STILLWATER — The halftime scene inside Oklahoma State's locker room: half calm, half chaos.
And yet, wholly effective.
OSU has owned the second halves of games this season, outscoring teams 161-82 over the final two quarters, when they've regularly confirmed control.
So what's going on with the Cowboys at the break?
No Knute Rockne speeches, although there's no lack of passion.
Nothing all that complicated even.
Just two simple, yet vital elements: solid corrections and adjustments, along with veteran intelligent players to understand and execute them.
“That's a big part of the game, making second-half adjustments,” said OSU senior guard Brandon Webb. “If you don't adjust, what are you going into halftime for?
“You've got to talk about it, and you have to have it in your mind to adjust, to think of different things to do.”
Every team talks adjustments at halftime. Some carry them out better, whether due to superior plans or superior players or a combination of the two. Older, savvy players make an impact, too.
“I give our guys all the credit in the world,” said Cowboys defensive coordinator Glenn Spencer. “It's not only halftime, it's as the game goes on. But when we want to adjust something at halftime, it's not like you have to have a 10-minute dissertation of why you're doing it and how it affects something else.
“I'll draw it up, and they'll look at me and say, ‘OK, let's roll.' And then they go out and they perform it. I'm proud of how they're going about their business.”
OSU has outscored its opponent in the second half of all but two games this season. And both were special circumstances.
At UTSA, the Cowboys led 35-7 through two quarters, before the Roadrunners posted 28 fourth-quarter points against deep reserves in an eventual 56-35 OSU win.
Against TCU, the Cowboys were outscored 10-7 in the second half, yet led 17-0 at halftime and 17-3 into the third quarter before winning 24-10.
Every other time, OSU has won the final 30 minutes. Even at West Virginia, when they suffered their only loss, 30-21, the Cowboys outscored the Mountaineers 7-6 after intermission.
Interestingly, the description of what's taking place presents a split locker room, although not in a bad way. The personalities, however, take over, with the defense half-crazed while the offense operates on calm and cool.
“Defensively, they play a lot more amped up than we do,” Webb said. “They play downhill, down to the ball. We've just got to relax and see everything.
“That's the way it is in the locker room, too.”
Said linebacker Caleb Lavey: “I know as the defense, we're ready to go. In our opinion, the halftime is too long. Give us the corrections and we're ready to go back out there.
“We're definitely antsy to get back out there.”
Adjustments aren't always simple.
Or even familiar.
“Sometimes they'll call plays that we haven't worked on, just draw a play up that we've never run before,” said senior wide receiver Tracy Moore. “You have to be able to go out and execute it and do your thing.
“Then there's changing signals, stuff like that. If you're not a disciplined team, you won't have much success getting that done.”
At Iowa State, the Cowboys led just 28-20 at the half, then seized control by scoring 23 straight points that led to a frolicking 58-27 rout.
At Texas Tech, OSU bolted to a 21-0 lead, then saw the Red Raiders seemingly grab back momentum by closing within 28-24 going to the locker room. But the Cowboys started the second half with two three-and-outs and an interception on defense, while the offense was driving to two touchdowns and a 42-24 bulge en route to a 52-34 romp.
Heading on the road again Saturday, into an important showdown with Texas, no matter what develops in the first half, the Cowboys figure to carry confidence out of the locker room. And a confidence with conviction.
“We really stress starting fast and setting the tempo,” said Lavey, “and taking the half before the other team can even get started.”