Posted by ESPN.com's Tim Griffin
We caught up with Oklahoma State linebacker Andre Sexton for a few minutes earlier this week before the Cowboys’ big opener Saturday against Georgia. Here are some of his thoughts heading into the game.
How has it been getting back to the media earlier this week after the blackout a couple of weeks ago?
AS: It’s been great. Doing all of these media interviews let me know the game is really here. As we continue leading up to the week, I’m sure it will keep getting crazy. There will be more people, more stuff on Facebook. I can’t wait.
What have you been reading on Facebook about the game? Anything interesting?
AS: I had to update my status as soon as Georgia was coming. Everybody is commenting on it. People are saying they can’t wait for the game. I can’t blame them. I’m getting great support from people all over. I’m getting excited, too.
I know you’ve never really minded the media obligations. What was it like to spend those 10 days just concentrating on football?
AS: We put a lot of work in practice during that time and everybody was relaxed and cool. It was a little difficult doing your stuff on the field and then spending the next 30 to 45 minutes doing your media stuff. With the week off, it gave us the opportunity to stay focused about our game coming up and get ready for the challenges we’ll be facing against Georgia.
What do you think you’ll see from Georgia? Do you think they will try to physically pound the ball right at you?
AS: I definitely think so. With their young quarterback [Joe Cox], I think they will try to run the ball down our throats and see if we can stop them. We are going to have to be fundamentally sound and physical enough to put ourselves in good situations to see what they can do in the long-yardage situations. That will be a key for us.
A lot of people are saying this might be the biggest opening game in the history of your school and one of the biggest games ever played on your campus. Do you agree?
AS: I think everybody here is ready for the challenge. We’ve been hearing about all of this for so long. We’re ready to prove ourselves and change the way we are perceived. Everybody sees the new stuff at the stadium. All of our new surroundings have changed the way that people are looking at Oklahoma State. The next step is building our defense. We’re going to take it personally to try to do it.
Some of your teammates have vowed to be tougher after some of your struggles in the second half against Oregon in last season’s Holiday Bowl. Is this a ‘put up or shut up game’ for the program?
AS: I think it’s obvious for us to prove that we are a real program. This is a chance to try to change what people saw in that bowl game. They saw we were physically overmatched in the second half. We want to try to change that.
How much have you been thinking about this game?
AS: That’s something we’ve been working on from the first day we started our offseason work. We’re getting antsy about it.
What has the arrival of Bill Young (Oklahoma State’s new defensive coordinator) meant to your defense?
AS: He hasn’t had to talk much to the defense as a whole. Coach Young has focused on the defensive line, which is where he has done wonders. He’s simplified things to show them how to destroy blocks and create constant pressure.
The thing that hurt us last year was that we would get into the backfield and then we couldn’t finish. With the defensive line’s help this year that won’t be a problem.
He’s also talked to us about being consistent for four quarters. Coach Young being here has helped. But we also know what it takes. And we’re going to put it together on Saturday.