A Few Thoughts Coming Out Of Austin

First, I would hope and I believe Oklahoma State fans are appreciating this season. So far it has been a huge blast to see the Cowboys as one of the most relevant teams in all of college football. It is also fun to see how much fun these kids are having playing, winning and celebrating at Boone Pickens Stadium, and at places like Kyle Field and DKR-Texas Memorial Stadium.

It is really impressive to see the way this team prepares and the winning attitude they take with them into games each and every week.

I had a conversation with Mike Gundy after all the players and other coaches had cleared out of the locker room Saturday in Austin. I said, "you know this coaching staff is really good. This is one of the things you most need to be recognized for. You have consistently hired really good coaches."

Gundy agreed and said he really appreciates these coaches. The thing he seems to like most about them and he said it has to be one of the top qualities he looks for, "Robert, these guys are all really competitive."

By the way, go check Gundy's former coaches who are now head coaches -- Larry Fedora at Southern Miss, Tim Beckman at Toledo, and Dana Holgorsen at West Virginia -- and you find they are all winning. All three are pretty darn competitive.

Sometimes...
... you aren't going to have your "A" game, but you still have to find a way to win, and it might be a day when you are playing a good team on the road.

The Cowboys had that on Saturday, and while some football imbecile saw it one way and was silly enough to write about it and remove all doubt about himself and his football knowledge, others realize when a team scratches and finds other ways to get the job done.

That win was good for Oklahoma State because it gives future opponents some concern about the running game, which had not been as stout in recent weeks. The defense, which is underrated, gained a lot of confidence with a goal-line stand, plenty of key sacks and tackles for losses, and forced and recovered turnovers.

Saturday's victory will help from a confidence standpoint down the line. It also should serve as a good prep for another critical road test this Saturday against a very good Missouri team that has lost three key games against ranked teams and all on the road.

I would say the prep for Oklahoma State at Texas is similar to the prep Texas got for Oklahoma State against Oklahoma. Texas' corners played better after the work against OU.

One other thought here, Oklahoma State will be number four in the first BCS poll released Sunday night. Therefore, the Cowboys will hold their own destiny in their hands as far as working toward playing in a National Championship Game.

Remember, a big reason that the polls and especially the computers will have the Cowboys so high is because that along with LSU (against Mississippi State and West Virginia), they are the only teams to have two wins over ranked opponents on the road this season.

Turnovers
It is still the most crucial stat in the game, and for Oklahoma State is off the charts good. The Cowboys are tied for second in the nation at plus-2.00 turnovers a game. Included in the top 10 in this category are Boise State, LSU, and Kansas State. Included in the top 25 in turnover margin are Alabama and Oklahoma.

This offense, the backs especially, don't play loose with the football, and Bill Young's defensive emphasis on getting turnovers has helped a lot.

Kickoff Coverage
It has not been bad but I'm convinced that the presence of Quinn Sharp has hurt the kickoff coverage. The Cowboys only have to make plays on kickoffs less than half the time because of Sharp's booming kickoffs. That can cause the unit to be complacent.

I'm sure Joe DeForest will take a critical eye to that as he was very frustrated with Fozzy Whitakker's answer return to Justin Gilbert's to start the second half. That said, Whitakker, like Gilbert, is one of the best out there. Whitakker is the most explosive and fastest Longhorn and it shows.

Toughest Game Left on the Schedule
My mind hasn't changed, the toughest game left on the schedule is still Missouri. It's a good thing that the game is not Saturday night when Tiger fans would be good and lathered up. It will still be tough because Missouri has talent and the Tigers are more than formidable at Faurot Field where they are confident from winning 10 home games in a row. It seems there is always a streak for the Cowboys to beat, but they have made a nice habit of knocking those walls down.

Injuries
Good news as Cowboys came out of the win over the Longhorns relatively healthy, with just a few bumps and bruises. Center Grant Garner, one of the players of the game, has a very sore ankle from that original injury. However, he is fine. That was pretty much it.


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