Miles Not Ready to Panic

Having read the Sunday papers and scanned the Internet there are plenty of folks that are in a state of panic over the Cowboys' 36-20 loss to Texas A&M. What they saw was a team that was unbeaten at 5-0, No. 1 in the nation in turnover margin, and the least penalized team in the Big 12 pretty much flop in Saturday night's loss.

It started with a uncharacteristic penalty on the opening kickoff that moved OSU back to the 10-yard-line and started a first half run of poor field position. There were two fumbles by Vernand Morency, the nation's leading rusher, that caused him to sit out two series in the first half that both resulted in punts.

It was topped off by a final blow in the half that saw Aggies quarterback Reggie McNeal fumble and that fumble bounce into the hands of tight end Taylor Schuster, who advanced it 15 yards. On the next play McNeal threw a "Hail Mary" that was tipped by Terrence Murphy and caught behind the cluster of players by DeQawn Mobley for a touchdown and a 27-6 halftime advantage.

"Give credit to A&M because they are an awfully good football team," said Miles. "I think they were easily the best team we've played in all three phases, really."

However, Miles wasn't short of reasons why his Cowboys made the Aggies look better than they may truly be.

"We just didn't play as well as we are capable of playing," said Miles. "We tried to play beyond the boundary of what we can. We have to just play the way technique calls for us to. If we will do that we can be a darn good football team very quickly."

Miles was asked in particular about the defense, which gave up 479 yards of offense to the Aggies, including 288 yards passing and another 98 yards rushing to McNeal.

"He threw long when he needed to," said Miles of McNeal. "He scrambled around and we had linebackers come off of receivers they never should of and he hit those. He threw on screens, bubbles that we should have had linemen call, guys didn't execute. I thought the calls were pretty good. At times we missed tackles, at other times we came off receivers we had no business coming off of. We didn't execute and that is subject to great speculation."

On the offensive side, Miles was critical of the penalties and the two fumbles by Morency.

"Those were both pretty good hits he took, but he has got to hang onto the ball,' said Miles with some disgust. "I thought he did a better job of that in the second half, but we can't afford that to happen."

The video showed the first fumble was caused by the ground, but it was a bang-bang call. There were no excuses, just as there were none last night.

"I practice that everyday, and coach Porter does a good job of working us on ball security," said Morency. "I feel like I let my teammates down. I lost the game for us."

Morency is probably going to an extreme when he says that, but it's nice to see out of a leader on your offense. Speaking of the other leader in the backfield, Miles felt that Donovan Woods played exactly the way he would have pictured in that situation.

"I thought he played with the same style and poise that we would have expected him to in the situation," said Miles. "He threw the ball well and the way we wanted him to. He scrambled at time, but didn't have open receivers."

On special teams the lack or returns on both punts and kickoffs hurt. Miles was asked if that was where the Cowboys missed injured cornerback and punt return specialist Darrent Williams the most.

"We had some returns set up," said Miles. "You could see if we just get the first guy blocked we would have got them started. We didn't get it."

The theme was pure and simple during Sunday's visit with Miles. It's not time to throw everything out and start over. It's time to renew the work ethic and attitude the Cowboys had in August when they prepared for the season. Miles isn't asking for super human effort, although it wouldn't hurt. He just wants to see the team back in practice this week that was there the first month of the season.

"We need to eliminate the gimmes and go on," said the head coach. "We need to come back to the team that we were. The team we were the first five weeks is the team I want to be, not giving up anything easy, taking care of the football, playing the way we did the first five games. We have to play within the boundaries of prescribed technique and assignment."

Those comments came probably just a few hours or so after Miles had reviewed the game film, leading one to think that there were a number of busted assignments against the Aggies.

If the Aggies can take advantage of poor play on the Cowboys part then just think what Missouri, Oklahoma and Texas are capable of doing.

"We have to play better," said Miles when asked about the next three games. "If we're not improved, obviously, those teams have similar talents."

Miles was happy with the way his team responded in the second half and the way they responded in the locker room after the game. The hurt was evident, the desire to get back and work harder this week and avoid that losing feeling again is apparent. The words were there. Miles pledges the actions will start with him. The real difference in Saturday night and the games down the road is whether the Cowboys will let their actions speak as loud as their words.

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