It could be Ashton Lampkin, Ramon Richards or Lenzy Pipkins – and you might want to throw in a safety or Richards working as a nickel back – as far as the matchup between the Cowboys in coverage and Oklahoma's Heisman Trophy candidate and Biletnikoff Award favorite Dede Westbrook.
I first knew of Westbrook in junior college at Blinn in Texas when he teamed with former Oklahoma State walk-on quarterback Jake Hubenak to form the most demonstrative pass duo in the nation in junior college football. Westbrook caught 76 passes for 1,487 yards and 13 touchdowns. Now, in his second year in Norman, his numbers with the Bedlam game left next Saturday are 70 catches for 1,354 yards and 15 touchdowns.
Westbrook is 6-0, 175 pounds but he plays much bigger and he is lightning fast. When you fold his pass catching – and he will run a reverse or two and can even throw the football – in with the run game featuring Semaje Perine and Joe Mixon then the entire offense becomes a very difficult proposition for opposing defenses.
You have to be able to rush the quarterback in Baker Mayfield and make him throw on time or earlier. The corners and a safety, if you are in zone or choose to bracket Westbrook in coverage, must be good at covering to both stay with him and then be athletic enough to battle him for the football. He has excellent ball skills.
The Cowboys will counter with likely Lenzy Pipkins because after watching some video of the OU-West Virginia game the Sooners lined Westbrook up on the boundary side a lot and Pipkins is a corner of choice for Oklahoma State often into the boundary. He had an interception last week, his first of the season, at TCU.
Pipkins is 6-0, 201 pounds and is strong and physical. The transfer from Louisiana-Monroe has seen top-flight receivers not only this year in the Big 12 but also at ULM in games against Alabama and LSU. It will need to be a group effort to keep Westbrook from taking over the game or at least having a highly influental momentum play that turns the tide in the contest.
Pipkins, Lampkin, Richards and safeties Jordan Sterns and Tre Flowers are all ball hawkers and good at forcing and getting turnovers. Those plays could help even the score with Westbrook and OU.
In the words of Dan Patrick, "You cannot stop him, you have to hope you can contain him."