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Pressbox to the Couch



Photo Attribution: @eknielsen

Last week O’Colly sports editor, Anthony Slater and I wrote a little back and forth on the Arizona game.

It was fun so we decided to do it again for the Tulsa game and look ahead a little bit to this weekend…

Kyle Porter: 1st question – was the Tulsa game the most bizarre sporting event you’ve ever watched?

Anthony Slater: Watched, no way. That is, and probably always will be, the Malace in the Palace. You know, when Ron Artest, Steven Jackson and the rest of the Pacers had a brawl with the entire Detroit crowd. Every time I see that video on YouTube, or am reminded about it, I still can’t believe it happened.

But out of any event that I have covered, no question that was the most bizarre. In a cramped Tulsa press box, it felt like we were in a state of lockdown. There was constant rumors flying around about start times, postponements and incoming storm cells. Every flash of lightning brought a very audible groan. Then suddenly, when it seemed like a sure thing the game was going to be canceled, they announced it would be played. And your sitting there well after midnight, confused about the whole ordeal, and oh yeah, the game you have to cover is about to kickoff. It was unreal.

What about you? What was your experience and what did you think of the decision to play the game?

Kyle: I thought it was insane. When we got to 11 PM I thought there was no possible way the thing was being played. You mentioned in your column that Bill Haisten said at one point he thought there was less than a 1% chance of it taking place and I probably would have gone lower than that.

As an organization you can’t be letting a team in the national title hunt play games that last until 3 AM. I understand it probably wasn’t a call Gundy or Holder could make but the fact that anybody made it was ludicrous to me.

Are you worried about the defense getting shredded for 350+ rushing yards with Christine Michael and Cyrus Gray looming?

Slater: Am I sold on this being a championship worthy defense? No. But i don’t suddenly think this a team that can’t stop the run. They stoned Arizona in the second game, giving up only 41 yards on the ground. On Saturday, Tulsa exploded in the second half, ripping off huge chunks of gains on defensive breakdowns.

Some of it should worry Bill Young, but a lot of it just looked like a tired team (it was 2:45 a.m.) with a big lead. There is plenty of analysis and speculation surrounding the early performances of this team, but the first true test is Saturday. We are going to find out a lot about them Saturday in College Station.

Speaking of that, give me an honest assessment of what you think is going to happen.

Kyle: I’ll be shocked if all of us aren’t wetting ourselves in the 4th quarter of this game. It’s going to come down to the last 5 minutes of the game and possibly (or probably) the last possession.

If you’re an A&M fan and you legitimately think you’re going to hammer OSU then you’re more delusional than the Big 12 for thinking it could get Arkansas or Notre Dame to come play in its conference.

If it IS a blowout either way though, then one of these teams deserves to be ranked inside the top 5.

One reason I love our chances in a close game: I think Weeden is ice.
One reason I don’t love our chances in a close game: the biggest FG Quinn Sharp has ever kicked was in a 24-point home blowout.

Do you prefer the 2:30 kick or did you want a night game?

Slater: I don’t think it’s a big deal either way. The teams will be ready, the crowd will be amped up and plenty of eyes will be watching a top 10 matchup, no matter the time. As long as the game isn’t being played in the middle of the night (not that they would do that, right?), I don’t think the time has any effect on the outcome.

And personally, I’m going to enjoy getting out of College Station at a reasonable time, instead of driving back to Stillwater through the night.

Has Daytawion Lowe has outplayed Markelle Martin early on this season? And what is your general feeling on the defense right now?

Kyle: I don’t know if he’s outplayed him per se (they both have 14 tackles) but I do feel like I’ve seen him in on more plays. Now maybe that’s a function of the fact that QBs pick on his side of the field more often, or maybe Dana left him a few cases of Red Bull in his locker, either way he’s been as great as you can ask a backup safety filling in for a multi-year starter to be.

As for the defense at large, I think a lot of the lapses have been a result of the fact that none of OSU’s second halves have been close. It’s hard to play with, say, the intensity you would at Kyle Field on Saturday when it’s 2 in the morning and you’re up 40 on a Conference-USA team. Is it excusable? No, but it’s correctable and I have confidence in Bill Young getting work done this week.

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