Push-over after push-over after push-over.
That is what the
The answer? Improvement.
"This is a run where that's important, that we not only win, we improve," said OSU coach Les Miles. "Our offensive line needs to improve. I think the kicking game in spots needs to improve. I think some of the timing and some of the things we're doing in the passing game also need to improve."
It is a simple and somewhat unsatisfying answer.
There is no way to judge how well this team will perform against top Big 12 opponents based on the Kansas State-like nonconference schedule except that every week the Cowboys are getting better.
"If I was the head coach of this team I'd say my players are getting better each week," said offensive lineman Sam Mayes. "If the technique is not perfect, the effort is always there."
While improvement and effort
are vitally important, where did they start? The
A true homer could say that the Pokes held the No. 15 team in the country – then unranked – to only three real offensive points. And if the offense could have produced just one more touchdown, OSU would be undefeated right now.
On the other hand, it could be said
that the Cowboys lost to a
Despite needing to work on timing in the passing game, the Cowboys are doing what they are supposed to do against their nonconference opponents, blowing them out.
Usually OSU struggles with at least one sub-par team, and while that still could happen, the previous two games are encouraging. This week, against SMU, there are two specific tests for the Cowboys. They have to stop Doak Walker Award candidate Keylon Kincade in the running game, and they have to win on the road.
With OSU traveling to places like
"Have we lost some road games? Yes," Mayes said. "Have we
played against some great football teams? Yes.
With improvement from an indefinite origin remaining the only arbiter of success for OSU at this time, the players and coaches themselves may not know for sure if this team can handle the onslaught of Big 12 juggernauts they are about to face.
Pending an unexpected loss to SMU or
Louisiana-Lafayette, no one can be certain of the Cowboys' fate until after
their Big 12 home opener against Kansas
Along with the work he does for GoPokes.com and the O-State Sports Report, Matt Palmer is also the OSU football beat writer for the Enid News and Eagle. You can reach Matt at email@example.com