STARKVILLE – At least one Oklahoma State player believes Mississippi State will have trouble keeping up with his team’s offense. The Bulldogs respectfully disagree.
Parker Graham, a senior right guard, told OStateIllustrated.com in a story published Wednesday that SEC defenses “lose their breath” against the Cowboys’ high-tempo offense. He added, “They have big guys, but they aren’t very well-conditioned.”
Oklahoma State and MSU open the season Aug. 31 in Houston.
Last season, Oklahoma State averaged 78 offensive plays per game, which ranked 15th nationally. It ranked fourth in total offense (547 yards per game) and third in scoring (45.7 points per game).
MSU tailback Josh Robinson said the team saw what Graham said, and everyone has taken it to heart.
“Well, shoot, we’re just going to have to prove them wrong. That’s why we’re pushing our boys in practice, and we’re going to show them what we’re about,” Robinson said following Wednesday’s practice.
Defensive coordinator Geoff Collins expects conditioning to be a huge factor, and he feels the Bulldogs will be just fine in that regard.
“In my opinion we have the best strength coach in the country,” Collins said. “Matt Balis, he and his staff do a great job just getting them ready to play and getting ready for the tempo.”
Coach Dan Mullen said that ideally he’d like players to get no more than 35-40 reps in a game, but he and Collins both understand that they might have to stretch that number a bit versus Oklahoma State.
But they’re not worried about doing so.
“If you have to go 45 reps, that’s an extra five reps a guy, you can still survive that,” Mullen said.
MSU has its share of speed on defense, from defensive end Denico Autry to linebacker Matt Wells to pretty much the entire cornerback rotation.
The Bulldogs feel their offseason preparation with Balis has them ready for any situation.
Defensive players have said they’re looking forward to facing the Oklahoma State offense.
Collins said he’s “fired up” about the challenge, and when asked a second time about the importance of conditioning against the Cowboys, he just smiled and said, “Matt Balis is the best.”