By Jason Elmquist
CNHI News Service
STILLWATER – Oklahoma State has done the first step – acknowledged the mistakes made in Saturday’s loss against West Virginia. But it was easy to point them out because they were just that glaring – turnovers, poor kicking performances and an inability to run the ball.
Now, the Cowboys must correct them – something players and coaches seemed to see every time a question was poised during Monday’s media luncheon at Boone Pickens Stadium.
“I think that we’ve identified where we need help and then we come up with solutions and then we work toward that,” OSU coach Mike Gundy said. “There are some things you can fix. Drops, more accurate throws and getting on the right people and blocking them are things that you can fix in a week. When it snowballs and you’re on the road and you’re not playing with a real experienced quarterback, at times you have to fight through it and it’s not as easy as you would want it to be.”
With the abysmal rushing statistics Saturday, there was one group of players that took it upon themselves to make sure things get fixed this week – the offensive line. The Cowboys only averaged 2.8 yards per rush attempt, with starting running back Jeremy Smith finding himself getting tackled in the backfield more often than not – running the ball 15 times and finishing with a net 1 yard.
“We’re not really an individual in there. If someone makes a bust then it is the whole offensive line’s fault,” offensive lineman Brandon Webb said. “We have to take responsibility as a whole and try to get better.”
Possibly the most talked about play from Saturday’s loss, however, was a second-and-goal possession for the OSU offense in which they didn’t run the ball.
With the Mountaineers clinging to a 3-point lead midway through the fourth quarter, the Cowboys were looking to reclaim the lead for the first time since the opening quarter. After a Jeremy Smith 2-yard run placed the ball just short of the goal line, the J.W. Walsh elected to switch the play go with a fade into the corner to Tracy Moore – which fell incomplete.
The next play – a stretch run to Smith – went for a 5-yard loss and freshman Ben Grogan missed his second field goal of the game, this coming from 23 yards, and OSU never saw the West Virginia side of the field the remainder of the game.
“We don’t have the play that he checked out of in that set. It’s a run play,” Gundy said. “We’ve had the discussion – the offensive staff has, Mike has, J.W. has – we already went all over that (Sunday).”