For this weeks roundtable, you might notice that Robert Whetsell is stuck in caps lock mode. Losing to Texas Tech by double-digits will do that to a person. Our staff tries to wrap their heads around what happened on Saturday and look forward to this week against Kansas.
1.) The Cowboys get a (a bit of a) break after a tough loss with KU this week. What do you think this does to reboost their confidence?
Joel Penfield: They need to come out and hit KU in the mouth early, they let Tech settle in early and we all saw how that ended.
Robert Whetsell: NOTHING UNLESS THEY OBLITERATE KANSAS. BAYLOR BEAT THEM 26-7, SO THERE’S THE BAR. VEGAS SAYS WE ARE LESS THAN 3 TD FAVORITES WHICH DOES NOT GIVE ME THE WARM FUZZIES FOR WHAT WE ARE ABOUT TO SEE. ALSO, SEE 2014.
Phillip Slavin: First of all, don’t call this a break. OSU has struggled in Lawrence it’s last three trips. the Cowboys won 20-14 in 2012 after nearly blowing a 20-0 lead in the fourth quarter. OSU won 27-20 in 2014 thanks to a kick-off return TD in the fourth by Tyreke Hill. They won 44-20 in 2016, but the lead was just 17-13 at halftime with six lead changes.
OSU should win this one, but I think just playing a solid game is what they can hope for after the disaster that was week four. Playing a game that shows any improvement at all will be a step in the right direction.
Louis Pineda: This has the classic trappings of a “false hope” game. Cornelius might come out looking somewhat competent, which in Gundy’s mind will make him appear to be Tom Brady. This will delay a potential switch at the quarterback position and Iowa State will beat us because of that. The only way to get any confidence from this game will be to win by 50, which I don’t think we will do.
Zach McCoy: I think any confidence boost will be internal only. This team should be (I think is) much more focused after a rude awakening last week.
Ryan Harris: This game won’t inspire much confidence at all. It’s been a tumultuous week for the team all around, and a win over Kansas won’t make anything much better. This game will be a lot closer than people might think, which really doesn’t make things any better. There’s only so much you can take from the Kansas game every year.
Matt Harris: I think it helps with their confidence, especially ahead of Iowa State. The Cyclones aren’t very good this year but... it’s Iowa State. This has been a close game each of the last two years including in 2016 when Iowa State nearly beat a Mason Rudolph lead team in Stillwater. The Pokes are in need of a shot of confidence and they get it this weekend.
Grant Boston: Throw to the %^&* backs!
Against Boise State, Taylor “The Catching Corndog” Cornelius had as many receptions (1) as Justice Hill (0) and J.D. King (1) behind. This shocking dearth of targets runs contra to the NFL trend of teams finding ways to get their backfield speedsters (See: Thompson, Chris; Johnson, David; Bell, Le’Veon) the ball in space. Although the reception count was hardly better against Texas Tech, King made the most of his sole reception, a 23 yard touchdown snag. Getting their talented running backs involved early in the receiving game is the best medicine for Cornelius’ confidence and completion percentage. Let’s hope the Cowboys catch onto the professional trend
2.) This one is going to be a tough one...what do you think went wrong last week?
Joel Penfield: Oh man, I could write a full MLA format essay with citations on this. I’ll keep in this simple, they got flat out outcoached by KLIFF KINGSBURY.
Robert Whetsell: COMPLETE ****BLEEEEEEP**** LACK OF ****BLEEEEEEP**** OFFENSIVE ****BLEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEP**** IMAGINATION. ALSO, SEE 2014
Phillip Slavin: What didn’t go wrong. From TC to the offensive line to the defensive and offensive game plan. It was a disaster from start to finish. Frankly, and I never thought I would have to say this, Mike Gundy got outcoached by Kliff Kingsbury, especially in the second half. The only positive takeaway I can hope to pull from that disaster of a game, is that I can’t see OSU looking that bad again this season.
