I'm not going into detail about the game against Kansas State. Suffice it to say that what got me wound up about that escape from the clutches of Snyder the Evil (still not sure he didn't choose to let us go) are issues that have been in place since game one against Mississippi State.
The one most of you will be interested in is coming in a couple of days, as the research takes a little time when this isn't the only gig on my plate. Here's your tease....diamond....
For this post it was a lot easier to collect the data.
I've been shocked at the number of fruitless drives against major opponents, so I decided to shed a little math on the subject.
For the purposes of this "study" I've eliminated all possessions from the UTSA and Lamar games, any possessions that did NOT start on OSU's side of the field, and of course the end of half garbage.
Against Mississippi State, West Virginia, and Kansas State, three defenses shown to be not so "stiff," here are the numbers...
-40 total possessions (reminder: these are drives starting in OSU territory)
-20 punts (don't think I need to do that math for you)
-Net gain of 55 points (9 TD's & 2 FG's...gave back 1 pick 6 & 1 blocked FGA returned for TD...that's 1.375 pts/poss)
-1 missed FGA
-2 blocked FGA's
-33 possessions of 7 plays or less (82.5%)...ended in a punt 60.6%
-25 possessions of 5 plays or less (62.5%)...ended in a punt 64%
-14 possessions of 3 plays or less (35%)...ended in a punt 64.3%
That still leaves 7 possessions that went 8 or more plays. That's gotta be good, right?
Those 7 possessions have produced a net gain of only 17 points (2.43 pts/poss). In fact, of the 4 drives that went 10 or more plays, OSU is points NEUTRAL. That's right...four possessions of 10+ plays produced a net gain of 0 points for the Cowboys in those three games.
Where do we place the blame?
I'm calling out our new OC.
Many of you would clammer for Walsh to be benched, but I'm telling you, after watching back all three of these games, J.W. is a very minor part of the problem. He has plenty of arm strength, and his accuracy is good enough, but his timing is not so hot. His biggest flaws are being late with his throws, and not being able to hit the receivers running horizontally. His "touch" is also inconsistent, as we saw against West Virginia where he horribly underthrew Tracy Moore, but later overthrew Seales with a slightly longer ball. His arm is not going to carry this offense because he can't make all the throws, but he can make more than enough to move this team if our OC will give him the throws he can make. He is extremely good at hitting the seam routes and has become pretty good with the quick slants and out routes.
But where's the excuse for not going deep? We have a QB that can throw the ball at least 40-50 yards downfield, and supposedly a bevy of talented wide outs, but I'm pretty sure OSU has NOT taken more than 2 chances in any one of the games cited here.
As for running the ball, the Cowboys best plays have come from the 2 back set with a jet sweep motion or the diamond formation (there's another tease). Why OSU doesn't run 80% of it's offense through these two sets is beyond me. With two tough, straight line RB's there are way too many horizontal "sweeps" that take WAY too long to develop. I really don't like running too many plays that allow the defenders to "attack" the formation. I much prefer for the offense to move "downhill" and get the ball to, and past, the line of scrimmage as quickly as possible. Making the defense move sideways or backwards is your best chance for success.
The only major piece missing from an offense that racked up plenty of yardage last year is Randle...oh, I'm sorry...AND Monken. The offensive line suffered departures and injuries last season too but managed pretty well. Wickline made a change on the right side last Saturday that seemed to help late.
I'm of a mind to give Yurcich one more shot, but if we see more of what the Pokes have produced over the past two games, I might be done. OSU has two weeks to prepare for TCU, and that defense is a far sight better than anything OSU has faced so far. The Horned Frogs offense will be better than WV and KState, so now what we thought would be an easy road to November has turned a bit more treacherous.
In the end the Cowboys can only be in the moment. They are 4-1, 1-1 in the Big 12, and still control their own destiny.
But if you ask me right now, I'm really hoping Baylor gets lost on their way to Stillwater in November.