OSU, Tulsa prepare for grudge match

Friday, September 8th 2000, 12:00 am
By: News On 6

Smack in the middle of downtown Tulsa, Oklahoma State coach Bob Simmons rose from a throng of orange shirts to lead a rally cry against the hometown team.

That Tulsans would chant "Orange Power!" Thursday on the Golden Hurricane's turf drew no indignation from Tulsa punter Casey Lipscomb. He has seen what the home field advantage is worth when Oklahoma State comes to town.

"The last time when they came here there were more orange shirts in the stands than blue," he said.

The Cowboys open their season against Tulsa at 6 p.m. Saturday. All but 2,800 of the 40,385 seats had been sold by late Thursday.

That many of those seats will be occupied by Oklahoma State fans didn't bother Tulsa coach Keith Burns.

"If there's a rear-end on every seat, that's great to me. ... When you come down that ramp and there's 40-some-odd thousand, you'll want to play and do well," he said.

Despite beating Tulsa 46-9 in Stillwater last year, Oklahoma State hasn't shed the memories of its last two trips to Tulsa. The Hurricane won 24-23 in 1995 and 35-20 in 1998.

But Oklahoma State quarterback Tony Lindsay, back after a 1999 season shortened by injury, said he's just anxious to play.

"We feel it's about that time to show this offense and show what we can do, because we're for sure we know our assignments and know what to do," he said.

Linebacker Dwayne Levels said all the two-a-days and fall workouts have Oklahoma State ready to play anyone. He predicts fans will be entertained by the Cowboys' new offensive schemes.

"In practice, they're coming at us every kind of way," he said. "I'm just ready to see 'em put it to somebody else."

The Golden Hurricane (0-1) comes with a few lessons learned. Last week's loss to North Carolina gave the team's new coach a better picture of where Tulsa stands.

"I think our defense was up to pace with the speed of the game," Burns said. "I don't think our offense was."

Correcting a kicking game that proved to be a detriment at North Carolina was Burns' priority this week.

Lipscomb attributed a fumbled snap to a lack of concentration. He was worried about the wet field. He lacked confidence in the young snapper. The experience of having already played that first game is an advantage, he said.

"We're starting to get into rhythm," Lipscomb said. "We're getting confidence in each other and that's the biggest thing."

Simmons said Oklahoma State's extra week of practice paid off with time to watch film and correct repeat mistakes.

He hasn't forgotten the mistakes that left Oklahoma State trailing 35-0 two years ago.

"Turned the ball over I think eight, nine times. Sometimes they turned the ball over when nobody was around them. We had guys wide open running down the field and just didn't do anything right," he said.

Both coaches have downplayed the impact of statements Burns made before the season about Tulsa passing up Oklahoma State.

However, in the noon rally where hundreds of business people in orange clothes qualified for free pizza, Simmons slipped in a reference after listing off the millions being spent to improve athletic facilities at Oklahoma State.

"It sounds like a program that's going up to me, doesn't it?"

The orange-wearing crowd went wild.