Five questions after win over ULL

Robert gives you insight on Lawrence Pinson's injury, what he expects to happen in preparation for Kansas State and more...

1. Why the slow start in the game for the Cowboys?

Well, we all knew it could happen. All week the fans and media talked more about the upcoming Kansas State game. Even some of the O-State players on Monday talked openly about wanting revenge for last season's mauling in Manhattan. All of that had to mentally distract the Cowboys from being really ready for K-State. Now give the Cajuns credit as they didn't come out like and 0-5 team just showing up to pick up a guarantee check. The long pass completion on the first play of the game from Rekieta to Fred Stamps showed how serious ULL was in coming in with the idea they were going to take their shots.
"We had some opportunities early in the first quarter to maybe get some things going our way, but we didn't cash in on it," said Cajun head coach Rickey Bustle. "We gave up too many big plays. It doesn't matter where they come from, It's that they happen."

"That first pass surprised us, but after that we settled down and bucked down and got our stuff together," said Cowboy defensive end Antonio Smith.

The Cajuns didn't have enough shots and once the Cowboys got rolling the Cajuns couldn't stop the avalanche of points and big plays. It was nice to see a continuation of the big plays on offense for OSU, which has really become a staple of their attack.
2. Why didn't All-American wide receiver Rashaun Woods start the game?

It's pretty simple, head coach Les Miles doesn't care who you are, if you violate team rules then you pay a price. Miles said that Woods violated a minor team rule, and the punishment was not to start the next game.
3. What is the situation with the offensive line?

It's really interesting now as two starters went out during the ULL game, and there availability for the K-State game is in question. Miles and offensive line coach Chuck Moller have to be happy about the unit's versatility. Left tackle Matt Hardison went out early with a right ankle injury. It doesn't appear to be serious. That meant that along with first time starter and true freshman Corey Hilliard on the right side that fifth-year senior Doug Koenig was manning the left side. Then just before halftime center Ben Buie left with his recurring back problem. Buie's injury may be more serious, although he is tough. With Buie out, Chris Akin moved from guard to center and Caleb Noble came on to play left guard.

"In college football if someone gets hurt, someone steps up," said head coach Les Miles. "When someone gets the opportunity to play, they make the best of it, that's the way a good football team goes." 

The line is thinned out certainly, but Kellen Davis becomes the backup at tackle, Corey Curtis at the guards, and Kurt Seifried at center.
4. How bad was the injury to linebacker Lawrence Pinson?

Bad, Pinson's right ankle became trapped underneath his body as he was knocked down after making a tackle in the third quarter. I saw a picture that was taken right before his body fell and then one just after his body fell with the ankle trapped under. One player told me that is was a gross site. The early word is Pinson will be in the hospital awhile with a broken ankle that could possibly require surgery. There could be further damage with ligaments in the ankle.

Pinson is likely through for the season and that means talented freshman Victor DeGrate will get more playing time. The bonus for Clay and the defensive staff is that Paul Duren has proven to be capable at playing both the middle or inside linebacker and the outside "backer" position. Either way it is going to require players to step up because Pinson had been playing very well with a team leading 35 tackles when he went out of the game.
5. Are the Cowboys ready for Kansas State?

The Cowboys were able, even with the late start, to get most of what they wanted to accomplish in the final non- conference game. On offense Oklahoma State had the 472 yards of total offense, and while it wasn't exactly balanced with 303 yards on the ground and 169 yards through the air, it was a good mixture. They wanted to get more players involved in the passing game than Rashaun Woods. Woods had two catches after not starting the game. His younger brother led the receivers with four receptions for 60 yards and his first O-State career touchdown. Kenneth Williams had three catches for 40 yards and a near score. They wanted to involve the tight end more, and while they never got it to Billy Bajema, Charlie Johnson did catch a touchdown pass. The offensive line did a solid job on run blocking and pass protection despite injuries. Vernand Morency came off the bench and showed there is depth at tailback with his 189 yards rushing. The the Gregs, Jones and Gold came on and had 99 yards between them on the ground.

Darrent Williams 78 and 59-yard punt returns for touchdowns, Cole Farden's punting and kickoffs, and Luke Phillips and Brent Baisden going perfect on extra points means the special teams had a good night.

Defensively, the Cowboys survived a rough first quarter that saw Cajun quarterback Erik Rekieta start the game 8-for-8 passing. In the important middle portion of the game when the home team was taking over the game, the defense shut down ULL with three three and out series. The loss of Elbert Craig hurts, but his secondary mates picked up the effort and held ULL to just 72 yards rushing. The biggest disappointment has to be the lack of forced turnovers. Defensive Coordinator Bill Clay is adamant about forcing at least three turnovers a game and the Cowboys came up with just a lone interception Oklahoma State did a good job of bringing it," said ULL quarterback Eric Rekieta. "They did a really good job of coming after us. They are a physical unit. The Big 12 had better watch out for them. This is a good team, and they are going to upset some people."

"We are 4-1 and not without a price," said Miles is pointing out the injuries on the night. "We are looking forward to getting back into Big 12 play, which is the meat of the schedule. All of our attention will turn to some ambitious goals within this conference."

The Cowboys outscored their four non-conference opponents 198 to 36. That's nice, but it is time to get back to playing big dogs again. Kansas State has lost two games in a row with Marshall and the 24-20 heartbreaker at Texas. K-State will be in a foul mood, but so will the Cowboys who have had to live with the loss to Nebraska for the past month and a half. It should be fun next Saturday and it's time.

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