I have no problem
with what went on in the final minutes of the Cowboys win over Kansas on
Saturday. Kansas, despite the game already being decided, kept driving in the
final minutes and scored a touchdown. KU head coach Mark Mangino had his team go
for two points and then attempted an onside kickoff. Cowboy head coach keeping
with the spirit of the moment sent out backup Jamie Beeghley, and despite a
44-21 lead had him throw a fade route to the endzone that was short and
intercepted by the Jayhawks.
Here is where it gets a little crazy. Mangino has Brian Luke throwing, but Luke on a scramble was hit late resulting in a penalty. Mangino at that point lost his cool and probably a few other things and his tirade drew a double unsportsmanlike conduct penalty. After switching quarterbacks Kansas called their final timeout with four seconds on the clock at their own 34-yard-line.
Some Cowbys fans felt Mangino should have just run the clock out and gone home. On Monday he explained to me that he is trying to establish a program and he is teaching his players to play until the game is over. He does it whether he is ahead or behind. He also added he had no problem with Les Miles having his backup quarterback throw a pass to the endzone with a 22 point lead.
The ettiquete of late game strategy in football is changing. I'm not trying to be Mike Lupica here, but it used to be that if a game were decided, teams would run the clock and just work to the end of the game whether they were winning or losing. This wasn't the only situation in the Big 12 on Saturday. Nebraska defensive coordinator Bo Pellini wanted a piece of K-State head coach Bill Snyder after the game because he was upset the Wildcats still had their starters in late with a 38-9 lead. Hey Bo, 38-9 is not a blowout by today's standards. Try having your defense stop K-State.
Hey, we all need to remember the rules of the game. A football contest is 60 minutes long, so that means playing football the full 60 minutes. I have no problem with that. Now if someone is up by 50 points or more then I think decorum should dictate shutting down the offense. Anything less than 50 is not a blowout by new millineum standards, so keep playing and quit complaining.
By the way both Mangino and Miles said their postgame handshake was cordial and each complimented the other on their team's play. Miles told Mangino his Kansas team was improved, and Mangino told Miles he had a very good team and good luck in the bowl game.
THE FEEL OF COTTON
None of the players
and coaches want to talk about it, but it appears the Cowboys are headed for the
Cotton Bowl. Kansas State's win over Nebraska and Texas' win over Texas Tech
kept the avenue to Dallas wide open for the Cowboys. It would help if Texas
would become the second team from the Big 12 to gain a BCS berth, but it is not
an absolute necessity. Many Cowboy fans have asked me how Oklahoma State could
rate over Kansas State or the eventual North Champion to go to the Cotton
The Big 12 allows their bowl partners some latitude in their selections. Bowls can skip over the next highest team in the standings for another team as long as they are not separated by more than one game. Let's take Kansas State as an example. The Wildcats with a win over Missouri would likely lose in the title game to Oklahoma giving K-State a record of 10-4 overall and 6-3 in Big 12 action. Oklahoma State with a win over Baylor would be 9-3 overall and 5-3 in the Big 12. Nebraska should they beat Colorado would finish 9-3/5-3. Texas, who could easily be in the BCS would be 10-2/7-1.
It's the same system that last year allowed Texas to go to the Cotton Bowl and Kansas State to the Holiday Bowl ahead of North Champion Colorado who went to the Alamo Bowl.
What little was said by Cowboy players about a possible trip to the Cotton Bowl was very positive.
"I think we want to finish strong to beat Baylor," said Miles. "We want to finish strong to be the best team that we can be. I think it would be inappropriate for any other reason than to be our best football team."
"We don't talk much about bowls, but about the next game coming up," said safety John Holland. "We'd love to go to the Cotton Bowl, that's a good bowl," added a laughing Holland.
"Really, I havn't thought about it a lot," said offensive tackle Matt Hardison. "We have to focus on Baylor, but it kind of stays in the back of your mind."
DOUBLE TROUBLE FOR BAYLOR
It appears that
starting tailback Tatum Bell will be back for the regular season finale against
Baylor. Despite missing last week's game with Kansas Bell stayed at the top of
the Big 12 rushing chart with 1,240 total yards and 124-yards per game. In his
place against Kansas Vernand Morency rushed for 269-yards and three touchdowns
on 25 carries. It was an impressive performance by Morency, who in two games of
really playing has totaled 458-yards.
"I think he's a good back," said Miles of Morency. "He's physically strong and mature, and he pounds it up in there. He has speed enough and will make you miss when he can."
Bell is certainly a good back too. The hunch is that both backs will get carries against Baylor which means double trouble for the Baylor defense that loaded the box last week to take the run away from Oklahoma.
"Health is the first determination about Tatum's play," said Miles. "I think he was probably healthy enough to play some in the Kansas game. We held him out because we wanted to get him healthier. We'll have to see how it goes."
It's hard to imagine that with one or both it won't be anything but productive.
SCRAMBLE FOR OSKIES, BUT NO FUMBLES
All season long the Cowboys have stressed coming up with turnovers on the defensive side, and as far as interceptions they have done well. The Cowboys have 17 interceptions on the season with Darrent Williams leading the way with six. After freshman corner Ricky Coxeff, safety Thomas Wright, and corner Daniel McLemore came up with interceptions in the win over Kansas eight different players have picked off passes.
"Everybody talks about wanting to get an interception in each game, but we never compete against each other as far as getting interceptions," said safety John Holland who has two interceptions this season. "We'll brag not about the interceptions, but about the way we got our interceptions. Most everybody wants to get about four interceptions before the end of the season."
