Cowboys Get Ready For Explosive Tech

John Helsley, the Oklahoma State football beat writer for The Oklahoman, wrote about it Monday morning, and behind the scenes Oklahoma State players have talked about it. After an off week the Cowboys start a final three-game stretch drive in the 2005 regular season. Most observers would laugh, but the OSU players aren't giving up on anything, including the preseason goal of going to a postseason bowl game.

Many questions about Saturday's game revolve around who will be healthy enough of the injured players - including quarterback Bobby Reid - to return to the lineup. In the back of the players' minds they are thinking about winning out and going to a bowl.

"You want that. You want that so bad that you are doing the math," said senior linebacker Jamar Ransom, who is one of 19 seniors who will be playing their final home game at Oklahoma State. "Right now we're going to go one game at a time and one is coming up this Saturday, and then we'll worry about two and three later on."

"You always want to send the seniors off with a last home game win," said junior defensive end Darnell Smith, who came in with some of these seniors but redshirted as a freshman. "I also want to send them off with a bowl game too, so we're going to carry that confidence from the Texas game into the Texas Tech even though we had a bye week because we spent the bye week looking specifically at Texas Tech."

In order to get the upset over the 13th-ranked Red Raiders, who are 8-1 on the season and 5-1 in Big 12 play, they will have to come up with the best defensive effort of the season. Texas Tech doesn't have a run/pass quarterback like the trio that have destroyed the Cowboys. However, Tech has been a nightmare for the Cowboys and for former defensive coordinator Bill Clay. He admitted as much, and while in Stillwater spent free time in the summer trying to come up with a way to slow the Tech offense down.

Clay wouldn't enjoy this version as Texas Tech is in its customary position as the top passing offense in the nation, averaging 428.8 yards a game out of the Mike Leach wide open spread. The Red Raiders also are third in scoring offense averaging 47 points per game and second in the nation in total offense with 540.7 yards a game. Tech quarterback Cody Hodges leads the conference in passing. The top three receivers in yards per game wear Tech red and black, and Taurean Henderson leads the Big 12 in all purpose yards with 135.7 yards per game.

"He is very dangerous. He's a dual threat guy and you have to keep an eye on him all the time," said senior linebacker Paul Duren, who is set to move into OSU's career top 10 tackles chart this week. "I watched them last week and it looked like they ran a little two-back (formation), which they hadn't run, so we have to take a look at that. But Henderson is probably their most dangerous player by far."

Henderson is just part of it as the maniacal mad scientist of offense in Leach comes up with all kinds of ways to gain yards and blow up defenses. Both Duren and Ransom believe that new Cowboys defensive coordinator Vance Bedford with his NFL pedigree will help, and head coach Mike Gundy agrees.

"He's seen so many different passing styles being in the NFL and he can give us some schemes that will help us," said Ransom. "It will be different and we'll have another linebacker in there than a safety or dime package. It will definitely be different. We'll mix it up a lot."

"He's seen stuff kind of similar in the NFL with wide open attacks that people run like Indianapolis, but the first time it is always different to see," said Duren.

"I think Vance has some ideas to slow them down," said head coach Mike Gundy. "I don't think you shut them down, I think you slow them down and try to put yourself in position in the fourth quarter to put them in a pressure situation. But I think Vance also knows the most important thing when you're putting a game plan together in this situation, or any other game, is that the players that you have competing on Saturday have to be able to execute that plan."

Whatever the plan, the players, who had a sneak peek last week, know it will be different. They also know that when it comes to Tech you have to deceive their offense just as their offense tries to deceive you.

"What you really have to do is get some confusion going on, disguises and things, make him see some things that really aren't there," Ransom said. "That will really help us."

The Cowboys aren't asking for much help, just enough to count to three which in November in the Big 12 is more difficult than just one, two, three.

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