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Oklahoma State football: Cowboys must keep their foot on the gas

COMMENTARY — Oklahoma State opens the season on Saturday against preseason No. 1 Florida State. Sticking with the uptempo offense seems to be the best way for the Cowboys to spring an upset.
by Berry Tramel Published: August 26, 2014
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photo -  
                 OSU quarterback J.W. Walsh earns high praise as a leader and a winner and will enter the season as the starter. 
                   Photo by Sarah Phipps, The Oklahoman Archives
OSU quarterback J.W. Walsh earns high praise as a leader and a winner and will enter the season as the starter. Photo by Sarah Phipps, The Oklahoman Archives

Florida State and quarterback Jameis Winston have quite the reputation. That’s what happens when you win the national championship and the Heisman Trophy, then return a bushel of ballplayers.

The Seminoles all stand 8t feet tall and run 40 yards in less than four seconds can leap tall buildings in a single bound. During their championship season of 2013, they had their shoulder pads off by the second quarter, were eating hot dogs by the third and were getting pedicures by the fourth.

Except, of course, it isn’t true. Mere mortals play for Chief Osceola’s squad. Yes, Florida State jumped on Syracuse 28-0 in the first quarter and Wake Forest 28-0 in the first 16 minutes and North Carolina State 35-0 in the first quarter and mighty Clemson 17-0 after 12 minutes. But the idea that the Seminoles cleared out every biker bar the minute they walked through the stadium gates, well, that didn’t happen.

Florida State, like most title teams, had to sweat at times.

Which brings us to Mike Gundy’s Cowboys, who play FSU on Saturday night in Jerry Jones’ epic stadium, a year too late, some would say. The 2013 Cowboys were experienced, talented and tough. The 2014 Cowboys are rebuilding and could be in the moral victory business by halftime Saturday night.

But Oklahoma State shouldn’t go into the game trying to keep from being avalanched. Shouldn’t go in trying to shorten the game, keep it close and hope for the best. That’s not the way OSU best plays football. OSU’s best football comes when it plays like it has a flight to catch.

Uptempo offense has been State’s calling card for lo these many years now, going all the way back to Larry Fedora’s offenses of 2006 and 2007, and uptempo offense seems to be the best way for the Cowboys to spring an upset Saturday night. Which should be the prime directive.

Hit Florida State in the mouth early and see what happens.

Gundy offers few clues on how the Cowboys will play. It’s like pulling teeth just to get him to admit that graybeard J.W. Walsh will start at quarterback, even though we all know he will.

“It depends on the skill players, not how we respond up front,” Gundy said of the hurry-up offense. “There are 10 guys out there that have to function based on whatever the quarterback tells them to do. We won’t really know unless we have a really experienced quarterback and a veteran group. We want to play as fast as possible, but we also don’t want to extend ourselves out there and make ourselves vulnerable.”

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by Berry Tramel
Columnist
Berry Tramel, a lifelong Oklahoman, sports fan and newspaper reader, joined The Oklahoman in 1991 and has served as beat writer, assistant sports editor, sports editor and columnist. Tramel grew up reading four daily newspapers — The Oklahoman,...
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