Oklahoma's Jeremy Beal has had a quietly dominating season for the Sooners' defense. Beal currently has 7.5 sacks on the season and 16 tackles for loss. The senior captian and Don Key Award winner talked about finishing the season strong in his final two regular season games. And those games just happen to be a chance for this team to prove they are road worthy.
Q: Jeremy, have you sat around and thought, here recently, that your journey through OU is almost come to an end?
Beal: Yeah, it's crept in my mind that I only have two or three games left in my college career. It's gone by fast and I would like to go out with a Big 12 championship.
Q: Do you have good feelings about this experience?
Beal: Oh yeah, I wouldn't trade it for anything, I don't regret coming here at all. I love it here and I thought coming here was one of the best decisions in my life.
Q: Can you recount some of your favorite memories throughout your career?
Beal: It would probably be being around all of my teammates. Going through the grinds and celebrations of a college career as a student athlete and sharing that with my roommates and teammates.
Q: The task that you guys will face in the upcoming weeks, is it similar to anything a team you've played for has been through?
Beal: I wouldn't say that it's more difficult. We kind of faced it the year we went to the national championship where we had to go down to OSU and win.
Q: Some of the guys have said that the Texas Tech game was a turning point. Do you feel like this team has gotten things together and is on the right path?
Beal: Yeah, you could say that. I thought we played a really good game against Tech. We put a lot of stuff together and hopefully we can carry that momentum down to Waco.
Q: Has this home-and-away scenario been as perplexing to you as it has been to us viewers? Have you ever seen a team who seemed to have two different personalities?
Beal: No, but hey, we're 2-2 and now we have to go to Waco.
Q: And it seems like you've played your better teams on the road, haven't you?
Beal: You can say that, yeah.
Q: You're up for a number of awards. When you look at the season you've had, how would you judge it?
Beal: I feel like it's been a good year. It feels like my best year so far, even though the stats wouldn't say that. Technique wise, I feel like it's been my best year so far.
Q: Because of the injuries on the line and because people now know who you are, do you feel like you've had to work harder than before just to have some success?
Beal: I wouldn't say that. I just get fewer opportunities to make plays and I have to take advantage when I have those one-on-ones.
Q: Guys say that you might not be the fastest or strongest, but you may be the smartest. They say that you understand your position and have great instinct. Is that an accurate statement?
Beal: I guess, I don't know (laughing). I wouldn't call myself the smartest. I know what my limitations are physically. So, mentally, I try to get ahead of the game.
Q: Is there a pretty good combination of film study and instinct involved?
Beal: You can say that. I would say that I do have good natural instincts, but I do watch a lot of film as well.
Q: Talk about Baylor quarterback Robert Griffin and how he's similar to Cincinnati's Callaros and A&M's Tannehill. It seems like a huge key is being able to get to him quick.
Beal: You have to cut the head off of the snake. He's the leader of the offense and you have to get pressure on him. If you don't, he's going to buy time and that makes it harder on our secondary to cover their receivers. The defensive line, as a whole, has to contain this guy and get pressure on him.
Q: Is he the biggest challenge you've seen all year long?
Beal: At quarterback, yeah. He's gotten better at reading his progressions and hitting the right people. Of course, we all know how he can scramble and buy time. He's definitely going to be the fastest quarterback that we've seen all year.
Q: How tough is it, preparing this week, when you're trying to figure out what guys will be available on the line and where they might play?
Beal: I wouldn't say that it will be difficult, we need some guys to step up and play well for us. Hopefully Casey (Walker) will be back, but if not then David (King) or Pryce (Macon) will have to step in.
Q: How difficult is their run game to defend?
Beal: It's very difficult. Anytime you have a fast quarterback like Robert Griffin, then it's going to be difficult. They try to get you in one-on-one situations. Guys will have to tackle well on Saturday.
Q: Ronnell Lewis has moved to defensive end and he got quite a few reps in last Saturday. Talk about him as a young player and what potential he has.
Beal: He's a great guy, on-and-off the field. He made the move to end at the beginning of the season because he still has a ways to go technique-wise. But we all know where he stands athletically. Mentally, I think he has a ways to go, but he's a great player for us. Potentially, the sky is the limit for him. I think he'll be an outstanding player.
Q: I'm sure that you're sick of these road questions, but if you were in our shoes wouldn't you ask these questions?
Beal: Yeah, if I were in your shoes I would ask them. But the fact is, we're 2-2 on the road and we have to go to Waco.
Q: But you've outscored conference opponents, at home, by over 100 points. On the road, you've lost two games by 20 points. What do you tell the young guys, this week, to try and turn that around?
Beal: Go out and play like we play at home. It's as simple as that. Go out and play Oklahoma football.
Q: How fulfilling would it be though, to finish the season with two road wins like you have a chance at?
Beal: That would be special, especially since it's my senior year. It would be great if we could do that.
Q: You're really close to Adrian (Taylor), everyone knows the friendship that you two share. Talk about how he's going to still remain a part of the program?
Beal: Adrian is still going to be a leader. You guys know that he's very vocal, and he's still going to be like that. I'm pretty sure he'll still be in our film sessions and at practice. I'm sure he'll be helping Coach Shipp out with some of the young guys who are going to have to step into his shoes.
Q: How special was it to win the Don Key award with him?
Beal: It was very special. First off, just to win the award. Then to have your best friend in the world with you is unexplainable. It was very special and I was very proud of both of us.
Q: You guys have not given up big play after big play, but you have been gashed occasionally. What is the issue there?
Beal: Guys just aren't where they need to be. There might be ten guys on one page, but one guy being off can get you gashed. All 11 guys on defense have to be on the same page. If they're not, they're going to be gashed.
Q: Do you feel like you're closer?
Beal: Yeah, last week we gave up some plays, but we didn't give up as many as we have. If we can all play on one page for the whole game, then we'll be good.
Q: Bob (Stoops) limited the media this week. In your mind, will this help a lot of the guys focus on the task at hand, which is winning a crucial road game?
Beal: Yeah, you can say that. I really don't know the reasoning behind it, it was Coach Stoop's decision. I don't know why he did it.
Q: I think it's simple to say, this isn't the same Baylor team that the rest of the conference has come to know in the past decade, is it?
Beal: Yeah, since Coach Briles has gotten there, that team has gotten better and better each year. You can tell that they're on the right path. Each year they're getting better. I guess the nation is finally seeing that they have the potential to be a great team. They finally have the right players in key places and they're playing really well.
Q: I think Coach Venables referred to Robert Griffin as a "creature".
Beal: Creature or monster, whatever you want to call him, that's what he is. He's a good player and he's hard to stop. We have a tough task ahead of us.
Q: He does seem different though from his freshman year. It seems like now he's running a lot less. What do you see different from his freshman year to now?
Beal: He's spreading the ball around. He reminds me a lot of what I watch when I see Michael Vick on the tv. The way Vick matured is the same way Griffin has matured. He's going through progressions and he's making the right decisions. He's more of a quarterback now, rather than just a runner.
Q: Is he similar to that quarterback you guys saw against Utah State?
Beal: Well, first of all, I can tell you that Robert is a lot faster. Last time we played Griffin, he made me miss about ten times. Other than that, they are similar.