Louis Pineda: Instead of saying “everything”, which is true, I will focus on the thing that went the most wrong. That would be coaching. To be out-coached and outclassed by Texas Tech is up there on the list of Gundy failures, a list that is full of questionable coaching and roster decisions. We could all see the offensive line was a problem the whole season, so why has there been zero improvement? Why were there no adjustments made to the gameplan during the Tech game? Why did Justice Hill only have 12 carries? This was embarrassin
Zach McCoy:Gameplan. If you’re sticking with Corn you need to adjust your gameplan to his strengths. Short-intermediate quick passes, screens, sweeps (oh hello there, Bob Stitt), creative running game (did I mention sweeps?). I like Yurcich but his insistence on making TC read make whole-field reads on long-developing routes is the biggest factor in this loss. Corn’s play in the second half didn’t help, but you’ve gotta put him in a position to succeed. Knowles leaving in Bundage and playing passively was a problem too. We brought in Knowles to be more aggressive and somewhere up or down the chain we’re backing off the LOS with our safeties and becoming the bend-don’t-break defense we were trying to ditch. I anticipate (hope?) that both coordinators will take big steps forward this week.
Ryan Harris: . The offensive line couldn’t pass block and Corndog couldn’t complete a pass. Mike Yurcich had his one “what the hell are you doing” game of the year. Another year and another Gundy team that wasn’t prepared for conference play. Ho, hum I guess. The defense gave up 41 but the offense couldn’t keep them off the field. This loss is totally on Mike Yurcich and the offensive. Plain and simple.
Matt Harris: Can I say everything? Just kidding, I won’t throw the defense under the bus here. This is on the offense and Yurcich and the special teams certainly didn’t help. Justice Hill has more yards this season on far less carries than where he was at this point last year. Why he hasn’t received more carries this year is beyond, well, just about everyone and it needs to be straightened out.
Grant Boston: See above. This game was a clinic in poor play-calling. As much as Cowboys fans want to fault defensive coordinator Jim Knowles, the fact is that Texas Tech’s 41 points is roughly two touchdowns better than Texas Tech’s scoring average. Not a bad result against the NCAA FBS’s statistical offensive leaders. Instead, blame for this game rests squarely on the shoulders of offensive coordinator Mike Yurcich, who repeatedly opted to call plays for the struggling Cornelius (18 for 38, 1 touchdown, 1 interception) rather than getting the ball into the hands of the stellar Justice Hill (12 carries for 111 yards and a touchdown), who averaged 9.2 yards per carry on the night. More carries for Hill and J.D. King would have been a more effective means of keeping Alan Bowman and the Texas Tech offense off the field than any combination of defensive stunts, disguised coverage, or blitz packages.
Hate to sound like a Paul Feinstein caller, but throw to the %^&* backs and run the %^&* ball!
3.) Pooka Williams is a bright spot on this KU team. How do you think Jim Knowles prepares for him?
Joel Penfield: Focus on him, and pretty much only him. Peyton Bender is not a very good quarterback, only having 495 yards and 4 touchdowns passing this season. Which probably means that’s what he’ll have against us on Saturday knowing the luck of this team.
Robert Whetsell: UNLESS THEY ARE ASLEEP AT THE WHEEL, THE KANSAS OFFENSE SHOULD PLAY INTO THE HANDS OF OSU’S DEFENSE. OF COURSE DOUG MEACHAM IS RIGHT NOW POURING OVER THE TEXAS TECH TAPE AND INSTALLING NOTHING BUT TWO SECONDS OR LESS PASS PLAYS, SO WE’LL PROBABLY WATCH KANSAS GO UP AND DOWN THE FIELD LIKE A POOR MAN’S TEXAS TECH. ALSO, SEE 2014.
Phillip Slavin: The game plan should be to get to the quarterback and shut down the run, what OSU did against Boise State. No quarterback KU is going to throw out there -- whether it’s Payton Bender or Carter Stanley -- is as good as Alan Bowman. So OSU’s focus should be to make sure KU can’t run the ball effectively
Louis Pineda: Hopefully more than he did to stop Tech’s run game. We will have to sell out on the run and tell KU to beat us in the air, which they shouldn’t be able to do. I want to see 9-man fronts most of this game.
Zach McCoy: Play the aggressive style of defense you came in here to play. Disguise fronts, bring pressure, etc. Kansas is inept at the forward pass, so it’s a good week to iron out the kinks in his scheme instead of reverting to what the players are used to.
