November 12, 2009

Technical Issues: OC, DC talk Raiders

The 2009 season is heading into the stretch run.

For Oklahoma State, that means three more conference games left before the end of the season. While Bedlam is on the horizon and an odd Thursday night game with Colorado comes next week, the Cowboys must first focus their attention on Texas Tech.

While not ranked, the Red Raiders have quietly put together a nice season, even in the face of a merry-go-round situation at quarterback. On the year, Tech is 6-3 overall and 3-2 in the Big 12, in third place in the South Division but breathing down the Cowboys' neck for the second spot and a shot at improving its bowl resume with a win in Stillwater this weekend.

While last season's contest was a blowout win for the Raiders, the past three games in Stillwater have been wins for OSU - although they came with a bit of drama each time. The last time Tech won in Orange Country was a 49-30 decision in 2001.

So will this year be like he '07 shootout, a 49-45 win for the Pokes?

"You've got to know that you need one more point than they do at the end of the game and you've got to do whatever it takes to get there," said offensive coordinator Gunter Brewer. "That may be more points than normal because of their propensity to put the ball in the end zone. We've had some great shootouts, but they've improved defensively and we've improved defensively. Both teams are a little different than they were in '05 and '06. They've still got the same scheme and we've still basically got the same scheme.

"Both of us have better players than when we first came into the league, so we're still looking for that marquee win over some of the national name-type programs to propel us to the top four or five programs in the nation. We'll find out this week which offense can do a little bit better job than the other one."

It will be interesting to see how the Tech offense fares this weekend. For starters, they'll face an OSU defense with a stronger pulse than normal. Also, they are unsettled at quarterback, which is a rarity for the pass-happy program. Whatever the case, defensive coordinator Bill Young and his unit will go into the game expecting more of the same from Tech. Especially since the last time OSU played a team that was similar to the Raiders, Houston, they lost - at home.

Will the defense feel committed to come out and stop the pass this time?

"I certainly hope they feel that way," Young said. "We all feel that way. Our coaches and players, we all feel that way. We didn't play as well as we needed to against Houston and it's an opportunity to bounce back and show that we can do that and it's going to be a tremendous challenge for us because they are the ones that invented the offense that Houston ran."

Of course, the thing fixated on by media and fans is the pressure the defense typically faces against Tech. But lost in the shuffle is the pressure the OSU offense feels against the Raiders. After all, it took 49 points to win in 2007 and 51 to win in 2003.

"Everybody talks about that point," Brewer said. "They're going to do what they do. Are you going to do anything different? What's different is we need to put the ball in the end zone. We've won the game in a shootout and if we have to win the game three to two that's fine too, it really doesn't matter. We've shown that Keith Toston and our running backs and offensive line can move the football on the ground and Zac's (Robinson) shown that any certain day he can put it in the air.

"Whatever it takes to win, that's what this team has been able to adapt to. They do like to throw it a lot more than we do and we are probably a little more balanced when it comes to running and passing than they are. Everybody will bring up the question. Yeah, if they don't have it they can't score, but if we don't score it doesn't do any good either."

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