|Oklahoma, Oklahoma State not easing into season|
|Written by Admin|
|Wednesday, 02 September 2009 10:59|
The Big 12 South teams that play north of the Red River will play in two of the four opening-weekend games matching Top 25 teams.
``It makes your players have a sense of urgency and realize that they've got to be on the top of their game for sure right off the bat,'' Oklahoma coach Bob Stoops said. ``It is challenging and it does get your players' attention.''
The third-ranked Sooners, the three-time defending Big 12 champions and last season's BCS runner-up, play No. 20 BYU on Saturday at the new Cowboys Stadium in Arlington, Texas, where the league's championship game will be played three months later.
Certainly no Chattanooga or North Texas, the teams Oklahoma beat by a combined 136-12 its last two openers.
iately get tested in a home opener against No. 13 Georgia.
``Guys have a tendency to stay more focused because they know you have a great challenge in the first game,'' Cowboys coach Mike Gundy said Monday during the Big 12 coaches' teleconference. ``You don't really have any time to work the kinks out. You kind of have to be up and running.''
Having the returning trio of quarterback Zac Robinson, receiver Dez Bryant and running back Kendall Hunter for an offense that averaged 41 points a game should help. Still, Gundy admittedly worries about how his Cowboys will respond to an unprecedented sense of expectation.
``This is new for me ... this much national attention,'' Gundy said. ``I do worry about it. I don't know what we can do other than practice hard and stay focused as a staff.''
The Cowboys got into the top 10 for the first time in 20 years after starting 7-0 last season, then lost four of their last six games - including Oklahoma, Texas and Texas Tech. Oklahoma State opened the 2007 season at Georgia, who was then also No. 13 and beat the Cowboys 35-14.
Stoops has lost only one of his 10 season openers at Oklahoma, in 2005 against TCU, a Mountain West Conference foe like BYU. He has only had to go on the road for one opener, an instate game at Tulsa seven years ago.
n a nearly $1.1 billion stadium.
``We're not anxious to do it a whole lot,'' Stoops said. ``In this case, our fans and people are really excited about it.''
BILL'S BACK: Bill Snyder's three-year hiatus from coaching is over. It's time to get back on the Kansas State sideline, whether he's ready or not.
``Way too fast for me,'' Snyder said.
Snyder came out of retirement to replace the fired coach, Ron Prince, who replaced him. He is still getting back into the flow of coaching the Wildcats, like he did for 17 seasons previously.
``Every single day, there's something I'm prompted about,'' Snyder said. ``You know just a way of doing things and a process, just little reminders.''
K-State opens at home against Massachusetts, which will provide a first for Snyder: coaching in a stadium named for him.
DEFENDING KANSAS: With all three starting linebackers gone, Kansas switched to a 4-2-5 base defense to help ease that transition.
e'll be able to deal with it.''
An easy opener could get them on the right track. The Jayhawks play Northern Colorado, a team still completing the transition from NCAA Division II to the Football Championship Subdivision, formerly I-AA.
QUOTABLE: ``I don't know what you'd call it. Nervous, I think, isn't real accurate. The anticipation, anxious, yeah, probably.'' - Texas Tech coach Mike Leach on the feeling of the unexpected before playing a season opener. The Red Raiders come off one of their best seasons having to replace quarterback Graham Harrell and receiver Michael Crabtree.
M. Coach Mike Sherman expects to utilize all the running backs in the opener, an expected hot Saturday night, but says he's not a ``big back-by-committee guy.'' ... Colorado will be the last Big 12 team to take the field, Sunday against Colorado State, and will be the first to play their second game, the following Friday night at Toledo. ... Three of Baylor's losses last season were by seven points or less. But the Bears lost by four touchdowns to Wake Forest, their opening opponent.