Let's dispense with the obvious...
Glenn Spencer and Joe Bob Clements have transformed this defense. I'm not sure what Bill Young was doing, but it wasn't this.
As for the offense...I knew what Holgorsen was doing. I knew what Monken was doing. Yurcich, on the other hand....
The dawn of the Daxx Garman era has read more like the cliche "Be careful what you wish for."
After screaming for more down field throws, in his first 32 completions since replacing Walsh, Garman has this distribution:
-14 completions of less than 10 yds;
-7 completions of 10-19 yds and 1 TD;
-5 completions of 20-29 yds and 1 TD;
-6 completions of 30+ yds and 2 TD's;
That's 559 yards for 17.5 ypc. He's done this on 56 attempts (9.98 ypa) for a very Walsh-ian 57%. Even more important? No interceptions. In fact, I only recall a couple of passes where the defender even got a hand on the ball, and one of those ended up being tipped for a TD against Missouri State.
Prior to the last drive, Garman was 11-24 with only 2 completions under 15 yds. He was 5-6 in last drive with only 1 completion over 8 yds.— CRFF (@CowboysRFF) September 14, 2014
Another "prior to the last drive" stat...he was 11-24 for 275 yds, which comes to 25 ypc.
Whoa. There was no question that OSU worked on this during the week and felt like they had some opportunity here. Every single deep throw was into single coverage. None of them were in danger of anything but being caught by the wide receiver.
I'm quite comfy with Garman running the offense.
He throws a really nice ball, is generally putting it where only his guy can make the play, and has a tremendous feel for the pocket for someone who hasn't played live football for 4 years. He's sturdy, taking plenty of shots and standing in there to deliver the throw.
As for Yurcich and the offensive line, they are definitely operating with two distinct personalities. One is devastating, chewing up yards in chunks. The other one is...well...let's just say Bob Simmons would think it's too predictable.
Here's a weird stat...8 of 15 #Okstate drives were 3 and out. The other 7 resulted in 4 TD's and 3 FG's.— CRFF (@CowboysRFF) September 14, 2014
Three and out #1...Swing pass to Hill, Garman's first pass and he missed badly. Hill rush up the middle for a loss. Crossing route to Ateman thrown a little behind him after Garman moved to avoid pressure. Ateman got both hands on it and should catch that ball more often than not.
Three and out #2...Sack. Roland rush for 4. Deep pass right, just overthrowing Seales. This is where you would like to see a mid-range pass for a 1st down.
Three and out #3...Run. Run. Run (run blitz).
Three and out #4...Deep throw left to Sheperd, should have been interference. Hill run. Deep throw right to Sheperd, again should have been interference. The refs were not very good, missing a number of penalties, including a horrible face mask on OSU's last drive of the game.
Three and out #5...Short throw over middle to Jarwin (completed same earlier in game), also should have been interference. Throw right to Washington was a little low, who took a shot on the incompletion. Deep throw left to Lacy.
Three and out #6...Run. Scramble for 1 yd. Run for loss of 3 (run blitz).
Three and out #7...Run. Run. Run. Third and one ran ball up the middle into the run blitz again.
Three and out #8...Run. Run. Sack.
The major problem seems to be the offensive line, which is getting absolutely no push. OSU's best running plays right now involve running wide and allowing the RB's to cut, but of course they don't use those plays much. The Cowboys have failed on numerous short yardage situations, but the line doesn't get all the blame.
Against UTSA, OSU ran the ball at least 3 separate times into the teeth of a run blitz, and all three were the result of a running play up the middle that was run at least once previously in the possession. We are seeing very little in the way of misdirection, and I believe we had our first sighting of a Tyreek Hill jet sweep.
Speaking of Hill running up the middle, he got dinged up, and his use was obviously limited thereafter.
I don't know how much of this is a bi-product of the switch to Garman and trying to keep things simpler for him, but when the offense wasn't hitting long throws it was pretty anemic. They are not good at picking up blitzes, allowed 4 sacks, and Garman was forced to move around a lot.
It seems obvious that Daxx will need to work on his reads and progressions, but his arm is what the offense needs. I feel like consistency will come as they get more comfortable with his ability to run the offense, but lets hope Yurcich and Gundy don't wait until November to unleash the offense.