Lewis, Cowboys Are Ready For Bulldogs

Andrew Lewis walked into Sanford Stadium at Georgia nearly two years ago for the first start of his collegiate career. It was to be the first of 26 consecutive starts for the Oklahoma State offensive lineman over the next two years. But with Saturday's opener against Georgia once again, the Cowboys' starting center hasn't forgotten what it felt like walking off the field after the 35-14 loss.

The 6-foot-5, 290-pound Lewis is one of three senior linemen who have combined for 91 starts for the Cowboys over their careers. Lewis and offensive tackles Russell Okung and Brady Bond and the remainder of the offense must play better than it did two years ago for the ninth-ranked Cowboys to defeat No. 13 Georgia on Saturday. OSU's offense generated just 266 total yards, was 3-of-13 on third-down conversions and allowed five sacks of quarterbacks Bobby Reid and Zac Robinson.

Lewis visited with GoPokes.com on Monday about his newfound notoriety (after appearing on the cover of Sports Illustrated with Robinson), the upcoming season opener with the Bulldogs, and much more.

How has your life changed the last three weeks since you've become a Sports Illustrated coverboy?
Lewis: (laughing) I've had a lot of people come up to me asking for autographs and wanting to talk about it. It's been really fun. I'm glad I got an opportunity to do that.

How many autographs do you give on the average day?
Lewis: I'd say I probably give 5 to 10 autographs a day on the magazine, and some people have posters they want me to sign. I probably average 5 to 10 a day.

How many did you give out a day before you were on the the Sports Illustrated cover?
Lewis: The only autographs I did were on Fan Appreciation Day. It's kind of funny seeing all the people who want your autograph now.

Have you had to work on your penmanship to make sure people could read your autograph?
Lewis: I've been making it a little bit nicer and a little bit neater so they can read it.

How much fun as that been for you?
Lewis: It has been. I mean not many people ever get a chance to ever be on the cover of Sports Illustrated. Me and Zac getting an opportunity to do that is really special for both of us.

Do you think being on the cover of Sports Illustrated puts a bull's-eye on this team's chest now?
Lewis: No, I just look at is as a great opportunity to give Oklahoma State a little bit of coverage. We haven't gotten some in the past and I think that kind of put us on the map. I think it's more helpful than putting a bull's eye on us.

Did you expect to be playing in this type of game that is going to be televised nationally and receive national media attention when you signed with Oklahoma State five years ago?
Lewis: I'd hoped to be. It's good that this time has finally come. It's just a great opportunity for us to play Georgia, and it's going to be real exciting this week.

What type of talent are you expecting to face on the Georgia defensive line?
Lewis: They're really physical, they like to finish, and they've got a lot of speed on the defensive line. We've been watching them for the last three weeks now and they're a really tough defense, and we're really looking forward to playing them.

How do you counter the speed they have on the defensive line?
Lewis: There's a lot of speed but our offensive line is not just big, fat, overweight guys. I think we've got a great scheme, so we'll see if we can score some points on them.

Did the team enjoy the 10 days of not having to deal with the media?
Lewis: Yeah, it was nice to really just having to focus on the Georgia game and not having to worry about this happened, this happened and this happened. I think it was a good decision. I think everybody was just getting bogged down with the media. Every day after practice Dez would be out there for 30 to 45 minutes at a time. He has a life too. So I think it was a good decision to keep the media away for a week so we could just focus on the game.

How were practices during that time?
Lewis: We had great practices.

What do you remember about the trip to Georgia two years ago?
Lewis: I remember it was my first start ever as a college football player. I remember it was really loud there. I remember that they were really fast and a really aggressive defense. I remember coming out of there I didn't want to have that feeling again. It was a bad feeling to start off the season losing our first game.

Do you remember that first snap?
Lewis: I remember the first snap. I remember the call. I remember a lot about that game.

How is this team different than the team two years ago, and why should OSU fans expect a different result?
Lewis: First of all, we've got more talent than we did two years ago. I thought we had a lot of talent two years ago but I think we've got even more talent this year. I think we're closer as a team. We had some individuals back then but I think we're more consistent, and more team chemistry. We hang out a lot together away from the football field.

What message would you like to give to Oklahoma State fans who will be attending Saturday's game against Georgia?
Lewis: I don't think we can seat as many people as they can at Georgia but I wish our fans would be loud and crazy to show them what kind of fans we have at Oklahoma State.

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