Robert Allen's Cowboy Football Report Executive Editor Robert Allen offers a variety of thoughts and opinions leading up to Oklahoma State's game Saturday against Baylor in Waco, Texas.

Head Coach has Baylor in his Background
When Mike Gundy ventured away from Oklahoma State for the first time after playing for the Cowboys, he left OSU head coach Bob Simmons' staff to join a Baylor staff led by head coach Chuck Reedy. Gundy eventually called the plays that season and helped Baylor set several offensive records, But that staff that also included Larry Fedora, Darrell Wyatt and Trooper Taylor did not survive and was fired at the end of the season for a 5-6 record.

Gundy was asked what he learned about his Baylor experience. "To not be newly married with a baby and buy a new house in this profession," answered Gundy. "It's the one thing I learned."

Truth be told, Gundy left Baylor with a sour taste in his mouth, not only over being on a staff that was fired but for being held hostage by the Baylor administration and the new coach that used Gundy and the assistants to hold down the program while the new coach assembled his staff. They were promised an opportunity to be on the new staff but were never interviewed.

Gundy was fortunate as he eventually caught on with Maryland. He was recommended to then Terps head coach Ron Vanderlinden by Les Miles.
Bears Are More Dangerous Than You Might Think
Okay, Baylor is 3-3 overall and 0-2 in the Big 12 and playing without their stud quarterback Robert Griffin, but don't dismiss the Bears completely. Baylor still has two All-Big 12 caliber defensive players in linebacker Joe Pawelek and safety Jordan Lake. Penn State transfer defensive tackle Phil Taylor is a junior and a very good defensive block up front.

On offense, the Bears have some playmakers like wide receiver David Gettis, running back Jarred Salubi (OSU recruited), inside receiver Kendall Wright, and a really good center in J.D. Walton.

"They've continued to improve each year, in our opinion," said head coach Mike Gundy. "Offensively, they're very similar to what they were last year; a lot of run, pass option, a lot of screens, a lot of tunnels to get the ball to the perimeter.

"Then defensively, they're going to put everybody in the box and try to stop the run and it's fortunate to throw the football. There are some similarities from that perspective. I don't want to say that Robert Griffin is not an explosive player because I think he is. I also know that the other guy that's stepped in there has made some plays for them. So I'm not going to take anything away from Robert Griffin, but I think our defense understands the run-pass threat.

"No. 3 and No. 1 on the perimeter as explosive as they are and the backs; they've got good backs. The quarterback's an operator in the style of offense that Coach Briles runs. Just as an outsider looking in, their quarterback is an operator and he seems to be getting better at it."

Gundy and Oklahoma State fans might not agree with him, but safety and Waco native Victor Johnson said he would prefer to go against Robert Griffin.

"There's no doubt I wish he was playing," said Johnson, who attended Waco High School and played against Griffin when the Baylor star was at Copperas Cove. "I played Robert all through high school and I wish he was still playing. Robert and I ran track against each other, we played football against each other and basketball. If I see him down in Waco, I'll have a conversation with him."

Co-offensive coordinator Gunter Brewer knows what the offense is up against as they will see a defense loaded up to stop the run.

"Baylor is an eight-man front football team," said Brewer. "They can balance you up and they have some players that I think anybody in this league would like to have. They've had their quarterback injured which has caused a little struggle, which if we ever lost Zac you'd see the same thing. They've responded well, they play hard and they run to the football. We're looking forward to going down there for the early kickoff and seeing what we can do."

Defensive end Jermiah Price is determined to see what he and his teammates can do. Price has the right attitude, says the right things, and leads you to believe the Cowboys won't be overconfident.

"You can't overlook it because your next opponent is your best opponent," said Price. "You've got to go out and play great regardless. Otherwise, you're going to get beat."

For Baylor it is homecoming, the school' 77th, and like at Oklahoma State it is a special event. Add to that the fact that Baylor had one primary goal this season, to get to six wins and be bowl eligible. Now after losing to Iowa State 24-10 last week and slipping to 3-3 on the season that goal is in danger.

"We are halfway to our goal of getting to a bowl game but at the same time, we are halfway through the season," said Baylor quarterback Blake Syzmanski. "There is still a lot of football to be played. Six games is a lot of football. We are just going to take one game at a time. We have Oklahoma State this week and we are going to go out there and prepare to beat them and show up on Saturday a little more focused and disciplined.

Baylor head coach Art Briles had a win over Gundy and Oklahoma State during Gundy's second season as a head coach when Briles was in Houston. He has seen the OSU program advance and improve.

"They've been good for a while," said Briles. "The last two or three years, (Oklahoma State senior QB Zac) Robinson has been key. He's (Robinson) done a great job for them and, in my opinion, I thought going into this season he was an underrated quarterback in the (Big 12).

