STILLWATER — Listen to Caleb Lavey talk about defending Texas' offense, and you can tell this is his type of game.
Yes, slowing the Longhorns will be tough Saturday night in Stillwater. Sure, they have a stout offensive line, a talented group of skill players and a capable quarterback.
And yet, as Lavey talked about the Horns' style, there was excitement in his voice.
“They're a pound-it team,” the Oklahoma State linebacker said, “so we're looking forward to ... getting to play a little more aggressive.”
No one is going to have to play more aggressively — or better — than Lavey.
Beating Texas starts with containing its run game, and at his middle linebacker position, Lavey will be in the crosshairs. He has to read the offense, get the defense lined up, then make a bunch of plays.
If last year is any indication, he can do it.
When the Cowboys went to Austin last season and beat the Longhorns for the second time in as many years, Lavey had the game of his life. He had 12 tackles and a highlight-worthy, bat-it-to-himself-then-catch-it interception.
The interception was just a bonus. His strength isn't dropping back into coverage; that much was evident with struggles at Arizona. His strength is being in the right place and making tackles.
“He's in the right spots 99 percent of the time,” Cowboy defensive coordinator Bill Young said.
Perfection might be necessary against Texas. The Longhorns are going to keep pounding the ball. That's their identity and their strength. Make one mistake against Malcolm Brown, Joe Bergeron and Johnathan Gray, and it could be a game-changer.
And if those guys get going, it opens up the passing game for David Ash. The Longhorn quarterback has shown if he's more capable than ever before of making plays.
Add in a Cowboy offense likely led by a backup quarterback, and it's even more important for the Cowboy defense to keep the Longhorns in check. Doing that means slowing their ground game.
Lavey sounds ready.
“We get to play what we love to play,” he said. “Smash-mouth football.”
Jenni Carlson: Jenni can be reached at (405) 475-4125 or at email@example.com. You can also like her at facebook.com/JenniCarlsonOK, follow her at twitter.com/jennicarlson_ok or view her personality page at newsok.com/jennicarlson.