Shutting down Oklahoma State's Justin Blackmon may not be a realistic goal for any secondary, just as shutting down Ryan Broyles isn't a realistic goal for Sooner opponents. But Quinton Carter and the rest of the Sooner secondary will make that their goal Saturday evening in Stillwater. Carter spoke this week about the ability of Blackmon and chasing a championship once again through Stillwater. Have the Sooners made enough improvement to make a Big 12 title a reality?
Before we get into the game, how is your health? It looked like that shoulder flared up on you again Saturday night?
I'm good, it's just a minor stinger, no problem. I would have come back into the game, but there was only a couple minutes left.
Is it the same thing you talked about a couple of weeks ago, when you said that it's been really bad and hasn't had time to heal?
Yeah, but it's not hurting nearly as bad as it was. It's minor.
Can you talk about how imperative it is to get a pass rush on Saturday?
It's very important. Just like any game, it all starts up front with those guys. They're physical when they're getting to the quarterback and stuffing the run game. That's a critical part this week in our game plan.
Break down Justin Blackmon for us, and since we don't get to talk to the cornerbacks this week, what will they have to do to slow him down?
They're going to have to compete on every single snap. They're going to have to play with good technique and trust the defense that is called. Blackmon is a great player and a great competitor. He's like the Dez Bryant of this team. When you start comparing guys to Dez, that says enough in itself.
He is a different player than Dez though, right?
Yeah, he's different. But from the standpoint of making plays and being a big-time receiver on their team, he's the main weapon of that offense along with the quarterback.
You guys have had eight straight quarters of really good football, are you playing the best ball of the season right now?
We've had moments, up and down, throughout the season. We've prepared really hard these past couple of weeks, just like we're doing this week. And we're looking to continue that.
You've been down there before, talk a little bit about Stillwater? What do you think about them making people buy season tickets just to come to this one game?
I didn't know about that, but if that's their tactics to keep our crowd out then you have to do what you have to do.
People always talk about how close the fans are at that stadium...
They are really close compared to a lot of other schools. They have a whole lot of trash talking and the crowd really gets involved down there, it's a great atmosphere. This is what you come to Oklahoma for, to play Texas and Oklahoma State.
There have been few games, if any, in which you guys go into it and no one is picking you to win. This is one of those games. Can you talk about playing the 'rare' underdog role?
It really doesn't matter once the whistle blows. It's going to be a dog fight because we're anxious to play and they're anxious to play. We're going to play hard and they're going to play hard. So, we're going to go in there and fight.
Players are always looking for things to give them a little extra motivation. Are you guys not using that underdog role as a form?
No, we don't bring up the topic of being an underdog at all. That's not in anyone's head on this team.
Is this the best OSU team that you've faced?
I'd say yes. Just with the rankings and the fact that they have the No. 1 offense in the country. They're a powerful offense and this is going to be a huge challenge for us on defense.
Bob (Stoops) mentioned that this will be the ninth time in 11 games where you guys enter this weekend with a chance at going to the Big 12 championship. Do all of you guys recognize that?
I recognize it. I've been here for a couple of those occasions. Knowing the importance of that and, again, we're in that situation, it's crunch time.
The one thing that all of those teams had in common were that they played their best ball at the end of the year. Is this team turning into that?
Yeah, I would like to say so. Like I said, we've been preparing really hard and practicing extra hard. And we've found a way to roll that over into a game. We've pretty much just trusted the defensive plays and clicking on all cylinders. With that, we look to go out on Saturday and do that same thing.
Compare on contrast this week to a Texas week. You guys always talk about the electricity at practice on Monday of the Texas week. Was it like that this week?
I think we get the same feeling every week. But this is a huge game for us and Oklahoma State. Again, these past couple of weeks we've been really hard on ourselves, the players have been hard on each other. We all know how important the rest of the season is and what we're playing for in the future.
Did you know anything about the bedlam rivalry before you got here?
Honestly, I didn't. Since I've been here though, and learning the traditions of the program, it's been a really big game.
You've played in a lot of big games since you've arrived here. This though, for it to be the last game of the year and for the south title, has to be one of the biggest games?
This is a really big game. We've been in this position before, playing for something in the last game of the year and it determining whether we play for a Big 12 title. We've been here before and we're going out there, preparing for a dog fight?
They've obviously got great players all over the place, but do you feel that if you contain Blackmon, a big part of their offense is in check?
I think it's a huge chunk, but they still have other weapons. They have Kendall Hunter out of the back field and Josh Cooper is a really good receiver. If you try to shut one part of their offense down, they still have other outlets. We have to play a complete game.