Tahlequah Daily Press

Sports

October 30, 2012

OSU preps for Klein, K-State offense

STILLWATER — Entering the season, an experienced defense was supposed to be Oklahoma State's strength.

The plan was for the unit to buy time for an offense led by a freshman quarterback.

It's taken longer than coach Mike Gundy and defensive coordinator Bill Young wanted, but the defense seems to be rounding into form as Oklahoma State (5-2, 3-1 Big 12) heads into arguably its biggest challenge of the season - a trip to the Little Apple to face No. 3 Kansas State (8-0, 5-0) and its Heisman Trophy candidate quarterback Collin Klein on Saturday.

In starting the season 2-2, the Cowboys surrendered 59 points to Arizona and 41 to Texas, losing both games. Since then, for the first time in its Big 12 history, Oklahoma State has held three straight league opponents under 20 points in wins over Kansas (20-14), Iowa State (31-10) and TCU (36-14).

"We've gotten more pressure on the quarterback from the edges over the last couple of weeks and that helps," Gundy said. "We've had more hurries. Our secondary has increased its ability to play the football while the ball is in the air over the last two or three weeks. We still have a ways to go . but we're much better now than we were a month ago."

Young and his players credit several factors for the Cowboys' defensive resurgence - better attention to detail, improved tackling, allowing fewer big plays and forcing more turnovers.

"Arizona, we flat out played terrible," defensive end Cooper Bassett said. "Against Texas, our defense played really well for three quarters and in the fourth quarter, for some reason, we kind of imploded. We didn't make the plays. We weren't fundamentally sound. Because of that, we lost the games. The biggest thing for us the past few weeks . is we were able to be fundamentally sound and we were able put a full game together."

Added cornerback Justin Gilbert: "It's knowing your job, carrying out your assignments and not trying to do more than what you're supposed to do and trusting in your teammates and believing they'll be in the position that they're supposed to be in."

Much of Oklahoma State's early defensive struggles could be traced to a lack of turnovers. After leading the Bowl Subdivision last season with 44 takeaways, the Cowboys managed only four in their first five games before forcing two against Iowa State and three against Texas Christian.

Against TCU, the turnovers proved key as Oklahoma State held the Horned Frogs without a point on their final 11 possessions after TCU took a 14-0 lead.

Young said the Cowboys want to force a minimum of three turnovers in a game and said his unit's outing against TCU was "a little bit better" than it had been previously, but "obviously, we've got a lot of room to improve. We're not there yet."

Klein and Kansas State pose a unique challenge to any defense. The multifaceted quarterback has moved into Heisman Trophy contention thanks to his ability to run or throw the football. He's tied for the Big 12 lead in touchdowns scored with 12. He has two triple-digit rushing efforts this season and ranks fifth in the league in rushing, but also leads the Big 12 in pass efficiency and hasn't thrown an interception in 106 pass attempts.

Gundy said Klein has improved his passing this season, making him more dangerous.

"It looks like to me he's worked really hard in the offseason on his accuracy on his downfield throws," Gundy said. ". They give him the time and his accuracy is considerably better, in my opinion, than it would have been a year ago."

Klein and the Wildcats ran wild at Oklahoma State last year, nearly pulling off the upset before then-No. 3-ranked Cowboys held on for a 52-45 win. Both teams scored two touchdowns in the final 5:16 and the Wildcats were on the verge of scoring again as time expired. Not long after the game, the most powerful earthquake ever in Oklahoma - magnitude 5.6 - was felt in the Stillwater area.

The Cowboys know what Klein can do but believe he can be limited somewhat if they can force Kansas State into turnovers and give Oklahoma State's offense short fields.

"You've just got to swarm to the ball, when he decides to pull the ball down and run, and then make sure everybody is in the right gap and sticking to their assignments," strong safety Shamiel Gary said. "In the pass game, all we have to do as a secondary is lock down on the receivers and then swarm to the ball."

1
Text Only
Sports
  • Hooper.jpg Sparking the flame

    Sequoyah High School’s Justin Hooper looking to lead this year

    Last season was Justin’s last chance to play alongside Cody at Sequoyah High School.
    Justin had to battle to win the Indians starting tailback. The coaching staff did not know who was going to be the Indians starting running back coming into fall practice.

