Weekend in Review

Let's see now, this was a team that had lost three road season openers in a row. That team comes out and knows they have an advantage by running the football, just flat overpowering the opposition. They had that advantage with a talented, but inexperienced redshirt freshman quarterback.

Let's see do you run the ball, keep running it, keep having success with a minimum of risk? Hey, that's what Les Miles, Mike Gundy, and the Oklahoma State offense did to the tune of 426 rushing yards with 26 first downs, 261 yards for tailback Vernand Morency, and most important a 31-20 win over UCLA in the Rose Bowl in front of a split national television audience. If you are a high school tailback or offensive linemen and you watched that, wouldn't you be interested in going to Oklahoma State?

Morency had enough yards with the 29 carries for 261-yards effort that Miles was asked in his Sunday conference call if he would participate in the near future in a Heisman campaign if Morency's performance kept up.

"Those kinds of things tend to play out naturally and gradually, the country will see it," said Miles of a potential Morency for Heisman campaign. "It won't be hard to see what would be a natural promotion for a national reward. I have always felt those are team awards, like with Rashaun Woods and his All-America honors. I always felt that Josh Fields and the rest of the offense shared in that. I would participate fully im any national award as it reflects team accomplishment."

How could you possibly complain about results that spring a 31-20 road victory over a name foe to open the season and in one game spark conversation about a Heisman Trophy campaign? Some will and some media members already have.

Gundy was confronted on the field about the Cowboys' offensive style, and I'm sure there are fans that weren't as crazy over the 10 yards and a cloud of dust attack as they were the win it produced. They can all remain calm because Miles isn't trying to take the football world back 20 or 30 years. Neither Miles nor Gundy want to be known as the Ralph Nader of the West Coast offense. They are not against throwing the football, and both believe that Donovan Woods can be successful throwing. But why do it when you don't have to.

"No, we're going to look at what we are doing on offense and continue to progress," said Miles when asked about becoming a run only team. "I believe we have to throw it and that will compliment our running game. In this game (UCLA) we had an advantage. We will look for opportunities to throw the football and will continue to work on that part of our game. Eventually the run will even compliment the pass."

In his review of Saturday's win, Miles said that neither of the two injuries that kept players out of the contest were of a serious nature. Defensive tackle Brad Girtman was x-rayed at halftime and it was negative. He has a sprained ankle and will be back, how soon is still uncertain. Fullback Shawn Willis sat out most of the second half, but never shut it down completely. Willis should be back this week against Tulsa. The rest of the injuries were of the bumps, bruises, and cramps variety.

Miles was very happy with the offensive line and the entire offense, especially the receivers for the way they blocked in the ballgame. Miles made special note of receivers Luke Frazier, D'Juan Woods and Chijuan Mack for their fervor in executing downfield blocks. The depth at tailback was another expected, but pleasing situation as Morency's 261 yards was complimented by Greg Jones 65 yards and Seymore Shaw's 64 yards.

"We didn't expect a drop off, and I don't think there will be any lack of confidence in the future by any of those three guys," said Miles. "We knew we would run and knew we needed fresh backs because we were going to run the football."

The defense was a different story. Miles said he had looked at the video and discussed the situation with the defensive staff. It is something that will get better. In the first half UCLA had 305 yards of offense. In the second half they had only 138 yards.

"The mistakes can be corrected," said Miles of the defense. "Some were first game mistakes. I think we need to adjust how we practice differently to accentuate some things. It wasn't our physical play, that was there. Some of our guys don't understand pursuit and basic rotation. Also, I didn't think we tackled as well as we can."

Asked if the tackling was better in the seocnd half, Miles wasn't sure it was.

"We made some adjustments to stunt and blitz at halftime and in the second half we were in better postiion to make plays," he said.

Now the focus shifts in the Cowboy football offices to the home opener with Tulsa on Saturday at 6 p.m. in the newly rennovated Boone Pickens Stadium. Kansas beat Tulsa in a sluggish affair on Saturday night 21-3. Turnovers were the difference as Tulsa threw two interceptions and lost a fumble along with getting trapped for a safety when quarterback James Kilian was sacked in the end zone in the fourth quarter. KU had 201 yards of offense, 102 on the ground. Tulsa had just 141 yards of offense. OSU and UCLA both had that after one quarter on Saturday in Los Angeles.

Miles said he understood the contributions that Tulsa coach Steve Kragthorpe had made in the rapid turnaround at Tulsa. Miles also needs only to think back to his days as a Cowboy offensive coordinator to be reminded of how hard Tulsa plays when they get the opportunity to play Oklahoma State.

"Attitude is so important to those scenarions (turnarounds) and improved expectation," said Miles. "They are now expecting to win and expecting good play and then there has to be some talent. There has to be people there and a better job coaching, those are kind of the keys for that kind of situation."

Does he expect the Hurricane defensive coaches to load the box with eight or nine players after watching video of the Cowboys?

"We didn't get eight or nine guys yesterday from UCLA with our two tight end formations," said Miles kind as if he wasn't sure what to expect from Tulsa.

Believe it, Tulsa is a team that struggles against a physical, run-oriented offense. They will have to bring plenty of people up to have any hope of stopping the Cowboys, or even just containing them. When they come up, then maybe we'll start to see Donovan Woods throw over them.

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