Captain, my Captain

Rashaun Woods has reason to smile these days. He is chasing NCAA receiving records and considered a lock for the first round of the NFL draft. The Sooners may be better than ever, but Woods isn't altering his game plan at all. In fact, a Saturday appearance on ESPN's GameDay has the All-American hopping into a barber shop chair on his day off...

Greg Richmond

Despite Oklahoma State's 7-1 record, going on the road to face Oklahoma, the Cowboys sit as underdogs, as would any team that plays Oklahoma this season.

"We're the underdogs. That's good. Being an underdog, we have no pressure on us. All we have to do is go out and play our style of football, and that's just flying around on defense and making plays. Giving our offense the opportunity to come out on the field and put points on the board."

With a the second-highest rated passer in the country in Jason White, the Cowboys defensive line will play an important role in the game's outcome.

"It's going to be key. I've been watching film on these guys, and they have all day to throw the ball. We just gotta do a good job up front of just getting up the field, and if we get one on one blocks, we've just gotta be the best athlete and just win em.
"They do a lot more running than passing. They're a well-rounded team all around. They can run and throw. Jason White, he's a great quarterback. He's shown that week in and week out. What we have to do as a defense is just take care of our job and handle our responsibilities.
"His offensive line does a great job of protecting him so he has the opportunity to throw the ball down the field. What we've got to do is just come out and play, just read our keys and do what we're supposed to do.
"I just want to go out there and play hard, motivate my teammates. We're going into a hostile environment down in Norman, Oklahoma. We're going to go play against the No. 1 team in the country, and we've just gotta come out and play Cowboy football.
"They're the No. 1 team in the country, they load it. They  whoop up on Texas every year, and whoop up on everybody else they play. You can't deny ‘em. I'm just really excited to see where our team is at, going down to Norman and go play them."

Growing up in Oklahoma City it was easy for Richmond and other team members to root for OU, but now they sit on the orange end of the affair.

"It was always more towards OU ‘cause they were right down the street from our houses. We all went to camps there, me, Elbert Craig and Timmy Burrough, and all those guys went down there for camps. It's just a thing where I chose to come to OSU. I don't regret doing it. It made me a better person by coming here."

Rashaun Woods

No question in OSU's collective mind, at this point in the season, OU is the best team in college football, improved from last season.

"They're better. They continue to get better every year. They understand their scheme, and continue to get better and better players.
"Their ability to shut people down on defense and their ability to score on offense (makes them great).

For Woods, the magnitude of Bedlam was not fully understood until his first year as a Cowboy.

"I didn't really understand Bedlam growing up. I just grew up watching Oklahoma State play, watch OU play. I didn't really know too much about it until I got here and realized how big it was.
"The most special one is 2001. We didn't have a chance, we weren't even close to the team that we are now. They were still a very good team, contending for a national championship, and we came out on the field, hung together and pulled out a victory that many many people did not think we had a chance to win.
"I'm fortunate to be a big part of a win like that.
"I remember it (his touchdown catch in 2001) like it was yesterday. We ran out onto the field with a minute and 40-some seconds left. We rushed the play out onto the field, and we didn't huddle up. I remember going into my route and I knew that they (defenders) knew the play. I just remember the ball sailing in the air. It was a raggedy ball. It had to be a kicker's ball or something because it didn't barely have the white stripes on it. Josh (Fields) put it in the perfect place for me to have the ability to shield the defender off and come down with it."

With a 7-1 record after years of dissappointments, it could be easy for the Cowboys to be content with their position, but the desire to improve still burns within the team.

"Every week we have to continue to get better. It's not a matter of ‘We've only lost one game, we've made it.' It's not about that, it's about continuing to get better as a team and continue to do the things we need to do to be successful.
"We don't want to turn the ball over. There are little things that we have to continue to get better at. I didn't make every single block that I could have made. I'm pretty sure a lot of guys didn't make every single tackle or every single perfect kick, or whatever you want to call it. There's always room for improvement.
"This is a game that, if we want to stay consistent with our goals, and that is to contend for the Big 12 Championship, then this is a game we must win."

Despite Woods' successes against OU in the past, and the national spotlight a win against the No. 1 team in the country can put him in, he has kept a level head.

"Every game for me, I'm just thankful to play in. I enjoy playing the game of football. It doesn't matter who I'm playing against. I grew up lovin to play, and that's why I came back to continue to play for Oklahoma State. Just to play the game is something special for me. It's a blessing for me to be able to come to college on a scholarship and play the game that I love to play. I really try to keep it that simple. That's what it is. That's it.
Today's usually my lake day, but it's a little chilly outside, so I thought I'd pass that up. But I'll probably go home, talk to my older brother, get a haircut, stay with the family.

GoPokes Top Stories