Tim Beckman: Finishing It In November

There were only three practices last week but even in down time players were challenged to get things done, watch some extra Texas tape, get ahead on academics, anything and everything to get ready for a successful finish in November. On the defensive side of the ball, where a lot of improvement has occurred but more is needed, did it get done?

"I think so, the big thing was to get the linebackers healthy because we had quite a few kids that were dinged up," said OSU defensive coordinator Tim Beckman. "Working on the pass defense is something that we're striving on constantly, so we got to do some extra duty work on that stuff."

It does appear that the linebacker health has improved dramatically from the situation following the Kansas State game. Head coach Mike Gundy is not commenting, and neither are his assistant coaches, on who is or is not going to be ready to play against Texas, but it does look better.

Pass defense needed extra work as last season Texas quarterback Colt McCoy had a huge night against the Cowboys throwing for 346 yards and three touchdowns. McCoy is down a couple of receivers from that night including standout Limas Sweed, out for the year with a knee injury. However, the Cowboys best not forget to ready their run defense because Jamaal Charles cranked it up good last Saturday with 290 yards, more than 200 in the fourth quarter, in a comeback win over Nebraska.

"They are very talented and I had a chance to coach against them the last two years at Ohio State, and they have a lot of people that are back," started Beckman in talking about Texas. "Charles gave us (Ohio State) a little bit of a problem last season. It was Colt's (McCoy) second game to start, so you can see a lot of improvement by both of them since last season. They are both fine football players and the offensive line is extremely good, big and can run. The wide receivers are big and can run."

Hey, maybe there's an advantage here as Beckman has been seeing so many of the Cowboys opponents for the first time coming from Big 10 and MAC country, but Texas is a familiar team for him.

"I don't know if it is an advantage or not," answered Beckman. "They are a good football team and that is the bottom line. You know who you are playing against and you have to go out there and hit on all cylinders."

Another event of the open week on the schedule was family night, normally that is Wednesday when the players are joined at training table by the coaches' families. During the open week the players joined the coaches and their families at their table.

"We had them over to our houses and I think that is great during the off week," added Beckman. "They eat the meal with my wife, Tyler, Alex, and Lindsay. We sat around and played Xbox Halo 3, which Ricky Price is the man. Nobody could beat him on that. It was good I guess for them to get away from us a little bit, but we believe in the family-type deal and we like the kids to be around us. We have a good time when we are around each other."

Beckman is a good guy to be around this time of year, a good person for the Cowboys to be around. Six of the past seven years he has been on the coaching staff of a school that was ranked in the Top 25 and fighting for a conference championship. Or, the case of the past two years he has been on the staff of a team fighting for the national championship at Ohio State. He has been where the Cowboys are looking to go this November and he can hopefully lend some sound advice.

"I hope so," said Beckman. "That's why I am in this profession and I have been blessed to be around good people. It's not just Ohio State, but four of the last five years at Bowling Green where we were in the Top 25. I hope so. We talked about it on Sunday when they (players) came back, being in the hunt, taking care of your business, and that it's up to you now. It is up to you to finish. It is great to be in this position. This is where you want to be going into November."

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