Stillwater — The SEC has earned its name by defense. The Big 12 by offense. Oklahoma State and offensive coordinator Mike Yurcich look to get through the Missouri defense Friday during the Cotton Bowl.
The Big 12 and SEC showdown is sure to a game that will be eye-opening.
“We’re going to try to maintain balance. We’re not going to go into a game saying ‘we’re going to strictly run it’ or ‘we’re going to strictly throw it.’ We’re going to try to complement ourselves and make sure to take what the defense is giving us,’ Yurcich said.
Clint Chelf and the entire Oklahoma State offense will need to be on their game to keep the chains moving.
“Their front is a good bunch. They are very, very talented,” Yurcich said. “It’s not like you can just sit there and key on one guy. They have several guys that give them depth, so they’re fresh. They all get up field with athletisicm and have heavy hands and quick feet.”
Missouri was defeated by Auburn 59-42 in the SEC title game. Things that Auburn did and the Cowboys are capable of doing are comparable.
“You always try to take certain things away from each game that you watch. At the same time you have to do what you do. We can’t morph into just a totally different offense. There’s some things that Auburn does that we do and there some things that they do totally different than what we do,” Yurcich said.
OSU and Missouri have some things in common. The two teams both lost their final games of the year in what would have given each team a conference title. Both teams come into the Cotton Bowl at 10-2.
The Tigers’ defense is something that Yurcich and the Cowboys will aim at disecting.
“I think they mix up their coverages very well. They’re able to disguise what they do,” Yurcich said. “They give you a variety of different looks but disguise those things as well ... I think they understand their schemes very well.”
For most of the Cowboys the experience of being in a bowl game is nothing new. For Yurcich however, he is in uncharted waters.
“I can’t wait. I love everything about it. The preparation that we’re able to have and being able to practice for it and being able to go down to Dallas. It’s going to be a fun event,” Yurcich said.
The extended time between the Bedlam game and the Cotton Bowl gives Oklahoma State a chance to fine tune as a whole.
“You’re able to get back to fundamentals and really look at the basics. The time allows you to get some younger guys some extra reps in practice,” Yurcich said.
Yurcich finished his first regular season with the Cowboys after losing to Oklahoma. Oklahoma State ended with a 10-2 record with Yurcich as the offensive coordinator for the his first year. Yurcich has gained some experience during that time.
“Every week it’s a competition. You have to come ready to play each and every week. From a preparation standpoint every detail has to be covered,” Yurcich said.
The Cowboys were disappointed in losing the Bedlam matchup the last time that they were on the turf. But making a bowl game allows Oklahoma State to end the season on a strong note.
“I think our players really understand that this is a great opportunity for us to play a very good opponent on a national stage. I think our players are really looking forward to the challenge,” Yurcich said.
Obviously the Cowboys want to win the game for the program as a whole. But the staff wants to send the seniors off with a positive feeling.
“We want to win this one for our seniors. For as much as they’ve given us everything. It’s important to send them away on a winning note for all they’ve done for our program,” Yurcich said.
Yurcich has been most impressed by the Cowboy seniors in their efforts.
“Being able to finish. Being resilient. Coming to practice and trying to get better every day in practice has been impressive to me,” Yurcich said. “We practice really hard and we know that’s the reason we’re having success is becuase of the way we practice throughout the week.”
Note: Derek Brown is a sports writer for the Stillwater NewsPress.