The first thing that jumps out at you when you are lookikng up at 6-5, 330-pound Russell Okung, the All-American left tackle for Oklahoma State, is his mass.
He's strikingly similar to Ole Miss RT Bobby Massie in that he's just plain, old big.
"I get that a lot," Okung, a softspoken young man, said. "You get used to it."
Okung, along with Cowboy QB Zac Robinson, has become the offensive leader on the team since the departure of All-American WR Dez Bryant.
And he's a good spokesman - articulate and accomodating.
"We are very excited to be here," said Okung about the Cotton Bowl. "We are a lot like Ole Miss in that we didn't finish the season the way we wanted to and we have a chance to right that.
"We have a great opportunity to be playing in the Cotton Bowl. We want to reach double-digits in the win column and this is our chance. We know we have our hands full with a really talented Ole Miss team, but we came here to win. All the seniors want to go out on a good note."
Okung keeps his approach simple - it's a gift to still be playing.
"There are a lot of seniors in the country who won't get an opportunity to play during bowl season and to come here to this great stadium and play in the Cotton Bowl is a real blessing," Russell noted. "I am very happy to be here and intend to make the most of it for myself and for my team."
Russell has been studying Ole Miss hard for "a couple of weeks."
"Their ends are real quick and the guys I will most likely be against - (Kentrell) Lockett and (Greg) Hardy - like to put a move on you and beat you inside or duck inside on you. I will definitely have to keep my feet moving, but I am looking forward to it," said Okung. "Their whole defensive line is like that - quick, fast and aggressive.
"Ole Miss is a very athletic group. They are an old-school SEC defense that gets after you," Okung continued. "They are going to hit you hard and be very physical.
"They try to come at you hard and beat you down with fresh players. The thing I notice on film is when they rotate in those defensive linemen, there isn't much difference in them. They don't seem to have any dropoff from their first to their second team and that's impressive."
Okung understands the challenge facing the Cowboys offense.
"This will be a very tough assignment this weekend. Like I said, the Ole Miss defense plays hard and they never seem to get tired. I think that is their trademark - when one of them gets winded, they just plug in another one who is just as good and plays just as hard. That can take its toll as the game progresses."
Okung has been on the award circuit lately and has been rewarded with some top honors.
"I can't do anything but give the glory to God for making me the way I am. The guys on the team have been helping me out and the Lord has watched out over me," he closed. "I have worked hard and have been rewarded for my hard work and the blessing that have been bestowed on me."
Okung has made his mark
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