With the Horns having this past weekend off, I've been able to spend some quality time worrying about Saturday's upcoming joust with the neon orange Okies in Stillwater. From what I've seen from WVU, I think it is a very winnable game for us, and despite Landry Jones' spectacular bed-shittery against K-State, and what appears to be the potential for a massive program collapse, it's still OU, and Bob Stoops always manages to make the RRS competitive. I think that our game with OSU is going to be a very tough one. The disclaimer here is that I haven't gotten to watch the Cowboys much in live game action, but I have concerns based on some of our own unanswered questions:
Yes, everyone has been giddy about the Texas offense finally opening up and showing what it can do when it works properly after our systematic dismantling of an Ole Miss defense that is, shall we say, undersized. Seriously, Tom Cruise was surprised how small they were. SEC football is grown-man football (if those men are jockeys). I was thrilled about last week's offensive production, but for the first time this season, the offense will be going up against a defense that is among the best in the Big XII (out of those who actually choose to field a defense). OSU's defense is legit, so I'm wondering
--Will the O-line be able to open up the necessary holes to get our running game going and protect Ash? They looked dominant against Ole Miss, but can they do the same against a defensive line that couldn't be cast members on Little People, Big World?
--How will David Ash respond to a very good secondary? They haven't had the turnover success of last year, but this group is still very dangerous. Will Ash continue to make good decisions in spite of the increased pressure? I think it's likely that we see the first interception from David in this game (hopefully it doesn't become a trend).
--Will our WRs continue to block effectively against better defenders? Will Mike Davis be sad, and "just not be feeling it today, man"?
We all know OSU has an explosive offense. I was at the game last year, and saw the results of our inexperienced defense turn into long touchdowns firsthand. This year, the Cowboy offense isn't nearly as polished without Old Man Weeden at the helm, but we field three young linebackers, who to this point in the season, have shown an aversion to tackling. Also, Oklahomans are greasier than normal people, so this could be a problem. OSU's running attack, and how we stop it, is a huge concern for me coming into this game.
--Did Manny Diaz spend much of the extra week on basic tackling drills? I'm quite sure the answer to this question is YES!, but has he also simplified some of the schemes for a unit that often looked lost on the field?
--Related to this is the question of Jordan Hicks' health. How long can we expect him to be out? If it's an extended amount of time, how will this limit our defense's growth in the long term? How will his potential absence relate to leadership on the field, and our LBs knowing what the hell they're doing out there?
--Also related to #1, are our scout teamers currently black and blue? Potentially eating from a tube due to said tackling drills?
--Will our DBs get their shit together this weekend to the level that we know they're capable?
--Joe B's health. When can we expect him to be back, and more importantly, effective again?
--Anthony Fera. I've heard encouraging things regarding his likelihood of playing on Saturday. I think we're really going to need him in this game.
--Finally, I think this will be our first real hostile road game environment. Mississippi doesn't really count in my book. They're too gracious (bless their hearts), and their fans are guys named Chaz who wave pom-poms. Okie Lite, on the other hand, is a different story. After coming off back-to-back wins over Texas, and last year's historic season, our cowpoke friends have gotten a big head. Now, every OSU fan fancies himself a QB expert. Saturday night in Stillwater will be loud, there will be many mullets and many pairs of jorts. There will be much violent hate, fueled by high-grade methamphetamine and trans fats.
So Barkers, what say you? Am I off base here? Am I way off base?