Cowboy Football: Weeden or Cate to Backup?

The headlines from Mike Gundy's first news conference of the season.

No Announcement on Backup Quarterbacks
Gundy said that backup quarterbacks Alex Cate and Brandon Weeden have still not separated themselves from each other and that no announcement on that position will be made before the game. Gundy admitted that feel and game situation would help dictate who would play if it was necessary.

"Watching the remainder of the practices this week," added Gundy of another criteria that could help decide who stands second behind starter Zac Robinson. "We've put them both in the situations and they have done well and they have both made mistakes, which is to be expected by players that don't have much experience. So it would be more of where we at in the game."

The bottom line is that Robinson needs to stay healthy, which means if the game gets out of hand then a decision needs to be made in order to get Robinson off the field.

Other depth chart issues that are clear with the depth chart being released Monday. As thought, David Washington will start at center and Andrew Lewis moves to left guard. Wilson Youman did hang on to the backup spot at tight end behind Brandon Pettigrew.

The receiver starting opposite Dez Bryant is DeMarcus Conner backed up by Artrell Woods. On defense Chris Donaldson has moved into the picture at the three technique tackle position behind Jeray Chatham and right there with Quencey Patrick. Orie Lemon starts at middle linebacker. Perrish Cox won the battle with Maurice Gray to start at cornerback, opposite Jacob Lacey.

Playcalls Come from the Head Coach
As we had been telling you since camp commenced we thought that head coach Mike Gundy would call plays. Gundy announced Monday that he would indeed be the play caller on Saturday in Seattle against Washington State.

"It'll be the same as in the bowl," said Gundy when asked if he would call the plays, and then was asked if he was ready for the added responsibility along with being head coach. "We're going to find out."

Gundy went on to further explain, as Fedora often did, that so many of the decisions on the play calls in the Cowboy offense came directly from the meeting room and many others came from reaction to the defense on game day.

"I've said this before the way our system is run it is really overrated," added Gundy on the duty of play calling. "A lot of what we do is based on reaction and what happens on game day. Myself, I have a lot of faith in those guys in the offensive staff room. I believe in Luper and Trooper and Brewer and Wickline and Meacham. I've said before that they all bring something different to the table. It's fun to be in there with them and the strategy as a coach that is the funest part of being a coach. That is why I am back involved in it. It could change. It could change in a game or at any point."

Gundy added that co-offensive coordinator Gunter Brewer would be up in the press box along with either offensive line coach Joe Wickline or tight ends coach Doug Meacham. On the field with Gundy will be running backs coach Curtis Luper, co-offensive coordinator and receivers coach Trooper Taylor, and either Meacham or Wickline.

Damian Davis To Miss Opener
Sophomore Damian Davis, who was listed on Monday's depth chart at the starting slot receiver position, will not play against Washington State because of a one-game suspension, Gundy said.

Davis is serving the suspension for an unspecified violation of team policy. The sophomore from Mart, Texas was arrested in June and charged with being underage in a bar, in possession of a fake ID, and presenting a fake ID to a police officer.

Listed behind Davis on the depth chart are two players who have never played a major college football game - redshirt freshman Josh Cooper and junior college transfer Bo Bowling.

From the Cowboy Coordinators
Tim Beckman, Defense

There is a lot of uncertainty about just what kind of offense the Cowboys will face with the new staff at Washington State and deciding on whether to go more with their system used at Eastern Washington or changing it to more precisely fit the personnel left them with the Cougars. Either way it will be a spread and Beckman says he knows the spread. It keeps him awake at night like it does all other college defensive coordinators.

"We face one every day," said Beckman of the spread, an offense he made a reputation of stopping at Bowling Green in the MAC. "I think the way that football is progressing you are going to see a lot of this and you are going to see a lot of fast-break offenses. I mean, I just think with going to the 40-second clock and being the NFL time and the ball goes out of bounds and the clock doesn't stop after you mark it and ready for play again. This is what it is becoming. It is a credit to the guys that are doing these kind of offenses. I remember when we first put it in at Bowling Green. It enables teams to compete with teams that are better than they are."

Beckman is definitely pumped up about the start of the season and he feels the entire squad has matured and that means better chance for success on the road and better success in year two of his defensive scheme.

"You're goal is to be a champion and to be a champion you have to win on the road," said Beckman. "I've been blessed to be at places where we were able to do that. If you are going to win a Big 12 Championship you will have to win on the road.

"You know, Robert, it's got to," continued Beckman speaking of the added year of maturity. "The kids have been on the road and they have won three of the last four games on the road and they have a feel for going out (on the road) and winning. As I mentioned earlier, boy, would I like to do what the offense did in the first year with Larry (Fedora) and come out and perform that well in the second year and move it up to being a top-10 defense like they did the offense."

Speaking of maturity, Beckman will send his defense out against a fifth-year senior in Washington State quarterback Gary Rogers. However, Rogers is making his first career start.

"I know that he is a mature fifth-year senior and that they will come into the game with a plan to be successful," said Beckman dismissing the lack of starting and big game experience in Rogers. "They have to because the game revolves so much around the quarterback now. They will have a game plan to be successful. Our whole deal is we have to make sure the Cowboys, the Oklahoma State Cowboys, are better. That is our deal going into the game."

Agreed, this game really doesn't boil down so much to what Washington State does, but what Oklahoma State does. The Cowboys have the continuity and were in a bowl game last season. Oklahoma State is the favorite and needs to go play like it.

Mike Gundy, Offense

Yes, he's the head coach, but Monday he confirmed that he will call plays in the game on Saturday. That makes him as involved as anybody on offense and we will spread this around with Gundy and co-offensive coordinators Gunter Brewer and Trooper Taylor.

Gundy had said he wanted the offense to stay the same following the departure of Larry Fedora to Southern Miss to become the Golden Eagles head coach. The real truth is the offense has never stayed the same since Fedora brought it to Stillwater.

"I think that the best way to put it is the offense that Larry brought in here was a fast-paced, no-huddle offense where we could get the ball to skill players in space," explained Gundy of the beginning. "I think that Coach Meacham and his background in the same kind of system, and Coach Brewer's background in the throwing game, and Coach Luper's background in the option, all of that has been tied together.

"If you look at our offense in the first year and then look at it now, I know the players are different but you will see a different type of attack. There is more running and more play action. I think it has all come together. The system was here and Larry brought it in, but I think everybody has had a stamp on it. Now we are just trying to keep it up and running."

Gundy talks of loving the action in the offensive staff room, which he admitted sometimes gets heated. At the end of the day everybody is on the same page and presents a consistent front to the players and they never come in second guessing or doing the "I told you so" on Sundays. There is something the will always make the offense change and look different and that is new players each year.

"We like the way the system is but it will look a little different every year depending on who is executing it," confirmed the head coach.

In reality it is no longer the Larry Fedora offense, but a hybrid that has the stamp of several coaches on it.

"Luper has a thorough background in option and we ran a lot of option last year," started Gundy citing an example. "Larry (Fedora) didn't run option at Florida, so Luper had a lot to do with that. The play action that I wanted to have a part in and that Larry and I came to agreement on that filters all the way back to Les (Miles). It just keeps working it's way around. Those are things that we all believe in. That is part of being a good coach, listening to what everybody has. In coaching nobody has all the answers."

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