Walking the talk

At this point, there isn't a scenario about Aug. 30 that hasn't been discussed or written about. It is now time to wait impatiently for 2:30 p.m. Saturday to see if the dream is simply smoke...or the real thing.

It's hard to find anything new to say about Oklahoma State's upcoming football season. And heading into the game, most of the angles have been covered.


The Xs and Os of practice can only tell so much. In fact, all it can show is how well one side of the ball plays against the other side. It doesn't really say what they will do against other teams of different schemes.      


So, what's left?




Monday, wide receiver Rashaun Woods, safety Elbert Craig and coach Les Miles met with media to discuss Saturday's matchup with Nebraska. And, they showed a confidence and surety that not many teams exude when faced with a trip to Lincoln for an opener.


They talked as though they not only have a shot, but that the game is theirs to win or lose. 


"It's (the team) a lot better (than previous years) in the aspect of having guys that know what it takes to win," Woods said. "We have a lot more talent. Not just a very high level of talent, but a consistent level of talent."


That experience will also help them with the big crowd that is sure to be loud and distracting.


Another factor in their confidence is Nebraska's completely new coaching staff, minus coach Frank Solich. And with that staff has come a newer offense that could see more passes than previous years.


"I think it'll give us more of an advantage if Nebraska starts throwin the ball," Craig said.


In previous years, that statement would never have been made. And if it had, it would have been met with serious skepticism.

But for the first time in a long time, the Cowboys' secondary is solid, and the defense is confident that games will not be lost through an opponent's passing game.


"I don't see that happenin this year," Craig said. "As a secondary I think we have matured a whole lot. So, I don't see us getting beat ‘cause of the pass."


The only question on defense is the line, where the Pokes lost three key players, Kevin Williams, LaWaylon Brown and Kyle Beck. But team captain Greg Richmond, seniors Khreem and Antonio Smith and young guys like freshmen Brad Girtman and Xavier Lawson-Kennedy should pick up the slack.


"The price of success has to be paid in advance." That was the statement that the team has carried through summer practices. And the dedication that followed is what is keeping the defensive line confident.


"You can't walk into a test and say I'm gonna pass the test without studying for it and bustin your can before," defensive line coach Karl Dunbar said. "I think that attitude and havin Nebraska for the first game of the season has gotten our guys to put the work in, and we'll collect the check on pay day."


Moving to the offense, the numbers speak for themselves. Quarterback Josh Fields passed for more than 3,000 yards and 31 touchdowns last season.


Woods had 107 catches for 1,695 yards and 17 touchdowns, and running back Tatum Bell eclipsed the 1,000 yard mark.


Add to that, Woods' younger brother D'Juan Woods at wide receiver, the ever-elusive wide out Gabe Lindsay in the slot, the strong and explosive running back Seymore Shaw and a solid offensive line anchored by 350-pound junior Sam Mayes, and they can't help but be confident.


To do well, a team must believe they can. The Cowboys seem to believe, and only the season will show if they will.


It's time to back up the hype.





Matt Palmer can be reached
via e-mail at

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