Coaches Begin Bedlam Week With Look At Offensive Strengths


Monday, November 28th 2011, 1:48 pm
By: News 9


It's finally here—Beldam week. Although fans and the teams had to wait one extra week this season because of the new Big 12 scheduling, all are looking forward to one of the biggest Bedlam games in recent history.

Like last year, this season's Bedlam game will decide the winner of the Big 12 Championship title.

Oklahoma State enters the game at 10-1 overall, 7-1 in conference this season while Oklahoma is 9-2 on the year and 6-2 in Big 12 play thus far.

For the second time in 106 meetings between the universities, both the Sooners and Cowboys enter Bedlam ranked in the country's top 10. OSU enters ranked at No. 3 in the BCS standings while Oklahoma is No. 10. The only other time it happened was back in 1984 when OU was No. 2 and OSU was No. 3.

Related Story: BCS Rankings-OSU Moves Up One, OU Down One

Oklahoma certainly knows the challenges that the OSU offense presents. The Cowboys rank in the country's top three in total offense with 562.6 yards per game, passing offense with 401.6 yards per game and also in scoring offense at 49.8 points per game. Two big reasons for Oklahoma State's success come from quarterback Brandon Weeden and receiver Justin Blackmon.

"(Weeden) just has really a talented arm and poise and experience," said OU head coach Bob Stoops in his teleconference Monday. "He does an excellent job going through his read progressions and executing the offense."

Coach Stoops added that Blackmon has such size, strength and great hands that give him an incredible ability to make plays even when he is covered.

"They are just a great, complete unit," OU defensive coordinator Brent Venables said. "We have not had the success against other passing teams this year that we would have liked. There is not a better time than now to have our best performance of the year."

Related:  Bedlam Blitz

But the Cowboys also have to be concerned with the success of the Sooners offensive attack as well.

The Sooners rank third in the nation in passing offense with 375.55 yards per game and fourth in total offense at 547.91 yards per game.

One challenge OU brings to the table is the wildcat formation it has implemented and the use of quarterback Blake Bell to punch in some big scores for the Sooners.

"I think the biggest change with them over the last three to four weeks has been their wildcat formation with their big quarterback (Bell) in there playing power football," said OSU head coach Mike Gundy. "Each week they've expanded on that with a different run or some sort of a play pass."

In the red zone, Bell has 15 carries for 37 yards and nine touchdowns this season.

"He has been good at it—he is 240-250 pounds and has shown that he is a good runner and they've blocked it well and they've done a nice job with it. It's obvious that if you come off the ball and block somebody and use tight ends and fullbacks and block it down and kick it out and if you've got a big guy running it, then it can be difficult sometimes to slow down, " added Gundy.

Bell's success, coupled with the firepower of Landry Jones who is 312-of-487 for 4052 yards and 28 touchdowns gives the Sooners options on offense as they shoot for their eighth straight Big 12 title Saturday.

Meanwhile, Oklahoma State enters the game after a bye week last week. Coach Gundy and the Cowboys say the extra time off was welcomed.

"It was really good. Because of the tragedy we had with the plane crash it gave everybody a chance to clear their mind and we were able to get away for a few days for Thanksgiving and some of the players needed some rest, they were a little bit beat up and I think it worked out really well for our team," said Gundy.

With all the hype that the Bedlam series brings, both coaches are focusing in on the task at hand and at winning the conference title.

"I think (Bedlam) has been big," said Stoops. "A year ago we played on Thanksgiving and whoever won was going to play Nebraska in the Big 12 Championship game so we look at it the same way."

"It's cut and dry for our football team," said Gundy. "They can do something that's never been done here and that's win a conference championship."

Kickoff is set for 7 p.m. inside Boone Pickens Stadium on Saturday, Dec. 3.