Monday press conference report

Les Miles, Greg Richmond, Gabe Lindsay and Karl Dunbar comment on the offensive and defensive lines, the frustration of the loss to the Huskers and the need to get back on track against Wyoming on Saturday. There is even some NEW good recruiting scoop...

Monday Quotables

Les Miles on the lack of big plays from Fields and Woods in the game

"We look forward to big plays from those guys and lots of those in the near future. Just because they are wielding the ball doesn't mean they have to make the spectacular throw and catch every time they are out there. I think that both understand that it depends on what the defense is trying to take away and therefore give you in other areas. Both those guys look forward to the rest of the season and making those adjustments."

Miles on why he likes playing at home

"I don't like getting on a plane and having to travel. For our friends and family home is where you reward them most. We have great loyal following here, this place will be orange,  and we'll stay in a very familiar place and walk down Hester before the game. We are very much looking forward to being here at home."

Gabe Lindsay on the lack of big plays against Nebraska

"We had some good plays, but we didn't have those big plays like last season when we would have three or four big plays in every game that would spark us. We didn't have that spark that put us together as a team. We had some people doing one thing and others doing their thing. We all needed to be as one and we didn't get an big time plays."

Greg Richmond on recovering from the loss to Nebraska

"It's the same mindset that we had all summer. We just have to come out to practice tomorrow, our first day of practice this week and be well focussed and listen to what our coaches say. Do what were supposed to do and run around and have fun. One game is not going to determine our season. We need to keep focussed on our goals that we had going into the game. We can still make all those things happen."

Richmond on the defense helping the offense

"We need to just take care of our side of the ball. We know we have a good offense and they are going to come around. Everybody has a bad day sometime, but we still have great confidence in our offense and know that they are going to get the job done."

This Holland isn't Dutch

The new player that had the biggest impact for the Cowboys in the opener against Nebraska was NEO A&M J.C. transfer safety Jon Holland. The former Oklahoma City John Marshall prep standout had 13 total tackles with one interception. The entire defensive staff was very impressed as was head coach Les Miles.

"Boy did he play good," said Miles. "He was all over the field and he was physical. He made soild adjustments to the ball. Darrent gets that tip and he gets his first interception of the season. I like his play. He is an important key to that secondary."

Offensive tackles can be fixed, so can offense

The offense didn't produce against Nebraska for a variety of reasons. One was the play of the new offensive tackles, left tackle Matt Hardison especially had a hard time with the sone blitzing that the Huskers employed. Linebacker Demorrio Williams was a very tough matchup for Hardison. According to the explanation of one coach on staff, Hardison was setting up too shallow or too deep to pick up Williams.

"In the protection end of it, I think there were some miscues by our offensive line, poor sets, some things that need to be technically repaired and fixed, " said head coach Les Miles. "That really did effect some of our play calling. We were trying to take the heat off of Josh, and they (Nebraska) were trying to put it on him. With the absence of any big runs to hurt them when they were taking their chances and their guesses with their defense allowed them to have more success and put us in more predicatable situations."

Miles added as did offensive line coach Chuck Moller that the mistake are correctable and they expect both Hardison and right tackle Kellen Davis to improve off the opener. "I don't think anybody was waiting for it to take this long," said Miles of the development of the offensive tackles. "We'd like to have had it happen a couple of weeks ago. I think you have to give Nebraska some credit there. They played well and made out guys have to play technically sound and hopefully, those adjustments will be made this week."

The protection problems did lead to predictable situations and the offensive staff found themselves handcuffed in play calling. To compound the problem the running game wasn't getting much production either.

"I think the calls were pretty solid, the execution needed to be better," said  Miles. "It was not a solid effort by assignment all the way through. Had we gotten the execution that we would have anticipated the running game would have been much better."

The breakdown was almost complete on that side of the ball as the Cowboys had a large package of screen passes they felt would be successful against Nebraska, but even the screen were compromised by a combination of Nebraska's defensive effort and mistakes on the Cowboys end. There were several screens that were set up for big gains if only the pass had been completed. That included a wide receiver screen tried several times to Gabe Lindsay.

"The one screen to me, it was wide open if we just could have connected it probably could have broke for a 60-yard touchdown looking back at the tape," said Lindsay of one screen pass that misfired. "With them bringing those zone dogs off the end it messed us up. They kind of got in Josh's way. With me I kind of went forward too quick and he threw the ball back a little bit. It's like I said anytime you are playing a good team you need big time plays and we didn't have any big time plays."

Big time plays really trigger this offense and they will be looking to pull off a few of those this next Saturday against Wyoming.

