Tim Beckman: Sooners Look As Good As Ever

You've heard the phrase All-Bus Team. It's used to describe a football team that looks like world beaters when they arrive at the stadium and step off the bus. Oklahoma is that All-Bus Team that usually lives up to their appearance, and this season have always lived up to it at home.

Oklahoma has big offensive linemen, big and sleek running backs, tall and fleet wide receivers, and three of the better tight ends in a tight end-loaded Big 12 Conference. The quarterback, Sam Bradford, is number one in the nation in passing efficiency. Yes, he looks good too.

"They definitely look the part and when you watch them on film they play the part," said Cowboys defensive coordinator Tim Beckman of what he thinks is a very good looking team physically. "Big up front and they can run on the perimeter. They have some outstanding running backs. It's not just one but it's a bunch.

"The quarterback has just been playing exceptional in getting things done the way they need to get them done to be successful. There is a reason why they are rated in the top 10 and that is that they have very good players and they are very well coached."

In the Cowboys favor is the fact that Oklahoma came out of Lubbock, Texas last Saturday not only losing the game to Texas Tech 34-27, but with a long list of injuries. They include quarterback Sam Bradford (concussion), running back DeMarco Murray (dislocated kneecap), and wide receiver Adron Tennell (torn ACL). Murray and Tennell will be out for the Bedlam game, but Beckman has to prepare as if Bradford will play, right?

"Sure, and as I always talk to you about Robert, we have to take care of the Cowboys and make sure we can do what we can do," said Beckman. "We've simplified things so much the past few weeks since we've had a number of linebackers that haven't been playing.

"We've played with Andre Sexton really as a linebacker in our nickel package. We have to take care of what we can do well. A couple of big plays really hurt us on Saturday (at Baylor). We need to do what we can do and make sure we are successful."

While things may be changing for the Sooners because of injuries, things will definitely be changing for the Cowboys as they will get a valuable senior defender back in linebacker Jeremy Nethon. Nethon played a few plays against Baylor, but on Saturday at OU he will get his most extensive action since a bad ankle sprain against Kansas State. Nethon is an emotional player that will help along with seniors like Donovan Woods, Rod Johnson, Nathan Peterson, and Marque Fountain.

"I know he is a senior and it's his last big game against Oklahoma," said Beckman. "It'll be great to get him back and get him back full speed. The main thing is he hasn't been able to get reps in practice and it is hard to go out and play in the game when you haven't had reps in practice. He'll be well needed and somebody we can lean on Saturday."

Beckman will be coaching in his first Bedlam game but he has been a part of the Ohio State-Michigan rivalry the past two years coaching under Jim Tressel with the Buckeyes. He was also part of the Iron Bowl between Alabama and Auburn while coaching at Auburn, and he followed his dad around in the NFL when he was coaching at Cleveland in a little pro football rivalry between the Browns and the Pittsburgh Steelers.

Beckman knows rivalry football, and he knows the extra emotion in a rivalry can really benefit a defense. He's counting on Nethon in his return, and those other senior and underclass defenders to wear their emotions on their jersey sleeves and use them.

"Whenever you are playing against Oklahoma and it's in a rivalry game it is always good to show that emotion," he said.

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