Five Questions Following OSU's Win Over Tulsa

1. Why haven't the Cowboys thrown more passes and why haven't they been more successful throwing the football?
There is no doubt that the Cowboys will have to throw the football more than eight times a game this season. Right now it's a two-fold problem with Donovan Woods still adjusting to a timing passing attack and, at the same time, working with young receivers. It will need to improve in practice before it gets used more heavily in games. Woods is still the best quarterback with his athleticism. He has a good arm and that was displayed on the 46-yard touchdown pass to Chijuan Mack. His problems come in the intermediate passing game where he has to throw to a spot while the receiver is still in his cut.
"I think we are going to settle in to throwing the football more than we have," said head coach Les Miles. "I think we will improve. I think we will be fine throwing the football. Donovan can throw the football. There was a dropped ball and other things. Besides a few things he was right on the money. Our young receivers will get better, and Donovan will get better at throwing the football, there is no question."
Donovan did throw all three long balls well. He just missed in the first half on a long ball to D'Juan Woods. He also hit D'Juan on a well covered long ball in the second half. D'Juan got a hand on it, but give Tulsa credit on the coverage. The balls he continues to miss on are the intermediate crossing and outside routes. Those are tough throws, but you have to be able to make those.

2. What adjustments did the defense make to take control of the game and limit the Tulsa offense during the middle portion of the game?
At halftime, defensive coordinator Bill Clay laid into the defense and he got the right response. On eight consecutive series for Tulsa starting in the second quarter and ending in the fourth quarter Tulsa had a net yardage in those series of 42 yards. There wasn't much made in the way of adjustments. Clay did call for more blitzes in passing situations which turned up the heat on Tulsa quarterback James Kilian. The biggest difference came on what Tulsa was making on first downs. In their early scoring drive the Hurricane averaged 14 yards on first down. On those eight possessions we pointed out the Golden Hurricane averaged just over a yard per play. That kind of performance defensively on first down will shut down any offense making them very predictable on second and third down.
"They have a real good defense, real athletic," said Tulsa quarterback James Kilian. "I knew there was going to be a lot of speed and a lot of pressure, and that is what we got. They have a real good defense, one of the best we've seen, and I commend them for that."

3. Other than winning, what has been the best accomplishment of the Cowboys thus far?
No turnovers – eight quarters so far in the season and nary an interception or a fumble lost. If the Cowboys can keep up that kind of ball protection they will win a lot of games. Give a lot of credit to Vernand Morency. He took some real shots against Tulsa and now in two games with 58 carries he has yet to lose the ball.
"Most significant statistic postgame to determine victory or defeat," said Miles of the turnover figures. "If we continue to play like this, run the football, throw the football better and more efficiently in advantage situations, our defense has the opportunity to get better, our special teams played much better, then this football team has the opportunity to be something special."

4. What little used stat played a key role in the win over Tulsa?
It is definitely the net punt yardage. Thanks to Cole Farden's punting and the hang time he gets on his boots OSU had a net punting average of 41.3 yards a punt. Thanks to Darrent Williams' returns, including the 59-yarder for a touchdown, the Tulsa net punting average was only 27.8 yards. Tulsa could never turn field position in its favor. When the Hurricane did end up with good field position, Farden and company quickly turned it back in the Cowboys favor.
5. Can we expect Vernand Morency to keep running like this all season?
He's proved his speed and elusive cutting ability. He's proved his toughness and durability. Why not? Morency has gone from being a frequent member of Les Miles' doghouse to being a favorite of the head coach. There is no doubt that Morency is special.
"You have to be able to, if you're going to be a long-term back, you have to be able to take some of those five-yard carry days," said Miles. "Vernand Morency did that today. He played awfully well. He's making me a believer in his longevity."

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