Sunday Rewind: Not Physical Enough For Dogs

One thing game video doesn't do is change the story. Sometimes it can lead to a different spin. You know maybe your team played a little better than the score indicated and, in the case of a win, maybe not quite as good as you thought. In this case, the review of the Georgia game changed very little in the mind of Oklahoma State head coach Mike Gundy. The word he was left dwelling on was physical.

"My assessment last night was pretty accurate," said Gundy. "They were more physical than we were. They made more physical tackles. We (running backs) didn't run physical enough."

The physical that Gundy was talking about were those hits by Georgia defenders like Dannell Ellerbe, Kelin Johnson, Roderick Battle and others. The kind that even knocked their own helmets off their head in the case of Georgia linebacker Brandon Miller. The kind of hits that wind up at the end of ESPN's SportsCenter in the top 10 plays of the day.

Oklahoma State was the victim of those blows way too many times with little return. Cowboy linebacker Chris Collins had one or two, but they were three yards downfield, while Georgia was delivering its blows behind the OSU line of scrimmage. Gundy believes in the old saying that the toughest team wins, and it hurt on Saturday night in the sticky opening night of the 2007 season that his team wasn't sticking enough.

The video did allow a more accurate accounting of the damage and that was evident on both sides of the football and special teams too.

"There were way too many missed tackles," said Gundy after watching the tape. "There were 140 yards gained after missed tackles."

Georgia outgained the Cowboys 376 yards to 266, so 140 yards would qualify as a difference-maker. Besides, Georgia unlocked their offense through the use of screen passes. It was a smart ploy with Oklahoma State devoting eight men in the box the first half and using a variety of blitzing.

"Most of the screens, the big plays off the screens came because the corners were out of position," added Gundy.

In the running game, Gundy was impressed with Knowshon Moreno, the redshirt freshman and the third of the backs used by Georgia. "He made guys miss a lot, and he is going to be a good player," said Gundy. "We had five or six guys miss on him."

The Cowboys missed in other areas. Georgia's ability to control the game made the Oklahoma State offense one dimensional in the second half. Gundy said the offensive line played, "average at best."

"Andrew Lewis (left guard starting his first game) got welcomed to the real world early," Gundy said he noticed on tape.

As mentioned, the head coach felt his running backs could have been more physical and he was not able to use Julius Crosslin, banged up a little and having missed practice. As for quarterback Bobby Reid, the one area Oklahoma State fans were ultra focused on, Gundy's review was similar to what it was across the board.

"Bobby was OK. He was not great but not bad," said Gundy. "He had a lot of pressure (from Georgia up front). He made some poor throws running to his left (throws into the ground). He overthrew a deep route that was open."

As for running the ball when the play breaks down, a commandment that coaches have stressed with Reid. "There were some times he didn't see it, but they (Georgia's defense) run side to side pretty good and probably would have cut that off."

Special teams had their good side and their ugly side. The ugly starting with the bad snap by Zach Allen. The long punt return by Georgia came after Henderson slipped away from a group of Cowboys that seemed to have him pinned in. The bright spots were Matt Fodge's punting and the Oklahoma State return game when the opportunities were there.

The only player to get a real pat on the back was tight end Brandon Pettigrew. "Pettigrew did a good job, made some nice plays over the middle," said Gundy.

The theme now is to get back to work. The Georgia tape has been reviewed, and the players will get the look and corrections Monday morning and then it's time move on. "It's week to week," said Gundy. "Correct it and go to the next one. Get ready to play."

With the opportunity wasted, every remaining game, including Saturday's home opener against Florida Atlantic, which defeated Middle Tennessee 27-14, is that much more critical. You don't get do-overs so the Cowboys will be looking for a re-start Saturday with better and "more physical" results.

(NOTE FROM ROBERT: I did not get back to Atlanta last night until 1:30 (EDT) and did not file any report. I will be on for chat tonight (Sunday) at 9 p.m. I was not trying to avoid filing any report, and Terry and I did communicate while I was driving in traffic from Athens to Atlanta, so he knew what I thought. It was frustrating, but again, I look at it a little differently. I am a fan and want the team to do well but after a game like that I don't hurt for myself. I feel devastated for the coaches and the players, knowing the effort they put into it and the hurt they take away from it.)

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