The second year of the Jim Knowles era gets underway on Friday night. In his first season as Oklahoma State’s defensive coordinator the Cowboys gave up an average of 452.5 offensive yards per game. Despite the high number of yards allowed, the Pokes were able to remain competitive due to their high-octane offense.
In 2019 the Cowboys are breaking in a new quarterback, have less depth at running back, and a huge need for improved offense line play. This makes it all the more imperative that OSU improves on defense in 2019.
Here are three keys for Oklahoma State, on Friday night, as they look to improve on the defensive side of the ball in 2019.
I. Contain The Run
Of the 452.5 yards allowed per game in 2018, 185.4 of it came on the ground. Oregon State’s Jermar Jefferson ran for 1,380 yards (on 5.8 yards per carry) and 12 touchdowns in 2018, setting the Oregon State true freshman record for rushing yards in a season.
He’s going to be a handful for the Cowboys and the more he gets going the stronger the momentum will become for the Beavers.
II. Pressure The Quarterback
Jake Luton returns for a sixth year of eligibility (his third season at Oregon State) but has only made 12 game appearances due to injury. At 6-7 he’s a big-framed quarterback but a history of injuries could make him a bit jittery in the pocket. If you’re Oklahoma State then you absolutely want to find out what his pocket presence under pressure is going to look like.
The greater the pressure the greater the potential for mistakes from the quarterback.
III. Force Turnovers
Since 2005, when the Cowboys win the turnover battle, they are 67-8 (89.5 pct.). They are 34-2 (94.4 pct.) in games when they commit zero turnovers.
Yes, sometimes things really can be that simple.
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