    July 29, 2014 1 Photo

  • NSU-fishing-team.jpg NSU teams compete in fishing tournament

    Three teams from Northeastern State University’s Bass Fishing Team competed in the Fishing League Worldwide College Fishing Tournament on Grand Lake in Grove on Saturday, June 21.

    July 29, 2014 1 Photo

  • Johnson, East win easily at All-State

    Jake Johnson was able to hold off Lawton MacArthur’s Trent Meisel at the Class 5A state tournament in May. On Monday at the All-State tournament at Cherokee Hills Golf Club, Johnson had it much easier against Meisel.

    July 29, 2014

  • McMillan-blackboard.jpg Hometown brothers team up for RiverHawks football

    Northeastern State’s football program will include a pair of hometown brothers for the 2014 season.
    Mason McMillan returns for his sophomore season, and this year he will be reunited with his younger brother, Kourtland. The brothers graduated from Tahlequah High School – Mason in 2013, followed by Kourtland in 2014. At Tahlequah, Mason and Kourtland shared the gridiron for one season.

    July 28, 2014 1 Photo

  • Yurcich ready for second season

    With the 2014 season on the brink, Mike Yurcich, Oklahoma State University football offensive coordinator, is ready for his second year at the helm after coaching a powerful offensive squad a year ago.

    July 28, 2014

  • James_Ethan-(12)-vs.#2CC63C.jpg Back on the line

    RiverHawks’ Ethan James returns to the line healthy and ready for 2014

    RiverHawks offensive lineman Ethan James will enter the 2014 season healthy – something the team, and James, were not in 2013.

    July 25, 2014 2 Photos

  • Sooners shifting several positions

    Experience comes from encountering the same things in the same ways over and over again. Oklahoma’s Geneo Grissom and Julian Wilson have that at defensive end and nickleback in bunches.
    However, both will be seeing new things when practice begins. Grissom is moving to outside linebacker. Wilson will be getting a look at cornerback as his senior season begins

    July 25, 2014

  • Lindley, Tom.jpg Better police needed for college teams enticed to cheat

    The NCAA once cracked down on colleges that went too far luring top prospects, then it targeted teams that lathered players with special treatment. That was until the NCAA's get-tough approach backfired, rendering it ineffective and creating an opportunity for those who want to play dirty.

    July 25, 2014 1 Photo

  • BobBowlsby.jpg Media Week: Change is coming

    Changes are coming to college athletics.
    That was the theme of the state of the conference speech by Big 12 Conference commissioner Bob Bowlsby on the first day of Big 12 Football Media Days.

    July 23, 2014 1 Photo

  • Peterson.jpg Cowboy quandary: OSU defense trying to replace seven starters

    A year after the best defensive team in the Mike Gundy era, the questions now surround how those few returning starters and second-year defensive coordinator Glenn Spencer can maintain that high level of efficiency.

    July 23, 2014 1 Photo

Poll

Do you believe school administrators and college presidents in Oklahoma are paid too much?

Strongly agree.
Somewhat agree.
Somewhat disagree.
Strongly disagree.
Undecided.
     View Results
Press Sports Twitter Updates
Follow us on twitter
AP Video
US Ready to Slap New Sanctions on Russia Kerry: Not Worried About Israeli Criticism Boater Rescued From Edge of Kentucky Dam Girl Struck by Plane on Florida Beach Dies Rodents Rampant in Gardens Around Louvre House to Vote on Slimmed-down Bill for Border Looming Demand Could Undercut Flight Safety Raw: 2 Shells Hit Fuel Tank at Gaza Power Plant Raw: Massive Explosions From Airstrikes in Gaza Giant Ketchup Bottle Water Tower Up for Sale Easier Nuclear Construction Promises Fall Short Kerry: Humanitarian Cease-fire Efforts Continue Raw: Corruption Trial Begins for Former Va Gov. The Carbon Trap: US Exports Global Warming Traditional African Dishes Teach Healthy Eating
Stocks