Oklahoma State offensive coordinator Mike Yurcich impressed with Ole Miss

Oklahoma State offensive coordinator Mike Yurcich impressed with Ole Miss defense even without future first-round NFL Draft choice Robert Nkemdiche not playing in the Allstate Sugar Bowl.

Okay, things should be a whole lot easier now for the Oklahoma State offese as sure fire first-round NFL Draft pick and powerhouse defensive tackle Robert Nkemdiche has been declared out of the Sugar Bowl. The Cowboys can relax now, right?

Nkemdiche has been the darling of the Mel Kiper and Todd McShay set for some time. Heck, going back a few years Nkemdiche was the darling of my peers in the recruiting world as they pegged him the top prospect in all of college football recruiting. Truth be told, Nkemdiche is a tremendous physical prospect with loads of ability, but seemingly a governor on his motor during his Ole Miss days.

There is no rest for the Pokes on the offense and the offensive line as the Rebels are still coming with a two-deep on the line that averages with tackles and ends included 6-3 1/2 and 278 pounds.

"They have a lot of depth which is important because they are always rotating guys onto the field," offensive coordinator Mike Yurcich said comparing the Mississippi front with those of Baylor and OU that roughed up the Cowboys in the last two games. "That's why they play with such good speed and tenacity. Their depth is critical to them. They do a good job of getting to the ball, and pursuing the football. They have a tremendous pass rush and defend the ball well. It will be a challenge."

The coaches knew that when bowl practices started over a week ago and the plan was put into place. Get the offense more physical. Heck, get the defense more physical.

"The first few days after a week off I noticed a little bit of rust," center Brad Lundblade said. "However, we've spent a lot of time scrimmaging against the defense and I think that's been nice to have full-speed scrimmages. It's good for us to get back in the swing of things."

Nice? I'm going to guess that some of Lundblade's teammates have some different descriptions of the practice routine than nice. Today, Lundblade got to snap the ball to Mason Rudolph as the starting quarterback was back to doing more than just drills and did take reps with the first team in team periods.

Speaking of team periods, it has been high impact and high intensity with some yelling that doesn't always accompany Cowboys practices. Of course, Lundblade also told said during interviews on Monday that he had fun this season going against the likes of Baylor defensive tackle Andrew Billings, West Virginia inside technique Kyle Rose, and K-State's Travis Britz. I could hardly consider that fun, but it is impressive for a true sophomore to start every game and weather that kind of competition.

Mike Yurcich wants his offense as a whole to come out very impressive against Ole Miss and that means doing what several of the teams that beat the Rebels did and that is protect against that front and attack the secondary.

"I wouldn't say they have a definite weakness in the secondary, but I would say that they're so impressive up front that people are trying to throw the ball on them," Yurcich said diplomatically. "The alternative is to pass the ball on them and if you can get it off, then you have a chance to move the football. They are very athletic up front, and they beat people one-on-one up front."

Which takes us back to the reason for those full-speed scrimmages. Let's hope they were not just nice or fun but they were useful.


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