Poke Notes on an Off Week

There was no practice Monday as the Cowboy players had their regular day off. Seven members of the Cowboy coaching staff hit the road recruiting, using one of their final evaluation days allowed by NCAA rules. Most staffs use Fridays for the evaluation days because they can watch high school games, but this was a smart move by the OSU staff. They were able to see prospects that are still involved in the playoffs go through practice.
It is very easy for a college coach to be seen watching practice as opposed to being in the crowd at a game. For the prospects that have had their team's season come to an end, the OSU coaches were able to watch tape and spend time talking to the high school coach.
Practice will resume on Tuesday as the staff will be back in Stillwater.

Vernand Morency sat out the game with Baylor, but he moved up the NCAA rushing chart to fifth. He is still averaging 149.6 yards a game, just 10 yards behind Big 12 leader Cedric Benson. Morency passed Adrian Peterson of Oklahoma, who is third in the conference and seventh in the NCAA with 143 yards a game. Morency is also 10th in the NCAA in all-purpose yards and 21st in scoring at 8.7 points per game.
Donovan Woods doesn't have enough attempts to qualify nationally, but he is second in the Big 12 in passing efficiency (just five points behind leader Jason White of Oklahoma, who is fifth in the NCAA). Woods has a rating of 160.5, while White's is 165.7. Woods is also eighth in the Big 12 in total offense and 72nd in the NCAA.
D'Juan Woods is seventh in the Big 12 in receiving yards per game at 63.4 yards, which is good for 66th in the NCAA. Prentiss Elliott is 45th in the nation and fifth in the Big 12 in punt returns, averaging 10.5 yards a return. Cole Farden is 23rd in the nation and third in the Big 12 in punting at 42.8 yards a punt.
In team figures OSU leads the Big 12 – is eighth in the NCAA – in scoring at 36.5 points per game. The Cowboys are second in rushing offense in the league and seventh in the nation at 251.9 yards a game. They are last in the Big 12 and 108th in passing offense at 151.9 yards a game, but fifth in the Big 12 and 34th in the nation in total offense at 403.8 yards a game. The Cowboys are first in the Big 12 and the NCAA in turnover margin at +1.60 a game. The Cowboys also lead the Big 12 in punt returns and red zone offense. They are fifth in red zone defense.

DEFENSIVE NUMBER NOT GOOD, BUT CONSIDER THIS... Okay, I can hear the comments right now, 'Here comes Robert making another defense of Bill Clay and the defense.'
First, the defensive numbers are not good. The Cowboys are ninth in the Big 12 (76th in the nation) in rushing defense at 171.5 yards a game. They are eighth in the league (70th in the NCAA) in pass defense at 219.9 yards a game. Total defense is 10th in the Big 12 (73rd in the nation) at 391.4 yards per game. The more important stat of scoring defense has OSU seventh in the Big 12 (49th in the nation) giving up 23.7 points per game.
Another thing to think about in analyzing these stats is that the top five offenses in the Big 12 are all from the Big 12 South, and they all rank in the top 34 in the NCAA. The top four rank in the top 12 nationally. Because OSU is in the South Division and plays all those teams it would figure their defensive numbers would suffer. In fact, other than OU (second) and Texas (third) the other South schools rank in the bottom half of the league in total defense.
Also, despite the disparity in offensive potentcy in the two divisions, the difference between second in the Big 12 in total defense (Oklahoma) and 10th in the league (Oklahoma State) is just 75 yards a game. Outside of Oklahoma and Texas, the difference between the best of the other four schools in the South (Texas Tech) and OSU is just 33 yards per game. Playing defense in the Big 12 South is more difficult than many conferences. Missouri, which played Texas, Oklahoma State and Baylor out of the South leads the Big 12 in total defense at 288 yards per game.

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