Last week's game against Kansas State was three things:
Ugly. Frustrating. Pitiful.
A mix of bad playcalling, poor offensive execution, and superb defense from both teams made for a game that lovers of all things SEC would be proud of.
With Oklahoma State averaging a horrendous 2.7 yards per play during the 3rd quarter, nobody in Boone Pickens Stadium had any idea what was about to happen. A touchdown drive that resembled the Oklahoma State of old, may have been a turning point for the Cowboys this season.
68 plays were run, and only 330 yards were picked up. That means that this offense averaged just under 5 yards per play.
First down success has killed Oklahoma State this season, especially against West Virginia. Last week was better, with the offense averaging 7.3 yards per play on first down. And yes, that average does include the flea-flicker from Walsh to Seales. The ability to mix it up on first down with the run and the pass is going to be crucial against a defense like TCU that is, arguably, the best in the Big 12.
Whetsell had an article last week about the mystery that is the Diamond Formation. I'm not going to get in to all of that, but seriously, why aren't we running it more?
He said it perfectly on the CRFF podcast last night, "You can line up in that formation every time without tipping your hand to the defense. You can motion out of it, but that doesn't mean you are passing. You can stay in the diamond, but that doesn't mean you are running." At this point, we need the opposing defense to have no clue what we are running in order to be successful.
And we can talk about the offensive line all day, but something happened on that last drive with the Travis Cross substitution. The ability to run over the right edge this season has not been there, and suddenly, the right side was solid. There was one running play on that last drive which went for 15 yards, and damn near a touchdown if Smith breaks that last tackle. Jeremy Smith has had a problem with dancing around in the backfield, but he has had no room to run. He ran hard downhill on that play. He finally found a seam and ran through it with confidence.
On that game winning touchdown drive, Walsh had time to throw. Travis Cross being subbed in obviously made a difference on that right side, and it gave Walsh a pocket to throw from. He made the proper reads and he executed the throws. If you give him time, he will throw the ball with accuracy.
If J.W. Walsh can continue to throw the ball as accurately as he did on that drive, then defenses will start to respect him. When the defense respects him and doesn't stack 8 in the box, running the ball will be easier. When running the ball becomes easier, everything becomes easier. It opens up the playbook.
Right now, defenses don't respect Walsh throwing the ball at all. Snyder's defense really made it obvious that they did not believe in his ability to beat them through the air. On that last drive, Walsh beat them with his arm on every play. He made it look easy, too.
It's no secret that I'm a big believer in Walsh's ability, and I think that he is truly our best option at quarterback.
Consider the dead horse beaten.
Was that drive a turning point for the rest of this season? We will see in the coming weeks. It seemed like everything really came together on that drive. The offense was gelling, the crowd was cheering FOR the team, and it appeared that a little swagger was restored in the offense. Even if this offense doesn't return to the way it was last season, that sequence of plays was a big confidence booster, and I expect the offense to get clicking against TCU this weekend.
What will you expect to see against the Horned Frogs?