STILLWATER — The second half of Missouri State and the first half of Tulsa was an anemic stretch for the Cowboys’ offense.
Oklahoma State beat the Golden Hurricane 28-23 on Saturday in Boone Pickens Stadium. Through two games, the Pokes are averaging just three yards a carry despite having a solid stable of running backs. After Saturday’s game, OSU coach Mike Gundy said the coaching staff needs to get together to make a decision on the team’s offensive identity.
“We’re gonna have to get better at designing plays — period,” Gundy said. “Come together and decide how to rush the football, and we have to rush the football for 4.5 yards a carry because we’re very, very young on the perimeter right now. Year’s past, we could always rely on just chunking it down the field, somebody making a play that makes us all look good. As we develop those guys on the perimeter, we’re gonna have to get better at rushing the football. I’m not necessarily just talking about our blocking, I’m talking about our schemes. We have to decide what’s best, and we have to get good at that.”
Gundy called OSU “very average” offensively after the Tulsa game. The Cowboys had 313 yards of total offense to Tulsa’s 347, as a big swing in Saturday’s game came from LD Brown’s 98-yard kickoff return.
Not to say the Cowboys’ touchdowns were lucky, but all three took a superb individual effort. Jaden Bray muscled away from a pair of defenders. Bryson Green made a toe-tapping grab over a Tulsa defender. Jaylen Warren zigged and zagged around seven defenders. There wasn’t a touchdown were the offensive line opened a whole for a sold run or an interesting route concept freed a receiver.
It’ll be a group effort among Gundy, offensive coordinator Kasey Dunn and offensive line coach Charlie Dickey. Dunn pointed at inexperience as a potential factor. OSU threw to three true freshmen receivers Saturday. Warren and center Danny Godlevske are experienced in a college football sense but played just their second games as Cowboys on Saturday. The offensive line, while more experienced than last year, still isn’t filled with seniors with three sophomores starting against Tulsa.
“I think it’s a matter of fundamentals, probably just repping it a little more because of youth,” Dunn said. “We do have some new faces in there. … It’s just been a revolving thing. One week you’re playing with a drop-back quarterback and you have, really, no zone-read game with him. I mean, we have it, but it’s not his specialty. It’s not his forte. Then you fast forward to the next week, and it’s a completely different scenario. That’s part of the battle, too, is just trying to suit the scheme, the overall offensive scheme to who we have playing.”
Despite the struggles, the Cowboys have found ways to win, but it’s a wonder at this point whether that says more about OSU or its opponents.
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