1. What was the plan going into the game on offense and defense?
The plan on offense was to establish the run with Tatum Bell and then get in down and distance situations that would have the Oklahoma defense guessing. Second-and-medium and third-and-short would have kept Oklahoma from just teeing off like itdid on Josh Fields. It also would have kept the Sooners from substituting linebackers for defensive backs and caused Oklahoma's safeties to pay more attention to the run rather than closing down the middle of the field.like they did. That was an area the Cowboys had hoped to exploit.
Instead, turnovers helped give the Sooners an early lead and put the OU defense in a comfort zone. The running game didn't really click until the verdict had been decided. O-State ended up in a lot of predictable throwing situations allowing the OU defensive line to pin their ears back and come at Fields and the Sooner secondary to worry about covering receivers and not coming up to stop the run.
"They pretty much dominated us up front.," said Cowboy center Ben Buie."They made us get away from out game plan. We faced a lot of third-and-longs."
"We couldn't get our quarterback comfortable in the pocket, even in play action," added Miles. "It was difficult to get the ball to our guys on the perimeter. They had a good game plan, executed it well."
"We didn't have very good field postion for most of the game," said quarterback Josh Fields.. "Whenever you're backed down in there like that, it alters your play-calling a little bit. They're great. Seeing it on film, it's nothing compared to being out there. That defensive line and that whole defense is legit."
On defense the Cowboys had hoped to shut down the OU run and use a three man line and an expanded secondary to curtail Oklahoma quarterback Jason White and his talented corps of receivers. That did not work well either because Oklahoma was able to run the football and stay in medium and short yardage situations. Whether it was with a three or four man defensive line, the Cowboys, even with a blitz, couldn't get to White to even pressure him. There was just one sack. With so much time to throw, White hit the passes he needed to. The Sooners also found loads of success checking to one-back running plays against the three man defensive line.
"We're trying to get the rush going," said Miles. "We just couldn't get the rush going enough to make them honor it. And we started passing the ball in predictable down and distances. And they have real quality defensive line guys, who got up the field and got in our backfield."
It's always two-fold, planning and execution, and unfortunately, neither worked out too well this time for the Cowboys against the Sooners.
2. Why didn't Tatum Bell on the sack and fumble, and then Darrent Williams on the fumbled punt -- just fall on the ball instead of trying to pick it up?
This one is tough. It should have been a no-brainer in both cases. Deep inside your own territory never try to pick up a fumble, just fall on it. The alternative of the opposing team recovering the football is virtually a certain score. On the punt, Williams was trying to make a big play and thought he could. However, if you just fall on the ball your offense gets it in the best field position that they would have had up to that point.
"Tatum should have just fallen on the ball,'' said head coach Les Miles. "Darrent should have just fallen on the ball. It's a big game. It's a game where they want to make plays. Those are playmakers. They'll be coached and they are coached to fall on that ball. And let's line up again. Instead, they turn it over.''
3. What happened that allowed OU defensive end Dan Cody to live in the OSU backfield with quarterback Josh Fields?
It was their biggest worry going into the game that Cody would be too much to handle out at defensive end. The worst fear was realized as Doug Koenig, who complained of a bad back, had a worse day struggling to pass block Cody. There was also no tight end or back to pick him up, not to mention the push the Sooners were getting in the middle.
"We have one of the best quarterback-wide receiver tandems in the nation and we couldn't protect the passer today," said an emotional offensive guard Sam Mayes. "We will get it fixed. And we will come out at home against Texas and we will win the football game. It's upsetting that we have a first-round draft choice out there and we can't use him. All because the line can't protect the quarterback."
"I felt like were prepared coming into this game, we just didn't execute like we're capable," said center Ben Buie. "Dan Cody is a great player. He brings a lot of speed and a lot of hat off the edge. He's a tough player to block. From what I could see, our tackles were doing fairly well, just a breakdown here and there."
Mayes was much more dramatic than Buie.
"It's amazing. And it's very frustrating. And we're going to get it fixed. We are going to get it fixed!"
4. What was Mike Stoops doing on the field after that last touchdown, and was the OU sideline influencing officials calls?
After Paul Thompson threw the final touchdown pass to Mark Bradley with 5:42 left in the game, OU co-defensive coordinator Mike Stoops was out on the field seemingly waving at the Cowboy bench either asking if they had had enough or perhaps, signaling that the Sooners intended to deliver some more. Stoops can probably be excused for his actions as he took a lot of the brunt when the O-State offense demolished the OU defense in Stillwater last season. Stoops is also known to be capable of going over the edge. However, it is known that the OSU coaching staff didn't do any waving at the OU sidelines in their win last season. To the victor go the spoils.
As for influencing calls, good coaching staffs do that, and, yes, it appeared the Sooner sidelines encouraged a couple of penalties on Oklahoma State, namely the two sideline late hit calls which were both highly questionable, and also the very late flag for intentional grounding in the second half.
Those calls by no means impacted the game. Oklahoma State didn't do enough to make those calls a real serious problem.
5. Will the loss to Oklahoma hurt the Cowboys in recruiting?
I threw this one in because everybody seems to ask it on the radio during the week. I really don't think the loss will have a serious impact on recruiting, however, it could impact three recruiting situations. Let's start with the top running back in the country in Palestine, Texas product Adrian Peterson. OSU was a long shot, but Peterson was in the house for the game on Saturday and an OSU win with a good day by Tatum Bell might have peeked his curiosity. Peterson has been leaning heavily to Oklahoma and likely ends up going that way.
Another recruit that may be sawyed by the outcome of the game is Greensboro (Dudley), N.C., defensive lineman Demarrio Pressley. The Cowboys got in on him about a month ago, and after Oklahoma State jumped in, so did Oklahoma. Both may get visits, and that is where OSU would have to make up ground. Pressley has his pick virtually of any school in the nation.
Jeray Chatham of Spring Westfield near Houston is another top prospect that both schools are toe to toe on. The 6-4, 265 pound offensive lineman has seemingly been leaning toward Oklahoma State and LSU, but OU has been pushing and the outcome of this one may get Chatham's attention.
Most recruits don't make their decisions based on one game, but Oklahoma's win certainly didn't hurt them any especially on players the two schools are going head-to-head on.