On the roundtable this week, we discuss the Texas game, the defensive X-factor, and the Big 12 Basketball preseason poll. Feel free to leave your thoughts down below!
- What is your overall feeling about the game against Texas on Saturday?
Gallagher Martin: I feel pretty confident. I'm actually low-key happy about the 11 a.m. kickoff. Last time I watched the Horns play an 11 am game at home, they got ran out of the building against Maryland. Texas has obviously improved since then, but the Texas defense still gives up a lot of big plays through the air, and Oklahoma State is the last team on the PLANET you want to face if you give up big plays in the passing game. No team has ever won 5 consecutive games in Austin, but I think that changes on Saturday.
Colin Price: I feel pretty good about the game. I haven't seen enough from Texas to convince me that OSU is going to need to go out of their way to scheme around them on both sides. The QB runs might be a foil they have to deal with but I don't see it breaking OSU and the offense will be able to overload UT's defense trying to defend *insert receivers names here*, Hill/King, and the QB options. Tack on the fact they're working in more CW passes that're all fairly successful and its all downhill.
Cullen Clark: I have mixed feelings on this game. If the Cowboys play the way they can then I am confident that we will cover the point spread and win. My only concern is if the team that played TCU shows up. The offense has to be hitting on all cylinders on Saturday against a pretty solid Texas defense.
Micah Allen: I have mixed feelings about this game. Oklahoma State has everything it needs to win, but Texas isn't gonna wanna lose for a third time in row on their home field. I still think Oklahoma State is gonna win, but it's gonna be a tough game all the way through. Ehlinger is a fighter and he won't go down easy.
Cory Landes: It scares me that I'm fairly confident about it. One thing I am concerned with is turnovers, I feel that's the one way Texas can make this a game.
2) Sam Ehlinger has given teams fits so far this year with his dual-threat ability. How do you expect Oklahoma State to defend him?
Gallagher: How do I expect Oklahoma State to defend a mobile quarterback? Not well. Ehlinger will probably put up numbers, and this game could easily turn into a shootout. However, Ehlinger doesn't have the weapons around him that Rudolph does.The Oklahoma State defense really needs to stop one guy, Ehlinger, while the Texas defense will just have to pick its poison. I hope with a week of preparation the Oklahoma State defense will figure out a way to contain a freshman quarterback, but I won't hold my breath.
Colin: I think the corners, safeties, and star linebackers will need to be playing with some confidence and sticking to their guys on pass plays so the D-line and linebackers have a chance to contain him. They also can't over-commit on the QB reads. They had a chance to get the ball back on 3rd down just 6 points behind with time against TCU and they over-committed to Kenny Hill and gave up a 40 yard touchdown. If they lock onto Ehlinger or the RB, they might have a rough time all day.
Cullen: I would hope that Glenn Spencer has someone spying on him the whole game. We have struggled against running quarterbacks in recent years and Ehlinger has basically become the Texas run game. The defense has to tackle well this weekend especially against Ehlinger. I really like this challenge for the defense.
Micah: They're gonna try to get to him quickly so that he doesn't have to extend the play and do something with his legs. The quickness if the defense is gonna be key to stopping Ehlinger's duel threat.
Cory: Expect man-coverage on the receivers, blitzing extra backers and probably a dedicated spy to mirror his movement behind a porous offensive line.
3) Which is more likely: 400 yard game for Rudolph, 200 yard game for Washington, or 100 yard game for Hill?
Gallagher: Why not all three? It honestly would not be that surprising. Texas is 23rd in the country in rushing defense and 108th in passing yards allowed, so edge to Rudolph. Fun fact: Texas is 108th in passing yards allowed, Texas State is 105th.
Colin: 400 yards from Rudolph. Washington 200 yard games aren't super common and Texas has the talent at DL and LB to limit Justice Hill. Tack on that Rudolph can have a bad day and still end up with 350+ pretty easily and I think 400 is the surest bet for a bigger game like this.
Cullen: 400 yard game for Rudolph has to be the most likely. I fully expect the Cowboys to hit on some big plays in this game. This is a game that the other receivers (McCleskey, Johnson, Stoner) could have big games. I am really interested to see how good the Cowboys can run the ball against the Texas front seven.
Micah: I'm gonna go with 400 yards for Rudolph. After watching the video for my defense post this week, Texas' is terrible about giving up the big play through the air. Rudolph is gonna be able to use his arms and every bit of 400 yards is a possibility.
Cory: 400 yard game for Rudolph, he's a machine.
4) Who is the X-Factor on defense for Oklahoma State this week?
Gallagher: Tre Flowers is silently having a tremendous year and is working his way up the draft board. He is the undisputed best player in the secondary, so anytime Oklahoma State plays a Big 12 game, he has to be considered for X-factor. One of Oklahoma State's talented linebackers will also have to step up, not only containing Ehlinger but also matching Texas linebacker Malik Jefferson's production.
Colin: I think either Kenneth Edison-McGruder or Calvin Bundage will be the X-factor. Their job will be to contain Ehlinger and that will make or break the defense at times. They keep him in check, the rest of the defense can bring the heat.
Cullen: I'm going with the linebackers. They have to make plays on Ehlinger the whole game. Their performance will go a long way to deciding the outcome of this game.
Micah: Jordan Brailford. He's gonna be key to getting to the quarterback. That's how they're gonna be able to stifle what little run game Texas has.
Cory: Osborne, he'll have an opportunity to disrupt plays from the middle.
5) Shifting gears to basketball, the Big 12 preseason poll has the Cowboys picked last in the conference. What do you think about this? Where do you think the Cowboys actually end up?
Gallagher: So disrespectful. I am legitimately shocked. Do Big 12 coaches know something we don't i.e. sanctions? I understand Oklahoma State will be heavily relying on graduate transfers and freshmen in big roles, but we also return a lot of guys from last year. This is also college basketball, where freshman and transfers make immediate impacts all the time. I'm actually pretty optimistic for basketball, and I'm not going to let the stupid preseason poll interfere with that. Unless, as I said, the coaches know something we don't.
Colin: I get why they were picked last: lost 3 starters, 2 of which were leading scorers Evans and Forte, Underwood left, and Boynton wasn't on anyone's radar. But I'd think one of three unanimous preseason Big-12 team selections (Jeffrey Carroll) would garner a little more respect than that for the team. In addition to that, they bring in 3 big-time transfers in Kendall Smith, Yankuba Sima, and Michael Weathers. They do have a lot to improve but OSU has never finished last in the Big 12 and I don't see that happening this year. If all the hype is real, I think the team could be pushing the top half of the league. If they don't live up to expectations, I still think they'll finish 7th or 8th.
Cullen: Honestly, with the new coaching staff, new players, and the FBI investigation this ranking seems fair. If we don't lose any of the players due to ineligibility or injury I think this team can work their way up to the middle of the conference. I think this ranking also speaks to the depth of teams in the Big 12. League play is going to be a gauntlet.
Micah: 5-6 in the conference.
Cory: I love it because it has given this team a chip on their shoulder, something to play for every night. There will likely be some growing pains considering three coaches in three years, but I think they'll be more competitive than expected. I'll pick the Pokes to finish 7th.