LB Alec Ogletree -- October 16, 2019
Q: On facing the Arizona offense
A: Kyler (Murray) can run all over the field and make it very difficult for us. So, it was a challenge last week, and this is another challenge for us as a defense, as a team, to go against them.
Q: It seems like he creates opportunities down the field with his legs, too—how taxing is that?
A: It’s very hard on a defense when you can’t keep a guy contained and he’s able to break the containment and stretch you down the field and force guys on the back end to cover for a long time. So, we’ve got to do a good job with the way we rush and obviously making sure we stay on guys even if he does break the contain.
Q: It was three years ago when (David) Johnson had 2,000-plus yards from scrimmage—are they using him differently now because of all the weapons they have?
A: I wouldn’t say they’re using him differently. I think he’s still doing the same stuff. He’s able to run the ball in the middle and also go out and run routes as a receiver, and I think he was doing that, like you said, three years ago before he got hurt. Obviously, it’s a different offensive scheme for him, so they use him a little differently in that sense, but for the most part he’s still able to line up as a receiver and run routes, and he can catch the ball out of the backfield and run in-between the tackles.
Q: How different is their scheme overall than a lot of other offenses you play against? Obviously, Kliff (Kingsbury) brings those up-tempo spread concepts from college.
A: Like you said, it’s kind of more of a college feel to it where guys are on the ball and they’ve got the spread on, they make you defend the whole field—screen to the right, then come back, screen to the left, screen to the middle—all kinds of stuff that they do. So, it takes a lot of eye discipline and making sure guys are in the right positions.
Q: How much do you view their offense as unique? Have you seen something like it?
A: This year, I would say a little bit. It’s still relatively the same, you still get your zone reads and stuff like that, for the most part. But they obviously try to play to the strong suits of the guys they have, so with Kyler, they get him out of the pocket and throw the ball down the field, and like I said, they try to use the whole field on offense.
Q: Are there more of those zone reads with the Cardinals than with some of the other teams?
A: Yeah, those are kind of their main runs, where they zone read and read the end, or whoever is on the edge, and he can give it or he keeps it and runs it.
Q: What has Markus Golden brought to the defense?
A: He’s brought a big spark to us. He’s playing great, you can tell by the numbers, he’s getting to the quarterback and causing a lot of havoc. That’s something that we needed, and you appreciate the energy that he brings to this defense and to this team, and he does it every day. He works hard, and you see that he’s on a mission.
Q: What gives you the sense that he’s on a mission?
A: Just the way he works, and some of the conversations we’ve had together. I know he wants to do a lot of good things here, and hopefully I can help him reach those goals that he has in mind.
Q: Do you think he’s opening some eyes so far?
A: He definitely is, and I think he should be. He’s a great teammate, guys around here respect him and what he does. Like I said, the more he keeps going, the better. I’m happy for him, for sure.
Q: He seems like a high motor guy—he’s not going to bull rush you right away, but he’ll get you at the end of the play?
A: He’s got a lot of tricks in his bag, for sure.
Q: How much do you think the younger guys are picking up on that, and that’s carrying over to the way they approach games?
A: I think he’s been in the system before and he’s been in the league a few years, so he has an understanding of what it takes to be a real good pass rusher, and also just playing in this defense. I see X (Oshane Ximines) and all those guys kind of asking him like, ‘What do you mean?’ and he’s pushing those guys to get better and continue to grow.
Q: The fact that he can produce sacks, how important is that?
A: It’s very important. You like to have it on each team—each team needs to have somebody who can go get the quarterback, and he’s definitely shown that he’s able to do that. So, we’ve just got to continue to get better, just push each other, and I think he’s doing a great job for us.
Q: Is the speed at which Arizona operates faster than any other team you’ve seen?
A: They obviously have some hurry-up in their offense. They get on the ball, they don’t really huddle much, so we have to be able to communicate, get lined up fast, and play what we see.
Q: Like a college game, right?
A: It’s somewhat of a college game, and that’s kind of what the league is trending toward. For him (Kyler Murray), like I said, they try to get everybody on the ball, let him get a nice read, and play what he sees.
Q: Are the guys that just came out of college maybe accustomed to that?
A: Yeah, it depends on which conference you played in, I guess. If you played in the PAC-12 or Big Ten, or whatever, they spread you out like that, and that’s obviously what you’re used to. But I think in the SEC you still get your two-back looks—we’re kind of switching up a little bit, but you still get your running downfield, your hard-nosed football.
Q: So you’re saying the SEC is still “real” football?
A: It’s still real football.
Q: And you played where?
A: At Georgia.
Q: And they’re in the SEC?
A: They are, they are.
Q: As you get ready for Sunday, what do you see that’s so unique about Kyler Murray’s skill level and what you’re going to see?
A: Just his ability to make plays. Obviously, they brought in a coordinator and head coach that call solid plays, so he’s a guy that if you’re not careful, he can hit you with his legs, but also he’s pretty accurate when he throws the ball, too. So, you have to be able to trust your coverage, and also just make the looks hard for him. We have to make sure our rush lanes are intact and stuff like that.