Cowboy Football: Sunday Rewind?

Nothing to rewind today as the it is quiet Sunday afternoon around the Oklahoma State football offices. There were no players around, except a few stopping in to watch some video of Washington State. All the coaches are in participating in last minute work before completing the game plan and introducing the final pieces to the team on Monday.

Most of the game plan is in and the team has been working in varying degrees against scout teams practicing the past two weeks for what they expect Washington State to do on offense, defense, and special teams. That has been mixed in with work against themselves in general preparation for the season.

So what is that game plan? I don't know, but this is a fun time to play coach and throw out what I would do. You can play along too and also speculate on how you would go about attacking the Cougars. I realize special teams is important but I'll leave the schemes there to Joe DeForest and company. I'll keep it simple and stick to offense and defense.

Let's start on offense. I realize that new head coach Paul Wulff and his staff are bringing in new schemes. On offense they are very multiple and based on what they did at Eastern Washington last season in making it to the FCS quarterfinals they would like to throw the ball close to 80 percent of the time or more.

On defense they are again very multiple with a mix of four- and five-man fronts and a heavy lean toward nickel and dime packages. A lot of the time they look like Oklahoma State's defenses did under Bill Clay with the 4-2-5. They move around a lot and will do plenty in the disguise department.

When running against a multiple defense that is not necessarily huge up front then my first preference is to always run the football. The Cowboys have a talented and strong offensive line. They have slippery Kendall Hunter, speedy and strong Beau Johnson, and a good combination of the two and an outstanding receiver out of the backfield in Keith Toston. I'm not looking to press the issue a lot with Zac Robinson but the Cowboys quarterback is capable of chipping in with a few runs.

The Cougars were 67th in rushing defense last season against a schedule of teams that don't always run the football. Against the real running teams on their schedule they allowed USC to run for 215 yards, Arizona went for 221, Oregon for 255, and Oregon State 257 yards.

Oklahoma State is a better rushing team than any of those schools. In the bowl game the Cowboys established the run on Indiana and then when the Hoosiers pressed their defense forward the Cowboys hurt them over the top.

Defensively, I would apply pressure. The Cougars have a good offensive crew. The quarterback is inexperienced but physically talented. They have a few running backs, a nice tight end, and a big play wide receiver.

The problem is they are running a new system and it takes time. The quarterback, Gary Rogers, threw three picks in their final scrimmage. Apply pressure and see if you can't force mistakes born out of running a new system with a new staff.

The Cowboys have speed, lots of it, and with speed comes the ability to fly around. The Oklahoma State defense needs to shoot for picking up more frequent flyer miles than just those they get from flying their American Airlines charter out to Seattle.

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