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									Tuesday, September 9, 2008


Planet McCoy: Gerald McCoy has stood out on Oklahoma’s defensive line. Defensive coordinator Brent Venables said so on Sunday. Asked whether the Sooners’ four-man rotation at defensive tackle — McCoy, Adrian Taylor, Cory Bennett and DeMarcus Granger — was an advantage, Venables clarified. “Well, listen,” Venables began. “Gerald’s an advantage, and then everybody else is just about (the same). Everybody else (other teams) has about three or four of ‘em you could put out there, believe it or not. Those guys are solid. Gerald’s in a whole deal (by himself). He really can’t be with those other guys. Gerald, he’s on his own planet.” Ryan’s song: With the success Ryan Broyles had in his college debut — seven catches, 141 yards and a touchdown — OU coach Bob Stoops is getting more questions about Broyles’ seasonlong suspension last season following an arrest two days before the season opener. “I think each situation is di erent and you do your best to handle ‘em,” Stoops said. “I can’t just dismiss players in every situation. So that’s not always, to me, the most fair thing, either. You do your best for the players to understand what needs to be done. You give them a chance to grow, and some of them grow. Some of them realize, ‘Hey, I’m not going to act like that.’ Others do and are removed. “We didn’t keep him around just because we felt he was going to be a good football player. We felt it was justified if he was going to continue to grow and do the right things, and he’s trying to. He’s starting.” Injury report: Defensive end Frank Alexander, out with a knife injury sustained during a fracas outside a Norman nightclub on Aug. 31, is improving, Stoops said. “We just have to wait week to week to see how far along his muscle heals, his triceps.” Stoops said wideout Brandon Caleb, wearing a protective boot during the Cincinnati game, is “closer. He had an ankle sprain last week during practice. It’s mild. It’s not a high way. So we’re hoping he’s back this week.”

Pick up the pace: Think it is hard adjusting to OU’s new fast-paced no-huddle o ense? Try being a defensive opponent. “The thing they did best as an o ense was their no-huddle,” Cincinnati defensive end Connor Barwin said after Saturday’s 52-26 loss to the Sooners. “I was surprised at how fast it was. They had me gasping for breath the whole game.” Bradford honored: Oklahoma quarterback Sam Bradford was honored as the Davey O’Brien Award national quarterback of the week following his record-setting performance (395 yards, five TDs) against Cincinnati. OU coach Bob Stoops said the Sooners’ fastpaced, no-huddle o ense probably enhances Bradford’s skills “because he’s a bright guy. He processes quick, and he’s got a lot of poise to him, so even if you’re hurrying, he has the sense to get himself poised to execute the play.” Bradford also is one of four nominees for AT&T All-America national player of the week. Fans can text message VOTE to 51234 on their wireless phones to opt in for the chance to vote until 10:59 p.m. Wednesday. The winner will be announced during Thursday’s ESPN prime time college football game. Big league: Cincinnati coach Brian Kelly said last week he thought Oklahoma looked like a Big East Conference all-star team. After seeing the Sooners close up, he changed his mind. “I think they should move to the NFL,” he said. Husky improving: Washington safety Darin Harris, who was taken o the field by ambulance after a fourth-quarter collision last week against BYU, was released from a Seattle hospital on Sunday. Tests were negative for neck and spinal injuries, and Harris was diagnosed with a concussion. His playing status is uncertain. The replacement: Huskies safety Tripper Johnson, who last played football in 1999 at Washington’s Newport High, should replace Harris this week. Johnson, 26, played eight seasons of minor league baseball before returning to football this season. He was beaten for BYU’s go-ahead touchdown in the fourth quarter.
By John E. Hoover, World sports writer

Doing their jobs: While Dez Bryant has been the only Oklahoma State wide receiver to make a considerable impact catching the ball in the first two games, it does not mean the other wide receivers are not getting the job done. OSU coach Mike Gundy emphasized that point Monday in his weekly press conference. Gundy said after reviewing the film of last Saturday’s victory against Houston that the o ense as a whole had 89 knockdown blocks. Gundy said his o ense usually strives for 65-70 knockdown blocks for each game. The impressive individual total emerging from that was the 12 recorded by wide receiver DeMarcus Conner. To Gundy, that is a respectable accomplishment that does not get recognized as it should. “That’s unbelievable for a wide receiver to have 12 knockdowns in one game,” Gundy said. “I continue to talk about this because I get concerned about all the press Dez gets and (running back) Kendall (Hunter), too. We had 89 knockdowns in the game. We had 89 guys on the other team who had their hand on the ground. When you get that, you are going to get some yardage and you are going to score some points.” Blocking downfield is a standard requirement among the Cowboy receivers. Their position coach, Trooper Taylor, opened the o ensive coaches meeting Sunday and the receivers meeting Monday by showing Damian Davis’ knockdown of not

OSU’s Dez Bryant celebrates with students following OSU’s victory over Houston. Bryant was named Big 12 O ensive Player of the Week.

