No Time to Mourn

The day after didn't seem to be any easier for Oklahoma State head football coach Les Miles, other than his voice had returned. Miles had virtually lost his speech after coaching the game against Oklahoma, addressing his team emotionally after the game, and then addressing the media in an emotional manner as well.

Miles did say there was a definite difference in the Cowboys' second loss of the season as opposed to their first – and it's a difference that may challenge his staff and his team in preparing for another important contest on Saturday at Texas.

"The more you spend, the more you put into a game, the harder it is to finish second as we did yesterday," Miles said in Sunday's teleconference with the OSU beat media. "We played much better against Oklahoma than we did against A&M."

That opinion from the head coach is reflected in the observations of his peers and the media as Oklahoma State climbed a spot to 19th in both the ESPN/USA Today Coach's Poll and the AP College Football Poll.

"I appreciate the compliment to our kids and coaches," Miles said of the new ranking. "We'd have moved down in the polls and traded it for a victory."

In looking back at the video of the game – as the staff graded it – Miles said he found a number of things that he liked and really pinpointed one thing he would have liked to have seen better. He was careful and quick to compliment Oklahoma in the 38-35 win, but felt there was a differencemaker in there.

"I want to make sure that I give them credit, and I'm not just saying this," started Miles in his evaluation. "I give them great credit. They had a good plan, did smart things and were well coached. As I look at it from our end, there were so many plays that we could have done better. I thought we gave great effort, and our kids were flying around. They have a great back, but I wish our kids had tackled better. I think we helped him out."

Miles is referring to OU freshman Adrian Peterson, who only added to his growing national image with 249 yards on 33 carries and an ESPN SportsCenter Top 10 highlight with his 80-yard touchdown run in the third quarter that put Oklahoma up 35-21.

Peterson also had a 57-yard run that helped set up the fourth quarter field goal that proved to be the winning margin. Those two runs combined for 137 of his 249 yards, and on each play at the line of scrimmage there were Cowboy defenders either in position to make the tackle or in position to turn the Sooner back into a situation where a tackle could be made.

On the 80-yard run it appeared that both freshman defensive tackle Walter Thomas and sophomore defensive end Victor DeGrate got their hands on Peterson. If those two plays are held to single, or even a reasonable, double-digit run then that's a potential 10-point swing.

It's a lesson the Cowboys need to learn because they face a similar challenge with a similar runner in the nationally televised (TBS) matchup with seventh-ranked Texas in Austin at 6 p.m. this Saturday.

"Another nationally ranked team," Miles said when asked about the schedule ahead. "It would seem the competition for us has jumped and leveled off for awhile."

In response the Cowboys will need to jump as much, if not more, than they did last week. One of the writers referred to the turnaround Oklahoma State made from one year to the next after losing to Oklahoma 52-9 in 2003, and then coming back on Saturday. He also used the example of Texas A&M beating Baylor 73-10 in 2003 only to lose Saturday night in Waco in overtime 35-34. Last season the Cowboys lost to Texas 55-16 after leading at halftime 16-14.

"We look at Texas and see a big, strong, athletic team with a great offensive line, great tailback, great quarterback and a talented array of wide receivers," Miles said of Cedric Benson, Vince Young and Co. "They have a defense that is physical and runs and hits, a great linebacker and linebacker corps. A very, very talented team that we have to play at their place. They have marquee recruiting classes and a depth chart that anybody would be envious of."

The challenge is there and Miles expects his team to embrace it and climb past the hurt of the Oklahoma loss with the promise of what success at Texas would bring. The Cowboys were close in 2002 with a narrow 17-15 loss in Austin. Oklahoma State, after missing an earlier extra point kick, failed in a late two-point conversion attempt that would have tied the contest.

"I'd rather be playing Texas at Boone Pickens Stadium to be honest," Miles said.

When it comes to past results and to the game coming up, Miles added that it has more to do with the situation the teams are in – who they are coming off playing and how they did. Those specifics of the season and of that day in particular factor in.

The specifics are that Texas is coming off a nice road win at Colorado in which the Longhorns seemed to be hitting on all cylinders. Oklahoma State is coming off a hard fought loss to its biggest rival. Those specifics could make for an interesting show for the 80,000-plus at Darrell K. Royal/Memorial Stadium and the TBS cameras on Saturday night.

GoPokes Top Stories