"I think, production-wise, he has been as good as anyone in the last couple of years. He's the guy that makes everything go for them. The running back (Keith) Toston is a big strong kid that moves around well and carries out their scheme for them. They have a good scheme; good strong tempo and they've been very productive on the offensive side of the ball since he took over the reins."

Bill Young Lovefest
There was a lot of talk about the adjustments that were made by the Cowboys defense at halftime against Missouri, and the motivational message during intermission that defensive coordinator Bill Young gave to his defenders. Young gives credit on the adjustments to his staff and particularly the coach in the box, linebackers coach Glenn Spencer. As for the other, he just says he told the team they had to be more physical and tackle better.

Price said when Young speaks the defense listens. "I love Coach Young, I love the way he coaches, and I would play for him anywhere," said Price. "I'm serious, I think he is a great coach."

"I don't know how much I owe him for saying all of that," said Young laughing when told of Price's comments. "It is these players. They are getting better everyday. They are really getting good and they deserve the credit. We've got a bunch of guys that are playing really well.

"Perrish Cox may be as good as any corner in the conference. Andre Sexton is playing like we expected him to. He was a great player last year and he's certainly living up to that. He was player of the game this last week. Orie Lemon was a guy we thought would step in there and do really well and Donald Booker has stepped in and really played well. Pat Lavine, the veteran guys that we thought would play are playing as good as we thought. Burton is doing a heck of a job. I think last week was Swanson Miller's best game so far. It goes on and on. We're certainly not a finished product, but we're getting better every week."

Kendall and Dez: When and Where (and With Dez If)
Nobody knows. Seriously, there are plenty of guesses. The consensus is that the NCAA will let OSU know sometime after this Wednesday that wide receiver Dez Bryant will be reinstated for the Colorado game. Now how that wound up getting a consensus I have no clue. Mike Gundy says he has no idea and the compliance department can't give a timetable either.

Wide receiver Hubert Anyiam did say that when Dez comes back the offense will not have to adjust. It will take off.

"Dez is really happy for us," said Anyiam. "He always has wanted us to play well and he is really happy with what we are doing. Now when he comes back, we will really take off because Dez will know he doesn't have to do it all and the double team on him will be gone and we will all open up the running game and Kendall will come back and take the pressure off Keith Toston and Beau (Johnson). We will be really explosive."

Speaking of Kendall coming back. It sounds like Kendall is really close, but maybe still far all at the same time.

"Yes, for sure," said Gundy of Hunter's return. "He has practiced the last two weeks. We expect him to practice out there today. His injury is day-to-day based on how he feels after practice with the workload we've given him. His workload has been increasing each week and discussion took place yesterday for about five seconds. I think, medically, he's OK. I think they've said, ‘You can play.' He has to feel like he can go out there and work is really what it's come down to."

Gundy hasn't said this to the media as a whole, but he has said he is really pleased with this coaching staff, along with the team, for all they have done and accomplished the last several weeks fighting off the impact of the all the injuries and the distractions.

"We hope that our plan and our scheme is far enough along that we have some variation," said GUndy getting more technical. "The thing you always worry about as a coach is, ‘Is your plan for the week good enough and then can your players step up and make some plays?' Ultimately it comes down to having the scheme that gives you a chance and then enough repetition the players have a chance to have success and then they've got to make plays.

"We're continuing to get a little better, but, as I said earlier, we've still got a ways to go. We've got some developing to do up front. We've got some guys on the perimeter that don't have a lot of experience, but they are making some plays for us."

"We're giving confidence to all the younger players.," said Anyiam. "DeMarcus Conner and I have been here and we're just letting everybody know that we've got to step up and make the offense that much more explosive. I feel that we are an athletic group. We're more into the offense than we were before. A lot of people two years ago were just watching. I can be co-offensive player in the Big 12 this week, it can be Justin Blackmon next week, it could Tracy Moore next week or it could be Dameron Fooks next week."

Back to Waco for Perrish and Victor
Remember the summer of 2006 and the billboard ads that showed up in Texas. They were placed in College Station, Dallas, Houston, and Waco. The ads had Mike Gundy with the team behind him and read, "Coach Gundy wants you." The ads were for season tickets but in this case they were also for a message to Waco University High School standout Perrish Cox.

Cox would pick the Cowboys in a tight recruiting battle over LSU. Now a senior, Cox is joined by fellow Wacoite and sophomore safety Victor Johnson. Cox says this week is their homecoming game.

"It means a lot to go home to my friends and family, I couldn't ask for anything better," said Cox. "For Victor Johnson and me, everybody wants to see us play and it will feel good to be home."

It will for Johnson too. Johnson says he really wasn't a Baylor fan growing up. "I really wasn't a Baylor fan," said Johnson. "A lot of my friends from high school signed with Baylor. They kind of got me looking at Baylor. I never was a Baylor fan, but I like Baylor."

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