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Oklahoma State Football

Cowboys Working to Stop Sooners Freshman Quarterback

November 22, 2021
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STILLWATER – If Oklahoma State is going to finish off the regular season 11-1 and head into the Big 12 Championship Game, which they have already qualified for and do it the way they want to then the stout Oklahoma State defense will have to do their usual number on No. 13 for the Oklahoma Sooners. Celebrated freshman quarterback Caleb Williams surged past previous Heisman Trophy candidate starter Spencer Rattler with his heroics in the Cotton Bowl comeback win over Texas. He rose to mentioned Heisman candidate and potential All-Big 12 quarterback. This admission, I voted for Williams this summer on the All-Big 12 preseason media team. I was the only voter for the Oklahoma freshman.

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Jim Knowles and linebacker Malcolm Rodriguez.

 

It is a fun showdown as Oklahoma head coach and current college football offensive guru Lincoln Riley and his freshman sensation against a Cowboy defense that coordinator Jim Knowles and his staff and players have currently third in the nation in total defense (267.8-yards allowed a game), second in scoring defense (14.9 points allowed per game), first in sacks produced (3.82 per game), and first in third down stops (.245 percent).

Williams has slowed down his production some but he has still run for 305-yards and thrown for 1,335-yards while playing in just eight games and averages 205-yards of total offense.  

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Caleb Williams last Saturday vs. Iowa State.

“He’s a special talent. You know he is kind of like Nolan Ryan in football, he can fire it down the field from about any release (point). He is agile and elusive, faster than what he looks because he takes big strides,” Gundy said of Williams. “He is willing to just chunk it down the field to make plays and he is very athletic. We’ve faced some quarterbacks that have similar qualities this year. I’m not sure we’ve faced one that has all the qualities he has at once. We’ve faced guys that move around well in the pocket and can throw it and get out and cause some problems. That’s what he does.”

Williams pace has slowed down some. Kansas, Baylor, and last Saturday Iowa State seemed to have a better plan to defend Williams, although his 74-yard touchdown run for the first score was a momentum builder for Oklahoma. Some thought is that there is enough video out there now to put together a better plan to slow the 6-1, 218-pound Washington D.C. product down.

“Anytime you have video, I think it helps. I don’t spend much time down in the defensive meeting room, but I can give you kind of the perspective I hear (from them),” Gundy explained. “At times it can be difficult to defend a player that you haven’t seen much, based on the fact that coaches break down film to find the deficiencies that certain players and quarterbacks have. We have some video. It is interesting with him the general public and fans can see what his strengths are. You don’t have to be involved in coaching. He is tough to get on the ground. He can avoid and make people miss. He can take off and score.”

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OSU defensive tackle Brendon Evers sacks Tech quarterback Donovan Smith.

The last two games, Oklahoma State has seen quarterbacks breaking into the line-up, young quarterbacks. TCU’s Chandler Morris had a big day against Baylor, but Oklahoma State’s defense made him pedestrian. The Red Raiders big 6-5, 230-pound athletic find in Donovan Smith helped tear up Iowa State’s defense in a 41-38 win, but Tech and Smith had just 108-yards of total offense last Saturday. Gundy starts with the obvious.

“We’ve been really good on defense, and I would have confidence in our guys that the coaches would come up with a good plan and our players would play hard. I don’t know if motivation is any kind of issue. They are very good schemers, and their coaching staff are good schemers. Jim and our staff are pretty good at it. The players will fight it out on the field.

“X’s and O’s with the coaches, how much of a factor will that play? Some, but ultimately it will be up to the players and how well they perform and execute the blue prints that we’ve given our guys and that OU’s coaches have given their players.”

This will be fun, the scheming, the practicing, and then the execution on Saturday. I’m extremely excited to watch and observe the process and the final result.

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Cowboys Working to Stop Sooners Freshman Quarterback

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