It’s time for this week’s CRFF mailbag! We discuss the West Virginia game, uniforms, and score predictions. As always, leave your thoughts/comments below or on social media!
1) The Texas game was pretty frustrating for the offense. Do you think that's a one-off thing, or are you now worried about the offense?
Cullen Clark: I don't think it's a one-off thing unfortunately. I'm also not worried about the offense. This is a fixable issue that really falls on the offensive coaching staff and the health of the offensive line. I understand that the coaching staff felt like the offense had to run the ball with the looks that they were getting from the defense, but at some point you have to try something else when the run just isn't working. We have to be willing to attack the middle of the field more than we have shown recently. I fully expect more creative play calling this week against West Virginia and hopefully we will get a few of our offensive linemen back this week.
Joel Penfield: I really hope that was a one-off thing. With the embarrassment of riches at wide receivers, it was infuriating to watch the offense make zero adjustments. This is the blueprint now, if you take away the deep ball, we won't throw the ball. This is really concerning moving forward. If we come in with the same gameplan, WVU will beat us by 3 TDs and I don't even want to think about OU would do to us.
Will Hendrickson: Yes and yes. I don't see the offense being held in check like that to any team remaining on the schedule...but this game exposed some real issues, mainly our inability to make adjustments. Texas made defensive adjustments after the first quarter and it completely threw the offense off their game. Even with the injuries to the offensive line, OSU continued time and time again to try and establish a running game that was never there. Yurich and Gundy have to be more flexible going forward and give our players a chance to succeed. We have a Heisman candidate at QB and three WRs on the Biletnikoff watch list, that was not apparent from the game plan last Saturday.
Colin Price: I think that Texas is the only team in the big 12 that could sell out to stop the pass and still have the talent in their front 7 to keep the run game in check. I don't think WVU will be able to stop the run to nearly the same effect and that'll really open up the passing game. On the flip side, if it's as rainy and gross as its projected to be and Gundy is terrified to throw the ball then the Mountaineers can sell out to stop the run and we'll see a similar offense to last week.
Micah Allen: I think this was a one time thing. Kind of like the TCU game. You hit a bump every once in awhile. But it's nothing to start panicking about. However, they're gonna have to call better plays next week if they wanna come out of Morgantown with a win.
Tyler Wiederhoeft: I’m worried about the offense, depending on the week. Cold and rainy in Morgantown could only be made worse if it was a night game. After that awful, awful showing last week in Austin, one would assume the offense would like to come out and want to regain its swagger and start dropping long bombs all over the place. The offensive line is in shambles, and Gundy and Co. need the line to get healthy or patched together ASAP. Reports like this don’t help.
Consider my panic button to be unpressed, but it won’t take much before I start smashing that button.
2) Kind of in that same vein, what do you think about the defense? Is it actually really good?
Cullen Clark: The defense has exceeded my expectations for the season so far. I do like that we are finally getting creative with generating pressure. The lack of pass rush from the defensive ends through the beginning of the season was very frustrating. If we can continue getting pressure on the QB and being stout against the run it will be a big boost to our Big 12 title game chances. With that being said our young corners are about to be tested for the next two weeks in ways they haven't been tested so far this season. We will know a lot more about how good the defense is after Bedlam.
Joel Penfield: I think the defense is legit. The speed and aggressiveness at every position has been fun to watch. This is probably one of the best Oklahoma State defenses I have ever seen. If they can continue to play at the level they have the last few weeks, that makes me feel better if the offense continues to be inept.
Will Hendrickson: The defense delivered an all-time performance last weekend and completely saved the season. That being said, I think UT fans have as much to be upset about as OSU does with their own offensive gameplan. I don't want to take away any credit from our D, because they stepped up time and time again...but that UT offense was horrendous.
Colin Price: I think the defense has been getting better every game, the secondary in particular. AJ Green and Rodarius Williams have been sticking it to their assignments and the penalties and breaks are getting less frequent. They're getting hot at the right time to be dangerous down the stretch.
Micah Allen: Yes, Calvin Bundage has gone into beast mode, Ramon Richards is catching interceptions and giving away cereal on campus. DeQuinton Osbourne is playing well. I think these guys are the real deal.
Tyler Wiederhoeft: I think the strength of the defense gets hidden behind the (usual) strength of the offense. I realize it may not seem like it, but if you look at the rankings, you see Glenn Spencer’s squad is a diamond in the rough. The Cowboys are No. 1 in the Big 12 in pass defense efficiency, No. 2 in pass defenseand No. 3 in total defense, according to The Oklahoman. The Cowboys have another serious test tomorrow, and we will see how they hold up against WVU.
3) What was one big takeaway you had from the Texas game?
Cullen Clark: We still don't know how to score in the redzone. Although I think we saw the future game plan when JD King ran it in during the first quarter. We have got to run the ball with our big back in that situation. The Wildcat with Justice Hill is not going to be the answer.
Joel Penfield: Calvin Bundage is a monster. He blew up a 6'3 250 pound running back like he was Justice Hill's size. Enough said...
Will Hendrickson: I'm readjusting my expectations for the team going forward. This team is loaded with talent, but just can't seem to get out of it's own way. Whether it's stubborn play-calling, turnovers in the redzone, special teams miscues or conservative coaching, this team has struggled to capitalize on opportunities against quality competition. I hope I’m wrong but I think it's very unlikely that this team wins out and plays for the Big 12 championship.
