High Pressure

ARLINGTON, Texas - The multiplicity of the Oklahoma State offense is as much as the Rebel defense has seen all year. The end result is pressure being applied to defend the whole field on every play, according to UM Safety Coach Kim Dameron. Read about it inside.

A football field is 53 yards wide and 100 yards long, as you know.

And when you are playing Oklahoma State, which the Rebels are in the upcoming Cotton Bowl in beautiful Cowboy Stadium, you better be able to defend all of it, said Ole Miss Safety Coach Kim Dameron.

"They put a lot of pressure on you vertically and horizontally," noted Dameron. "When you are getting ready to play them, you better get ready to defend against everything.

"They are as multiple, or more multiple, than any team we have faced. Our secondary definitely will have to play a very good game. We have to defend every inch of the field against a lot of different types of looks, including the option."

Even without All-American WR Dez Bryant, Dameron respects what the Rebel secondary will be facing.

"They have playmakers on the outside, even without Dez. If they had him, well, it would make our job just that much tougher because he is one of the best on this level, but they have plenty of excellent playmnakers without him," Kim continued.

To Damerton, it all starts with Cowboy Quarterback Zac Robinson.

"He can deliver from the pocket, but when he gets outside the pocket is when he becomes extremely dangerous," Kim continued. "We have to be on point. On film, I see him making more plays downfield when he breaks out of the pocket, either with his feet or his arm. He's a dangerous player. He puts a lot of stress on defenses because he can also run the ball when nobody is open.

"When Zac buys time by breaking out of the pocket, or when they roll him out, you better figure out a way to get to him in a hurry. If he buys time, that puts great pressure on the secondary to cover their playmakers just that much longer. It's no bargain when he does that."

The double whammy in defending the Oklahoma State offense is that they are also the leading rushing team in the Big 12 and have a good option package that will be on display as well.

"They won't just throw it, throw it, throw it, like Texas Tech did last year. Oklahoma State will run boots, nakeds, option, one-back, misdirections and a power game," he said. "They have running backs who would be very good backs in the SEC.

"Oklahoma State didn't go out and recruit fill-in backs. They recruited guys who can run the football with the best of them."

Bottom line? The Rebs will have to play one of their better games defensively, in Dameron's opinion.

"They are a talented outfit and not just with their skill people. Their left tackle (Russell Okung) is an All-American," Dameron added. "Some of them were hurt at the end of the regular season, which hurt them badly as a team, but they are all pretty healthy now, we've heard.

"We'll be getting the full dose of Oklahoma State and that's a major challenge for anyone in the country. Ask Georgia."

Before you start thinking the Rebs are in for a long night, Dameron has faith in his troops.

"We have three seniors in our secondary who have played a lot of football and have seen a lot of different looks," he closed. "I believe in them to get the job done. I'm just saying we will have to be poised and on point."

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