Sooner Defense has Rough Day

Gerald McCoy (Photo: Getty/Doug Pensinger)

The Sooner defensive unit admittedly had a struggle on Thursday, and key leaders like Gerald McCoy, Auston English, and Ryan Reynolds all know that the team needs to improve quickly if they are to be considered as a National Championship quality type of team.

When the defensive coaches were called in to an impromptu coaches meeting after Thursday's practice it was a big first clue that defense had probably not performed up to expectations.

While the ‘D' has appeared to have a pretty solid camp so far, the leaders of the defense are not satisfied about where they are at with only nine days left before the first game of the 2008 season.

"We have been having good practices all this week, but today wasn't good enough, no where close to be going good enough," defensive tackle Gerald McCoy said of Thursday's practice performance.

"We are trying to be National Champions. We are not just trying to be Big 12 again and lose a bowl game and be a three or four loss team, we are tired of that reputation."

"We have all of the things in place," All Big-12 defensive end Auston English added about the potential of the defensive unit. "There just has to be a conscious effort by each one of us and we can't have any let down by any of us."

McCoy believes that it came down to teamwork, and for whatever reason things just did not click on this day.

"We didn't work as a whole," McCoy explained. "The front wasn't good enough, and then when the front was working the backers weren't working, and then when the front and backers was working the secondary wasn't working. We never stayed together as a whole defense."

On Wednesday the Sooners had a two-a-day session, and then came back early on Thursday to work again. Fatigue could have played a small part in the inconsistencies, but McCoy believes that it is not an excuse.

"We are going to be playing teams at 11 o'clock, so you got to be able to play through that," he stated. "You got to be able to play through the heat or whether it is cold outside, or it is raining."

With some inexperience at linebacker English and McCoy both agree that the play up front is going to say a lot about the team's 2008 success.

"I think that (play up front) has always been a first point made every year," English explained.

"We are going to be as good as our front people take us on the offensive side and the defensive side. To have strength up front is the cornerstone of a lot of teams.

"Defense wins championships and they are won up front," McCoy added. "If we dominate up front it makes it easier on the guys behind us"

"We just got to get better; until we get better we are not going to be that championship caliber team."

Ryan Reynolds will be providing some leadership and consistency in the middle of the OU defense as a "Mike" linebacker, and while the defense had a rough day on Thursday he thinks they can rebound with a strong finish on Friday.

"We just have to finish everything that we start," Reynolds stated.

"That includes practice and two-a-days. We just have to come back strong tomorrow with our first practice and our second practice and leave today behind."

"We need to be able to finish."

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