Coming into this game, the common theme was that win or lose, at least we will know what kind of a team Oklahoma State is. So did that happen?
What We Now Know
- If Weeden is protected, he can make big plays.
I liked the strategy to start moving Weeden around to give the Aggie pass rush something to think about, and it turns out he can make some decent throws on the run. Also the change in the blocking scheme (double the interior guys, leave the RB in the backfield to help with the DE/Joker), gave Weeden some nice pockets in the 3rd quarter. The point really is, give Weeden some time to make his reads, and the passing game becomes fluid.
Kendall Hunter needs to have 25 carries a game, plus another 8 for Randle/Smith.
This offense really starts clicking when the run/pass ratio is closer to balanced. It absolutely wears a defense out to have to cover that much ground. Early in the game the running game wasn't outstanding, but you could see the effect it was having on the defense, and by the 3rd quarter the Aggie D was having a hard time keeping up. More running fellas.
- The inside screen/slant game is not this teams forte (imagine there is an acute accent punctuation at the end of that word to make it Frenchy) .
I know that traditionally the inside short passes are the bread and butter of the Air Raid, but either this team cannot pull it off, or defenses are keying on these routes. There has been success with the outside screens, but when we try to go to the inside WR (usually Cooper) underneath on a 3 step drop, there is just too much clutter in the middle. I am tempted to label it as an unfortunate side effect of Kendall Hunter's talent. Defenses have to stack the middle because of Hunter, and as a result the inside WRs have no room to maneuver on the short slants and inside screens. Just a theory.
- When we get pressure on the QB, we are a good defense.
When Ugo Chinasa and the LBs were disrupting things in the backfield, it almost always lead to good things. This secondary cannot man up well enough to stop a well thrown pass. We absolutely need QBs to be throwing on the run, or at least to not be allowed to work through their progression and still have time to step into their passes.
- The pass coverage in the middle of the field has to be fixed.
The LBs simply cannot cover this area with the current scheme as they don't have the depth to keep up with covering that big of a space. They just get worn out, and that forces the DBs to shade the middle and play soft to compensate. It leads to issues all over the field.I liked the mix up in the 4th quarter when we brought Shawn Lewis in as a sorta rover... although it was at the expense of only having 3 down linemen. Bill Young is much smarter than me (shocker) so I'm sure he will figure something out, but the middle of the field has to be addressed.
- One last thing we learned... this team has some balls.
They have confidence, they have fun, and they get fired the eff up at times. Maybe they only received a partial dose of the Poke Choke injection when they arrived on campus? There are plenty of things to criticize, but this team won that game. There were a lot of reasons they shouldn't have won, but they won. I believe that most Oklahoma State teams would be 2-2 under these circumstances.
What do you think? Is there anything else you feel like we learned about this team last night?