake Griffin earns Naismith Award

Ryan Reynolds Q&A

The Wait Is Over

Outlook for 2009

Outlook for 2009

Staying Put

Bradford, Gresham, Williams Coming Back

Make Room For Sam

Lendy Holmes Q&A

Bradford Wins Heisman

Heisman Material

Boomer Bio: Frank Alexander

Sooners Headed To KC For Big 12 Title Game

Sudden Impact

Sudden Impact

Gerald McCoy Q&A

Gerald McCoy Q&A

Offensive linemen Roundtable

Boomer Bio: Mossis Madu

Boomer Bio: Mossis Madu

Travis Lewis Q&A

Travis Lewis Q&A

Auston English Q&A

Jackie Shipp Q&A

Bob Stoops Q&A

Boomer Bio

Theyve Got It Covered

Bradford Talks About Sooner Experience

Big Dreams

Plenty Of Things To Chew on this Offseason

Marcus Walker Q&A

Looking Ahead

Greater Expectations

Manny Being Manny

The Big Easy

Super Sidekick

English Lesson

Revved Up & Remodeled

Firmly Committed

A Cut Above

The Definition of Rivalry

On The Rise

Irresistible Force

Bookends

Bradford Named Starting QB

Venables Verbatim

Sooner Spectator & Rivals.com Teaming Up

Final Chapter

Catching Up With Sumlin

Welcome Back Little Joe

Wilson’s Defensive Wisdom

Reggie Smith Q&A

Malcolm Over The Middle

Fantastic Five

Thompson & Alexander To Sign Autographs

WE'RE BACK!!!!

GET READY FOR THE RETURN OF SOONER SPECTATOR!

OU’s Greatest

Boomer Bio: Brody Eldridge

Boomer Bio: Fred Strong

Dual Threat: Stephen Garcia

Thirty Reasons Why OU will beat Texas

Double Duty

Kody Cooke: A Conversation

Boomer Bio: Lendy Holmes

Welcome Back

Quick Five With Nic Harris

Road Warrior

The Opposition

Defensive Backing

Recruiting: Crimson Bloodline

Wilson Weighs In

Replacing Runnels?

Defensive Outlook

Top Shelf: Austin Box

Rufus Revelations

Reaction to Capel Hiring

A.D. Unscripted

OU will miss Sampson

OU Scrimmage Report

Joey Halzle Q&A

Gray, OU prep for The Dance

Moore is Better

Sooners eye stretch run

Haskell remains a lost treasure

Boomer Bio: Patty Gasso

Sherri Coale Conversation

Taylor Made

Future Considerations

McCoy becomes a Sooner

Michael Neal Q&A

Recruiting: Dominique Franks Q&A

Strong Willed

Football Recruiting Notes

Remembering Billy Ball

Enough Gloom & Doom

Back In Business

Endowed Scholarships Announced

USC or Texas: The Lesser of Two Evils?

Stoops is not leaving OU

Sooners down Ducks in Holiday Bowl

Biding His Time

Kelvin Sampson Q&A

Next Stop Division I

Boomer Bio: Allen Patrick

Chris Messner Q&A

Bob Stoops' take on Bedlam Victory

Terrance Anderson's Journey

OU vs. Tech: The Answers

OU vs. Tech Matchups

Road Warrior

Stoops talks about OU's 36-30 win

OU vs. A&M matchups

OU Coaches’ Roundtable

Recruiting: Derek Burton

Boomer Bio: Juaquin Iglesias

Carl Pendleton Q&A

Sooners topple Huskers in Lincoln

OU-Nebraska Matchups

Recruiting: Ugo Chinasa

Sooners top Baylor

OU vs. Baylor Matchups

Recruiting: Offensive Line

Recruiting: Adron Tennell

Sooners top Jayhawks

OU vs. Kansas Matchups

Boomer Bio

A Pleasant Conversation

Texas tops Oklahoma

Red River Rivarly Matchups

Dusty Dvoracek: In The Trenches

Sooners Roll Past K-State

OU vs. K-State Matchups

Recruiting: Replenishing The Backfield

Boomer Bio

Sooners give one away

Recruiting Demarco Murray

C.J. Ah You Q&A

The Answers: OU vs. Tulsa

Not Pretty, But Sooners Win

Spectator Sneak Preview

Bob Stoops' take on TCU loss

Texas Christian Sacks Sooners

Moses leads Sooner tight ends

Rufus Alexander Q&A

Thompson gets nod at QB

Birdine Lost For Season

Sampson to Visit Kuwait for Hoops with Troops

Walk-on making noise at WR

Travis Wilson Q&A

Clint Ingram Q&A

Sooners open fall practice

Brent Venables Q&A

Sooner single-game tickets go on sale Monday

Questions about Sooners' aura not surprising

Joseph talks about summer workouts

OU at Big 12 Media Days

Kim Named to U.S. Walker Cup Team

Sooners name Golloway

Stephenson decides to stay at Wichita State

Stephenson takes OU head baseball job

Soon to be Sooners

New Sooner Nic Harris excited about new digs

2005 Season Preview Issue Available Now!!

Letter from the Editor

Q and A

Ever Elusive

Sooner Selections

Ole Miss powers past Sooners

OU's Weekly Sports Report

OU inks JUCO point guard

OU's Kim wins Big 12 Golf Title

White and Vermeil talk about first day of rookie camp

White gets a chance with Kansas City

Red Rallies to Down White

Big crowd expected

Prelude To Greatness?

