The Oklahoma State Cowboys continued practice Wednesday in preparation for the upcoming bowl game against Stanford.
Wednesday the media had the opportunity to talk with some of the Oklahoma State defensive players to get their take on the powerful Cardinal attack.
"They have a powerful offense, they have really good offensive linemen. It's a different mindset you have to go into the game with," said Cowboy defensive end Jamie Blatnick "You have to be a bit more aggressive with it. You have to really get after them. You can't stay in scheme for too long, you just have to get out there and play."
"We just have to read the keys. They are a physical team. They are going to move the ball up the field," said OSU safety Markelle Martin. "If you can be calm and patient and just understand it, that's what they do. We are going to get our chance, you will be all right."
"They are very, very talented offense. We have been playing basketball on grass for about nine games and now all of a sudden it is going to be smashmouth football. Hard to simulate." Said OSU defensive coordinator Bill Young.
"You know, I think it is a good challenge. We know they will come at us heavier on games. They have big backs and big linemen," added Blatnick. "It is going to come to effort and giving it to them and not letting them control the tempo and the momentum of the game."
"They (Stanford) are different than most of the teams in the Big 12. They will probably be more similar what we saw versus Texas where they are going to be a lot of tight ends, huge offensive line," said Coach Young. "I think they have two of their offensive linemen are projected to be first-round draft picks, tight end that's first round draft pick."
The Cowboys have worked hard all year emphasizing the importance of forcing turnovers. That emphasis has helped them to be the number one team in the nation in turnovers, and turnovers gained.
"Nobody in the country works harder in forcing turnovers than we do," said Coach Young. "It has been a point of emphasis for the last three years. We double whistle all of our scrimmage plays against the scout team. At the first whistle everybody stops on offense and the defense tries to get the ball to turn over, rip it out, strip it out."
Blatnick added that he thinks is possible that the game comes down to turnovers, saying it's probably going to come down to the turnover battle. When you have two great teams like this, keeping one team's offense off the field could be crucial."
"As coaches we sound like a bunch of idiots screaming "rip, strip, turnovers" and all that. After practice each day, if we haven't created five turnovers against the scouts, we have to run a gasser for each one we didn't it. It is just across the field and back, but it's a reminder. We chart them in the ball game and it is a point of emphasis. Whatever you emphasize has been your chance of getting," added Young.
"Before I watched anything on Stanford I figured they would throw the ball a lot because all I ever heard about was Andrew Luck," said Blatnick. "But once I started watching them, they run the ball more, if not evenly. They run the ball a lot and they get three or four yards with it. Then they come back with a boot or a power pass and catch you off guard.
The Stanford running backs "never get tackled for the loss," said Young. "They continue to drive their feet and move the pile. They are a very patient offense from the standpoint if they can make two or three yards, they will try to get three or four more on second down, and then they will hit you with a play action pass when you are sucking it up to play the run too much, they are a patient group."
"We have to be physical up front and we have to read our keys. I think we have to play every down and we have to pay attention to the tight ends," said Martin. "You can't look in the backfield. Everybody has an assignment and everybody is going to be held accountable for their assignments. We're going to pay attention and just play our game."
Oklahoma State and Stanford kickoff Jan. 2 at 7:30 p.m. from Glendale, Arizona.