OSU offense coach was on other sideline last time OSU met I-AA opponent

Friday, September 15th 2000, 12:00 am
By: News On 6

STILLWATER, Okla. (AP) -- Oklahoma State offensive coordinator Del Miller was across the field from Cowboy coach Bob Simmons the last time OSU faced an NCAA Division I-AA team.

Miller was head coach of Southwest Missouri State, which fell to the Cowboys in 1996 in overtime, 23-20. But Simmons said Miller, who previously coached at Iowa and Kansas State, had his attention before he almost upended the Cowboys.

"I had respect for Del Miller even before he had that job,"

Simmons said, "just the respect he has had around the Big 12 and what kind of person he was, his attention to detail and play calling."

------ IT AIN'T GATORADE: Pickle juice has been OSU's secret weapon against cramping in the wicked summer heat. Simmons said the pale green substance came recommended by OSU's athletic trainer Terry Noonan when he was hired two years ago, and that Cowboy players have been drinking it ever since. The coach said the team has been providing it at summer games and practices. While Simmons reports that most players like it, defensive end Zac Warner is not one of them.

"I'll cramp before I'll drink pickle juice. I'm not doing that," Warner said. "They had it all over the field (Saturday) and I wasn't touching any of it."

------ NEW OFFENSE: While it's doubtful OSU will dip too deeply into its new offensive playbook against Southwest Texas, Simmons hinted that the team still has more to throw at opponents. First-year offensive coordinator Miller scrapped the Cowboys' old offense in favor of a more wide-open version this season. While the offense tallied 413 yards against Tulsa last week, Simmons said his team only ran 59 plays compared to Tulsa's 79 or 80. He played coy when asked if the team had used up all its offensive scheming in the 36-26 win.

"All of it for that day," Simmons said with a knowing smile.

------ MOVING ON UP: Southwest Texas coach Bob DeBesse said playing Oklahoma State should be a big rush for his Bobcats. He also said he hopes it provides a glimpse of what may one day be in his team's future. Southwest Texas is looking to make the jump to Division I-A football, possibly to the Sun Belt Conference which will field seven Division I-A teams in 2001.

But to make the move, Bobcat home games must average at least 17,000 people for the next four years. The school averaged about 8,000 people per game last season.

To get NCAA approval, the school's 14,000-seat stadium also would have to be expanded to hold 30,000 people by next season.

DeBesse said a possible move is still several years off, but that performing well against a Division I-A opponent couldn't hurt the team's promotion chances.

"We want to go up to Stillwater, be respectable, play a clean ballgame and have a chance to win," DeBesse said. "Certainly we're the heavy, heavy underdog and it should be that way. But we're just going to hang in and have fun and hopefully have an improved football team."

------ SCHEDULES, SCHEDULES: OSU coach Simmons said he thought he scheduled Southwest Texas as the first team in the Cowboys' 2000 schedule, followed by Tulsa. He said he was surprised when the games came back the other way around in the final schedule.

While Division I-A teams are only allowed to schedule one Division I-AA team per year, many choose not to because of the potential upset factor or lack of prestige in the game. But Simmons said he thinks more and more Division I-A coaches will line up teams from the lower division because they're cheaper and usually guarantee a win.

------ THIS 'N' THAT: Told that the Southwest Texas media guide lists three players who claim to have chosen that school over Oklahoma State, Simmons asked for the players' names and then said he had no idea who they were. "I'm happy they picked the school of their choice," the coach said. ... Southwest Texas defensive backs coach Chad Glasgow played linebacker at OSU in 1992 and 1993. He also spent one year as a graduate assistant under Simmons. ... Tony Lindsay needs 286 yards to pass Tone' Jones and move into second on OSU's career total offense list. Lindsay has 5.035 yards going into Saturday, while Mike Gundy sits atop the list with 7,749 yards. ...

All 91 players on the Southwest Texas roster are from Texas.