Oklahoma State kicked off its season with a 52-36 win over Oregon State last week and with it is the return of my weekly series “Three things for OSU to improve on.” Every week I will take a look back at the previous game and make note of a few things OSU will need to do better the following week to get a win.
1. Pressure the quarterback
Oregon State’s opening drive went for 70 yards and a touchdown, cutting through the Cowboys defense like a hot knife through butter. The front seven got absolutely no pressure on the quarterback. That can’t happen. Especially not in Big 12 play.
The front seven improved as the game went on and freshman Trace Ford impressed quite a bit. If the Cowboys can get a healthy Calvin Bundage back this season, that would be a tremendous help. I would love to see a faster start out of this group on Saturday against FCS McNeese State.
This may not seem like a big deal, but in the long run it will be. Redshirt freshman quarterback Spencer Sanders needs to get down and slide a little more often. I’m fine with him lowering his shoulder every once in a while, but it would be nice to see him cut back on that a little more.
The last thing I want to see if Sanders injure himself because he didn’t slide. I’m not saying he doesn’t know how to slide, he just didn’t demonstrate the ability often against Oregon State.
Fortunately I am not referring to the offense turning the ball over, but rather the defense not coming up with any turnovers. Oregon State does have a few weapons on offense, but this isn’t a team that should hang 36 points on the Cowboys. I know one of those touchdowns came in garbage time, but still.
The Cowboys defense can’t afford to not force turnovers in the Big 12. Not to mention, if the defense has a bad year and doesn’t force any turnovers, this may be the defensive coordinator Jim Knowles last season. Of course, there is a long way to go, but that is something to keep an eye on for the time being.