one, but two Houston defensive backs. The blocks helped Bryant bust loose for a 74-yard touchdown reception. “That’s tough to do. But that shows you they’re buying in and trying to help the guys running with the football,” Taylor said. “We talk about unbelievable effort, but it’s hard to find it. “Anybody can talk about it, but when you show it on tape, kids start to believe and say I can do it.” More honors for Bryant: Two more awards rolled in Monday for Bryant. The sophomore was named the Big 12 Conference O ensive Player of the Week after his nine-catch, 236-yard, three-touchdown performance against Houston. Bryant also was selected as one of four nominees for this week’s AT&T All-America Player of the Week. Other candidates for this week’s

honor, selected by ESPN, are Oklahoma quarterback Sam Bradford, East Carolina quarterback Patrick Pinkney and Michigan State running back Javon Ringer. Fans can choose the winner by sending a text message VOTE to 51234 on their wireless phones. Voting ends at 10:59 p.m. Wednesday and the winner will be revealed on ESPN’s Thursday night college football telecast. On Sunday, Bryant was named the Walter Camp Foundation’s national O ensive Player of the Week. Injury report: Sophomore wide receiver Artrell Woods has a brace on his strained left knee and likely will miss Saturday’s game against Missouri State. Defensive coordinator Tim Beckman is hopeful senior defensive tackle Jeray Chatham can return to practice by the middle of the week and play Saturday. Chatham aggravated a foot injury early in the first half against Houston and sat out the remainder of the game. Checking in: For the second straight week, Gundy was interrupted during a press conference. On Monday, he received a text message from younger brother and OU running backs coach Cale. Cale was inquiring if Mike was in the middle of a press conference. During his weekly press conference last week, Gundy’s wife, Kristen, called his cell phone. The video clip was shown by various television stations across the state.
By Matt Doyle, World sports writer

Locker is the go-to guy for the Huskies in every possible way.

The pair need to average about 68 yards a game each.

In Oklahoma State football history, four Cowboy teams have had a 1,000-yard rusher and a 1,000-yard receiver in the same season: (OSU record that season in parentheses) 1988 (10-2)
Rushing: Barry Sanders, 2,628 yards. Receiving: Hart Lee Dykes, 1,278 yards.

pounding behind an unproven line, but was still converting fourth-down runs during his final drive. This has been the storyline, more or less, since Locker took over the Husky o ense in 2007 and became Pac-10 Freshman Offensive Player of the Year. His performance against Arizona — 336 yards and two touchdowns passing, 157 yards and two touchdowns rushing — last Oct. 27 prompted Washington o ensive coordinator Tim Lappano to call it a “historical e ort.” “He can hurt you in a lot of di erent ways. You can see his evolution,” Arizona coach Mike Stoops said before Locker’s show. “He’s getting better and better.” He was pretty good to begin with. “I’ve never had a quarterback that had all of those skills put together,” Washington coach Tyrone Willingham said. “He throws the ball very well. He thinks the game very well. He has speed that you don’t see in most quarterbacks. . . . And then you combine his toughness. He is, I think, pretty special.” You shudder to imagine where the Huskies would be without Locker. They rank between 85th and 112th nationally in major o ensive and defensive team statistics. They are playing for a coach who is 11-27 in just over three seasons on the job. It is a job Willingham kept, reportedly, only after a long sit-down with his president and athletic director following the ’07 season. Locker, even, has been caught in the net this year, ranking 91st in passing e ciency heading into Saturday’s game, and showing some rust from a hamstring injury that stalled his preseason camp. Still, he is obviously the Huskies’ go-to guy in every conceivable way. Asked about lingering feelings from the BYU controversy, Locker said: “Obviously that game was tough. It hurt. But we’ve got to put it behind us and focus on a really good Oklahoma team. Getting ready for the next opponent, there’s no room for that. It’s

Washington quarterback Jake Locker (center) is greeted by teammates after his touchdown against BYU as the penalty flag Locker received for excessive celebration after the score lies on the field. The Huskies had the PAT blocked and lost the game. TED S. WARREN/AP

only going to distract us and take us away from what we need to do.” All Locker needs to do is lift his team onto his back and carry it, until lesser-bodied, less-experienced teammates can close the gap on him. Willingham believes his quarterback will persevere until that happens. “The losses weigh on everyone, especially if you are an elite athlete that has a very high standard and demands a great deal of himself,” Willingham said. “But the thing about it is, he can see, I think, a future of himself leading this football team to much success. So I believe that he’s driven to that and, therefore, minimizes the losses now for all the victories to come.” What Locker believes is a little simpler, and something the Sooners would be advised to heed this week. “I believe I was given a gift to play this game,” he said. “There’s nothing I’d rather do on a Saturday afternoon.”
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said. “When I brought Larry (former Cowboy o ensive coordinator Larry Fedora) here, it was because it gave us a chance to spread people out and run the football. “Now, we’ve learned the system. I’ve learned the system. We like it because it’s balanced. If we’re good at it and our linemen stay healthy and we have a few skill players that can make people miss, you can run some numbers up and score some points.” The 2-0 Cowboys had 699 total yards against Houston, and they may “run some numbers up” again on Saturday, when they face Division I-AA Missouri State at Boone Pickens Stadium. OSU had a 1,000-yard rusher and 1,000-yard receiver in 1988 (Barry Sanders and Hart Lee Dykes), in 2002 (Tatum Bell and Rashaun Woods), in 2003 (Bell and Woods) and in 2007 (Dantrell Savage and Adarius Bowman). To reach 1,000 rushing yards in the 12-game regular season, Hunter from this point would need a modest average of 68.3 yards per contest. To have a 1,000-yard running back, Cowboy left guard Andrew Lewis said, “matters a lot to the linemen. It means we’re holding up our end of

