August 10, 2010

Antle sets the tone for Tulsa's defense

The sixteenth hole at Firestone Country Club in Akron, Ohio, is called "The Monster". Over its life, it has anywhere from 625 yards to whatever distance it takes to frustrate the best golfers ever. Tulsa linebacker Tanner Antle is similar to the Monster. He is willing to do whatever it takes to frustrate every offense the Hurricane meets.

What was it like playing against Oklahoma last year?

"Probably the most jacked up I've been as far as emotions and just being excited. I was excited walking out on to the field, because I was raised an Oklahoma State fan because my father played there. I was brought up with OU and bedlam. We always wanted to beat OU.

"My best friend (Mike Bryan) lost his dad (Sooner star Rick Bryan). And he always told Mike "dig deep", and he told me "dig deep". I'm getting goose bumps just thinking about it.

"I love my home fans, I love playing for Tulsa fans, but when I go to Big 12 schools, SEC schools like Arkansas, that's big time for me because there are so many more people rooting against you. I like that. It makes me more angry, makes me play harder."

Last season, based on the record, how did you use that going in to this year ?

"Last season is last season. I don't like to think about it too much. Coming in to this season, I realize I've got one more year. If we win every game, we're only guaranteed fourteen games including the conference championship and the bowl game, which if you sit down and think about it, that's not very much.

"That puts me in the place where I don't want this season to be like last season. I want to take it to as close as perfect as I can. That includes practices day in and day out, holding myself and my teammates accountable to get the most out of each other. Practice perfect so you can play perfect."

Your dad played at OSU. Does he ever give you advice?

"At the games, he'll tell me I did good. If I tell him 'hey, did you see this play or that play', he'll bring me back down and keep me level headed and say 'yeah I saw it' and say 'you need to do this better or that better'. He's not too hard on me, but he makes me realize you could be better."

Would he have played a different technique than you?

"He was awesome. He coached me in high school. He has a lot to do with my original fundamentals. The fundamentals and techniques were all my dad. I was ready {for college football} as far adjusting to what my coaches preferred."

How are you going to approach the game against Notre Dame?

"I've had people text me about playing a big game like Notre Dame on my birthday. I'm more concerned about ECU, who is number one for me today. What can I do to get better today for the whole season? It's like what I told you about OU and Arkansas. I love playing games in a big-time atmosphere. Yes, I'm looking forward to it, but I'm not thinking about it until that week."

Have you ever watched the movie "Rudy"?

"Yea, I've seen it many times. That movie is real personal. My dad was actually a walk-on. He became a captain and second team All-American."

What is your goal for this year?

"Perfection! That's what you should shoot for in life. I want to win every game, but in order to win every game, you have to win every practice. I have to practice harder than the people in my conference practice, better than any other linebacker in the nation. Not only will my team benefit, but I'll benefit."

How has it helped you to have the same defensive coordinator your entire time at TU?

"Coach Patterson has helped me more than just as a defensive coordinator. I wouldn't be here if it wasn't for Coach P. I'm a small town kid, no D-1 offers. He just kind of stood on a table and said 'I want this kid'. They called me and said come and sign the papers. I'm not going to say no. Of course it helps, because of the consistency. Consistency is important in this type of environment."

Tanner Antle talks about attributes that cover an entire season. The word "season" covers a group of individual games that has a beginning (East Carolina) and an end (Bowl game). The name of the bowl is yet to be determined.

2010 InsideTulsaSports.com. All Rights Reserved.




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