Sunday Rewind: Worst Since Bob Simmons

You have to keep a sense of reality about college football. War, hunger, crime, illness, and so many other life and death situations are so much more important than college football. However, for so many of us that are right here in Oklahoma and that make our way into Boone Pickens Stadium on Saturdays in the fall, the state of Cowboy football is important.

It's important because Cowboy football gives us our escape from the reality, our escape from the work and everyday routine that make up Monday through Friday.

For the past nine years, and really 13 of the last 14 years, there has been enough positive in Oklahoma State football for all of us to relish in the season and ride the ups and downs knowing that most of the time the next Saturday had as good a chance of being up and it did of being down. Lately, it's been much better than that.

However, right now the Cowboys football stock market has crashed. The trends such as four losses in a row, only 192 yards of total offense, and that represents the lowest output since the infamous 27-0 loss to rival OU in Norman when the Cowboys mustered only 109 yards of offense with a injury compromised Zac Robinson at quarterback.

The explanation afterwards by head coach Mike Gundy was quick and to the point, and so much so that it almost wasn't satisfactory.

"It's really pretty simple," Gundy started. "We're not physical enough and mature enough to handle their defensive line. Because of that we were running for our lives at the quarterback position and that did not allow us to establish a running game and allowed them to play a two wide five techniques (three-man front with defensive ends on the offensive tackles) and drop an extra guy into the box and not have to play coverage because of the pressure they put on the quarterback. I think he (Daxx Garman) had two poor throws and other than that he played pretty good."

Gundy's explanation was revealed on the first offensive series as Texas defensive tackle Malcom Brown lined up in a three technique on the opening play just outside new starting left guard Michael Wilson. Wilson switched with Chris Grisbhy this week, as he took Grisbhy's regular spot and Grisbhy went to Wilson's previous position of right tackle. The goal was to possibly get more matchups of Brown and the bigger, stronger Grisbhy. Texas moves Brown around a lot on the defensive front.

On the fist play, Brown lined up opposite of Wilson and he beat him easily into the backfield and tackled Desmond Roland for a one-yard gain. The next play Garman completed a screen pass to Roland and Texas linebacker Steve Edmond crossed the face of center Paul Lewis, who had pulled out to block, without as much as any contact and Edmond made the tackle for a two-yard loss.

Remember the OSU coaching staff flipped Wilson and Grisbhy, so on third down Garman was back to pass and now the Longhorns' Brown was lined up on the offense's right side and he split between guard Zac Veatch and Grisbhy at right tackle to sack Garman for an eight-yard loss.

An off-tackle run, a screen the other way, and a pass in which who knows was the number one target because Garman never had a chance to see if he was open. That's not like a reverse, a flea flicker, and a quarterback throwback pass, but with the blocking up front, or lack of it, those more creative plays would only have blown up worse.

Gundy is right. The OSU offensive line currently competing against any defense worth its training table in strength and athleticism is a really bad, make that a disastrous, matchup. Add to that a competent defense that waited until the second quarter to get going, and likely was less than enthused early by seeing the offense go three-and-out with a total output of minus six yards, and the verdict was sealed before the first fans started considering heading to the exit for a warm atmosphere and either a warm or ice cold libation.

The 192 yards of total offense didn't take as far back to find something worse, but the four losses in a row go back to Gundy's first season and five losses in a row in a 4-7 season, four losses in a row in Les Miles' first season that also ended 4-7, and Bob Simmons' last season and seven losses in a row that doomed Simmons' time in Stillwater.

The really important issue now is not why it is happening? That is easy to see.

The answer that is critical is how to fix it. The process, as evidenced by the tinkering with the offensive line, is underway. However, the likely solutions will be found not in playing musical chairs with the current linemen, but getting any promising young ones as much time with Rob Glass in his environment as possible. It will be found in new players on the offensive line being recruited to OSU. Junior college candidates are a must and some of those "super senior" transfers looking for a good graduate school program and a "help wanted" sign above the offensive line room would help as well.

The running backs need help too. Whether off the field tragedy for Desmond Roland or on the field lack of success with Roland and Rennie Childs, bodies being worn down with all the backs, or the lack of experience in seeing cuts and openings along with little space created at times for primarily the speed of Tyreek Hill, the backs aren't able to do a whole lot on their own.

It is tough to watch, and after the first quarter and a half a steady stream of Cowboys fans progressively made the decision throughout the rest of the game not to watch. Unfortunately, the prospects in the final two games aren't any better because as noted above the quick fix isn't likely to make a lot of difference.


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