Quandre Diggs loves to talk trash. But, with talking trash comes the responsibility to live up to it.
Diggs believes he is ready to do just that against Oklahoma on Saturday.
During the Red River Rivalry last season, the Sooners scored the first four times they had the ball. Landry Jones had three touchdown passes and Dominique Whaley added a 64-yard touchdown scamper.
Those numbers don’t sit well with Diggs. He’s grown up a lot and, as a sophomore, feels he is more prepared for this game than he was as a freshman last season.
“Last year when I went out and the crowd was split fifty-fifty it was something that I had never seen before,” Diggs said. “You go past the fifty-yard line and what you get before you pass the fifty yard line is all boos. As soon as you cross that fifty it’s all yelling ‘Texas fight.”
Last year Diggs wasn’t as mentally prepared as he should have been. Though the Red River Rivalry is a unique game and environment, the Texas defense has been struggling through four games this year. The Longhorns have been attributing a lot of their struggles to a lack in mental preparedness, not physical issues.
The missed tackles, huge rushing yards given up and big plays accumulated by opposing offenses have plagued the defense so far this season. Texas is currently ninth in rushing defense and seventh in total defense in the Big 12.
That kind of defense simply won’t work against the Sooners.
“Guys just have to go out and just have to be mentally prepared and mentally focused,” Diggs said. “It’s hard just to be physically and mentally in shape for that. It’s something I learned as a freshman last year.”
Diggs called his brother, San Diego Chargers cornerback Quentin Jammer, before the game last year so he would know what to expect. But Diggs said nothing could have prepared him for the environment in the Cotton Bowl.
Jammer is quiet compared to Diggs, but the two are both extremely competitive.
“I’m a guy that gets riled up and likes to go out and talk,” Diggs said. “Me and him have two different personalities but at the same time we just try to go out and compete as hard as we can.”
This year, not being mentally prepared for the crimson and orange split won’t be a factor for Diggs. He thrives in that kind of chaotic environment and will push the defense to do so as well.
Even though he was only freshman last year, he became a leader for the team. Being a defensive back, Diggs has learned that sometimes players will get the best of you, just like Oklahoma did last year. But, bouncing back from those experiences is important.
“He is such a baller and very competitive,” co-offensive coordinator Major Applewhite said. “He is one of those guys that is like, ‘You got your shot in, but I am going to win the battle’ or ‘I am going to win the war even if you won that battle.”
The Sooners got their shot in last year in their 55-17 rout of Texas, but Diggs and the defense will look to improve upon how they’ve been performing so far this season and stop the Oklahoma offense Saturday.
“We’re a year older, a year smarter and a year wiser so whatever the game plan is we’re just going to go along with it and go out there and make plays that we didn’t make last year,” Diggs said. “I promise you I’ll be a lot more comfortable this year than I was last year.”