Cowboys Overheard

Here is a collection of quotes and thoughts from the Cowboys on a variety of topics following Wednesday morning's media access period.

Star linebacker Shaun Lewis said Luck isn't unfamiliar in quality to what this Cowboy defense sees in its own practices.

"(Luck) reminds me a lot of Weeden. He is not in the same system, but (they're both) team guys. They run offense well. Everything revolves around them. It is definitely a challenge facing a similar quarterback to ours. Probably a little bit more press, but it is definitely a challenge."

Lewis also said the Cowboys are aware that they are within striking distance of breaking the NCAA record for takeaways in a season. OSU has 42 and needs four to break the record of 45.

"We know how many turnovers we have and how many to break the national record. That has been stressed to us. Hopefully we can get four in this game. But the chances of that happening are placed on a lot of things. We are well aware of how many turnovers we have."

Safety Markelle Martin talked about the benefits of having nearly a month off between games.

"I think it was more of a mental (than physical), just to get away and see family. You were anxious to get back and get to work, you heard a lot of talk at home. So just ready to get back and taking care of the things I needed to take care of and get back to football."

Defensive end Jamie Blatnick said the Cowboy defense is at its best when the offense is clicking even though they're on the field more.

"When the offense, when they start doing well, we do well also. We have more reps obviously and a lot more snaps out there. Once a team starts getting behind, they get a little bit desperate and now we need some chuck plays instead of 2 to 3-yard plays and we got to score instead of eating up the clock. That's crucial. A lot of teams come in with the thought of we are going to keep their offense off the field and keep them cold. But the offense gets the ball and scores, now it is like, okay, now we are behind the eight ball. Let's get going. It speeds up the tempo of the game and helps the defense out."

Defensive coordinator Bill Young fended off questions about his unit ranking 107th nationally in total defense by pointing out the defense's opportunistic approach.

"Nobody in the country works harder in forcing turnovers than we do. It has been a point of emphasis for the last three years. We double whistle all of our scrimmage plays against the scout team. At the first whistle everybody stops on offense and the defense tries to get the ball to turn over, rip it out, strip it out. As coaches we sound like a bunch of idiots screaming ‘rip, strip, turnovers' and all that. After practice each day, if we haven't created five turnovers against the scouts, we have to run a gasser for each one we didn't it. It is just across the field and back. It is a reminder. We chart them in the ball game. It is a point of emphasis. Whatever you emphasize has been your chance of getting."

Young said he is impressed with Stanford's running backs, who led the Cardinal to a No. 24 finish nationally in rushing despite having the likely No. 1 NFL Draft pick at quarterback in Andrew Luck.

"They never get tackled for the loss. They continue to drive their feet and move the pile. They are a very patient offense from the standpoint if they can make two or three yards, they will try to get three or four more on second down, and then they will hit you with a play action pass when you are sucking it up to play the run too much. They are a patient group."

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