December 21, 2006

Ask the Expert

With the Independence Bowl one week away, BamaOnline let you the subscriber pose questions to's Jeff Johnson for some insight on the Oklahoma State Cowboys.

First, I'd like to ask you to update us on the injury and academic situations at OSU. Any key players that may be out for the bowl game?

There aren't any academic situations that I'm aware of. At the end of the regular season, defensive ends Victor Degrate and Nathan Peterson were nursing ankle injuries and defensive back Perrish Cox was out with a strained hip flexor. All three are expected to be near full strength by game time. Linebacker Chirs Collin is out with a knee injured he sustained in mid-season.

Bamavike: Is this team closer to a 9-3 team or a 3-9 team?

9-3 for sure. I say that because four of OSU's losses (Kansas State, Texas A&M, Texas Tech and Oklahoma) were in games that were still up-for-grabs in the final series. The A&M game ended with a blocked PAT in overtime and OSU threw passes from inside the 25-yard line into the endzone as time expired against KSU, Tech and OU.

The loss at Houston was also close, as the Cowboys had two fourth quarter drives end at Houston's goal line. Among the six OSU wins in 2006, the closest game was a 10-point win over Kansas. Their average margin in wins was 29 points, versus nine points in the losses.

Bronco86: Does their defense do a better job at stopping the pass or the run?

They're a little bit better against the run. They've had stretches where they've been very stout againt the rushing game, and others when they've just been gashed on the ground. Sometimes those have stretches have been in the same game. What the Cowboy defense does best is getting pressure on quarterbacks from the edge.

1tide: Does Bobby Reid, have legit 4.3 speed?

No. He's in the 4.5 range. His gliding gait can give the appearance he's not even that fast, but it's deceiving.

Mtr77: Is the shared work load of the RB position by design/philosophy, or have injuries forced Ok St into using all three RB's?? Who of that trio would be the "homerun" threat?

It's by design for the most part. The Cowboys intended it that way to keep a back fresh at all times. Over the last couple of games, though, Dantrell Savage and freshman Keith Toston have gotten most of the work. Savage is the homerun threat for sure, but does surprisingly well in tight spaces. Hamilton's the grinder and Toston is a mix of those qualities.

TideC: How does Oklahoma State think Joe Kines will run this team? Are they preparing for a running or passing attack from Alabama?

The question OSU fans (and even coaches) are asking is more "how will Dave Rader run the offense?" Mike Gundy has pretty frankly stated that his defensive staff is grasping at straws in trying to figure that one out. See Pokes continue bowl prep for Gundy's comments.

Jabbo C: I know that Oklahoma State fans are familiar with Coach Dave Rader stemming back to his days at Tulsa. However, many Alabama fans really don't know what to think of him. How is/was he perceived as an overall coach?

Rader is well-respected among the fanbase at OSU. They know how hard it is to win consistently at Tulsa and Rader fared pretty well there. Generally, he's perceived as being a passing game guru. There was even speculation that he might be a candidate for OSU's offensive coordinator when Gundy was building his staff two years ago. Beyond that, he's a pretty genuine, likeable guy.

JoeyHeisman06: How will zac robinson, or "Z-Rob" as they call him on campus, be utilized? much like in the oklahoma game on passing downs?

Unless Gundy has bluffed really well the last two weeks, I don't think you'll see a package like they used in the Bedlam game. To a man, the OSU coaches said it was a gameplan installed specifically to counter OU's blitz-happy defense. The week before at Texas Tech, Robinson also played some, but usually in situations where both quarterbacks were in the game. So, I won't be shocked if Robinson sees the field, but I wouldn't expect it to mirror the OU game.

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