TCU head coach Gary Patterson and Oklahoma State head coach Mike Gundy were both asked Monday about their team's health; Patterson on the Big 12 Conference teleconference and Gundy at his weekly news conference. Patterson had no comment, while Gundy said his players would be checked out further by medical staff today and then they would see if they would practice later in the week.
Gundy has to be anxious about three defenders, defensive end Jimmy Bean, cornerback Kevin Peterson, and cornerback Ashton Lampkin.
Patterson saw a couple of defensive players leave the game against West Virginia last Thursday and the most serious injury looked like a knee injury to starting left offensive tackle Halapoulivaati Vaitai. With the potential of losing Vaitai and Oklahoma State having Big 12 sack leader and three-time Big 12 Defensive Player of the Week Emmanuel Ogbah, Patterson may have something to worry about. Ogbah had another strong game and another sack last Saturday at Texas Tech.
Defensive coordinator Glenn Spencer hopes Bean is back to join Ogbah against TCU. Ogbah is quite an issue for any offense to deal with.
"He understands leverage, he's got powerful hands, his first step is quick and his hips are good," Spencer said in describing some of Ogbah's many attributes. "All those things I think that they look at as a guy that can play the run and a guy that can affect the quarterback, he's got it."
Ogbah has progressed every season. Gundy credits Ogbah's upbringing and his humble attitude. Spencer admits he's not sure exactly what makes Ogbah so good, but feels it may be a wide variety of attributes.
"I've been asked that a lot, if there was like an 'oh wow' moment, but it's kind of been just a steady improvement for him," Spencer described. "He's developed himself in the weight room. He's studied. I think kids these days, a lot of them don't know how to critique themselves. They think they've arrived and all they look at is the good, but I think he's really analyzed himself and the bad that's happened. That doesn't show up on the stat sheet, but I think he has that ability to critique himself and to be tough on himself."
Spencer, Ogbah, and the entire Cowboys defense get their biggest challenge of the season on Saturday with the third-ranked Horned Frogs and Heisman Trophy candidate quarterback Trevone Boykin.
"He creates a lot of issues. It doesn't take long on film to see that he can throw, he can elude the rush, he's got an unbelievable release and he's a tremendous running back with the ball in his hand. He's got great vision," Spencer said. "They do a great job of game planning for him and creating plays for him.
"Even when it's not there, he'll create something for himself. I don't think he gets tackled much, he just runs out of field. I don't have the answer on how to slow him down yet, and who knows if we'll have it on Saturday? We're going to do some things to hopefully slow him down a little bit, but guys like him have great games and we just have to make timely stops throughout the night and affect him."
You aren't going to completely shut down an offense like TCU led by a quarterback like Boykin. You literally have to take it one possession, one stop at a time.