Breaking Down The Offense

Spring football eases pain




Sooner Defensive Coordinator Brent Venables - photo by LaizurePhoto
Brent Venables Q&A
Sooner Defensive Coordinator talks to Sooner Spectator

Another collegiate football season is just around the corner and the first reminder occurred today in Norman when Oklahoma coach Bob Stoops hosted his annual media day event. Instead of the usual round of golf, members of the media were treated to cooler temperatures at the Sooner Bowling Center.

Between frames, Sooner Spectator editor Jay C. Upchurch caught up with defensive coordinator Brent Venables and got his thoughts on the 2005 OU defense:

Sooner Spectator: Obviously, there is plenty of work to be done between now and the season opener on Sept. 3, but what excites you most about the prospects of this defense?

Brent Venables: The athleticism is really something that jumps out at you about this group. We’re not short-handed at any position. We have some question marks in regards to experienced depth at a couple spots, but the athletic ability across the board is impressive. There are going to be a bunch of young guys in the two-deep once the dust settles and that excites you. Typically, those guys are very hungry, very coachable — things aren’t old hat or mundane for them. You can really stress the finer points of the game and get a great response.

SS: Do you like the mix of veterans and youth on the defense?

Venables: Definitely. We have a good blend of experience and play-making ability coming back to give us that balance. Anytime you have guys like Dusty (Dvoracek) and Larry (Birdine) up front, and Rufus (Alexander) and Clint (Ingram) at linebacker, you’ve got the makings of a good nucleus. Those guys have been around and figure to be leaders for us. And we’ve got guys like Chijioke (Onyenegecha), who began to come into his own at times last season, and Eric Bassey who had a terrific spring and a great summer for us. In addition, we have a number of players who we’ve seen a lot of — guys like Darien Williams and Jason Carter and Lewis Baker. There is plenty there to get you excited about this season, that’s for sure.

SS: Does all of the potential youth on this squad make the roles of Dvoracek, Alexander and Birdine that much more critical, both in practice and in games?

Venables: No doubt. We need those guys to play at a very high level. We need all of our older guys to do that and we are counting on that to happen. They have to provide the right kind of leadership and show the type of maturity and work ethic that sets the example and pushes the young guys. We feel all of our veterans are capable of playing at an All-American level and again, we believe they are primed and ready to do just that.

SS: Is there an area on the field that you can look at and say ‘that’s our strength or stabilizing factor?’

Venables: I don’t really know yet. The veterans we have are obviously guys we are counting on, which gives us a chance to focus on other areas. We need to be able to create the type of pressure that we were last year with Dan Cody and Jonathan Jackson. That’s as big as anything when it comes to having good coverage. We have to be sound and consistent, which are always key factors for a successful defense. When we weren’t good last year, it was usually due to a lack of consistency. We played good enough competition that if you don’t do all of the little things right, they can exposure you in a hurry. One key to consistency is making sure all of our young guys — and not just the freshmen — make some serious strides and develop during fall camp.

SS: Being defensive coordinator, you have a vested interest in every position on the field — but how do you like your linebacking corps going into the season?

Venables: I like this group very much. I like their overall attitude and their explosiveness. These are not guys you have to coach up on how to get excited to play the game. We’re not very deep at all, but the four scholarship guys we have back there are guys who you can win with. Obviously, we need to stay healthy and allow some of our talented freshmen develop over time. I think Clint (Ingram) is ready to have a monster year. Rufus was great at times last season. But he needs to bring a little more consistency to his performances. He needs to fine-tune his game and be the type of game-breaking player we know he can be. I’m really excited to see Zach Latimer coming into his own. He’s a hungry player who has been waiting his turn and he’s got a good understanding of what we’re trying to do. He’s going to be a real asset.

SS: Obviously, with the returning talent and the talent coming in, you feel this defense has a chance to compete and allow this team to succeed at the highest level?

Venables: Without question. If we are going to be any good this year, it’s going to have to start with defense. That’s the same at any level — you have to be able to play great defense, cause turnovers and be consistent. We need to be able to turn our guys loose and allow them to play fast and physical and be consistent. Again, that’s something we can’t emphasize enough. With the influx of the talent we have we are unbelievably excited about the potential of this group.