Robert Allen's High Five

This is still a new feature each week during football season, my High Five. Really, this is just five topics that I have an opinion on that I want to throw out there. Most will be football related but we will hit some other topics and sports. You'll notice no negative topics this week. Here we go with week two of Robert Allen's High Five!

1. Too Early to Turn the Darts Around
I'd love to mass text or mass email some huge "I TOLD YOU SO" messages to all those media types that picked Oklahoma State to finish sixth in the Big 12 South. After all scoring 65 points and winning the opener 65-17, even against a weak Washington State is better than the oddsmakers or any of those summer college football fortune tellers predicted.

However, this is not the time to talk but the time to sit back and wait for the Cowboys, Kendall Hunter, Brandon Weeden, the new offensive line, and new offense to gell and reach full fruition. It is time for the defense and some of their unheralded stars to continue to improve.

If the Cowboys can keep it up and win eight or more games as Boone Pickens was asking for Saturday night in an impromptu press conference then the reward will be much more than the steak dinner Tulsa World columnist Dave Sittler will have to buy Pickens, not that any of us are worried about where Boone will pick up his next meal.

The real reward will be the crow that Oklahoma State fans can serve up in a buffet line for the know-it-alls at The Sporting News, Dallas Morning News, Phil Steele, Texas Football, USA Today, CBS Sportsline.com, and CNNSI.com and former Oklahoman columnist George Schroeder.

It's a little early, we'll need to wait until at least after the Texas A&M game, but when it is time I'll bring the salt and pepper and I suggest we serve the crow rare. What do you think?

2. Big 12 Future, We Need Some Additions
I ran into Big 12 commissioner Dan Beebe about two hours before the game underneath Boone Pickens Stadium on Saturday. Beebe was showing two representatives from the Cotton Bowl, including friend Fin Ewing, around the west end zone.

I had to get a word about expansion in with Beebe, saying I couldn't imagine BYU leaving the Mountain West was just for independence. Beebe, the hero of the survival of the Big 12, insisted he thought it was and wouldn't give me a positive indication that he and the Big 12 CEOs would be looking at the Mormon school for future inclusion in the league.

I would like to add the Cougars and aggressively pursue Arkansas for the Big 12. How much fun would it be with those two, and with the Razorbacks we could get some Sooooieee in Stillwater, Norman, Austin, College Stadion, and Columbia for big-time rivalries.

Go get that TV money commish and let's go shopping because while 10 is nice I think another strong football program or two will be needed to compete with leagues in the future. Maybe I'm wrong but I can't get it out of my head that more is better.

I know 10 teams delivers everybody more money but after those new big TV contracts there should be enough moolah to bring in some new attractions. I realize as a landlocked league there are few options but I might even consider Boise State after what I saw on Monday night. Those Broncos are pretty good, BCS good.

3. Holgorsen Has the Right Demeanor
Keep an eye on Dana Holgorsen because the Cowboys new offensive coordinator is an interesting study during a game. Holgorsen will give you that "too cool for school" kind of aura during the week but on game day the blood is boiling and the passion is there.

The Monday before the first game he told a local television reporter that he doesn't get nervous. I believe that and I don't think he does. I do believe he gets very excited. Holgorsen loves football and it shows.

When something good happens he is there congratulating the player and showing the positive emotion. When a mistake is made, he is in the face of the guilty player making sure he understands that the offense will not be tolerated and needs to be corrected as in immediately. Players and fans love passion. Why play the game if it isn't important. There is too much work and effort that goes into it.

Don't mistake Holgorsen for some crazy man out there jumping up and down the emotional scale like a pogo stick. Holgorsen has the calm of a surgeon when calling plays. I know as I stood by him several times when he was on the edge of the bench area.

Holgorsen, who doesn't have to plot his series as the playbook is not nearly as extensive, calmly looks down at his sheet and makes the call usually before the ball has even been placed at the line of scrimmage by the umpire.

Holgorsen laughed Monday when he told us that he doesn't chart or keep track if play calls are his or checks by quarterback Brandon Weeden. He just said he and Weeden argue over who called the successful plays and the blame on the calls that don't work. Holgorsen knows the bad calls are never his. Let's hope that lasts all season.

4. Salute to the "Machete"
There is no doubt that Cowboy senior running back Kendall Hunter has worked very hard to come back from the ankle/foot injury that plagued him a year ago. Hunter went down in the first half of the Houston game and really was not back and flashing his usual elusive and scintillating running style until the Cotton Bowl against Ole Miss.

A few more carries by Hunter that day and the Cowboys might have edged the Rebels that afternoon in Jerry Jones' pride and joy of a stadium. Hunter's work in the offseason and summer showed up big in the opener last Saturday as he rushed for 257 yards and four touchdowns. Hunter averaged close to 12 yards a carry.

On the other side of the ball, Richetti Jones, still known by his high school nickname of the "Machete," has also continued to work hard. A devastating hip injury, a huge fracture, ended his high school career and slowed down his progress at having a lot of success at Oklahoma State where he had already committed before the injury.

Jones has pushed through weight workouts with Rob Glass and company. He had to come with grips that the things he used to do so easily were going to require hard work in order for him to be able to do them again.

Last Saturday in the opener with the Cougars, Jones finished with five tackles, two sacks, another tackle for loss on a key play to force a punt, and a hustle play running to the sidelines to stop field-goal kicker Nico Grasu on a fake. Jones ran him out of bounds a yard short of the marker to claim the OSU offense a possession that thanks to a 66-yard Hunter run and a one-yard Weeden fade to Justin Blackmon turned into more Cowboy points.

I've always liked Richetti Jones. You can't help but enjoy his engaging personality. He was raised right by his family, including his grandfather, and he is a solid individual.

How about this! Jones is perfect in recruiting, at least that is what you hear. Every recruit he has hosted in recruiting has ended up coming to Oklahoma State. That is another way he has greatly helped the program. I'm really happy his contributions on the field are showing up. I've got a feeling this is a huge year for the "Machete."

5. Don't Mess with Bryan
Jenni Bryan doesn't play football but I wouldn't bet against her on the football field, and I know that I have faith in her on the basketball court even though she is a freshman. Terry Tush and I are working on the basketball preview issue of the magazine right now and that means that I have been talking to Kurt Budke and some of his players about the upcoming season. One of those new players is Jenni Bryan of Coweta.

The All-State forward is the daughter of the late NFL and Oklahoma great defensive lineman Ricky Bryan. Barry Switzer once called Bryan the toughest player that he ever coached. I believe it, and Jenni is a chip off the old block. She noodles to catch fish and is serious about it. She has been a maniac in the weight room and Budke said the strength coaches have said if they had 12 of her then they would win the Big 12.

Work ethic is no problem. In fact, I would say there may not be another athlete at Oklahoma State that can match her for work capacity. How did Jenni spend the Labor Day weekend? She spent 13 hours on the tractor one day. On Monday she baled hay from sun up to sun down. Tuesday she was back on campus in class, in the weight room, and then later in the afternoon in an individual workout with the coaches. <>p> I know this, I'm a big Jenni Bryan fan and I think you will be too. If we run short on linebackers then I might trust her for that chore too.


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