Will Cowboys Overlook Missouri State Bears?

STILLWATER – One of Mike Gundy's top priorities this week isn't going to be finding a replacement for Lucien Antoine in the secondary or keeping wide receiver Dez Bryant from reading all his press clippings. The Oklahoma State head coach's main job will be keeping his Cowboys focused for Saturday night's game against NCAA Football Subdivision opponent Missouri State.

OSU's players have access to the Internet, read the newspapers and watch television, so despite Missouri State playing in the NCAA's Football Subdivision (formerly Division I-AA) and no official line being set for the game by Las Vegas odds makers, the Cowboys know they will be huge favorites for the 6:05 p.m. kickoff at Boone Pickens Stadium. They also realize that the Bearcats lost their season opener last Thursday to Division II Washburn (Kans.) University, 35-27.

Is there a chance the Cowboys could be overlooking the Bears? "I think you always have that chance, and as a coach and a coaching staff it's our responsibility to remind them," said OSU head coach Mike Gundy. "We've talked about this a lot.

"I know it's different depending upon who you play and where you play, but with the limited number of scholarships, the spread offenses, the no-huddle (offenses), and all the zones blitzes and things defenses are doing, things happen. Games are much more exciting," Gundy continued.

"I don't know if you guys have noticed it but the return game now, kickoff and punt returns, is much different now than the last three or four years, even the last two years, and it's because of fatigue. The players are on the move all the time, the skill players are getting more plays, you cover more field space and you're having to cover more field area, and you're seeing more return games go way up. When that happens it just makes for a more exciting game, and those are things that if you don't take care of and make sure you are sound, they can get you beat."

Cowboy defensive end Jamie Blatnick said Monday that he won't have any trouble being ready to play when the Cowboys take the field.

"You would think it would be harder to get motivated but it's really not because you don't have many opportunities to play ballgames each year. There are only 12 games," said Blatnick, who saw more action in Saturday night's 56-37 victory over Houston than he did in the season opener.

"Not being motivated for a game is just ludicrous. It just doesn't make sense to not be motivated to play a game especially in front of your home crowd in a new stadium," said Blatnick.

Gundy would like nothing better than for the Cowboys to get a huge lead over the Bears allowing the coaching staff to get playing time for some of the team's younger, inexperienced players.

"If we ever were lucky enough to get in position to play some other players, we'd certainly do it. We were getting ready to do it Saturday, but (Houston) went down and scored with 6:30 (left in the game) … so we didn't do it," he said.

"But if we ever have that luxury we do it for two reasons. It's not important for us to run the score up on anybody, if we're ever good enough to do that. Secondly, the guys that have practiced and paid the price deserve to be in the game."

Zac Robinson has taken every snap at quarterback for the Cowboys in the first two games of the 2008 season, but that may change against Missouri State.

"I guess if it happens, (Alex) Cate would go in because he's next," Gundy said. "He's been here longer, but he's not a guy that we're saying is our second-team quarterback right now. We'd like to get both of them some work."

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