Larry Fedora: KU Will Be A Challenge

You could tell Monday that the Oklahoma State coaching staff wasn't all that excited about picking over the pieces of Saturday's 38-35 loss to Texas, a loss that came after Oklahoma State had held a 35-14 lead with 11:40 left in the game.

On the offensive side there were the accomplishments of quarterback Zac Robinson with a new school record for a single game in passing (430 yards) and total offense (489 yards) and of tight end Brandon Pettigrew (career-high 8 receptions for 87 yards). The problem was when the Cowboys needed most to finish a drive with a touchdown and to continue to burn time off the clock they couldn't do it.

Credit Texas with making some key plays, like the corner blitz that pressured and restricted the vision of Robinson on the Cowboys last offensive play of the game. Dantrell Savage was wide open, but Robinson couldn't get him the ball and Jason Ricks missed a 32-yard field goal on the next play.

Give Texas credit for having more depth, and offensive coordinator Larry Fedora was able to add it up when grading the video on Sunday.

"I think we had something like 91 snaps (on offense) in the game, and you have Brandon Pettigrew who is playing the entire game, and Adarius Bowman who is playing an entire game," Fedora said. "Fortunately we are able to roll some with Dantrell, but the offensive linemen are playing the entire game and they (Texas) were rolling guys (in and out of the lineup), and I think we kind of got wore down in a way. I also think Texas is good and they stepped up and they made plays in the fourth quarter when they knew what they needed to do. We didn't make enough plays. We just didn't do it."

It's easy to beat up the offense, and the offensive line is always an easier target because people don't eyeball their work quite as closely. Fedora and his offensive staff do and he wasn't pointing fingers, at least not at the offensive line.

"As an entire unit I thought they did a great job, especially considering the guys they were matched up against," said Fedora. "I thought they did a good job and gave us a chance to win the football game. You know we had just one sack, and that was on a missed assignment by the quarterback to be honest with you. He didn't see the signal correctly and he made a protection call that screwed up the whole thing, so I think he just tried to take off. I thought our linemen and backs both did a great job in protection."

Fedora was more than ready for the conversation to move to Kansas. The Jayhawks deserve the credit that goes with their 9-0 record and number four ranking in the BCS. But honestly, they have yet to face an offense as powerful as the Cowboys. Last season the Cowboys ran up 603 yards of offense, 411 yards passing, against the KU defenders. Bowman had 13 receptions for 300 yards in the 42-32 win in Lawrence

Fedora says any kind of repeat of that will be difficult. Kansas may not have played any offenses as strong as Oklahoma State's, but they are allowing opponents only 288.3 yards of offense a game, just 77.7 yards of rushing, and 13.4 points per game.

"They play harder," said Fedora of the Kansas defenders. "They have a lot more confidence. They are pretty much doing the same things. That was something last year where momentum got going our way, things just started clicking, and it snowballed on them before they knew it. I would imagine the game won't go that way."

They also have a component on their defense every school would like to have, but there are too few really good defensive tackles to go around.

Better than the A&M guys?"Yes, yes," answered Fedora. "I'm just telling you the guy is a really good football player."

McClinton leads all Big 12 defensive tackles in tackles for loss with 9.5. The 6-1, 285-pound McClinton has 33 tackles total, 2.5 sacks, and an interception.

That KU defense also has a lock down cornerback in Aquib Talib and a really good middle linebacker in Joe Mortensen. The other parts aren't bad and while the Cowboys represent the Jayhawks biggest challenge this season as a defense, they are right up there as a challenge for the Cowboys.

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