Offensive Coordinator Jeff Lebby and Defensive Coordinator Ted Roof joined the media for a game week interview this morning. Jeff Lebby went first and had plenty to say about the continuing development of his offensive group.
Lebby started off by highlighting Dillon Gabriel, stating, “I expect him to dominate this season.” He was extremely complimentary of Gabriel in his brief time with the media.
The big point Lebby tried to get across was the new confidence this offseason has instilled in Gabriel.
“Dillon has started to understand why I’m calling specific plays in specific spots.”
The wide receiver room has been a topic of discussion all offseason long. OU has a flurry of playmakers at the position this season, but which guys are going to step up and assert themselves still remains to be seen.
When asked about the depth in the WR room, Lebby had this to say.
“We have 6-7 extremely talented receivers. Expect a lot of them to play Saturday.”
He continued on to say there are truly about nine receivers he can trust. Lebby expects there to be some growing pains with the younger receivers, simply due to lack of game experience. Simply put, the more these young receivers can play in the first few weeks, the better.
On the running back and O-line front, Lebby is very encouraged with what he has seen thus far.
The name that stood out to Coach Lebby on the O-line was Savion Byrd. Byrd does not have a ton of experience as a Sooner, starting his first game in the Cheez-it Bowl last season.
“Savion has an incredible amount of ability. He’s become accountable and dependable. We talked about it last spring, if we can get the best version of Savion we’re gonna be in a great spot, and that’s happening right now.”
Lebby loves what he’s seen out of the running back room all offseason. This was expected considering the success OU’s run game had with inexperienced OL and RB rooms against a stout Florida State defense.
“The running backs touches will change week to week. We have specific target touches we try to get to, but it can change every week.”
For weeks we have been reporting it will be a running back by committee approach to the OU offense this year. That report appears to be coming to fruition. OU’s run game could reap huge benefits from having multiple backs it can trust down the stretch.
DC Ted Roof joined the media next. Roof seems very encouraged by the defensive improvement this spring.
When asked about building a foundation this season before heading into then SEC, Roof had this to say.
“We want to build a foundation of course. But we are focused on the now. It would be a fatal mistake to look ahead too much.”
Wise words from the veteran coach. Roof has made stops at nine different schools as a DC, as well as the HC at Duke for three seasons. Safe to say this is not Coach Roof’s first rodeo.
When you start talking about the OU defense, it doesn’t take long for the Cheetah position to pop up. Dasan McCullough and Justin Harrington have been the two names in competition for the position this offseason.
Coach Roof gave a very in-depth description of what kinds of player it takes to play Cheetah.
“That position has a very long job description. You’ve got to be multi-talented. You cannot be a one dimensional player to play there.”
Concerning the position battle for Cheetah, Roof had this to say.
“Dasan and Justin have pushed eachother this offseason, certainly last spring and now into fall camp. As a result of that it’s made both of them better, and as a result of that it’s made us better.”
Many believe McCullough has a leg up in the position battle. Roof later spoke on how much he has grown as a player since arriving at OU.
“I’m real proud of Dasan. I think he has come in and worked his tail off. He has picked things up quickly and he’s a smart football player. He’s got great length and he’s gonna be a great player.”
The interview ended in a rather interesting way, as Coach Roof was asked about who is really calling the plays on defense, himself or BV?
After a slight hesitation, Coach Roof responded with this statement.
“I call the plays. If he wants to override something and call something, he does. And that’s how we roll. It’s no different than a lot of places.”
Post practice player interviews will take place later tonight.
OU opens against Arkansas State this Saturday at 11am on ESPN. Stay tuned into 107.7 The Franchise and The D&R CFB Report for the latest on OU football.