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Three Things Tom Herman Said ahead of OSU’s Game against Texas

Herman says OSU is a championship-caliber team.

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Tom Herman is just 1-3 against the Cowboys in his Texas tenure with last season being his lone victory.

He’ll be in Stillwater on Saturday with hopes to make it consecutive victories against Oklahoma State. Herman hasn’t won in Boone Pickens Stadium, with his only attempt resulting in him being ushered off the field by officials.

Herman met with reporters Monday about his return trip to Stillwater. Here are three interesting topics he touched on.

On OSU’s Experienced Defense

Saturday’s Oklahoma State-Texas game will matchup the Big 12’s best scoring defense with the league’s best scoring offense.

OSU has held its opponents to 12 points a game through the Cowboys’ first four. The second-best team in that stat in the Big 12 is West Virginia, a team that has held its opponents to 21.8 points a game.

“I counted, I think, nine of the 11 starters on defense are juniors or seniors, with six of those being redshirt guys,” Herman said. “So, you’re talking about 23, 22-year old grown men out there playing defense that have been playing in the same system, that have been playing together for a long time. Anytime you can have talent, combined with experience, combined with continuity in systems, I think those are the makings of a pretty dang good year.”

Meanwhile, Texas has averaged 45 points a game in its first five contests, the highest number in the Big 12. Texas’ lowest point total of the season came Saturday when the Longhorns beat Baylor 27-16.

So, what challenges do Herman and former OSU OC Mike Yurcich expect against the Cowboys?

“Chaos up front,” Herman said of OSU’s defense. “They’re gonna be in multiple fronts, multiple blitzes. They’re bringing free safeties and corners and nickels and strong safeties, but the one theme is man coverage. We’re gonna have to defeat man coverage, something we’ve been a bit hit or miss with our wide receivers here in the last few weeks.

“… Those would be the two biggest things from a schematic point. They’re gonna definitely outnumber the box. At times, you’re gonna look down there and before the ball is snapped, all 11 guys will be within five yards of the ball. They’re gonna outnumber the run and dare you to throw it over their head, and they’ve got confidence in the man coverage that they play behind all of the unique fronts and blitzes and looks they present your offensive line.”

On Adding Sanders to Hubbard and Wallace

The Cowboys’ offense hasn’t quite hit its full stride in 2020, but Spencer Sanders just played his first full game of the season Saturday.

Despite a loss in Austin last season, Sanders showed flashes of what he is capable of against the Longhorns. Sanders threw for 268 yards at Darrell K. Royal — Texas Memorial Stadium last September. He also ran for 109 yards and a touchdown.

Him returning from injury last week added to the steady play of Chuba Hubbard and Tylan Wallace is sure to bring up difficulties for first-year Texas defensive coordinator Chris Ash.

“You put him back there with one of the best backs in the country, and that just makes you that much more nervous,” Herman said. “And, oh, by the way, there’s a Biletnikoff finalist at wide receiver lurking around there on the perimeter somewhere, too.

“Very, very difficult offense to defend against because of those two great skill players in Chuba Hubbard and Tylan Wallace, but now you do add Spencer Sanders and his true dual-threat capabilities back there. I know Chris Ash will have some sleepless nights this week, for sure.”

On OSU’s Ceiling

Herman was straight up asked whether OSU was the type of complete team capable of winning a championship.

His answer: yes.

“They’re playing elite defense,” Herman said. “Elite not just in our league, but in the country. When you’ve got the skill position players like they have that are one touch away from a house call, those are two key ingredients to a championship recipe. They sure do look like it right now.”

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