Jeremy Beal enters his final season at Oklahoma as a team captain. If he matches his sack totals of 2009 (11) he'll also hold the OU record for sacks in a career. Beal talked on Monday about opening the season and the development of the defensive tackle position this fall.
Q: Jeremy, are you excited that it's finally game week?
Jeremy Beal: It's pretty exciting. Being in camp and seeing the same faces every day gets kind of tiring. So, I'm excited that I get to see some new faces on another team.
Q: But is it old hat by now, do you still get that excited for every game week?
Beal: I don't get excited like I was during my freshman year, but I still get excited. It's still game week, it's the start of another season. I'm excited to see how the season is going to turn out.
Q: Talk about the three young tackles who have been working in there over the past three months. Do you like what you've seen out of them?
Beal: Yeah, they're all talented, young guys. (You have) Jamarkus (McFarland) and you have Stacy (McGee). They're coming along really well and they're getting better every day. I like what I see and I think we're going to have a very solid defensive line.
Q: Those three sophomores have a combined 11 career tackles. What does it take, in these first three or four weeks, to get to where some of the veterans, they're replacing, were?
Beal: Experience. Gerald (McCoy) and Adrian (Taylor) had a ton of experience. No matter how talented you are or how much you think you know the defense, it's different in a game. Once they get a couple of games under their belt, then I think they'll be good. It's going to be different for them at first, but they'll be fine.
Q: So game day is different?
Beal: Oh yeah, you've got 85-thousand plus fans in the stands and the game moves way faster than what it is in practice. So, it will take getting used to that, but like I said, they'll only get better with each week and each game. They'll be fine by the time we hit the Big 12.
Q: How optimistic are you in your defense, heading into this game?
Beal: We have a good group of guys and we have a lot of returning guys coming back. We also have some young guys, but they're really talented. Just to have this past month and also the summer, you just get the system down. I think they have it down pretty good so far. They still have a ways to go, but mentally they're coming along pretty good.
Q: How is Adrian (Taylor) coming along?
Beal: He's getting better and better. You'll have to ask him about when he's coming back, but from what I can see, he's moving around pretty good. Hopefully he'll be back for us soon.
Q: Is he better than he was at the first of August?
Beal: Oh yeah, he's getting better every day.
Q: Some people ruled him out for this week, but it sounds like he might play.
Beal: Yeah, but that's totally up to him and how he feels on it. Hopefully we get him back soon.
Q: A lot of people are starting to turn away from playing the tough non-conference schedule. You guys though, play a decent schedule every year. Do you like playing a tough schedule?
Beal: Yeah, it makes the game fun when you play a tougher opponent, and it gets you prepared for the Big 12 conference. This is a tough conference, and when you play a tough non-conference schedule, it just gets you ready for it. If you win a close game in the non-conference, then it gives you experience heading into the Big 12 so if you do have a close game during the conference season, then you know you've already pulled one out.
Q: So, despite it being a huge threat to your national title chances, you'd still rather play the tougher opponents. Why?
Beal: Because you get better as the weeks go along. You don't get any better when you play a cupcake schedule throughout the year.