Tim Beckman: On The Defense and Georgia

STILLWATER – Offense is a given as the Oklahoma State Cowboys prepare to open the season on Saturday against 13th-ranked Georgia on the road. Defense, however, is a mystery. How much better can the Oklahoma State defense be from last season when it displayed a schizophrenic personality that at times gave up yards and points way too easy?

Tim Beckman has received a lot of hype with his arrival to take over the defense, and while he knows the conversion of the Cowboy defense will be an ongoing project he is ready to see what happens Saturday.

"I think the kids have done everything we've asked them to do," said Beckman of the readiness of the Cowboy defense. "Now, have we put the whole package in or anything like that? It's kind of like Larry (Fedora) says, that in two years they only had 60 percent of their package in. That's the way it is a little bit with us too.

"We're excited, the kids are excited, the program is excited. It's a great opener for us to establish us as a team, as a defense, and the players had an outstanding camp and are ready to play."

One of his defensive leaders, former Cowboy quarterback and safety Donovan Woods, is now playing linebacker, a position Beckman handpicked him for and has fit like a glove since the first day he moved closer to the line of scrimmage in the spring.

"I feel pretty good about us," said Woods. "I feel by Saturday that everything will have been gone over. It will be time to execute and we will. I am expecting high production and a W."

Woods will be in a major supporting role for the perceived weakness of the defense -- defensive tackle. Mo Cummings, Tonga Tea, Jeray Chatham and Shane Jarka form a foursome at that position that is a little light in stature, and in experience. Beckman knows that is where Georgia will attack early.

"I think so and that's Georgia football and we've been expecting that since we first got here," said Beckman. "Whenever you play Georgia you have to expect that pounding. They're young up front too. We expect to help the interior players out a little with moving, but we are going to let them play and pin their chin straps up and swarm the football and tackle. That is what we are here to do."

The defense, which is a mixture of Dick LeBeau-inspired and other NFL concepts along with a few other nuances that Beckman has picked up along the way, is designed to take advantage of individual talents of defensive personnel, like Woods.

"It goes down the players personally in my opinion. We don't scheme it up," said Beckman. "Of course, you're going to try and use what one player does better than another, so maybe we need to use this guy as a pressure guy or use this guy in space a little bit more.

"We are looking forward to using what Donovan Woods does. Donovan Woods is a good football player for us and we have to put him in position to make plays. And that is the same for every player on our defense, put 'em in position so they can make plays."

This new Cowboys defense begins and ends with enthusiasm. You'd think it was Beckman's birthday, or somebody gave him a new car, the way he is acting. He is truly excited about putting his guys on the field and challenging Georgia between the hedges.

"If you're blessed you get to do this 14 times in a season," said Beckman. "That is if you go to the conference championship game and then a BCS bowl. So yes, I'm looking forward to it ... to this being the first time with my guys out there."

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