OU’s Ruf­fin McNeill: Blue part of brain con­trols non-re­ac­tion


AR­LING­TON, TEXAS — In the first Ok­la­homa-Texas meet­ing this sea­son, Ruf­fin McNeill was the Soon­ers’ de­fen­sive tack­les coach, tak­ing in the game next to then-de­fen­sive co­or­di­na­tor Mike Stoops.

Sat­ur­day in the Big 12 Cham­pi­onship Game, McNeill co­or­di­nated the de­fense that came up big at sev­eral turns in the Soon­ers’ 39-27 win.

Q: What did you think of the call that led to Tre Brown’s safety sack of Sam Eh­linger?

A: We called that par­tic­u­lar blitz at least eight times tonight. It’s a blitz where dif­fer­ent for­ma­tions or parts of the field de­ter­mine who comes and who may not come. … I thought it was great ex­e­cu­tion start­ing up front. Every­body knows he’s fast but he has surge, twitch. That’s his nick­name. He has great twitch. That was a big play for the team.

How many times did you call that blitz?

This whole year? Man. Give me a GA to get that stat. Bro, come on now. Good, they’ve only seen it once. I know what I call. I keep tick marks of what we call dur­ing the games.

Why didn’t you have much vis­i­ble re­ac­tion to it?

Your brain has four parts. Red is emo­tional. Blue is se­quen­tial or fac­tual. I’m more blue dur­ing a game. At prac­tice, I’m re­ally red. When game time comes, you keep your cool. I ex­pect the guys to make plays.

Did you feel like this team needed style points to bol­ster your play­off chances?

I think that win­ning is style points. I don’t re­ally know how (the Col­lege Foot­ball Play­off com­mit­tee) judge style points. My dad told me this — it’s not how, but how many. Who­ever’s vot­ing, I can’t con­trol that. There and con­trol­lables and un­con­trol­lables. I only deal in con­trol­lables. Too much time is spent on un­con­trol­lables.

Is this the kind of per­for­mance this de­fense has been build­ing to­ward?

Think about how many con­tro­ver­sial sit­u­a­tions this group has met and faced and didn’t quite, where a lot of peo­ple may have.

Very proud of them about that. I like their men­tal­ity. They’ve worked hard ev­ery day that we’ve been to­gether. Their fo­cus never wa­vered.

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