Colin Price: My big thing from that game was that Calvin Bundage is an ICBM just trying to nuke your backfield. And no chipping tight end or lead blocking running back will stop him from completing his mission.
Micah Allen: STOP RUNNING THE DANG FOOTBALL SO MUCH! That is all.
Tyler Wiederhoeft: The defense is good. Bonus takeaway – if Mike Yurcich calls another game like he did at Texas and the Cowboys lose, look for him to be on one of the hottest seats in America.
4) Looking at the West Virginia game, give me one key to the game.
Cullen Clark: With rain in the forecast it will be imperative that we still have success throwing the ball. Will we get the Rudolph that we expect or the Rudolph that couldn't spin it last year in Bedlam?
Joel Penfield: Contain David Sills V. He is a solid WR, and is Will Grier's favorite target. If he can be taken away, this forces Grier to make throws he won't want to make. Grier is a solid quarterback, but can be erratic at times.
Will Hendrickson: Can OSU establish a running game? If so, OSU will be almost unstoppable on offense and will be in control throughout. If not, OSU could get in a hole early and it might be too late before offensive adjustments are made to mount a comeback.
Colin Price: The key this week is to keep their passing game in check, especially keeping David Sills off his mark. If you can hobble that connection, you've shut down their best way to score and make someone else have to step up.
Micah Allen: Taking away their pass game. Making Grier make mistakes that cost him so he's more afraid to go into the air.
Tyler Wiederhoeft: Don’t be scared. Morgantown isn’t easy, and the Mountaineers aren’t going to roll over and play dead. Yes, the weather is going to suck, but you have to make it suck more for them than for you. Both teams have to deal with the weather, it’s not going to affect just OSU. The Cowboys are a damn good team when they play their brand of football. Throw the ball. Make the play. Trust yourself. Trust your teammates. Get the W. (Gundy, you can thank me for the pregame speech later.)
5) How badly does Will Grier want to be Baker Mayfield?
Cullen Clark: This made me laugh. I talk to West Virginia fans on a daily basis that are constantly saying that Grier is better than Mayfield right now. I do think he's a great Quarterback.
Joel Penfield: He's got the headband/hair/beard combo going for him. I don't think Grier is as much of an insufferable human being though.
Will Hendrickson: I think I’d rather anyone else be Baker Mayfield, than Baker Mayfield. But Grier is a stud and I’m afraid our young corners will get their first true taste of a classic Big 12 passing attack.
Colin Price: He's dying to be like Baker, he just doesn't have the supporting cast around him to always be bailed out. And it's shown in their two losses this year.
Micah Allen: Honestly no one wants to be Baker Mayfield, he’s trash. There are way better quarterbacks to want to be.
Tyler Wiederhoeft: He’s setting himself up nicely to take over as the insufferable d-bag of the conference once Baker leaves after the season. I’m just happy it’s not an OSU player. Next question.
6) Uniform prediction?
Cullen Clark: I'm going W/W/W to contrast the all blue uniforms that WVU is going to wear.
Joel Penfield: W/W/W with chrome Pete. I wanted to see it last week, but with this being the last road game, I think they'll pull it out now.
Will Hendrickson: WWW or WWO
Colin Price: Gimme W/W/O. It's never been used and would look slick in contrast to West Virginia's blue.
Micah Allen: Hmmmm...let's go orange/black/orange.
Tyler Wiederhoeft: I can see the whiteout. It makes sense – WVU has announced it is wearing all blue, leaving the door open for the Cowboys to go with a fan favorite. However, the weather may lead the equipment staff to do something different. Last time the team was in Morgantown, they went G/W/O I don’t see that happening again. I’ll go W/W/O.
7) Let's get a score prediction with a few sentences explaining your prediction.
Cullen Clark: 45-38 Pokes. I expect this game to be a classic Big 12 shootout.
Joel Penfield: 34-31 Cowboys. This is going to be a knockdown, drag out fight. Both teams are going to have their share of big plays, both teams are going to give their fans some high blood pressure and elevated heartbeat. I think it will be a late drive that will give the Cowboys the lead at the end of the game.
Will Hendrickson: West Virginia 44 OSU 41.
Whoever has the ball last will win and I’m leaning towards the Mountaineers. I think both teams will be able to score effectively and move the ball without much issue. This game will come down to the details and the little plays. The Pokes take an early lead but miss opportunities to blow the game open.
Colin Price: I think it'll be 31-21 OSU. The weather will hinder things a bit but it won't keep the offense out of it. A healthier OL will pave the way for a complete ground attack and once WVU starts to creep up to stop it, one of the three Bilentikoff watch nominees will sneak past them. A proper bracket on Sills will keep their offense from reaching full potential and they'll come up short from time to time, giving OSU some confidence heading into Bedlam.
Micah Allen: 45-35 Pokes. I think this game is close for a half but the WVU defense crumbles. They're not gonna be able to get off the field and get tired and start to let things slip.
Tyler Wiederhoeft: 27-24 WVU. I don’t know. Something about this game makes me nervous. The showing against UT paired with the weather and the reports about the coaches’ concerns don’tmake me as confident as I was preseason. I hope I’m wrong and the Cowboys go out and throw the ball all day and don’t let the weather affect them, but after the Cowboys got lucky enough to get the W in Austin, I’m just not sure. I don’t know if OSU has enough luck left on its side to get away with another one.