Greg Adkins was the first one to come through the big decorative wooden doors that lead into the luxurious clubhouse at Karsten Creek on Wednesday. Then in conversation, Oklahoma State's second-year offensive line coach said he was surprised not to see puddles as he drove the winding road into the home of Oklahoma State golf.
"It was raining so hard at my office over at the stadium that I couldn't see the field," Adkins said. "Then I drive out here and the street isn't even wet. I'm telling you it was raining in Stillwater."
Adkins probably feels like in his world it has been raining for some time – raining critics, raining fans with advice, and what hasn't been coming down like cats and dogs are rushing yards. Those quality, game-controlling rushing yards have been tough to come by.
It is a total package situation. The offensive line has not been dominant and they have not, at times, even been able to stalemate with opposing defensive lines. The running backs have had their issues. They have run into wrong holes, run up the backs of offensive linemen, and not escaped that one defender that had they been able to shake the play would have developed into a huge gain. Cowboy backs and receivers are part of it too.
However, when a team that has seemingly always been able to run the fullback and that at one time heralded themselves as Tailback U. averages 126.8 rushing yards a game and 3.6 yards per carry rushing the football then something is wrong.
"It's not fair to put it all on the offensive line," offensive coordinator Mike Yurcich agreed with Adkins. "It is a total offense issue. We need to improve across the board and I thought we did during the spring. Now our players need to have carried that on this summer with their work and we are all anxious to get back out there and keep improving."
"I think the number one thing is trying to get the competition level higher," Adkins said. "Get more bodies in here and hopefully compete to where sometime we could have a two-deep. That's what you want to try and do is to get 10 or 11 guys in here that you're not afraid to put into a game on Saturday if something happened."
Adkins points at the returning five starters from last season in left tackle Victor Salako (down from 340 to 315 pounds), left guard Michael Wilson, center Brad Lundblade, right guard Jesse Robinson, and right tackle Zach Crabtree. Then he points to junior college All-American transfer Larry Williams and redshirt freshman Marcus Keyes, who were challenging in the spring.
"Next up is Matt Mucha, Junior (Lemaefe Galea'i), and Johnny Wilson, guys that have been in the program and now it is time for them to take that next step," Adkins said.
There are 23 offensive linemen on the roster and that is a huge amount, and 17 of those are on scholarship. Again, that is 17 out of the 85 scholarships permitted by NCAA rules. Big numbers and, honestly, it is time for much bigger results. It is not all the offensive line but there is no doubt they had a lot to do with the lack of production and now it is time to have a lot to do with the improved production.