The Cowboys are down three turnovers to their opponents this season. In what has struck everybody as very odd. The Cowboys have 17 interceptions to 13 for the opposition, but only one fumble recovery to eight for their opponents.
"We try to get some turnover every game, but the refs, you know, we could have had some, but they didn't give them to us," said Holland of the lack of fumble recoveries.
"I've never been around a team that only had one fumble recovery," said defensive coordinator Bill Clay. "I know our guys have been trying and we've pried some out, but it's been too late when they are on the ground."
INJURIES CONTINUE TO MOUNT
Cowboys will get several players back for the Baylor game this Saturday, but
they have lost another for the rest of the season. Tailback Tatum Bell,
cornerback Darrent Williams, and linebacker Pagitte McGee all sat out the win
over Kansas but are expected to return for the Baylor game. Wide receivers
D'Juan Woods and Chay Nease both came out of the Kansas game with shoulder
injuries, but they too are expected to be ready for the Bears. Tailback Greg Jones bruised his knee and cornerback Robert Jones suffered a muscle strain, but
they are expected to practice all week and be ready for Baylor.
"We're getting healthier on defense," said Miles. "It doesn't appear that some of the nicks will stop guys from playing in the Baylor game. Most all will be ready for bowl season. If we had to lose some games, I like the position that we are in right now."
The missing have had center Ben Buie added to their midst. Buie suffered a serious leg injury against Kansas that will keep him out of action. Buie joins offensive tackle Corey Hilliard (sprained knee), defensive end Antonio Smith (leg fracture), and tailback Seymore Shaw (quad muscle injury) on the list of players that will miss the regular season finale.
BAYLOR SCOUTING REPORT
Baylor is 3-8 under new coach Guy Morriss, who came to Baylor from Kentucky. The Bears have wins over SMU, Sam Houston State, and Colorado, all coming at home at Floyd Casey Stadium. They are currently on a six game losing streak. Last Saturday the Baylor defense 11th in the Big 12 and 106th in the country held the top ranked Sooners to 59-yards rushing and put pressure on OU quarterback Jason White with an all out aggressive defense that featured the blitz including blitzing corners.
"Having watched that there were some situations where they guessed right." said Miles. "I don't think that is ever going to change. I don't think that was a situation where their players are better than ours or their players were better than Oklahoma's players. It was more a good call and the right time for the blitz. I don't know how they will play us. We like to throw the football and we like to run the football. They have showed the want and desire to pack them inside. We would then like to throw, and we will always run the football at certain times as we see fit."
The Bears also turned to freshman quarterback Shawn Bell in the game at Oklahoma. The frosh signal caller responded with a solid game completing 16-of-30 for 108-yards and just one interception.
"It appeared to me that he was a pretty good quarterback and that he had a nice day," said Miles. "We'll look at all the film, but he appears to be a good quarterback and we will prepare for their best offense. We're preparing for what appears to be their best."
Baylor's leading rusher is tailback Rashad Armstrong with 990-yards on 236 attempts.
The Cowboys interest
in Idalou, Texas linebacker prospect Shae Reagan has not diminished despite
Reagan suffering a season ending knee injury in the district opener a couple of
"Yes, I blew my knee out in the district opener and we lost in the first round of the playoffs last week," said Reagan. by phone. "I'm still getting plenty of interest and I have my visits almost completely set up."
Reagan is a 6-3, 231 pounder that also played quarterback at Idalou. Oklahoma State has always been interested in him as a linebacker. He will visit the Cowboys first on Dec. 6. He follows that visit with a trip to Texas A&M the next weekend and then a trip to Texas Tech on Dec. 19.
Reagan is a good student and an excellent talent. He also told me that the doctors felt that his knee which included a torn ACL and MCL will heal fully and he should be ready to play next season.
A couple of notes on some of the Oklahoma State commitments. Rumors seem to be running rampid about Galena Park North Shore quarterback Robert Reid. Reid threw for a season high two touchdowns last Friday in the Mustangs 52-0 first round playoff win over Houston Clear Lake. So far we have not been able to confirm any of the rumors of a visit scheduled for Ohio State. Reid is slated to enroll and be at Oklahoma State for the spring semester. Reid and defensive back teammate Stephen James are Cowboy commitments. You might keep an eye on Mustang tailback Justin McNeese. The 6-2, 230 pounder has been running wild and is attracting some major recruiting attention now after missing last season and escaping some recruiters attention in the spring.
Tyler Lee tight end and O-State commitment Brandon Pettigrew caught one pass for 10-yards in the Raiders playoff opening win over Garland Naaman Forest. Lee won the game 57-24. Pettigrew and teammate and cornerback Martel Van Zant are both verbally committed to Oklahoma State.
One name to watch out for popping up on the Cowboys list is that of Richardson Pearce running back Parrish Fisher. Fisher ran for 218-yards in Pearce's first round playoff win over Greenville, a tight 17-14 victory.
Finally, you can take off the name Sean Harmon on the Oklahoma State commitment list. Harmon, who originally signed with O-State out of Edmond Santa Fe, didn't qualify and went to NEO where he has had a good two seasons including a touchdown pass in the Norsemen's conference championship and bowl clinching win last Thursday. The OSU staff notified Harmon and NEO head coach Dale Patterson so that the word could get out to restart the recruiting process on Harmon. Oklahoma State cannot comment on recruits or prospects, but one as to assume the number of tight ends on the squad and those committed in this year's class was the major factor in letting Harmon go and be recruited by other schools.