STILLWATER — Whether through the air or with his legs, Jerrod Johnson can take your breath away. The Oklahoma State defense hopes it will be taking Johnson’s breath away when the Pokes visit Kyle Field to face Johnson and the Texas A&M Aggies on Saturday. The Texas A&M quarterback is a dangerous threat with his arm and his legs, forcing defensive coordinators to spend hours in the film room searching for a way to keep Johnson from making big plays. He’s exactly the type of mobile quarterback who has given the Cowboys problems in the early stages of this season. Houston’s Case Keenum, Rice’s J.T. Shepherd and even Grambling quarterback Greg Dillon gave OSU problems with their legs during the Pokes’ non-conference slate. "It was a good thing to play those non-conference teams with those quarterbacks,” senior safety Lucien Antoine said. "We learned a lot from playing those teams.” OSU has had success getting pressure on the quarterback and expectsthat to continue against Texas A&M, especially with the Aggies starting true freshman Stephen Barrera at left tackle. The concern is getting the 6-5, 243-pound quarterback on the ground. If he makes defenders miss and keeps plays alive a la Steelers’ quarterback Ben Roethlisberger, it makes it tough on the Cowboys’ secondary and defense as a whole. "From a cornerback’s standpoint, (a quarterback scrambling around) is probably the worst thing you can have other than getting beat deep,” said senior cornerback Terrance Anderson. "It means we have to stay in coverage longer than we need to be, receivers are running around like crazy. But in practice we’ll try and stress (it) with scrambling drills, stuff like that.” OSU’s October schedule features a trio of mobile quarterbacks with Johnson, Missouri’s Blaine Gabbert and Texas’ Colt McCoy going head-to-head with the Pokes’ defense in the next four weeks. Fortunately for OSU, its September slate featured Keenum and others who helped prepare the Cowboys’ defense for the Big 12’s best. "It helped prepare us for the Big 12,” senior linebacker Andre Sexton said. "We had (Houston) with a great quarterback who was mobile. We’ve had mobile quarterbacks running around who were great athletes. I’m glad we got that out of the way early, so we can get it polished up (for) when we play teams like A&M, Texas.” Expect the Cowboys to use their athletic linebackers like Sexton, Donald Booker, James Thomas and Patrick Levine to help minimize the scrambling of Johnson on Saturday. Another option is having the Cowboys’ defensive ends focus on keeping Johnson in the pocket. If OSU prevents the quick-footed quarterback from scrambling outside of the hash marks then finding a receiver downfield — as he did on his 60-yard touchdown to Brandal Jackson against Arkansas last Saturday — the Cowboys’ chances of success increase significantly. "If we keep the guy contained, we’ll be OK,” Anderson said. "We’ll probably stress it a lot this week with defensive ends worrying about contain and inside guys just getting to the quarterback.” Text "Cowboys" to 65360 for your chance to win autographed OSU memorabilia. OSU news text updates from NewsOK sponsored by Bone and Joint Hospital.
OSU at Texas A&M→When: 11:30 a.m. Saturday →Where: Kyle Field, College Station, Texas →TV: FSN (Cox 37) →Radio: KXY-FM 96.1