Ryan Harris: His front seven has to get more pressure this week than they did last week. I’d like to see him stack the box and let his corners play on an island a little. Shut down Pooka Williams and make Kansas throw the ball. Let’s find out if they’re a Big 12 team after all.
Matt Harris: I think Knowles throws the kitchen sink trying to stop Williams and it works. He’ll make KU try and beat OSU through the air and that just won’t happen. Expect a lot of pressure from the Pokes and a game that could look similar defensively to the first three games of the year.
Grant Boston: Even on a struggling Kansas Jayhawks squad, running back Pooka Williams has shown he has the ability to shell* defenses, as evidenced by a 72-yard sprint against Baylor. The Cowboys linebacking corps will need to designate one player per snap to keep an eye on him at all times. Even with the injury to Calvin Bundage (get well soon, Calvin), I think Knowles and the Oklahoma State defense are up to the challenge.
*i’m so sorry
4. How does Mike Gundy make sure last week is behind this team.
Joel Penfield: See the answer to question #1.
Robert Whetsell: Let’s just say I thought it was for the best to not post his answer...
Phillip Slavin: Teams lose. Last year’s team lost three times. They’ll get past it. The question is can they get past the turmoil that is reportedly in the locker room. If they can overcome that, and survive with just two healthy inside receivers, they’ll be fine.
Louis Pineda: I am a Gundy believer, and mullet truther. Not once during his tenure have I been as concerned as I am now, and only because there is a potential problem we haven’t seen before. Gundy might be losing some player’s buy-in to the Cowboy Culture. When a senior WR leader on the team decides to up and leave the team, it has to be more than a Keyshawn Johnson temper tantrum. The players are seeing this and it has to have an effect. Can Gundy control the locker room enough to put the team past it? I hope so.
Ryan Harris: He has to make sure the team is behind Taylor Cornelius. Honestly, I don’t think he’s going to get the team to move on from last week. It’ll be a long day in Lawrence and a long season in Stillwater.
Zach McCoy: Create distractions, ✓. You don’t want any lingering doubts, but that loss should sting. It should be a big part of the team’s growth.
Matt Harris: fter all the controversy surrounding his media demands, he hasn’t made moving on from last weeks’ loss any easier. I hope OSU doesn’t come out playing distracted because it has been a long... LONG week.
Grant Boston: Keep double-checking the schedule to make sure the team is still playing Kansas.
Still Kansas? Okay, we’re good.
Seriously though, just as the Dallas Cowboys of yore would repeatedly talk about their desire to make the offense “Romo-friendly,” Gundy and Yurcich need to seriously evaluate how they can work within Cornelius’ limited skill set. There’s plenty of time in the season to rebuild his confidence, take advantage of the weapons on offense, and get the season back on track.
5. Score predicton?
Joel Penfield: 35-17 Pokes. Not going to take a deep dive into thinking OSU will win this one convincingly, I’m still scarred from last Saturday.
Robert Whetsell: IF YOU THOUGHT TEXAS TECH WAS EMBARRASSING, HOW ABOUT A 2014 STYLE WIN OVER KANSAS? 21-17 AND LET THE RIOTS COMMENCE.
Phillip Slavin: As I said before, don’t expect a blowout. Like 2017, there is now a blueprint for how to beat Oklahoma State. I don’t think the Jayhawks have the offense to do it, but their defense has some studs, especially Joe Dineen Jr. Cowboys win 34-17.
Louis Pineda: his will be a nail-biter, and people are not going to like this prediction. We will barely squeak by KU only to lose next week because Gundy will have no reason to pull Cornelius out.
Zach McCoy: 13-38 Pokes. The sky is not falling people (unless the coaches actually don’t adjust). Shout out to the Tape Doesn’t Lie Podcast for bringing back rationality and #facts.
Ryan Harris: Oklahoma State: 28 Kansas: 14. The Jayhawks will hang in the game but OSU pulls away in the fourth quarter. The Cowboys have struggled in Lawrence the past few times they played there, expect this year to be no different
Matt Harris: It’s the annual free win (unless you’re Texas) but this game doesn’t leave fans with the best feeling. Oklahoma State wins this one 35-14.
Assuming we see a healthy mix of carries and short passes, I think the Cowboys get back on track with a healthy victory, 52-14.