We continue our march through the Big 12 season by meeting up with the Oklahoma State Cowboys, and this week I had the pleasure of speaking with Chris Ross over at Cowboys Ride For Free. He was kind enough to answer a few questions for us. You can see my responses to his questions here.
RCT: The big story carrying over from last year is the allegations made in the SI series of articles about a whole host of improprieties that happened inside the program, starting with Les Miles' tenure and continuing into the current administration. I haven't heard anything about the investigation being concluded, but has the review of the department's policies and procedures yielded any interesting changes in the way that Oklahoma State runs the program?
CRFF: I remember thinking "oh no." when I heard the series would be dropping, but after reading it I was like, "Are you kidding me?". That series had more issues than Charlie Sheen. It was pretty quickly dismissed and refuted by local and national media. Regardless though, Mike Holder, Oklahoma State Athletic Director, and Burns Hargis, University President, requested the NCAA to investigate. Just before the season started Holder announced that they were close to wrapping up the investigation.
"I think what comes out will kind of speak for itself, good or bad. It’s been my position all along, if we are who we think we are, then this would ultimately be a good thing. The day of reckoning is coming. I don’t know when, but it’s coming." Mike Holder announced.
No word of what, if anything, they’ve found, but by all accounts it’s not looking too worrisome for OSU. They’ve instituted some minor changes on the way things are reported for better accountability, but we won’t know more until after the results of the investigation are out.
RCT: It seems like both of our programs like to generate big controversial comments that ripple through the College Football world, from Mark Mangino's "Dollar Signs" to Mike Gundy with "I'm a man! I'm forty!" to Charlie Weis with his "pile of crap" comments. What is your favorite press conference quote (preferably not one of these)?
CRFF: My favorite moment actually comes from the Gundy rant. "That’s not true! So get your facts." Anytime I hear something that I know to be wrong, it pops into my head. Makes me laugh every time.
RCT: To the game, I see lots of talk on the site about how your offensive line is one of the biggest problems with the team, yet you have failed to score under 30 in any game this year. How has the offense been able to mask the O-Line issues they are having?
CRFF: Big plays, more specifically a big arm. Daxx "Air" Garman loves the deep ball, but who wouldn’t with an receiving corps of 4-5 guys that will go up and get it. Anytime Jhajuan Seales, Brandon Sheperd, Marcell Ateman, or James Washington get single coverage it’s an immediate mismatch. Combine that with Tyreek Hill trying to set the land speed record, and I’m not sure there’s a secondary that can keep up with the Pokes.
In order to slow down Oklahoma State you have to beat them at the point of attack, and put pressure on Garman. Iowa State had success with that in the first half, and Daxx was clearly rattled. The offensive line is struggling to come together, and are the glaring weakness of the team. The good news for Cowboy fans is they’ve shown improvement throughout the season.
RCT: Looks like Kansas and Oklahoma State have something in common, a ridiculously good playmaker that is getting severely underused in the offensive scheme. Which player is more likely to get on track this week, Tony Pierson or Tyreek Hill?
CRFF: I have to be a bit of a homer here. I believe Hill will have a breakout game against the Jayhawks. There was so much hype around his speed and athletic ability that I feel he put too much pressure on himself to get that first kick return the fans were drooling about. He broke one last week against Iowa State, and I believe that monkey is finally off his back.
On offense Hill has primarily been used at the running back position, as the lightning to Desmond Roland’s thunder. While he’s getting plenty of touches the offensive line isn’t getting a consistent push, and that limits Hill’s production. I wouldn’t be surprised if we see Tyreek a little bit more in the slot this week.
I’ll just put these here for your viewing pleasure.
RCT: Finally, your prediction for the game? I think we all know who will actually win the game, but as a bonus, what will be the longest scoring play for the Cowboys this week, and who will score it?
CRFF: This is a toss-up for all the reasons above, but I’ll say Tyreek Hill with a 100-yard kick return. The Jayhawks rank 115th in special teams efficiency, and now that Hill has his first taste of blood, he’s smelling it in the water this week. Oklahoma State 45 – Kansas 17.
A special thanks to Chris. If you want to check out any more coverage of the game this weekend from the Cowboy perspective, head on over to Cowboys Ride For Free.