On to the next

The Cowboys are up for a weekend of rest and relaxation, and head into the off-week energized after the win over SMU. Robert throws out his season prediction and confirms a recent 2004 committment.

My Take
Look out now because confidence has been restored in the passing game. Fans that were worried after lackluster passing efforts in the first three games of the season weren't totally off. The coaching staff and players weren't as worried because they had seen the passing game click in practice, but until you see it work in a game there is that degree of uncertainty. If an All-American wide receiver like Rashaun Woods can experience some doubt then anybody on the team is subject to doubt. The performance at SMU erased all doubt. The Cowboys were basic in the passing game, just as they had been basic in the running game against Wyoming and Southwest Missouri State, and they met incredible success. Now both the running game and the passing game have had confident building performances.

This makes the Cowboys offense extremely lethal to upcoming opponents. They now can run or pass. They have plenty of ammo in the form of offensive packages they have yet to show this season. They have a veteran quarterback that is pretty good at reading defenses and is prepared to follow the advice of the offensive coordinator and take whatever the defense wants to give up. The defense is much improved and the special teams are good all the way around.

With that kind of arsenal the Cowboys are ready to go back to Big 12 play. It doesn't matter which team they are facing, the Cowboys should be able to move the ball against any and all of the opponents left on the schedule. Confidence is a wonderful thing and now the Cowboys have the dose they need to move on.

None are serious. The most serious would be tight end Billy Bajema, who was held out of the SMU game with a hamstring injury that was reaggravated. The open week comes at a good time to get the best pass receiving threat at tight end back to full speed. Jamie Thompson was held out of the SMU game because of an injury that occured last week in practice. Thompson could have played and should be back at practice this week. Finally, center Ben Buie was held out of the win Saturday with back trouble. Buie also could have played if necessary. Buie is back at practice this week. The most serious injuries on Saturday were cramps, bumps, and a few bruises. To this date only one player has been lost for the season as safety Charlie Ward will need to have surgery on an ACL tear.

Players Looking Forward To Weekend
It's one of the few weeks in the fall, or I guess I should say weekends, that the players get to be like normal students. It is expected after a light practice on Friday that Les Miles will give the squad the weekend off. That means guys that live close by can head home for a couple of days and take advantage of mom's cooking. Many players will head out on Friday to watch their former high schools play. Some will watch football on the tube over the weekend, but most will take it easy, spend time relaxing with friends, and get away from football for a few days. It's a good way for the players and coaches to recharge the batteries. Many of the coaches will take out on Wednesday or Thursday afternoon to get on the road for a couple of days of recruiting evaluation.

What Gets Accomplished In Practice This Week
Practice will be interesting this week as head coach Les Miles has said that some of the workouts, like today's, will be in full pads and others will be in helmets, shoulder pads, and shorts. There will be some contact work this week that will also include fundamentals, a review of some of the offensive packages the Cowboys have yet to use on the season. There will be plenty of reps for the backups and the younger guys The offensive staff will work with Donovan Woods to try and get him further along in the offense.

Freshmen that have already played, primarily on the defensive side, have been working hard and advancing. This is a good week to get more work for Xavier Lawson-Kennedy, Brad Girtman, Marque Fountain, and linebacker Victor DeGrate. By the time the open week is over and then the ULL game, expect all of these guys, and some already are, to be in the rotation.

Stock Rising
Many of the players that I mentioned have their stock rising. In the backfield the lineup won't change with Bell and Shaw the top two, but after SMU, Vernand Morency and Greg Gold both have more confidence among the coaches. On the offensive line count freshman right tackle Corey Hilliard, fifth-year senior Doug Koenig, and walkon guard Caleb Noble as having better stock. On the defensive side all of the freshmen raised their stock as did senior defensive tackle Mike Williams, linebacker Paul Duren, safety Chase Holland, safety Jeremy Nethon, and corner Ricky Coxeff. Did I mention redshirt freshman defensive end Darnell Smith and also punter Cole Farden as players with rising stock?


Lets Take A Shot At The Rest Of The Season

Okay, this could be embarassing, but here is my shot at predicitng the rest of the season.

OSU 45 Louisiana-Lafayette 7 - Cowboys too much for Cajuns.
OSU 28 Kansas State 27 - This may be wishful thinking, but it's time to end the Cats streak on OSU.
OSU 38 Texas Tech 20 - It's homecoming and Tech has it coming to them, defense can't stop OSU.
Texas A&M 23 OSU 17 - Road woes at tough Kyle Field continue.
OSU 31 OU 26 - OSU offensive staff baffle OU defensive staff again.
OSU 17 Texas 12 - No post-Bedlam letdown for OSU.
OSU 52 Kansas 24 - KU has no defense to match the Pokes' offense.
OSU 41 Baylor 0 - Bears are Cowboys doormat.
Bowl Game - Cotton Bowl

Recruiting News: Van Zant Confirmed
It was confirmed tonight by Martel Van Zant's mother that her outstanding son has given OSU a commitment. The 6-2 1/2, 211-pound Van Zant will be a safety or outside linebacker in college. He is a very physical player. Deaf since birth, Van Zant uses sign language to communicate. He can play, and chose the Cowboys over Texas A&M, Colorado, Arizona, Notre Dame, and BYU. He is the 12th commitment for the Cowboys. When I met him at the Wyoming game he displayed a great attitide and personality. Van Zant's mom confirmed the commitment.

"Yes, he did give them (Oklahoma State) a verbal commitment," said Mrs. Van Zant. ""We are all real excited about it. I just felt Marilyn Middlebrook, who we met on the unofficial visit seems like a woman that will treat Martel like we do."

Martel Van Zant is an honors student that has qualified and will major in engineering at OSU. In this weekend's  Dallas Morning News Van Zant was ranked as the 47th best prospect in Texas.

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