Joe DeForest: Saturday's Win Extra 'Special'

We don't always do a coordinators piece on Monday with Joe DeForest but this week the Cowboys associate head coach and special teams coordinator deserved one. In Saturday's 41-39 win over Kansas State the special teams took on the overall best special teams in the Big 12 and minus one short punt that led to a 34-yard punt return and a score, the Cowboys won the battle of the special units.

It started on the first play of the game when DeForest sent out transfer walk-on Dan Bailey to handle the kickoff. It was a good move that brought music to DeForest's ears when Bailey sent the kick nearly out of the stadium.

"Everybody was excited, the crowd was excited, and when he kicked that first ball out of the end zone I actually heard the crowd get excited over a kicking play," said DeForest. "It felt good."

That wasn't the last time the crowd would get excited over a special teams play. In the second quarter the crowd was on its feet as Perrish Cox took a K-State kickoff and 98 yards later, thanks to supreme effort from Cox and his blockers, was dancing in the end zone.

"Perrish made a great play, no doubt, but I think the most important thing people are overlooking is the other 10 guys on the play," said DeForest. "It was the most effort play I've ever seen since I've been coaching. The other 10 guys were ahead of him and not only getting their first blocks, but second blocks. Billy Lewis made a great play. Soko (Taylor Sokolosky) made a great play. It was a pleasure to watch over and over again (on video). We didn't scheme anybody. It was the effort that got that play to what it was."

Of course, the special teams play that drew the loudest roar was the 26-yard game-winning field goal by Jason Ricks. It just took awhile to get it kicked, three Kansas State time outs worth of waiting.

"I feel for Jason Ricks," said DeForest. "He's kicked three game winners on the last play and he's been iced three times on the last two of them that he did "It's amazing and he deserves a lot of credit."

"For the most part it was the same, same distance, same holder, same snapper," said Ricks comparing the kick to the game winner over Alabama in the Independence Bowl last season. "The one thing that I didn't think about at the time is being down a point makes it that much harder. Kicking a game winner when the game is tied is a lot less stressful than when the other team has a lead. It's one of those things that I've had trouble with. I've kicked them when the game is tied, but that was a little more stressful. I had three time outs, I figured he'd only call two, but he used all three. I was ready to kick it each time."

Now having seen it done to his kicker and field goal unit twice, calling three time outs to try and ice the specialists, has DeForest thought of how he would handle it on the other end? Would he call three time outs or would he cut it short after one or two?

"We've talked about it as a staff," he said. "That is something we would talk about as a staff and not in public."

What DeForest can talk about in public, and with much more pride after Saturday, is his special teams. The Oklahoma State special teams were truly special Saturday, and hopefully will be for the remainder of the season.

"They decided they wanted to beat Kansas State in the kicking game because of what happened last year and because we hadn't done that well this season," he said.

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