Preface: This article is mostly therapeutic for me, please don't take it as preaching as all the "we"s in there are really "I"s, but I'm not writing a journal here so it is written in the context of the entire fanbase as I know many of you feel the same way I do.
So we are once again left with mixed emotions following a decent win by the Cowboys.The Pokes covered a big spread on the road and cracked the 50 point mark, we should be happy with the performance, and if we hadn't watched the game we would be. The reason we are uneasy is we keep seeing the stretches of poor performance that we believe will lead to doom in future contests verses better competition.... and maybe it will... but apparently the Cowboys are intent on being this type of team this season so we better get used to it... and maybe embrace it.
Yes it would be great if the Cowboys could come out firing on all cylinders on both sides of the ball and put every game away like they did to Tulsa... but couldn't this ability to turn it on at will be considered a positive as well? I like the idea that this team can be completely disoriented as they were in the first half of the last two games, re-group at halftime, remind themselves that they are much better than this, make a few adjustments, come back out for the 2nd half and dominate. This is a young, extremely talented team, running even younger and more talented schemes... a team that is still figuring itself out, and we are going to have to adjust our support accordingly.
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Throughout Cowboy history, a halftime deficit almost always meant a defeat, and most of the time halftime leads never felt very secure either (*cough, Texas). Oklahoma State teams have typically been who they are for entire games. When they were a ball control, running team that couldn't score quickly if their lives depended on it, they were that for the entire game, and the entire season. They couldn't just turn it on at will. We are used to watching Cowboy teams that would spend a week coming up with the best gameplan possible given the matchup and the available personnel, then execute that gameplan to the best of their ability on the field. Sometimes it worked, sometimes not, but everything was pretty well decided (on the OSU side) early in the game. This Cowboy team is different. The combination of an influx of young talent this school hasn't seen since we were paying players, and two coordinators that are sorta odd-geniuses that like to experiment and want to put their stamp on every game has altered the flow of Cowboy games to something we aren't used to. For the remaining 7+ games we are going to have to learn to be patient as fans. To allow the game to ebb and flow, and not overreact to every early sign of adversity. This is a talented, well-coached team that can adjust, that can improve during a game, and this is something that is kinda new for us.
I hate to play the often OU-fan used "we don't know how to root for a winner" card, but this is kinda true. In the history of Oklahoma State football, early adversity meant the other team was better and will beat us, so as fans we react accordingly. This is not true of fans that are used to rooting for teams that have superior talent, superior coaching, and that win. I realized this at halftime on Friday when a Nebraska fan joined us in the Gamethread.
Those of us in the thread were complaining about the first half, there were numerous "here comes the poke-choke" comments being made, basically we were reacting to being completely outplayed in the 2nd quarter and assuming it would carry over to the 2nd half, because historically that is what has happened at Oklahoma State. This Nebraska fan starts responding to many of the comments with stuff along the lines of, "halftime adjustments will be made, you guys will be fine". At first I read his comments and thought he was just being nice since he was on another teams site, but then it hit me like a Markelle Martin cleanup, "This is actually how he watches his team play football". (btw...I can't believe that am so jaded that I assumed someone was lying when they said they thought things would be fine.. good lord.) This Husker fan is used to knowing his team is better, having faith in the players and coaches, and assuming that the cream will rise to the top. He is used to seeing "reloading" seasons where the play is sporadic, but in the end the superior talent and coaching will usually win the game. Having faith is a part of being a fan that is so natural to him because he hasn't been semi-tortured for the past 10, or 20, or 30, or however many years you have been following Oklahoma State football. This is a trait we are going to have to adopt, as this Oklahoma State team believes they are talented enough to win every game no matter the situation, and we need to start believing them.
So for the rest of the season I vow to not make another "we look terrible, this game is over" statement in the first half*, no matter how dire things may look. These last two games have proven that this team deserves our faith, and I am finally ready to give it to them. So let's go to Lubbock, get down two scores early, and take it to the Raiders in the 3rd quarter.
*probably a lie