Since Glenn Spencer's rise into Oklahoma State's defensive coordinator's post last winter, the buzz has been on a more aggressive style of play.
And it's a buzz that has circulated both outside the program among fans, and inside with players.
“To be honest, I knew that we were going to be aggressive right off the bat, after I heard that coach Spencer got the defensive coordinator job,” said tackle Calvin Barnett. “He coached me for a year before, so I knew he would bring his aggressive mentality to the defense.
“With what we've been working on in practice and the schemes we're looking to bring in games, we're definitely going to be more aggressive.”
Cowboys offensive tackle Parker Graham on Mississippi State:
“They're an SEC team. They're going to be big, they're going to be athletic and they're going to be pretty nasty. We have to make sure we bring our lunch pail to work.”
FOR OPENERS, COWBOYS STRONG
Under Cowboys coach Mike Gundy, OSU is 7-1 in season openers, with the lone loss coming on the road at No. 13 Georgia in 2007.
“He knows how to work the team and has everyone ready to go on game days,” said senior receiver Tracy Moore. “He knows not to have us work too hard during the week, but still has us work hard enough during the week to have us ready.”
Overall, the Cowboys are 66-40-5 in openers; 1-1 in neutral site openers, with a 21-13 win over Texas Tech in Oklahoma City in 1943 and a 39-36 loss to Louisiana Tech in Shreveport in 2002.
SMITH CLAIMS PUNTING JOB
Kip Smith has emerged as OSU's regular punter, Gundy revealed on Thursday, completing the special teams vacancies left by Quinn Sharp.
Smith, who will also handle kickoffs, is a transfer from UCLA who sat out last season. A junior, Smith earned the starting kicker job with the Bruins as a redshirt freshman in 2011 and kicked in the first two games before suffering a season-ending leg injury.
Originally from Broomfield, Colo., he earned All-America honors from Parade magazine and USA Today and was ranked as the No. 1 kicker in the country as a prep recruit.
True freshman Ben Grogan will handle field goals and extra points.
YURCICH ‘JUST A LITTLE PIECE' OF THE PUZZLE
Until the OSU offense continues to post big numbers – or fails – one major spotlight will focus on new offensive coordinator Mike Yurcich, partly because he's new, but also because he's making the move from Division II Shippensburg State.
Predictably, questions about his move up were prevalent again Thursday.
“We're just trying to win games here,” Yurcich said. “I'm just a little piece of a big puzzle, honestly. We're just trying to work together and win some ball games, so it's not about one person.
“We just need to do what it takes, be organized and detailed in our work. It's my job to prepare our guys and have them ready to go on the field.”