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Blogger Q&A: Oklahoma State needs Mason Rudolph to play

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Gerald Tracy of Cowboys Ride for Free answered some questions for us in preparation for the Sugar Bowl.

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I've never seen a two quarterback system work as well as it has for Oklahoma State. How do Mason Rudolph and J.W. Walsh complement one another? What does each struggle with?

It works and honestly, I've been a bit surprised by it myself. Rudolph is your starting pitcher who has the ability to go all nine while Walsh is the closer who can go two innings and pretty much close out in almost every situation. Rudolph obviously can't move around like Walsh, but still has the ability to do so (when healthy). Walsh is essentially a running back who can occasionally throw the ball.

On the other hand, Okie State's running game isn't all that good. What's the problem? I assume some of it relates to the offensive line, but what are the flaws of the primary backs? What types of designed runs have been successful?

No runs have really been successful. Chris Carson, Raymond Taylor and Rennie Childs have all been pretty horrid. Carson is a very patient back, wants to wait for the hole to form but quite frankly, that never happens. Taylor can bounce around a tackle or two here and there but he won't get more than 12 carries and Childs is a very off and on kind of guy. None are very good but the weakness that is the offensive line doesn't help.

Do you think the poor defensive statistics are a result of an inability to run the football and an offense that moves the ball quickly, or is there more to it than that? Who are a couple of the best players? What's the weak(est) link?

The defensive statistics look much worse now than they did right before the Texas Tech game. Granted, that's when OSU started playing actual football teams, the defense actually held up fairly well. As mentioned in this piece, the Cowboys allowed under 20 points a game until the Tech game when it jumped to more than 40. Losing defensive end Jimmy Bean sure hurt OSU, as him and Ogbah were destroying quarterbacks and it allowed offenses to focus on Ogbah. But to answer your question about why they got so bad I think it's a mixture of missing Bean and the amount of plays. Since Halloween, the Cowboys played in over 400 defensive plays, were tired and Ashton Lampkin was hobbled as well.

The weak link was exposed in this and it goes by the name of Michael Hunter/Ramon Richards. Both are backup corners who play a considerable amount but never seem to know what they're actually doing. Obviously Treadwell and Co., will make for a hard time for this team, but Peterson probably won't be the corner letting it happen, it'll be one of those two.

The Cowboys don't have a commitment from a single four-star player at the moment. I realize your M.O. has generally been to coach them up, but why do you think that is? Why can't Gundy or the school attract that top talent?

I've been asking myself that for four years. OSU isn't a bad school (anymore). They've been in the conference championship talk since 2010 every year except last year and they have also shortened the stick that OU beats them with since as well. One thing that hurts is OU does steal them. Two actually recently decommitted. One went to OU and one is expected to be on his way to USC. My theories are OSU is fine with coaching them up and such, but I don't think that's what will consistently keep the Pokes at the top of the Big 12.

Could you do me a favor and make sure all your players get really trashed the night before the game? Ole Miss players did it last year before the Peach Bowl, and I was told TCU had worked something out with Oklahoma State to return the favor this year.

Haha is that true? I know Gundy won't stand for it. Not saying our players don't get trashed, because they do, but Gundy has already shot that possibility out of the air. I know the team is being locked in its hotel room that night and they even moved the team hotel to one further from Bourbon St., for that night.

What's your prediction on the game? Give a score and how it gets there.

I hate doing this but I'm going to give you like three scenarios. If Rudolph plays and is fully healthy, I think the Cowboys can win this by at least three, I'll say around 35-30. If Rudolph plays and you can tell he isn't comfortable so Walsh had to play a little more, I still think the defense can stick around but it'd be super close, say around 28-31, going either way. If Walsh starts, we're screwed. He can't beat Ole Miss, he could barely beat a lot of teams without a run game to make his passing look semi decent. That would make this like Bedlam, which is something I am not looking forward to.