2002 (8-5)
Rushing: Tatum B ell, 1,096 yards. Receiving: Rashaun Woods, 1,695 yards.

2003 (9-4)
Rushing: Bell, 1,286 yards. Receiving: Woods, 1,367 yards.

2007 (7-6)
Rushing: Dantrell Savage, 1,272 yards. Receiving: Adarius Bowman, 1,006 yards.

By Bill Haisten, World sports writer

the bargain.” Bryant has 326 receiving yards, so he would need a 67.4-yard average in order to join Dykes, Woods and Bowman as the only 1,000-yard Cowboy receivers. Against Houston, Bryant had 236 receiving yards— the second-best single-game total in OSU history. At Kansas in 2006, Bowman had a Big 12-record total of 300 yards. In addition to his hot start o ensively, Bryant has

popped punt returns of 42 yards (against Washington State) and 71 yards (for a TD against Houston). As it pertains to yardage, Trooper Taylor, OSU’s co-offensive coordinator and receivers coach, says he views 1,000 as a magic number. “What’s the di erence between a 1,000-yard receiver and a 999-yard receiver? One yard and e ort,” Taylor said. “You look at the film, and you see a time when you could have gotten that extra yard. “No one writes about 999-yard guy. You’re always measured by 1,000 yards.” A sophomore, Bryant has been named the Big 12 o ensive player of the week and the Walter Camp Foundation national o ensive player of the week. On Sunday, Bryant did not watch replays or read newspaper accounts of his performance against Houston. Instead, he spent the afternoon with Blaise Taylor, the 12-year-old son of Trooper Taylor. Bryant and Blaise were locked in a PlayStation video football duel. “Dez doesn’t like to lose at that, either,” Trooper Taylor said.
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Gundy says he is as surprised as anyone about the number.

about the atmosphere. I can’t tell you what was di erent about the atmosphere, but it was di erent.” Most of the guesses in the press box were over 50,000 and some as high as 55,000. The new west end zone was packed. The north and south sides appeared to be relatively full, although there were pockets of empty seats up high. So, why would OSU purposely underestimate its crowd? Most places around the country do their best to overestimate the crowd. OSU o cials insist it is an accurate number, but that is pretty hard to believe. Sure, people tend to stretch out when there are empty seats. Still, we Are talking 15,000 seats. That is an overflow crowd next door at Gallagher-Iba Arena. “Even among some of our o cials, that was a topic of discussion,” Gundy said.

Apparently, fans in the stadium were just as shocked. Gundy and his wife go to tailgate parties, visiting with fans after every home game. He loves to personally thank folks for coming out. He is more than the coach. He’s an alum. He said the reaction to the crowd figure was a topic among fans, too. “I guess there were 15,000 empty seats somewhere,” Gundy said. If so, when OSU does draw a crowd of 60,000, it will be a tight fit. Folks are going to be squeezed into Boone Pickens like they are at Oklahoma City’s Ford Center. OSU o cials estimate more than 38,000 season tickets have been sold, and the number is going up every day, even after one home game. That is up about 5,000 from last year, a healthy increase considering OSU was coming o a 7-6 season. “I think a lot of increase in the enthusiasm for our games has been with the students,” Holder said. “They really turned out and made it real exciting for the fans sitting in the west end zone. “A lot of the reason why fans come to college athletics is because of the enthusiasm of the students. I think our students really turned out for

the game the other night and that just helps feed the rest of the stadium.” Gundy said it was a huge lift when the team first came out on the field and saw the west end zone packed. “It looked full,” Gundy said. “That was a good image when we came out.” Some OSU o cials were worried about enlarging the stadium. What happens if you are playing games and onethird of the stadium is empty? Well, with one-fourth of the stadium empty (allegedly), it looked nearly full. “Just looking full was so great,” Gundy said. “We had heard so much skepticism about it (the larger stadium). “But, from where I was, it looked full.” From his spot on the sideline to the press box, the stadium did appear to be near capacity. Again, someone has done a great job of disguising empty seats. Either way, the new stadium is more than just bricks and metal. “Oklahoma State people that have been around here for a long time have some emotion about this whole thing,” said Gundy. “We’ve seen dirt, steel and mud around here for a long time. It is a lot di erent, isn’t it?”


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