Defensive Line Was Good, But Will Get Better

The defensive effort as a whole was good, but maybe the surprise was the defensive line. Clay Coe was joined by defensive end Antonio Smith in the middle. Smith weighs in at just 260 pounds, but handled himself well, in fact, defensive line coach Karl Dunbar felt both inside technique players did well. Defensive end Greg Richmond agreed.

"It was wonderful," said defensive end Greg Richmond. "It was something I'd been talking about all summer and all fall. That we have some good guys that can play up front and get the job done. There's a whole lot we can all do better in technique and getting off our blocks and going and make plays."

The Cowboys had five tackles for losses of 25-yards, better than the four for 14-yards by Nebraska. This week the Cowboys face a different style offense. Wyoming with a big, throwing quarterback won't be running option. Pass rush will be the primary concern, and Karl Dunbar says he will look to work in more players inside.

"Especially playing young guys you try to put them in a situation where the defensive call is not that complicated, so they can go out and play," said defensive line coach Karl Dunbar. "I thinkyou'll see more of Kyle Hix coming back from that shoulder, more of Xavier coming back from that knee. We'll have Efe, Mike Williams, Brad Girtman, and with all the young guys we can work Antonio (Smith) back to defensive end."

Fields is okay

For those worried about quarterback Josh Fields, he is okay. The head coach said they had the right prescription to get him ready for practice this week.

"He got knocked around a little bit, so I imagine there are some bruises," said Miles of his quarterback. "Nothing serious, nothing that a little run yesterday and the day off today shouldn't cure."

Schedule talk

Get ready for tomorrow's Tulsa World and Dave Sittler's column looks like it will discuss the scheduling switch that had Oklahoma State playing Nebraska in the opener. Yes, it would have been easier to play a lightweight opponent instead of opening at Nebraska, but make no mistake Oklahoma State had a great opportunity to win at Nebraska and didn't get the job done.

A little bit about the Wyoming Cowboys

Wyoming beat IAA opponent Montana State 21-10 in their season opener. The normally pass happy Cowboys showed more balance on offense, at least by play calls as they ran 30 times and passed 28. Quarterback Casey Bramlett hit on 17-of-28 passes for 203-yards and a touchdown. Wyoming only rushed for 64-yards. The Cowboys allowed a total of 363-yards (140 rushing and 223 passing). The thing they did was force five turnovers including four interceptions.  Wyoming is also very good on special teams as their first score came on a six-yard return of a blocked punt.

"I know they are very sound," said Miles of Wyoming. "They are zone coverage by and large. There is an opportunity to make a number of calls and adjustments to their defense. Offensively, they throw the ball a ton. They are very effective at it. I expect them to be a very competitive opponent."

Recruiting Scoop: Top running back lists Cowboys

The top running back and in the opinion of some, the top recruiting prospect in the country is Palestine, Texas tailback Adrian Peterson. Peterson opened his season with 222 yards and four touchdowns in a 33-0 win over Cleveland on Friday night. He then spent some of the weekend watching college football.

Peterson said on Monday that he is considering Texas, Miami, Oklahoma, Texas A&M, UCLA and Oklahoma State. When asked about the addition of UCLA and Oklahoma State he explained.

"UCLA has really been recruiting me and Oklahoma State I've talked to the coach (Les Miles) and I am really impressed with him. They have a tradition of great running backs and they run the ball a lot. All of that has really caught my eye."

We also tried to reach Park Hill South Misssouri offensive tackle prospect Brett Gallimore, who was supposed to have been at the game in Lincoln, but our efforts to reach him were greeted with a constant busy signal.

My Take

You can be "Chicken Little" and believe the sky is falling, but the cave in is not as bad as you might think. The Cowboys wasted a great opportunity as they could have easily beaten a good, but not great Nebraska team. The fans are hurt, and should be. There was a tremendous build up and hype to the game at Nebraska. It's natural to be disappointed and frustrated, however, this season is far from over. There are 11 more opportunities. Oklahoma State could still win the Big 12 South and play for the Big 12. That is an extreme expectation, the more realistic expectation would be to see Les Miles, his staff, and the squad take another major step toward building this football program into a consistent winner and postseason participant.

I still think this team could win eight or nine regular season games and take another step up the bowl ladder and get a victory in that bowl game. That would advance the program. You could call it settling for less, but how about accepting improvement?

Was I mad on Saturday? Damn right I was. It's okay to be mad. I can tell you on the trip home the players and coaches were very frustrated. They put a lot of work and effort into getting ready and playing the game. Now the Nebraska game is over. Defensive captain Greg Richmond made a great point when he said this team wouldn't let one game dictate the season. I don't want to be "Pollyanna," so I'm not saying not to be ticked off. Be mad, but just be back and ready to go by Saturday and Wyoming. Part of being a fan is riding the ups and downs. I know with Oklahoma State there have been more downs, but by th time this season is over I will predict that you'll get some nice ups.

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