The defense proved it could match up with a high-powered, ranked spread offense and a Heisman Trophy-contending quaterback with the performance at Missouri. The confidence of that 28-23 win and the turnovers forced at Missouri seemingly led to last Saturday's dominant performance over an improved Baylor offense and freshman sensation at quarterback in Robert Griffin.
But now it's another Heisman contender in quarterback Colt McCoy and top-ranked Texas and its runaway offense.
It all starts with McCoy, who is averaging 323.6 yards of total offense a game. McCoy is winner, flat out. He is that guy that as a kid was either one of the captains choosing teams or he was always the first pick.
"I see great leadership from him. He plays like a coach on the field," said Beckman after watching more tape earlier Monday. "He makes great decisions. The play he made against Missouri where he fumbled it and it popped up in his hands and he threw a strike 18 yards down the field shows what kind of player he is. This is my third year to play him and I've seen him progress as a quarterback each year."
McCoy was their number one running threat but that has changed some in the past two weeks. Texas is actually running the ball better since the injury knocking out tight end Blaine Irby. They have scrapped their tight end formations and are majoring in four wide sets and despite conventional wisdom are running the ball better.
"They are getting one more skill player on that football field which is something Texas has a lot of," explained Beckman. "I think they are great coaches and they do a great job of scheming and they realized they lost a great football player (Blaine Irby) at tight end and they felt the thing they needed to do was go with four wide and it has worked for them.
"The last two games they have put up a lot of points and a lot of yards against two nationally ranked teams. All those folks that think they might change it up against OSU and start grinding it out up the middle against a defense that has shown a lot of speed may be surprised.
"I expect to see what they have been successful with lately," said Beckman. "Colt has done a great job and their running game has been good the last two weeks and it has progressed even further than anticipated."
Speaking of progressing that is what the Oklahoma State defense has done in handling Missouri well and then really dominating Baylor and Griffin.
What's up, Coach Beck? Why is the defense playing so well? "I think the players," said Beckman.
"It goes back to the players and I know I say that a lot, but they are the ones out there playing. We are doing a good job of studying our opponents and we are playing with great and outstanding effort and those are the things that we preach. We have tackled well in space and we have played with outstanding effort. We are just giving them a plan and they are playing the well in that plan."
So what is the plan for Texas? Hey, if Texas isn't changing, then why should the Cowboys?
"We have to concerned with taking care of the Cowboys and what we do," said Beckman. "I know you guys are tired of hearing it, but that is what I have learned being around Urban Meyer, Jim Tressel and Mike Gundy. You need to take care of the Cowboys first, do what we do well, and go out there and perform it on Saturday."
Yes, the defensive coordinator said his players remember what happened with Texas last year in the fourth quarter of the 38-35 loss to the Longhorns. They all remember and so does he. That game haunted Beckman all spring and summer. This Saturday can't erase it but it can distance that memory, which Beckman clearly remember what happened to his defense.
"Fundamentals were shot, we didn't tackle well, and we didn't contain the quarterback when he was scrambling around making plays," said the defensive coordinator.
Don't expect that melt down to repeat. Expect this group of Cowboy defenders to compete and make it a memorable afternoon. How memorable, we'll all have to watch and see.
From The Coordinator: Tim Beckman
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