There’s no denying a young Oklahoma State football team faces an extreme test when it opens the season with Florida State on Aug. 30 in Arlington, Texas.
But among the inexperience concerns is a silver lining. Young Cowboy players are no stranger to opening a season against the very best talent around. Just ask cornerback Kevin Peterson.
The returning leader in the secondary played high school football at Wagoner in northeast Oklahoma — a Class 4A school that won its first state championship with Peterson as its star.
Who did Wagoner schedule for its season openers?
“We played 5A schools the first couple games,” Peterson said.
While college football has mostly embraced a model of softer nonconference schedules, top teams at the high school level have taken the opposite approach.
Last fall, top 6A programs Jenks and Union played two of the best programs from the Dallas area — Euless Trinity and DeSoto — to kick off the year.
Three players featured in those matchups are now Cowboy freshmen: safety Dylan Hardy (Jenks), offensive lineman Junior Galea’I (Euless Trinity) and wide receiver Chris Lacy (DeSoto).
“The top tier of Oklahoma football is good … but you’ve got to go down and prove it against a very good team in enemy territory,” Jenks coach Allan Trimble told The Dallas Morning News last September. “I’m looking forward to the opportunity.”
That type of mentality has stuck with Peterson. His confidence trumps the idea that a lesser opponent would benefit OSU in the long run.
“I’d rather play the best teams,” Peterson said. “I’m not really a fan of playing the softer schedule, getting a pounding in and getting guys’ confidence behind them. I’d rather go after the best early, to really set a standpoint to see where we’re at.”
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Ryan Simmons is supposed to have supreme confidence in the OSU defense. It comes with his role as the Cowboys’ projected starting middle linebacker this season.
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