Structure be damned in this writeup. I don't have the ability today to put together some chronological detailing of the events that transpired on Faurot Field between your now #3 Oklahoma State Cowboys and the Missouri Tigers of the SEC Conference, which lead to a temporary change in the CRFF logo, but I am able to ramble my way through some key points and
This Cowboy Defense Is Very Good, Case Closed
Before some still crying OU fan (Sorry OU fans, I was rooting for you. An undefeated Bedlam would have been great for both schools, the state of Oklahoma, and the Big 12. Alas, it wasn't meant to be.) tries to once again throw out total defense numbers or whatever, just watch all our games. Watch when those big yardage numbers are given up. With the exception of the first half of the A&M game, this defense is a gamechanger when it needs to be. Why they can't play at a top level for an entire game? I honestly don't know, maybe depth is the issue, but regardless, when it is absolutely necessary that they stand on their head and do something great, they do it.
The second point I wanted to make about the Defense (yes, I am going to capitalize that now) is that no longer does anyone get to blame the amazing turnover margin on the other teams QB having "an off game". We get that shit every week, and I refuse to believe that we have been this lucky 6 out of 7 times. Here is a table of how often Cowboy opponents turn it over on the season (the OSU game was removed from this stat), compared with how often OSU turned them over.
|Turns per Game||Turns vs OSU||Diff|
Goodness! That is some ball-hawking right there. I realize that to people that only watched one of these games it looks at though the opposing QB is having an off day, but these numbers back up what those of us who have been watching this Cowboy Defense every week already knew, these players, and this scheme is designed to do exactly that.... make the opposing skill players have an off-game. Not necessarily a bad game, just an off game. Maybe they still have nice yardage totals and a few scores, but they make a few more mistakes than they do other weeks. This isn't a fluke, this defense specializes in making this happen.
Missouri is still the most difficult team in the conference to figure out
Are they good, bad, unpredictable, or high? I honestly still don't know. They might be the last team in the NCAA whose games I would want to wager either way on.
Down Some Key Players, The Cowboy Offense Added a Few New Wrinkles
With Justin Blackmon, Hubert Anyiam, and Josh Whitemon all on the bench for varying portions of the game, Todd Monken was forced to get a little f@ck#n creative. Unfortunately, I don't recall him pulling out "Holy Balls", or "The Sun Was In My Eyes..." but he did add some things that I liked. A few that stood out (I wish I had some video to link to, but am currently having a hard time finding more than basic highlight packages):
There was more pre-snap motion added to the Hott V formation. I felt like this became too predictable after awhile, but is was where one of the RB/FB would swing around the diamond before the snap to add another blocker to that side, or to draw the linebacker that direction which opened up a screen to the weak side, and it was working very well early in the 4th.
The WR pass with lefty-slinging Michael Harrison taking the backward pass from Brandon Weeden and trying to hit Tracy Moore deep downfield. This was late and when OSU was trying to effectively slam the door. While Harrison's arm wasn't quite strong enough to make the play work, it was there, and I loved that Monken f#ckin called it. After lulling the Mizzou defense to sleep with a mostly conservative gameplan in the 2nd half, he tries to insert the dagger with one play, at a time it was least expected. Glad to see that side of him and look forward to that play working sometime in the future.
And lastly, my favorite new play. I actually have some questions about this one... but basically what it is is a standard draw play, but it features the longest pause I have ever seen before the handoff is exchanged. Weeden would stand back in a nice pocket, wait for a hole to open due to the linebackers falling back into coverage, then hand it off. Sometimes the time between the snap and the handoff was 2 or 3 seconds. It was an extremely effective playcall that seemed to work almost every time it was called. The only thing that would stop it would be a well timed blitz or a very good LB committed to spying the backfield. The question I have about it is... is it a run/pass option? I can't recall any situations in the game yesterday where the playcall looked the same but Weeden kept it and threw a pass instead of handing it off, but the option is definitely there to do it. It looks to me like the line pass-blocks like normal, the WR's all run intermediate or deep routes to clear the secondary, then Weeden surveys the defense and decides whether to hand the ball off or throw it. It is sorta a modified version of the run/pass option we used to run all the time with Zac, except with Zac the play wasn't designed to be a draw, and was more of an option between a sweep or a rollout pass for Zac. This hybrid of it (if that is indeed what it is) is incredibly effective and allows Weeden to base his decision purely on whether the linebackers drop back into coverage or come up toward the line. I love it.
On to Homecoming and upping RGIII's interception total of -3 on the season.