Every week, the Oklahoma State players and coaches get asked about the pressure that comes with climbing the BCS standings and now being two wins away from clinching a spot in the national championship game.
But the general vibe coming from the players is a relaxed one, and that showed last week when the Cowboys routed Texas Tech 66-6 in their first game as the No. 2 team in the nation.
Is coach Mike Gundy worried that his players are maybe a little too loose?
“I've had concerns about it at times,” Gundy said. “And then you get to a certain point and you have to let it go. You have to let them play. You have to let them be who they are.
“You can't change the temperament or chemistry of a team, and I think you see that in all sports, at all levels. You look at teams that have traditionally been very good at our level, or you look at NFL teams that were really, really good, and this year, they can't win any games, well, that's because of the chemistry of their team.”
MONKEN NOT CAUGHT UP IN HEISMAN HYPE
There has been lots of chatter about OSU quarterback Brandon Weeden's sudden rise in the Heisman race since late Saturday night, after Weeden threw for 423 yards and five touchdowns in less than three quarters at Texas Tech and Andrew Luck tossed two interceptions and lost a fumble in Stanford's loss to Oregon.
But don't include OSU offensive coordinator Todd Monken as someone who is getting caught up in the Heisman hype.
When asked about Weeden's place in the discussion and why he's jumped to the forefront, Monken said, “I don't know.”
“I'd guess they'd be the same people that didn't have him up there a week ago,” Monken said. “Just a week ago, he was a distant afterthought. Then someone (Luck) lost, and all of a sudden they're not good enough anymore? That's ridiculous.”
COWBOYS PREP FOR IOWA STATE'S ZONE-READ OFFENSE
Iowa State has gone through a quarterback change this season, opting to start redshirt freshman Jared Barnett over junior Steele Jantz the past two games.
While both quarterbacks can run, Barnett is a bigger threat to make plays with his legs, tallying 283 rushing yards since replacing Jantz in the first quarter of the Texas A&M game on Oct. 22. That means the OSU defense will have to be ready for plenty of zone-read plays.
“They block it a lot of different ways,” OSU defensive coordinator Bill Young said. “You've got to be assignment-sound. You've got to know who has the dive, who has the quarterback and who's running the alley for the pitch.”
CYCLONE RECEIVER CHARGED WITH ROBBERY
Iowa State backup receiver Albert Gary has been charged with robbery, Cyclone coach Paul Rhoads said Monday.
The incident happened in June, and Gary served a three-game suspension at the start of the season.
“Everyone involved in this case has cooperated fully with the investigation, and university officials were aware of the situation from the beginning,” Rhoads told the Des Moines Register. “Because of the serious nature of this incident, and the facts I was able to gather, I thought it was imperative that I act swiftly, appropriately and proactively in the discipline of Albert.”
Rhoads said Gary will be available to play Friday against OSU. The sophomore had his best game as a Cyclone two weeks ago against Kansas, recording five catches for 57 yards.