Thursday night’s big win over Missouri State created more questions than it solved for the Cowboys. It was a dominating win that had Greek Life heading for the exits at halftime, and most other fans dipped after the third quarter. While this weekends game against South Alabama will be more challenging than the opener, it would be comforting to see the Pokes clean a few things up before having a tough test against a solid Boise State team in a few weeks. Here are three things that need to be cleaned up on Saturday:
1. The Defense Needs to Play a Complete Game
Early on, the defense looked great. They played together as a unit, flying around the field making plays. That all fell apart towards the end of the first half. This new look defense allows them to play more aggressively which I love. The next step is to hold it together late into the game. It was concerning to see them give up long plays to Missouri State. For debuting a new scheme and new coordinator, I thought they played well. Their performance on Thursday night won’t cut it against Boise State. They need to improve each week to give the offense some breathing room in Big 12 play.
2. Taylor Cornelius Needs to get His Feet Under Him
Corn Dog looked good against Missouri State.....at times. Other times it looked like the stage was too big for him. I know this is mostly due to the fact that he hasn’t played meaningful football since high school, not to mention there were more students in the student section AFTER HALFTIME than there are people from his hometown. This week he needs to get his feet under him and deliver the football to his receivers on target. This isn’t a big problem and is a fairly easy fix.
The more concerning issue I saw with Cornelius’ game was with his ability to read a defense and find open receivers. He hit open receivers all night, however, in some cases the wide out would have been wide open for five seconds before Corn Dog saw him. I’m mainly referring to one of his touchdown connections with Jalen McCleskey. This too is something that can be fixed and will need to be fixed soon. As the schedule goes on and the teams get tougher, those windows are going to narrow and he needs to be prepared for it.
3. Get Tyron Johnson More Involved
I know there are a lot of mouths to be fed at the receiver position, however, Tyron might be the most talented out of all of them. It’s surprised me since last season started how little he gets the ball. He was lethal against OU on the highest stage our program has been on since the 2015 Sugar Bowl. How does he not get more action against Missouri State? It isn’t a big deal now, but if this is a continuing trend for Swaggy T this season, I’ll be disappointed.