Cowboys Have Plenty Of Work Ahead

Oklahoma State head coach Mike Gundy did not have a teleconference with the media Sunday afternoon. There was no game to rehash or get another viewpoint on after the off Saturday. Gundy and at least seven of his staff were on the road over the Thursday through Saturday period for the Cowboys final fall evaluation days for recruiting.

However, as of Saturday night Gundy and his staff knew they had plenty of work to do. Oklahoma sent a message to the Big 12, the BCS, the pollsters, the computers, and anybody else that was around a television Saturday night, that they want to be in Kansas City to defend their Big 12 Championship and that if they are going to try and shake off their BCS Bowl bugaboo then they would just as soon do it in the BCS national championship game.

The Sooners' 65-21 thrashing of unbeaten Texas Tech was impressive enough to send Gundy and his staff into an all day video studying and chalk-talk think tank on how to solve the Sooners.

Oklahoma crushed Tech to the tune of 625 yards of total offense to 406 yards for Tech (and most of that came in a garbage period fourth quarter). Oklahoma ran for 299 yards with DeMarco Murray (125) and Chris Brown (108) doing most of the damage. They didn't really have to pass, but they did for 326 yards.

Oklahoma has now scored 58 points (K-State), 62 points (Nebraska), 66 points (Texas A&M), and 65 points (Texas Tech) in its last four games. Their two lowest outputs of the year were 35 points twice -- once in a win at home against TCU and the other in the Cotton Bowl in the loss to Texas.

So what has to happen for Bedlam to be successful and the Cowboys use the game to spring into a Cotton Bowl date with what now looks like Ole Miss?

Start with the Cowboy offense coming out of the two-game hibernation it's been on. Oklahoma State needs to get back into the 50s after a 56-20 loss at Texas Tech and the 30-17 win over Colorado.

The OSU offense needs to be clicking on all cylinders with Kendall Hunter, Keith Toston, and Zac Robinson in the run game. Option, speed option, zones, zone read option, and everything else in the playbook needs to be ready to go. The passing game has to fly with plenty of Dez Bryant, Brandon Pettigrew, and all of the other receiving threats set to contribute.

The Cowboys need to be relaxed and ready to put up their best offensive output of the season.

On defense the Cowboys have to be run stop first. Stop the Oklahoma running game, which Texas really did, and you have a chance to keep the Sooners in the reasonable range. Give up the run and unlock the door to their entire playbook and it is trouble. Just ask Tech defensive coordinator Ruffin McNeil. Force OU to pass and they will have some success but they will also give you opportunities for stops and likely a turnover or two.

Special teams need to be special and sensible. Last night in Norman Leach was firing out ridiculous decisions like going for it on fourth down instead of kicking field goals and punting. Tech started the second half with an onside kick that gave OU great field position. You have to be smart with what you do and then use your weapons, which Oklahoma State has, to the absolute fullest.

Every kick and punt return needs to be looked at as a scoring opportunity. Field goals and extra points must be perfect. Matt Fodge needs to be at his Ray Guy Award semifinalist best and the cover units on punts and kicks need to be stout.

The Cowboy fans will do their job and they should have the best numbers advantage in Boone Pickens Stadium that they have ever had. The athletic department ticket policy will insure that even though that was not what it was designed to do, just a nice by product of it. Of the estimated crowd of 48,000, you can reasonably expect a split of 38,000 OSU fans to 10,000 OU fans.

Most of all, the Cowboys need to be loose. Have fun with the chance to knock off another top-10 opponent. The Cowboys have had that opportunity three other times this season and made good on the one at Missouri. The reason may have been because they went in loose and just had fun playing ball. The situations at Texas and Texas Tech were tighter as the Cowboys were now playing for a shot at the BCS title game. That shot is no longer there. The pressure in on Oklahoma. The Cowboys have plenty to play for but the biggest reasons need to be for fun and for each other.

In the words of actor Sean Connery, "It's do-able. It won't be easy, but it's do-able."

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