While there are some Oklahoma State fans that sit right behind the Cowboys bench and like to yell their suggestions for play calls on game day all they are doing is poisoning players because the decision makers on the field have headsets on and the man making the calls is way above them in the coach's booth in the press box atop Boone Pickens Stadium. I do believe that Oklahoma State offensive coordinator Mike Yurcich feels pain, maybe not the fan's pain, but he likes it when the offense goes up and down the field.
Yurcich likes for the offense to be explosive, successful, fast, and flawless. He's also very aware that those things don't automatically happen especially with an offense that is talented but still filled with young players and an offensive line that is still trying to find themselves.
"Too many negative yardage plays," Yurcich said on Monday in describing what he saw on tape following Saturday's 32-8 win over Central Arkansas. "We’ve got to stay ahead of the chains and we’ve got to be better on first down. Our balance and run/pass ratio was good, but we’ve got to be more effective in the run game by getting more yards per carry and making sure we're in second-and-normal downs."
Yurcich agreed that he had not seen too many defenses sell out to the extreme that Central Arkansas did to stop the run. Central Arkansas had its linebackers flying at the line of scrimmage to assigned gaps at the snap and also played their safeties up just seven yards off the ball and that included clear pass situations.
He was asked point blank if he thought it was unique that the same five offensive linemen – starters from left tackle to right, Victor Salako, Michael Wilson, Brad Lundblade at center, Paul Lewis, and Zach Crabtree – could pass block so well with a clean pocket on all but two of the 40 called pass plays and struggled on run plays resulting in 11 negative yardage plays on runs.
"Well, there's a lot of things that fall into it. I don't think that's unique," Yurcich answered. "I think our guys are doing a great job in pass protection. We're doing a real good job of mixing up play-action pass along with that. I think that's important because the defensive line doesn't know whether to pin their ears down and come at you.
We have to improve, not just in the run game, but in pass protection as well. There was a couple times we lost a couple blocks and got some holding calls. There's a lot that goes into it and we have to put a lot of effort into our blocking as an offense."
There is a concern among fans that this offensive line, particularly right guard in Paul Lewis won't be able to get the job done in Big 12 play. Just as head coach Mike Gundy was asked about possible lineup changes, the most asked about being the possibility of Jesse Robinson, who was the starting right guard at the end of the season, being back in his spot, Yurcich too was asked if anything might change.
"Competition and personnel is constantly being evaluated," Yurcich responded. "We're always trying to push one another from that stand point. Every practice is evaluated. We are going to continue to do that throughout this week and throughout the game and we will see where we are at."
There are other concerns on offense like Mason Rudolph being more accurate at the start of games, the use of the Cowboy backs, even the blocking of the Cowboy backs, but right now it is hard to find many hard core Cowboy football fans, the ones that sit behind the bench on the south side of the Boone or the ones that want to sit in those seats, that will talk about anything other than the offensive line improving. If they would like a new topic, I might suggest defense. It's a huge positive right now.