Miles Defends Coaches

It was what it was on Saturday night in Austin. Oklahoma State had a tremendous opportunity to come away with a landmark win in the program's rise toward competing for the Big 12 South championship. The Cowboys had mighty Texas down on the Longhorns' home field in front of their 83,161 fans by a 35-14 score.

Then in the second half Texas caught momentum and Oklahoma State seemed defenseless in trying to turn it back around. The numbers were staggering – Texas had 49 straight points, 600 yards of offense, Longhorn quarterback Vincent Young hit 18-of-21 passing for a career-high 278 yards, Cedric Benson had 141 yards rushing and scored five touchdowns.

On offense Oklahoma State had minus-10 yards of offense in the third quarter and they had four straight possessions of three and out.

"We needed to change the tempo and momentum, and we could not," said Oklahoma State head coach Les Miles. "Our kids were not ready to take that step. Down the road we will be a contender, but (Saturday) night we were not ready to take that step.

"Guys that are fundamentally sound weren't ready to do what was necessary. With the youthful leadership we have on this team and some of our best players injured, we have shown we are capable, we're improved, and this football team can play with anybody. To what extent they can approach being a champion is a far term basis."

Miles wasn't happy with the result. It was difficult to come to grips with even after reviewing the tape that his team may have played its best half of the season in the first half coupled with its worst half of the season in the second half.

So how do you move forward from this point? It sure sounded like the head coach planned for Sunday night's review and practice to be a straight on situation. Do you avoid showing the team the video and just lock it away?

"I've been around coaches that did that," said Miles. "I don't think this team needs that. They need to see that if they go do it correctly, it works. They need to understand, and I'm talking defense here as an example, that you don't just put your hand on the ground or stand around and play instinctively in Division I football. You can't do it. It doesn't work.

"There are times when a team like Texas is going to make plays. Texas is going to score against us, but if we play technique and the scheme was all there, it's just all you have to do is the right things. The scheme was there."

Miles credited the special teams, and the kickoff return unit that produced two big returns, including the game opening 53-yarder by Robert Jones that helped launch the first scoring drive, as being a winning effort.

Miles was asked about the coaching staff, in particular defensive coordinator Bill Clay. Clay is taking a lot of heat from fans on message boards on the internet, on the street, and no doubt, will on radio talk shows from fans who were hoping the defense would be a backbone of this season's Oklahoma State team. Miles refused to engage in that kind of discussion, but did make some more general statements.

"That's for them (fans) to question," said Miles after being asked about Clay. "It's not for me. If it had been played properly then we would have been fine. On offense, if we go down and score, even a field goal, we take some momentum back, keep their offense off the field, let our defense regroup. We didn't do that. As far as all the questioning of moves made for our guys, I'm comfortable with all three coordinators and how they performed in that game."

The situation is simple when you cut it down. Oklahoma State played Oklahoma and Texas more competitive than a season ago. Last season they lost to the two teams by a combined score of 107-25. This year the combined score was 94-70. They had a chance to win both games. They didn't win. Fans are disappointed, but no more than coaches and players.

Miles said it is unacceptable, and he plans on continuing to work and correct it. They will recruit to fill weaknesses. They will work to continue to develop players. Most important, Miles is looking at Baylor and winning a game this week.

That will help everybody's attitude, but it is obvious Oklahoma State fans want to beat Oklahoma, Texas, and everybody else that appears on the schedule. So does Miles, his staff, and the Cowboy players. It just won't happen this season.

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