From The Coordinator: Tim Beckman

The final play from scrimmage last Saturday in Lubbock had Texas leading 33-32 with eight seconds left. Texas Tech quarterback Graham Harrell hits star wide receiver Michael Crabtree, who eludes the Texas tackler and gets in the end zone. Texas Tech wins. Good play call by the offense? Bad play call by the defense? Both? Neither? What was it?

"It was a great throw and a great catch and they did a good job," said Oklahoma State defensive coordinator Tim Beckman. "To me it was a great offensive call and a great defensive call and they just happened to make the play."

Okay, so defensive coordinators are now calling more than just fronts and coverage. Give the defensive coordinators some credit here, with all the spread offenses and sophisticated offense being strut out on the field, defensive coordinators are now really calling plays themselves to put one of their playmakers at the point of attack, where they can get to the ball, even take the ball.

"We're trying to figure them out," said Beckman, who is getting more and more praise from his players for putting them in position to make plays.

The Cowboys defenders are really believing in the calls coming down from the press box on game day. "You do the same thing an offense does and try to get your players in position to make a play," Beckman said.

There is as much thought put into the defensive call as there is the offensive call, although most football fans haven't always paid that much attention to it and given that credit to defensive play calling.

"It's gotta be," said Beckman almost chuckling at our line of questioning. "You are trying to put your players in position to make plays. Ten years ago when I was a coordinator I was trying to call it the same way. I don't know if it is any different than it was then but you are trying to get your players in position to be successful. If we do, then good for us."

It is those opportunities that the week of practice prepares the players for, and those calls made on game day that will help decide the game. Beckman knows against an offense like Texas Tech every play counts, every call he makes.

"It's going to come down to what the Cowboys do," said Beckman. "To me these games come down to five or six plays and you have to make those plays. Against Missouri I thought we had five or six plays that we made to win the game. Against Texas we didn't make those plays. To be successful we have to make plays and do that as often as we can."

In the defensive line the Cowboys must get some pressure on Harrell.

"We are going to do what we do and try to create some things for our players to be successful," said Beckman. "We'll be planning on trying to do some things to help our kids get to the quarterback as fast as they can."

Another concern is Tech's new, improved running game featuring nearly 135 yards rushing a game from the likes of Shannon Woods or Aaron Crawford.

"This year both running backs are doing a good job of carrying the football and catching the ball out of the backfield," said Beckman. "That offensive line is big, strong and they are playing with that aggressive attitude that you like. Running the football has really made them two dimensional."

It comes down to stopping an offense that while it looks sophisticated is much different than you think. Given the choice, Beckman called it simple.

"Simply effective," answered the Cowboys' defensive coordinator. "They put their players in great position to be successful and they have a quarterback that can get them the football. They have recruited for their system and they have done a great job of it."

Now the Cowboys need to do a great job in stopping it.

GoPokes Top Stories