Larry Fedora: Previewing His Offense, Reid

STILLWATER – The given, for Oklahoma State, heading into the opener Saturday at 13th-ranked Georgia is the Cowboys' offense. The OSU offense, billed as the world's most explosive, is one that along with Boise State proved in 2006 most capable of hitting opponents on the ground and through the air. Georgia prides itself on shutting down offenses like this.

When OSU offensive coordinator Larry Fedora was at Florida, the Gators beat Georgia 20-13 in 2002, beat the Dogs 16-13 in 2003, and in 2004 lost to Georgia 31-24.

Is Fedora looks forward to another chess match with Georgia defensive coordinator Willie Martinez? "I do," said Fedora. "Ever since Mark Richt has been at the University of Georgia they have had a tremendous defense. They have always had one of the top defenses in the SEC and there is no doubt that has been the key to their success there. Not saying they can't play offense, but they have been very strong defensively. If you looked at the stats since he has been there I would say they have been at the very top of the conference.

"Willie Martinez (defensive coordinator) has done a great job, and he has been with Mark for a long time now," added Fedora of the Georgia defense. "Their staff has been together for a long time, except maybe one or two guys. Their philosophy has been intact since Mark has been there. They are going to play and play well."

The Bulldogs will have seven or eight new starters on their defensive unit, but they are players that have logged previous time in backup roles, no rookies expected. Fedora has almost a complete veteran unit, minus a wide receiver or two and a left guard. He knows what his offense can do better than it ever has since coming to Oklahoma State.

"That is part of coaching, finding out about your players and what they can do well," said Fedora with conviction. "It doesn't matter if you call a play and your players can't do it. You're wasting your time. It doesn't matter if it is a great play and something that I ran five years ago and we don't have the guys to execute that, then I'm wasting my time."

One thing the Cowboys can do and have done against most everybody is run the football. Head coach Mike Gundy insists on his team being tough and being able to run. Saturday it should be the key to unlocking that rugged and proud Georgia defense.

"It is going to be important that we run the ball efficiently and Dantrell (Savage) is going to be a big key to that," said Fedora. "We have to run the ball efficiently to give us all the other things we want to do. We have enough offense that if we have to just throw the football we could do it, but it sure makes it a whole lot easier as a play caller if we can do them both."

Along with Savage, Bobby Reid has to be a field leader. Last season when Reid totaled more than 180 yards of offense the Cowboys were 6-2; when he was below 180 yards of offense they were 1-4. He needs to be consistent.

"He was too ready," said Fedora of Reid at times last season. "He was too ready, too worked up, and it should have just been a game for him. You learn from your mistakes and you hope he has learned from his mistakes and seen the mistakes of others and learned from those too, You can still be jacked up and get excited about playing but still be under control and do things at a high level. It is a mental thing."

Reid insists he has matured and is ready. Practice on Monday might be an example. He was loose and joking around before going onto the field and then once out there was businesslike in his practice work.

"I feel a whole lot better," said Reid. "You make mistakes and sometimes you can go into the can. I think guys are young and they are unprepared for what they go through in college football. The more I go through it I realize that things aren't always going to be good. The way that you come back and make a play to overcome, measures how good of a player you are."

Wins over opponents like Georgia move a quarterback way up the scale too.

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