From the Coordinators: Todd Monken

The Oklahoma State Cowboys offense will have to make some adjustments this week. Offensive coordinator Todd Monken does not believe one of them will be learning to play without All-American wide receiver Justin Blackmon.

Blackmon did sit out the second half of the win over Missouri after suffering concussion-type symptoms in a mild fashion. Monken said he believes that Blackmon will be ready to go on Saturday against Baylor. He knows that the offense will have to learn to play without the outside receiver opposite Blackmon in senior Hubert Anyiam. Anyiam is done for the season with a broken left foot, similar to the same break he had earlier in his Cowboy career to his right foot.

"It doesn't help. The guy has started for us, he's earned that, he's a senior, there's a comfort level with what he brings," said Monken. "But with that, Isaiah Anderson has worked awfully hard and he's earned the opportunity. We'll move Mike Harrison over to 'X' and allow those two guys to work a little bit. I feel disappointed for Hubert. The work to come back - I thought he was really starting to keep coming. It only becomes a factor if you lose more. Jonathan Rush, how bad is that at left guard? Well, not that bad unless you lose others. We have good depth, but now that's being tested. With each guy you lose, that depth is being tested and stresses you just a little bit more."

Monken has become a huge fan of the Cowboys defense, who along with the ball security of the offense and Brandon Weeden cutting back on his interceptions and going nearly 200 passes without an interception since the Texas A&M game, leads the nation in turnover margin. The defense gets the ball back and feeds the "make it, take it" style Monken has coined when the offense scores and gets it back so quick from the defense for another score. Against Missouri, the defense gained four turnovers in the second half.

"That's a heck of a deal - I hope it keeps coming," said Monken. "As I've said before, the reason we're having success and a team will always have success is playing off each other and the emotions of the game and picking each other up at the right time. We've been fortunate enough that that has happened just when we've needed it, our defense has picked us up. Since A&M, we haven't started off pedestrian and some of that was field position and some of it was penalties, but that's a part of it. We've been real lucky and hopefully it will continue that we won't turn it over and we'll continue to get turnovers."

Monken will see a familiar face guiding the Baylor defense as former Texas A&M, Kansas State, Oklahoma, and Pittsburgh defensive coordinator and former SMU head coach Phil Bennett was hired by Art Briles to bring the Baylor defense back to a state of respectability. Bennett is one of the best, but he has been on the wrong end of the some huge Cowboy offensive explosions namely while at SMU and including the night that Josh Fields and Rashaun Woods hooked up on a record breaking seven touchdown passes.

"Coach (Phil) Bennett has been coaching defense for 30 years. He's been doing the same thing," explained Monken. "We've played him at Louisiana Tech and Kansas State and they were very similar. He has a belief in what they do, and that's why he's been successful. If he wavered in that and went three down, four down, mixed, matched - that's a gimmick, and he's not a gimmick guy. He's a play-hard, gap-sound guy."

Monken's description of Bennett sounds a little like Bill Young. The two have similar beliefs and styles. That should help the offense for Saturday.

"With that being said, if they change, it won't be what they installed in the spring, what they did in the fall and what they've done up to today and that means they couldn't be any good at it," added Monken. "They're going to have to do what they do and do it better and we're going to have to do what we do and do it better. They're in the process of his first year, and I think they're getting better. It won't show in the stats against A&M, but I thought they played better against A&M. They gave up some big plays, which killed them. Without those big plays, they really gave themselves a chance to win, but they came at some really inopportune times.

"I thought they played hard, I thought they were aggressive, they just gave up a few chunk plays that made the difference."

Chunk plays will be fine on Saturday, plenty of chunks on the way to a Homecoming and an eighth win of the season. Just to keep winning is the Cowboys goal.


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