Oklahoma State goes with a spread offense and can get high flying like the Cowboys did with TCU on Saturday as Mason Rudolph and James Washington treated their fans and the TCU defense to 172 yards worth of three touchdowns. You can add Rudolph's 82-yard connection with Marcell Ateman to that for an exclamation point.
However, the Cowboys only ran for 81 yards. The week before against the defense that is dead last in the Big 12 at stopping the run the Pokes only mustered 184 rushing yards. Football conventional wisdom says you can't be struggling to run the football and post total offense numbers of 497.7 yards a game and 44.6 points per game. The Cowboys only average 143.6 rushing yards a game. What gives?
It's the work of the offensive staff that each week devises packages to include in the offense that feature jet flips, reverses, double reverses, various screen passes, and more to help make up for the lack of a traditional running attack.
"It's great being in that room with those guys. They're team-oriented guys," offensive coordinator Mike Yurcich said on Monday. "They all know a lot of football and it's a fun experience being with those guys. They're all team oriented, which is really important to have a bunch of guys that know that much football and for them to be professional and be team, selfless guys.
"It's very important to have that part of your staff. Those guys are doing a great job and getting us in great schemes throughout the week, providing great input on game day. Obviously they are able to communicate that to the players and to teach them. That's very important to have those guys. I can't speak enough about how the players are learning and how our coaches are coaching."
In fact, players come to meetings on Tuesdays all ready to soak up what the flavor of the week is in adapting to the opponent and be able to run the football in some form or fashion. All this season, week after week, head coach Mike Gundy spoke of trying to run the football and needing to get to 150 rushing yards a game. Now it is still getting better running the football, but it is his offensive staff that has displayed a lot of football ingenuity.
"I thought the staff did a great job, and I think they've done a tremendous job this whole season with using our talent the proper way and dealing with the schedule," Gundy explained. "Our preseason schedule has been a huge benefit for us up to this point, and it has helped us progress as a team and get a little better each week.
"We are going to try and continue to improve our work in the running game. I still believe that we need to rush the football better than we are now. I didn't feel like we were as good against TCU as we had been in the couple of weeks before. We've discussed that, and we'll have those discussions again over the next 18 hours. We'll continue to work to improve. Those guys have been resourceful in finding ways to try to maneuver this team to get into the end zone and score points."
That's the key is keeping the points coming. It may need a double quarterback flea flicker reverse throwback, but if that is what it takes then expect a Cowboy offensive assistant to draw it up and the staff as a whole to perfect it.