Samuel Bryant and Cincinnati Joe were kind enough to take the time to answer a few burning questions I had about OSU, Stillwater, and this weekends upcoming game.
What should we expect out of OSU. What do the Cowboys run on offense? Are we going to get lit up by a big, physical receiver like in 2008?
Expect a fast paced "Air Raid" style of offense that runs a lot of plays and spreads the ball around. We lost that big physical receiver in Dez Bryant but we have a nice quartet of receivers that will hopefully replace his productivity. It looks like the receptions will most likely be pretty evenly divided between guys like Justin Blackmon, Tracy Moore, Josh Cooper and freshman Isaiah Anderson. You could see as many as 8 different WR's on the field at different times.
You're replacing quite a few players at important positions this year. How's the transition going, especially at quarterback?
Only returning 4 starters on each side of the ball has all of us playing a bit of a guessing game as to how everyone will look in the opener. While all the newcomers look great in practice, you never really know until you line up against a quality opponent. Of all the new faces, quarterback is probably the spot we are least concerned about. Weeden will be 27 years old so we don't expect the same type of "rookie" mistakes that a 19 year old would make in his position. Really, the only thing we have to go off is what the coaches tell us and the fact that he brought us back in the second half last year against Colorado with 170 yards and 2 TD's (when starter Zac Robinson was out with an injury). All reports from the coaches are that he is taking to the new scheme very well.
Our fans like to travel, so are they going to feel at home in Stillwater? What are some can't miss places to eat/drink/see in your lovely little Oklahoma town?
Stillwater is a super small and very welcoming town. The WSU fans should expect to be invited to tailgates, offered food/drink, and just generally be accepted into the community. On gameday it can be tough to get into some of these places, but my short list would be:
• Hideaway Pizza - Still the best pizza I have had anywhere in the world, and there is no way that this is a biased opinion. Any option on the menu is fantastic. It's well worth the wait...
• Eskimo Joes - More of the bar atmosphere, this place is usually overcrowded on game days as it is about 2 blocks from the stadium, but it is a cool bar with pretty solid food. "Joes Cups" hold 22 ounces of cold beer and the cheese fries go very well with them. Also, their shirts are something like the 2nd most collectible shirt in the world. Remember the movie Can't Buy Me Love? No? They guy from Grey's wears one
• Shortcakes Diner - For late-night/drunk food this diner is open 24 hours. It is cheap and delicious breakfast/greasy spoon dining. Do not go here if you are in any way counting calories.
• Coney Island - On the "strip" so you can mow down a few dogs between bar stops. Honestly some of the best coneys I've had and the price can't be beat. It's the epitome of cheap college town grub. And it's good!
There are some other great places, but to save some space I'll stop at these four. Just ask around when you get to town, and people will point you to some good spots.
We really would've loved to have your money....err I mean companionship... in the Pac-10. What was the general feeling in Stillwater about the idea of joining a potential Pac-16? Great idea or best idea ever?
As much as I personally didn't and still don't want to give in to it, I would have to say that the general consensus here was excitement. Playing new teams in new places all while making more money.. not a lot of downside there. Personally I like the regionalism of the conferences as they stand now, but progress is progress and if a move had to happen, I really liked the Pac-16 option. Maybe in 2012.
T. Boone Pickens: Great for the athletic department or over involved, off-his-rocker booster?
Hard to say he is not great. These last few recruiting classes we have gotten in here would not have happened without a little 200 and something million dollar donation from Mr. Pickens. That doesn't mean he still can't be off his rocker, but overall I think he is rightly given plenty of leeway by the fan base considering all he has done for the school and the athletic program.
The Cougs have been historically terrible over the past few years. Are you overconfident or scared of the opening game?
To be honest, honest... I don't think too many people here think there is much of a chance of us losing this game. If it were in Pullman there may be a different feeling, but at home against a team that was 1-11 last season, I would say we are leaning toward the overconfident side of things. However, there is a prevailing thought in Stillwater that due to the inexperience and youth of this team we will drop an early game that we shouldn't... just none of us are actually predicting which game this will be. So if you want to, you and your readership can assume it will be the Cougs.
Who should we worry about? Is there a player on offense that's gonna torch us? Is there a player on defense that may kill our quarterback?
On offense, Kendall Hunter. He was the RB that had 107 yards and 2 TD's in 2008 against WSU on his way to being named a 3rd team All American that season. He missed almost all of last season with an injury, but is back and our new offensive coordinator has been quoted as saying thing like he wishes he could give him the ball 40 times a game. He is a stud.
On defense, Ugo Chinasa would be the primary QB killer on the end, but the two guys I would worry most about are MLB Orie Lemon and SS Markelle Martin. Both can move and flat out lay the wood. Martin in particular is an absolutely terrifyingly hard hitter. Your offense should be terrified of this guy. Just typing his name made me a little nervous.
Is Mike Gundy really a man? Is he 40? Are you tired of this joke yet?
Yes. No. Kinda. The thing is, Oklahoma State has historically been this forgotten little wrestling and basketball school in the middle of the country. As stupid as this kind of publicity is, it is publicity, and is part of the opinions people have formed about us. If it weren't for T. Boone, Gundy's rant, and Dez Bryant, I'm not sure we would have made any sort of front page news in the past decade.