That is the danger and why the Oklahoma State coaches were a
little antsy in practice this week. Coaches don't worry as much about big games
because they know their players are ready, they know they are focused on
the opponent, and they know fans expect a rugged game. When a team like
Louisiana-Lafayette comes to town with their 0-5 record, the week before OSU
gets a shot at home for revenge against Kansas State, that's when coaches have
nightmares of what could happen. That said, this was a good week of practice for
the Cowboys. On the offensive side Josh Fields threw the ball really well with
what seemed like was a little extra zip on it. The Cowboys worked a variety of
wide receivers as Rashaun caught his share, but D'Juan Woods, Tommy Devereuax,
Kenneth Williams, and even Errick McCown got reps in the passing game.
the offensive line look for Corey Hilliard, who has received a lot of the reps
in practice to see more time at the right tackle position. He has had a good two
weeks of practice. The entire offensive line has had plenty of work during the
past two weeks.
A player to watch for more at tailback might be Vernand Morency as he had a chance for more reps in practice. Morency seems to be out
of the doghouse and has performed well. Tatum Bell and Seymore Shaw still
rank ahead of Morency, but if the opportunity is there, I think Morency will get
a chance at some carries.
Defense has remained consistent, and plenty of
players got work in during the past two weeks. On the defnesive line the young
guys all got lots of action. How about this -- according to our sources
Xavier Lawson-Kennedy is down to 292 pounds. That's "in-shape" for the big guy
The injury to Elbert Craig will give added playing time
to Freddie Sinclair and Jamar Ransom, both players have had plenty of playing
time in the past two games and they should play well. It is Craig's leadership
that will be expecially missed.
Elbert Injury and
The news reported is correct on Elbert Craig, Jr. As reported
by several news outlets Craig suffered a season ending knee injury. An MRI
revealed that Craig's injury in a live pass-rush drill on Tuesday was indeed a
torn anterior cruciate ligament. The Cowboys starting weak safety is one of the
best tacklers in the Big 12 and made his 18th-consecutive start and 28th of his
career in the SMU game. This season he was ninth on the team in tackles and for
his career he finishes 14th on the all-time O-State tackle list with 277
With Craig out, the weak safety position is now manned by Freddie
Sinclair and Jamar Ransom. Both have had a lot of playing time and should do
well, but you hate to lose the veteran experience and leadership of
Before anyone asks, Craig is not a candidate for a sixth year from
the NCAA. He redshirted as a freshman, and had three uninterrupted seasons of
playing time. The NCAA rule specifies that players who lose two or more years of
eligibility playing time as a result of circumstances out of their control
(primarily injury) can apply for an additional year of eligibility.
Cowboys have had some other injuries in practice this week that could impact
playing time for Saturday's game with Louisiana-Lafayette, but head coach Les
Miles' policy of not reporting injuries (this applies to beat reporters that are
allowed to view practice but not report injuries) keeps me from detailing those.
I can tell you that none of those injuries appeared to be serious enough to
impact any playing time beyond Saturday.
It also appears that previously
injured players such as tight end Billy Bajema (hamstring), free safety Thomas Wright (knee), center Ben Buie (back), safety Jamie Thompson (quad), and
fullback Tim Burrough (shoulder) appear to be improved and all players should be
ready for the ULL game Saturday.
Dress Rehearsal Theory and What
I look at Saturday's game as a dress rehearsal. I know
that sounds like devaluing the game, but it's not. This game is critical for the
Cowboys success during the tough October and November run of Kansas State, Texas Tech, Texas A&M, Oklahoma, and Texas. This game has to bring together the
offense with the ability to run and pass. Balance needs to be part of what we
see on Saturday. ULL runs an aggressive defensive front so being able to throw
over the top is almost a given, and no, these guys are not going to adjust. They
will be just like SMU -- stubborn in sticking with what they run, because they
are preparing for a run of Sunbelt league teams that they can beat. I think
you will see the ball spread around the field to Rashaun, the other wide
receivers, and the tight end will be back en vogue on Saturday.
a loaded front the Cowboys should be able to run the ball effectively. The
offensive line should be able to manhandle the Cajuns up front.
defense look for the Cowboys to apply plenty of pressure. The Cajuns have not
been able to run the football with any success, and the throwing game, while
more successful, is susceptable to turnovers. Expect the Cowboys to blitz and go
upfield. Bill Clay is hoping to get all of the young players unvolved and early
including Xavier Lawson-Kennedy, Brad Girtman, Marque Fountain, Jerry Don Bray,
Trumaine Carroll, and linebacker Victor DeGrate. All of the mentioned players
should help out with duty in Big 12 games.
There will be plenty of focus earlier in the day on the
matchup in Austin between Texas and Kansas State. I am one of the few folks that
feels K-State can go into Austin and win. The question comes down to Ell Roberson and how healthy the K-State quarterback is going into the game. I can
tell you that the Wildcats' athletic director Tim Weiser had very little comment
on the quarterback's health during this week's Big 12 AD meetings in Dallas. I
guess the coach (Bill Snyder) has taught his athletic director (Weiser)
Not much. Okay Robert Reid may
show up at the Texas-Kansas State game in Austin, but I really don't see that as
a threat. Next week will be the major week for recruiting as OSU is hoping to
have a banner turnout for the Kansas State game. No word yet on two of the
biggest names on the list of invitees as the Cowboys would love to have
Palestine, Texas running back Adrian Peterson and Park Hill, Missouri offensive
tackle Brett Gallimore in Boone Pickens Stadium for the game with the 'Cats.
We'll check it out and try to give you an advance for next
World Series Time at Allie P.
If you are
itching for baseball, something other than the Major League Divisional Series,
then keep an eye on the lights at Allie P. Reynolds Stadium. New head coach
Frank Anderson believes in splitting up his squad into two teams at the end of
fall baseball and having a best of three game series and call it the "World
Series." Before the wet weather earlier this week, the plan was to play 7 p.m.
games on Wednesday and Thursday with a Friday afternoon contest. The hope is
they will go now Thursday night, Friday afternoon, and possibly conclude on
Monday or Tuesday night.
Scouting the Ragin Cajuns
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