Tag Archives: Oklahoma State

The Next Barry Sanders Is…Barry Sanders

by Rob Loeber

If you watch Heritage Hall senior Barry Sanders run the football, you can easily picture him wearing a light blue jersey and a silver helmet just like his father did throughout the nineties with the Detroit Lions.  The younger Sanders is an electrifying talent and even though he may not be Hall of Fame material just yet, he is ready to take the next step in his football career.  Sanders is one of the top recruits in the country and would be welcome at any of the premier division one college programs.  I recently sat down with Sanders and asked him about carrying the weight of lofty expectations, how he’ll make his college choice, and what’s going through his mind as he tears through an opposing defense.  The following is an excerpt from that interview.

Loeber: Barry you’ve been given this amazing talent, but with that talent means expectations are also extremely high.  Can having the name Barry Sanders be a blessing and a burden at the same time?

Sanders: I’ve thought about it, and I think it’s more of a blessing than anything.  It’s a lot of opportunity that comes with it and I’ve just been trying to capitalize on it and do the best I can with it.

Barry Sanders Sr. won the Heisman Trophy at Oklahoma State and was inducted into the NFL Hall of Fame in 2004. (courtesy profootballhof.com)

Loeber: Do you remember the first time you saw your dad run the football?

Sanders: I do remember going to a couple games.  I remember the first few times and I remember watching some of his highlights and realizing how great he was.  I’m still amazed at what he was able to do.

Loeber: Football or not, what’s the best piece of advice that he’s given you?

Sanders: Probably just to be the best man you can be.  We’ve talked about a lot of things off the field, but that’s probably one of the biggest things you know, take care of what you have to take care of and be responsible.

Loeber: Does it ever feel like the expectations placed on you are too high?

Sanders: If you ask me, no.  My mom and my grandpa might have something different to say but I would say no because I don’t look at it as expectations.  Like I said, it’s opportunity.  It’s opportunity hopefully to be one of the greats you know, that’s all you can ask for.

Loeber: Do you ever wish for a day or a week of anonymity, or do you kind of embrace the fact that you are the face of this (Heritage Hall) program? Continue reading The Next Barry Sanders Is…Barry Sanders

Cardiac or Clutch? Who are these Cowboys?

Thursday night football?  You betcha.  I’m on board.

You get to watch an absolute thriller between Oklahoma State and Texas A&M, take a day to catch your breath, and then its time for OU/Texas.  What’s a meal without an appetizer?  Thursday games may drive coaches nuts because their weekly routine gets messed up, but its a treat for the fans and the schools can’t argue with the national TV exposure.  All eyes were on Stillwater last night.

Those that watched saw something of a schizophrenic OSU squad.  Stumbling out of the gates, the Pokes look rattled early.  Maybe they were trying to hard to prove something after taking criticism for beating three puffballs.  Maybe they were too busy admiring themselves in those black uniforms.  Those are solid by the way.  Maybe the Aggies were just the looser, more prepared team.

No it wasn’t the prettiest game, but the Cowboys deserve credit.  Anytime you win, the glass has to be half-full.  Brandon Weeden proved he can face adversity, brush it aside, and play inspired football.  Being 26 years old probably helps, but this was a game Weeden needed.  When you start the game 6 of 13 with two interceptions, and finish by completing 22 of your last 29 with two touchdowns, you’ve earned the respect of your teammates and hopefully the respect of everyone in orange.

The OSU defense gave up 535 yards of total offense.  Improvement is needed, no doubt.  But Bill Young’s unit also came up with four interceptions, none bigger than Shaun Lewis’ pick with under a minute to play.  As long as the Pokes can keep forcing turnovers, they can hang with the best.

Cardiac Cowboys has become a popular phrase in Stillwater.  No question OSU has a flair for the dramatic.  But Thursday night, Clutch Cowboys sounds a bit better.  How else can you describe coming back from a 14 point halftime deficit, making a game changing play in the closing seconds, and connecting for a game winning 41 yard field goal?  Clutch fits…for now.

Dan Bailey's 41 yard field goal lifted OSU to a 38-35 victory over Texas A&M (courtesy Tulsaworld.com)

We’ve seen this before from OSU.  Last season the Cowboys started 6-1, then cooled off and dropped three of their last six games.  In 2008, the Pokes jumped out to a 7-0 record, only to lose four of their final six contests.  The 2006 Cowboys showed promise after starting 3-0, but faltered in three of the next four games.  Only time will tell if the optimism generated last night can last for an entire season.  The schedule gets much more difficult as OSU will play three of its next four away from Boone Pickens Stadium.  But let’s face facts here, the Big 12 South looks ripe for the taking.  Oklahoma hasn’t exactly looked dominant, Texas has some serious chinks in its armor, and the Texas Tech offense doesn’t seem nearly as intimidating under Tommy Tuberville as it did under Mike Leach.

Way to early to crown any team, or make any bold prediction, but don’t sleep on these Cowboys just yet.