Welcome back to Six Shooter, where we turn to our foes of the week and extend our olive branch of questions to the opponent's SBNation blog, and they give us answers in return. It's Oklahoma State week, which means we're in touch with Hatcocowboy from Oklahoma State's Cowboys Ride For Free- a haven for quality Cowboy material and the occasional humor post to learn what they think and what they know about OSU before Saturday's clash in Stillwater. Also, although Cowboys do ride for free, they only answer questions if you answer some for them as well- so sidle on over to CRFF if you'd like to see their half of the Q&A (Though "Questions with the enemy"? I thought we were friends, Hatco!)
HawkeyedFrog: I hopped on the Cowboy bandwagon early after the opening day win against Mississippi State, where I was very impressed by the Oklahoma State defense against the Bulldogs. After that opening day masterpiece things appeared to go downhill a bit, allowing about thirty points a game to all other FBS level teams. Is the Cowboy defense improved over last year or was Mississippi State an outlier?
Hatcocowboy: I'd venture to say a little bit of both. While the Big 12 homer in me wants to say "LOOK WHAT WE DID TO AN SEC TEAM!", I know just because they belong to the SEC doesn't necessarily mean they're an Alabama or Georgia. In any case, it was an impressive performance by the Poke defense. I've been excited all off season to see what Glenn Spencer can do at the helm. Everything out of camp was that they hit hard and fast. And that has shown true for the most part so far. Statistically, the D is allowing one less yard this year than last. It'll be interesting to see how well Spencer and the Cowboy defense can adjust.
HawkeyedFrog: The Oklahoma State running game has appeared to be MIA this season after the departure of Joseph Randle to the NFL's Cowboys. Is the bigger issue on the ground the offensive line or the running backs?
Hatcocowboy: Well, in the West Virginia game, the offensive line struggled. But other than that, I feel as if the O-Line, while maybe not the best, isn't the problem. Cowboy fans got absolutely SPOILED with Randle. While Jeremy Smith and Desmond Roland are both great backs, they're no Randle. Plus, I don't think Mike Yurcich has quite figured out what to do with them/what their individual strengths are. I'll just leave it at this: it's a little discouraging to see the run game struggle like it has, especially from a university formerly known as "Tailback U."
HawkeyedFrog: The Cowboys offensive strength appears to be the passing game, while TCU's defensive strength is the secondary. Which matchups do you like on offense, and do you think the Cowboys will find much success against the Frogs?
Hatcocowboy: For the love of all that is holy in this world, I would love to see J.W. Walsh throw the long ball. If it were me calling plays (and thank goodness it's not), it'd be flea flicker after flea flicker. I'm a sucker for those things. Josh Stewart and Jhajuan Seales are going to have to come up big for the Pokes, but the trick will be eluding TCU's dual threat of safeties in Chris Hackett and Sam Carter. One misread between Walsh, Stewart and Seales, you might as well mark it down as an interception. That'll be the battle to watch.
HawkeyedFrog: The Cowboys did an excellent job of containing Trevone Boykin last year, but against K-State's running quarterback Daniel Sams the Cowboys struggled a great deal. How do you expect the Cowboys will account for Boykin, and will they measure up to last year's effort?
Hatcocowboy: Sams basically ran wherever he wanted to, but at the same time the defense sometimes made a stop. Or maybe I'm just saying things to keep an irrational mindset. In any case, you can bet neither Coach Gundy nor Spencer was happy with how the defense played against the QB run. As exceptional as the D was last year on Boykin, you still can't ignore the fact that the kid has some skills. But you can bet that with the poor effort against Sams last game and the knowledge of Boykin's game, the Pokes are going to be ready and will make him earn every yard.
HawkeyedFrog: TCU's offensive line has struggled this year, leading to a lot of shuffling on the line. Will the Cowboys be bringing additional men to get after Boykin, or do you expect to rush 4 and hang back in coverage more?
Hatcocowboy: I think Spencer will bring the pressure. One of my favorite things about the new defense is the stand-up package they have incorporated. Essentially, you don't know who's going where, who's matched up with who and it has one goal in mind: get to the quarterback and put his ass in the grass. They're going to be daring Boykin to throw the ball, and when he does, they'll be waiting to snatch it.
HawkeyedFrog: Finally, prediction time. What's the score in the game, and how do you think Oklahoma State does the rest of the season?
Hatcocowboy: All in all, the Horned Frogs are a couple of plays away from an >.500 winning percentage. It'll be closer than people think, especially for Homecoming, but I believe the Pokes get it done 35-28. As for the rest of the season, the schedule only gets tougher from here (excluding Kansas. I mean....it's Kansas) and the Cowboys come out with a 10 win season. Hey, I'm an optimist.
HawkeyedFrog: Our thanks to Hatcocowboy for answering our questions and be sure to check out Cowboys Ride for Free- the blog for teams who ride horses and make pistol guns with their hands that aren't our ancestral enemies.