OSU-Baylor: Five Questions

Robert Allen answers the questions that Oklahoma State Cowboy fans are asking following Saturday's loss to Baylor in Waco.

1. Why were the Cowboys so flat at the start of the game?
It could have been a winner's hangover as this team had not had any experience in trying to win back-to-back games in conference play. It could have been the fact that Baylor just didn't get their attention. But whatever it was Mike Gundy is determined to find out the source.

"We started the game really flat and I'm puzzled as to why," Gundy said after the game. "Part of the reason for the turnovers was because we played so flat in the first quarter. We weren't coming off the ball and the running backs weren't attacking downhill. The on defense we had them third-and-20 and then third-and-14 and let them convert both times. I'm really surprised at them playing that flat and this week (against Oklahoma) we are going to try something different. We'll sit down as a staff and look for answers.

"The only concern I had about playing this game today was whether we could get started on the road and we didn't. Our road games in the Big 12, we have not played well early in the game. We did it again today and we have to find out why. Is it youth? Or is it guys are fatigued? They shouldn't be because we've given them time off. I have to take part of the responsibility for this because it is my job to have them ready to play and we started out so flat in the first quarter."

"We dug ourselves a huge hole with the turnovers and bad field position," said defensive end Jerry Don Bray, who had two and a half tackles for losses and a sack. "We came out a little flat on offense, defense and special teams."

It is a pretty important aspect that will have to be addressed. If this were a stronger team that could better overcome slow starts that's one thing, but this team isn't. It's a team that is being rebuilt and that is one part of the chassis that you don't want to become a permanent part of the future.

2. What is the situation at quarterback and the situation with Bobby Reid?
Al Pena came on to replace Reid and immediately made it worse with the interception that Allred returned for the score to make it 35-0, but then he played as well as he's played all season. It may have earned him the start against OU.

"We're going to have to look real serious at starting Al Pena," said Gundy. "He played real well the second half . We've given Bobby a lot of opportunities, and I need to look at the tape, but Bobby is going to have to make a lot of plays to be the starter. From what I saw today Al was the better player."

It's strong to say since Reid is just a redshirt freshman, but this spring Reid will not be the man. He will have to face competition from Pena and from the two young hotshots that are chomping to get a chance to win the job. Zac Robinson and expected incoming freshman Alex Cate can both play, and both have excelled in similar style offenses. Reid may have blown his chance to lock down the job for the future by blowing up against Baylor.

3. What was the plan to get back in the game in the second half?
Fast break offense the entire second half, and with the exception of a couple of botched special teams plays, the Cowboys might have pulled it off. Unfortunately, there was no margin for error.

"We had to go all two minute and one thing our offense does is it gives us the opportunity to do that. They way we are set up," Gundy explained of the second half plan. "Our players fought back and we've said it all year that there is not any quit in these guys. That's a good thing. Our defense held them to just two field goals in the second half, but down that much we became a one-dimensional team and we're not good enough to do that at this stage. We fought back and did about as much as we could do and then we had a couple of turnovers on special teams that were unfortunate for us. We have to find out how we can improve because we have one more road game next week."

It was still mistakes that killed the fast break plan in the second half. If Daniel McLemore's touchdown return had been good, if they hadn't had the two special team fumbles, or if they trade a Baylor stop for an OSU drive that results in a touchdown then maybe OSU wins 42-38 or the game goes to overtime with OSU holding all the momentum. Again, mistakes were the difference, and this Cowboy team has to come to grips with them and eliminate them or at least a good portion of them.

4. What can be expected by the Cowboys in the Bedlam game?
The Cowboys' effort will be good as it has been all season. They should play with a chip on their shoulder. It would be nice to know how many and what mistakes to expect because it is the mistakes that have been tragic for this football team. They won't be allowed many and still be able to stay with a watered down Oklahoma team.

5. How much will not qualifying to play in a bowl game effect recruiting?
It will hurt, but it will allow the coaches to totally focus in on recruiting, and this staff does know how to get after it in recruiting as they have already demonstrated. The aspect of not going to a bowl could be diminished some with a win Saturday in Norman. Right now recruits are well aware that OSU has talent - young talent - and needs more. The win over Texas Tech proved what OSU can still accomplish. The loss to Baylor proves that eight turnovers will get you beat, that there are still openings for playing time in the future, and that the Cowboys have some offensive muscles when they are pressed.

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