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ESPN's Chris Fowler, Kirk Herbstreit say Oklahoma State will need to start fast against Florida State

Fowler says Mixon’s season-long suspension will be huge loss for Sooners
by Mel Bracht Published: August 19, 2014

Chris Fowler and Kirk Herbstreit will make their debut as ABC’s No. 1 college football broadcasting team at 7 p.m. Aug. 30 when they call the Oklahoma State-Florida State game in the Cowboys Classic from Arlington, Texas. They also will be part of ESPN’s “College GameDay” coverage that morning from Sundance Square in Fort Worth.

During a conference call Tuesday, the pair talked about OSU’s prospects in that game and how OU will be affected by the season-long suspension of running back Joe Mixon. Here are excerpts from their comments:

What are the prospects for a rebuilding OSU team against Florida State in the opener?

Herbstreit: I think Oklahoma State probably lost as many players as anybody in the country coming back at a high-profile school trying to compete in a game like this against a team like Florida State. I think with that being said, Chris and I were talking earlier about the job Mike Gundy is doing there. It’s hard to believe that this is his 10th year as a head coach at Oklahoma State. The last five or six years, I will pay him the compliment that his team is no longer a rebuilding type of team. I think OSU for years, decades, was a team that one year if everything was just right, they had enough seniors, they might get up to 10 or 11 wins. Then they would get back to five, or six or seven wins. And recently, they are winning 11 or 12 and their drop now is eight or nine. There is no reason to think that trend shouldn’t continue despite all the losses.

With that being said, obviously, it’s a very, very big challenge in the opener against Florida State. I think Florida State is not a team that will come in complacent or looking past Oklahoma State. I think they will be incredibly motivated, excited to play on a big stage, which is typically where Jameis Winston plays his best football.

If I’m Oklahoma State, we’re so young at some key spots let’s hope that that they are just young enough and naive enough to go into that game and play out of their minds. Let’s hope that the homefield advantage maybe can make a difference. Playing in Arlington is a lot closer to Stillwater than Tallahassee. And you got to get off to a fast start to get your young players a reason to believe that they can play with the defending national champions. Playing fast earlier is something I would recommend. Florida State was up 35-0 at the end of the first quarter on teams last year. Jameis Winston is used to putting the ball cap on before halftime. They don’t start slow. They typically start fast and they kind of take your will away. I would say getting ready to play fast early and getting some confidence and not getting blown out early is something they need to focus on.

Fowler: They are underdogs for a reason. I think that last year’s defense might have been Gundy’s best, but it was predicated on aggression and it’s tough to be aggressive when you’re inexperienced. And the guys who will line up and try to stop an unstoppable offense from a year ago are pretty green at key positions. They lack leadership. They haven’t been under fire because they are just not proven at a lot of spots. What you’re scared of if your an Oklahoma State fan is what Kirk is describing, that fast start. The Cowboys want to play offense with tempo. It’s tough to play tempo on offense if you can’t trust your defense because you’ll have a 41-second possession and a three-and-out and the Noles get the ball back. That’s the nightmare scenario. We’re all excited to see Tyreek Hill. I’m excited to see (J.W.) Walsh. I think the offense will be a typical Gundy offense. They will find ways to score points. The Noles are tough to hang with. I’m curious to see if the mental toughness that Gundy talks about (in) developing and recruiting his players, will be fully, fully tested from the first snap.

How much will OU be hurt by the season-long suspension to Joe Mixon?

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by Mel Bracht
Copy Editor, Sports Media
Mel Bracht is a copy editor on the presentation desk and also covers sports media. A 1978 graduate of Indiana University, Bracht has been a print journalist for 34 years. He started his career as sports editor of the Rensselaer (Ind.) Republican...
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