Oklahoma State Primer, Part One

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Bud Foster and his defense will have a big challenge against Oklahoma State. (Photo by Ivan Morozov)

Oklahoma State is a good team (one its fans hoped would be a playoff contender) that scores a ton of points while giving up almost as many, but you already knew that. Watch a few games, and some other aspects emerge. OSU’s top players — quarterback Mason Rudolph and wide receiver James Washington included — are all stars who will have bouts of brain cramps that you wouldn’t expect. The defense has been “good enough” for the team to get nine wins, but that’s about all you can say about them.  And the special teams haven’t been special at all. Let’s look deeper into their three-phase performance.

On offense, OSU runs a tricked out version of the Air Raid offense. It takes the Air Raid’s stripped down plays, simple reads, fast tempo, and equal embrace of deep strikes and screen passes, with a little more running than past iterations (both gap and zone), and a lot of play-action and run-pass option (RPO) you wouldn’t associate with the olden days of Hal Mumme or Mike Leach (I assume Leach hasn’t changed much, but I haven’t seen his teams in a while.) They’ll even run straight play-action pass calls with run blocking just to sell them. They’ll be the most up-tempo team Tech has seen all year, sparked by a quick verbiage game where the plays are one-word calls. They won’t go into a game with a lot of plays, so odds are we’ll be seeing a lot of the same concepts repeatedly.

They’re a typical Big 12 team in that they love post routes, especially paired with play-action. The Hokies will have to play sound and be mindful of the screen game and posts (often simultaneously) when the Cowboys