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November 12, 2011Oklahoma State is back on the road to defend its undefeated record.
Will they be able to keep it unblemished and get to 10-0 for the first time in school history?
We're just hours away from finding out.
The No. 2 Cowboys will take on Texas Tech in Lubbock at 11 a.m. in an ABC-televised contest to see if OSU can keep up its winning ways. The Pokes got quite a scare last weekend against Kansas State, a scare they'd like to avoid heading to West Texas.
To be successful, the defense will have to improve upon its performance against the Wildcats.
"I think I over-coached our defensive tackles when they were on the guard," said defensive coordinator Bill Young. "They were getting too high and trying to fight the double team too fast instead of fighting the guy they were on. Unfortunately, you don't see those things too easily in the game, but when you see it on film on Sunday, it's real easy to get that corrected. That was just a small thing, but there's several things we need to improve on."
While many didn't expect K-State to hang with the Cowboys offensively, people are more than used to Tech keeping up on the scoreboard. What's the most concerning thing to Young?
"Them getting into rhythm and us getting out of kilter," he said. "Not playing sound football because they go so fast that you have to get the call in there fast, you have to get it communicated, you have to get lined up and you can get a little bit frustrated as a defense if they continue to keep converting on second and third down."
"We can't overlook anyone," said linebacker James Thomas. "Anybody can give anyone a good game. Like we saw last week, Kansas State got after our butts. I am pretty sure Texas Tech is going to have a chip on their shoulder this week and will be looking to upset us."
The Cowboys are definitely at the point where they're going to get the best shot of each opponent they face the rest of the way. And Brandon Weeden seems to enjoy them more, anyway.
"I think they're more fun to play in," he said. "I'm just that guy that wants the ball in my hands. I want it to go into two-minute offense and go down and score with the ball in my hand and be leading that ship. Those are fun. I like the blowouts where I can sit back and watch Clint Chelf play. You can look back and learn a lot more from a character standpoint. These games will make you a better football team."
The Cowboys were tested by the ground game against KSU. Today, they'll go up against the Tech air raid which has seen quarterback Seth Doege pass for 3,160 yards and 24 touchdowns on the season already.
"I think he does a good job just moving the formation around and getting one-on-one coverage somewhere," Markelle Martin said. "I think that's something he does well. He throws a good ball. I think right now, he's playing his best. I think there are some things he does well that we have to keep our eye on. For us right now, it's just get in the film room, get more comfortable with what he's doing and just understand what he's trying to do."
For the Pokes to continue the undefeated campaign, they'll have to contain Doege and the rest of the Tech offense. The pressure to perform is mounting.
"There is a certain point that you can release the pressure, but it doesn't go away until you go to sleep at night," said head coach Mike Gundy. "As soon as I wake up, to get the dog to bed, it comes back in to my mind. I am sure it is the same way for our players. I wish there were coaches and players out there that have been in this situation or are in this situation that know how to relieve it. I wish they would let me know. I certainly do not know how, other than to focus on practice. Trying to get three or four good days of work and telling the players to play hard on Saturday. That is something I am comfortable with. We have told the team for years that on Saturday we want them to have fun and play hard. That is easier said than done with the position we are in."