The Oklahoma State Cowboys look to bounce back after a tough loss to TCU this past weekend. That will be no small task, though, with a night game in Lubbock looming.
I went behind enemy lines and spoke with Viva The Matador’s Jay Burrous. Major props for taking the time to give us some insight on the Red Raiders. We had a great conversation. Here it is:
1. Texas Tech has struggled against the pass a bit this season, how do you think the Tech defense will do against Mason Rudolph and his army of receivers?
It's a really tough question to answer, because we haven't faced a team as dangerous as the Cowboys. Eastern Washington had an FCS All-American quarterback, Arizona State had stud receiver N'Keal Harry (former 5*), and Houston had former 5* QB Kyle Allen - in my estimation, those 3 threats combined are about what we'll see from Oklahoma State.
In terms of positivity though - we have seen a ton of growth from this group. They're limiting the big plays, and it appears as if Jaylon Lane, Willie Skykes, Justus Parker, Octavious Morgan, and, when healthy, Vaughnte Dorsey are all capable Big 12 players. Nevertheless, I expect Rudolph to throw for around 400 yards, and toss a few TDs.
2. The game has been announced as a sell out, how do you think that impacts the game?
With Rudolph being a senior, I expect he'll be fine. But, I'll be mighty curious how the right side of your offensive line reacts should you be down both starters again this week. Weird stuff happens in Lubbock at night, so obviously anything can happen. It'll be key for you guys to get early momentum or else the crowd will be vocal all night.
3. How has the Tech offense changed with the departure of Patrick Mahomes?
Despite middling results, we're much more committed to the run game. You'll see as many as five different guys get carries depending on how the game is going. The other major difference is Shimonek doesn't really screw up and make the stupid play. If the implication of that conservative choice is a sack, then he'll do that. This has made the team significantly more efficient and you're seeing the Tech receivers really take over games when they get in space. I'm not going to say we're "better," but I'd say it's more of a standard Air Raid.
4. These are two high powered offenses, do you see this game coming down to which defense holds up better?
In all of our games this year I've emphasized that the defense will have to get it done to win. In this matchup, I think we really need a stellar offensive outing if we want to hang. We aren't shutting your offense down, so we'll need to score at will in order to be opportunistic with a turnover to turn the tide defensively. Strangely enough, I'd also say the kicking game will play a huge role here. Tech has been down pre-season All-Conference kicker Clayton Hadfield, and we missed two gimme kicks last week. Without a dependable option Saturday, it's realistic you see the Tech offense staying out on 4th and short inside the 25.
5. What player for Tech should Oklahoma State be watching for on Saturday?
Dakota Allen at linebacker should be a joy for OSU fans to watch. For years, we've seen the Cowboys churn out excellent LBs who are big, physical, and fast. Finally, it appears as if we have one of those guys too. He'll need to bring his A-game to slow your running attack.
6. What Oklahoma State player are you looking forward to getting to watch on Saturday?
Simply because Tech was part of his recruitment until the end, I'll be curious how Tyron Johnson reacts to being in Lubbock. Yet, I noticed he hasn't really factored in much recently. Besides him, I have the utmost respect for James Washington and I think he'll have a very long NFL career - so watching him will be interesting, as always.
7. Score prediction?
I could see y'all beating us by 35, or us winning by 14 (Lubbock at night is for real). I don't have the guts to pick away from my Red Raiders until they do me wrong this year. Therefore, 55-52 Texas Tech.
8. (For fun) Thoughts on the mullet?
Gundy is hilarious, and is a gem of a coach. I thought I heard something about him wanting hurry through the interview so he could dove hunt? Also, something about how he turtle hunts in his neighbors ponds?
Why he has the mullet, I'm not entirely sure. But, if OSU keeps winning, then he might as well rock it.