Cowboys Analysis: Offense And Quarterbacks

The Oklahoma State medical staff is likely gathering Sunday morning for more tests on quarterback J.W. Walsh's right foot. I'd like to tell you that we know exactly what the injury is and how long Walsh will be out, but that would be a lie. We should find out more on Monday, but if head coach Mike Gundy can, he will keep his old offensive coordinator Larry Coker and UTSA guessing this week.

Fans will be going crazy because they want to know, right? What Gundy knows is that UTSA defensive coordinator Neal Nethery, a Stillwater native, will have to spend a lot of time on two different phases of the Oklahoma State offense if he is not sure whether he will see Walsh or Garman.

Then again, Walsh had his best career passing day in the Alamo Dome last season against UTSA.

My guess, based on what I saw both in watching the play where Walsh was injured over and over again in slow motion last night and from what I saw of the medical examination on the sideline and Walsh, who does well in hiding or checking his emotions, is that Walsh is out for at least awhile.

"We'll know the extent of J.W.'s injury sometime tomorrow is my guess for the most part," Gundy said. "Daxx came in and made some plays for us and kind of got his feet wet. There were somethings he wished he could have had back. All in all, for being thrown in the fire he did okay."

My guess as an amateur medical observer in my role as a sideline reporter is Walsh is out for two to four weeks, but I could be way off. Remember, Walsh was supposed to be out for the season as a redshirt freshman after suffering a kneecap fracture against Iowa State. He was back way before that and inserted as a short-yardage and score zone package quarterback with a lot of effectiveness.

It is in Gundy's best interest to keep Walsh alive in the quarterback conversation this week no matter what the medical tests and examinations show on Sunday. In this day of Walter Cronkites and Mike Wallaces on every corner and each building on a college campus that may be impossible.

As for the Cowboys offensive effort in the 40-23 victory over Missouri State, you have to grade on a curve with Garman making his appearance earlier and in a much different scenario than expected. The offense (and even the defense) seemed to adjust well when the injury happened.

"I thought they did okay (on adjusting when the quarterback change happened)," Gundy said on adapting to Daxx. "We always preach that we never show any signs of fear and when you lose the guy that is the starting quarterback then you can get a little of the deer in the headlight look.

"I think there is enough to our team that our guys understand we have more guys that can make plays and Daxx has had a lit of reps. You have to step up and that's part of being a team and I think they understand that."

"We have a great defense and he goes against the ones and the two every day in practice (good on good team periods) and it is like a game tempo that we do every practice," wide receiver Jhajuan Seales said. "When he got into the game he just automatically stepped up."

It changed things and the emphasis kind of went from true balance to throwing the ball, although the numbers don't reflect that. With Walsh at quarterback, there were 10 rushing plays and 9 passing plays. With Garman taking the snap, there were 25 rushing plays and 26 passing plays.

It's the perception and it's Garman's arm that is as strong as any seen at OSU recently outside of Brandon Weeden.

"Daxx can really throw it, really throw it," Seales said. "We were excited to get him in there and see what he could do."

The disappointing area was the offensive line. Kind of like the defense that Gundy felt lacked some intensity, and to be fair played a lot of younger players throughout the game and needed to, the offensive line wasn't as striking in their performance as they were in the opener.

Missouri State used a nifty scheme where the Bears hid one of their four linebackers and delayed his rush, resulting in two sacks. The defending national champs a week ago had one on a technicality, an intentional grounding penalty.

"We didn't block very well, we were just average at best up front," Gundy said with some disappointment.

Okay, the bottom line, the Cowboys won, they found out Daxx Garman can play after almost five years in waiting and it's a good thing because this week could find him as the starting quarterback for team with high aspirations, a 1-1 record, and a game that can either create a lot of momentum or a lot of apprehension heading into Big 12 Conference play.

"They had confidence in me before I went in and they came over and told me before I went in that we were going to do just fine just like we always do," Garman said of the moments before he went into the game. "I had a lot of help from the offensive line, the receivers, and the running backs.

"I had a blast but I tried to stay focused throughout the game on the next series, but I did have a lot of fun."

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