October 25, 2008

Beckman's attitude has improved the D

Oklahoma State has been known as an offensive juggernaut for several years now.

But in recent weeks, it has been the defense getting press. The unit has seen vast improvement this season and has helped the Cowboys to a 7-0 record and Top 10 ranking in the polls.

And if the defense creates buzz next week, it'll be because of a solid performance against top-ranked Texas. And if that happens, the Pokes could very well still be undefeated and a threat in the national title chase.

"Isn't that great?" defensive coordinator Tim Beckman rhetorically asked. "That's what we all work for. We work to be undefeated and we work to get in the top 10, top five, No. 1. That's why we have a championship in college football. So it's a credit to the whole organization, from Mike Gundy to coach Holder to Rob Glass to all of us. We've won seven games because we have a great, great committee here."

While he might not credit himself much, Beckman's influence has been a big part of the defense's resurgence. An upbeat and confident man, Beckman is an eternal optimist and strives for the best performance each time out. Need an example of all that? Here's what the second-year coordinator had to say about a couple of his players, Andre Sexton and Orie Lemon, after the win over Baylor:

"It's really helped moving Andre closer to the line of scrimmage," he said. "And Orie just continues to get better each and every game because he's young. And he's never played this position before, so you expect him to make big strides."

He went on…

"We've got great players here. Great people who are involved in this program. And they're fun to coach."

While it is likely always more fun to coach when the team is winning and your unit is performing well, you get the sense that Beckman really means that, no matter the situation.

And, always the teacher and coach, he believes a team and its players can improve not only on the field in practice or in the film room, but everywhere.

"You can't learn enough from this game," he said. "You're always learning. Anytime I have an opportunity to watch somebody play - and I tell our players this too - you watch that Thursday night game, you come back and tell me what you learned from it. That's what you need to do in this football game."

While the defense isn't the best in the country, it's better and not the liability it once was. And, in part because of that, OSU is in position to fight for championships this season. A win over the Longhorns this weekend could be a potential program-changer for the orange and black. But, ever the coach, Beckman isn't getting ahead of things.

"Again, just keep winning, take care of one at a time. It's a great opportunity. We're 7-0. It's a credit to coach Gundy and the leadership he's brought to the program and we're just excited about having an opportunity to go down to Austin and play."

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