Analysis: Offense Has Areas To Shore Up

It is hard to criticize Oklahoma State quarterback Daxx Garman in his first ever collegiate start. He looked a little nervous early and that is to be expected but by the end of the night he had completed 16 of 30 passes with at least four other passes that could have been caught for 315 yards and two touchdowns.

Garman throws the ball the majority of time with a lot of velocity. It was evident that some of his early throws caught Cowboys receivers off guard. The speed of the game not only changes from practice to the game, but the velocity of throws picks up some in game too. It's that extra adrenaline or nervous energy.

"Those guys (receivers) do a great job of going to get the ball when I throw it," Garman said.

One notable exception was that scrambling toss to a wide open David Glidden in the first quarter. It was as close to a duck as you will ever see from Garman and was like it was in slow motion. The gain went for 36 yards to the UTSA 17.

"I was screaming for the ball to get there," Glidden said afterwards. "I know Daxx was under pressure, but I've never been so wide open ever. I didn't want it wasted."

"I was trying to roll around so I could get to him," Garman explained. "I was just trying to get it down there to him because I knew they had broken coverage and he was open down there."

The best thing about Garman is he usually throws the ball where his guy can get it and the other team can't. In two games and 56 attempts there have been four touchdowns total and no interceptions. In fact, Oklahoma State has had a grand total of two turnovers in three games, both in the opener against Florida State.

That is all good news along with the performance of the wide receivers, both in catching passes and blocking. The running backs have played well for the most part. I thought Tyreek Hill against Florida State was impressive. I thought that Rennie Childs did well against Missouri State. Last night, considering the banging away up the middle where holes weren't just popping open frequently, Desmond Roland ran tough with 21 carries for 95 yards and two touchdowns.

Still, head coach Mike Gundy is frustrated with the running game. You can tell in his selection of words and the way he speaks that he's not pleased with that area.

I got the direct sense from the head coach coming out at halftime when we talked to him on the radio that he wanted to test the offensive line and get them tougher. UTSA does have a pair of big, solid defensive tackles and at least one really Big 12-caliber defensive end that actually transferred there from Baylor.

I think the head coach wanted to bang away and challenge the interior run game. It may not have worked last night, but studying the video and getting in the work may lead to better (needed) results later in the season including a week from Thursday against Texas Tech. Gundy is right, you have to be able to run the ball when everybody knows you want to run it and the defense is stacked against it. If you can do that, then you can do anything in your offense.

"We have a lot of areas we need to improve in," Gundy said. "We are not a good running football team and we have a long way to go. If we don't find ways to run the football then it won't be very fun in Big 12 play. We have to improve on that. We are not moving anybody out. We are just standing there and they are just pushing us back and we can't run the football. That puts more pressure on Daxx and then Daxx has to make more difficult throws. We have a lot of work ahead of us in that area."

The Cowboys, as Gundy said emphatically, have work to do and they have some extra time to do it before the Sept. 25 game with Texas Tech to open the Big 12 season on ESPN. I think we can all guess what some of the practices will be like between know and then.

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