November 20, 2012

Oklahoma State must keep D-line pressure up

Last Saturday, Oklahoma State hosted Texas Tech's second-ranked passing attack in the nation, yet held them below 300 yards.

A lot of different things contributed to this somewhat astonishing feat, but the most obvious one was the push provided by the big boys up front in James Castleman, Nigel Nicholas, and Calvin Barnett.

Together the three defensive tackles, along with the ends, made a living in the Texas Tech backfield, and disrupted Red Raider QB Seth Doege's rhythm and timing.

"When the d-line gets pressure like that, it makes my heart happy," safety Daytawion Lowe said. "Those guys work so hard and it showed against Tech. When they play like that, it makes everyone else's job so easy."

Another tall task is ahead for defensive coordinator Bill Young's unit this week as they travel to their hated rival's house-The Oklahoma Sooners.

The Sooners have a solid passing attack, no rushing attack, and a pieced-together offensive line.

After last week's performance by the OSU defense, that mixture could be recipe for disaster on the crimson and cream sideline.

"We have to get turnovers and put tremendous pressure on the quarterback," Young said is the key to winning Saturday. "If we don't do those two things, we don't have a chance to win. And then, obviously in any game you play, you have to be strong stopping the run."

The Pokes should have no problem slowing down the OU rushing attack that posted 15 yards against Notre Dame and 88 against Kansas State, the only two legitimate teams to visit Norman this year. The key is slowing down the most polarizing quarterback in college football, Landry Jones.

Jones has had an up-and-down career with the Sooners, and it's been more of the same this season. In those two home games against decent teams, Jones threw for 299 yards, 1 TD and 1 INT against Kansas State, while he couldn't score against the Fighting Irish on 356 yards, though he did toss an interception.

But even though you never know what you'll get from Jones, the fact of the matter is he's still Landry Jones, and he's still as dangerous as ever.

"He presents a huge challenge," Young said. "He'll be a top pick at quarterback in the NFL draft, and he has a great group of players surrounding him. He has an excellent fullback who is a heck of a ball carrier himself, a big and physical veteran offensive line and an outstanding group of receivers. It's going to be a task."

Although Young is right about most of that, he's a bit complimentary of the Sooner offensive line, which is the root of the problem OU has had this season. Injury after injury has struck the unit, the latest being tackle Daryl Williams spraining his MCL against West Virginia last weekend, which will hold him out for the rest of the season.

With that in mind, the OSU defense, and especially the defensive line, have to smell blood as they watch film and head to practice this week.

It's there for the taking, but in a rivalry like this, nothing is a given.

After all, it is Bedlam.

"You can get real excited, pat your chest, go out there and do nothing," defensive end Cooper Bassett said. "The big thing is for us to play solid football. It's not the pregame warm up or seeing who can talk over each other, it's about who plays and carries out their assignment."

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