Bedlam Downer

It is thoroughly disappointing that Oklahoma State saved perhaps its worst performance of the season for the final regular season game and the battle with arch-rival Oklahoma. The 49-17 loss has to be considered worse than all the close calls during the season such as Texas A&M and Texas because the Cowboys were competitive in those contests.

It is worse than the Georgia opener because that game was more competitive. It is more embarrassing than, yes, the loss at Troy because Troy is a good team and that was a game that took place at a transitional point in the season with the quarterback position.

There were really no excuses Saturday as the Cowboys knew Oklahoma was going to run the football. All that can be said is that Oklahoma's big offensive line throttled the Oklahoma State defensive line. Tackling, a problem much of the season, was again a problem in the back seven of the defense.

Something is going to have to be done about the defense. The scheme was simple and wasn't a problem going against a fairly simple offensive game plan from Oklahoma. The physicality was the problem, so the younger defensive players that redshirted and the future defenders that are being recruited will have to be the answer.

Junior college players will be a factor and my work is cut out for me over the next week to 10 days to start tracking what this coaching staff is doing. You can count on two positions to get bolstered by more mature junior college players and those are defensive tackle and safety. They badly need the bulk up front and depth at defensive tackle. They need bigger, faster, and more physical safeties that are as adept at coverage as they are run support

Offensively, it was not a great day either as the failure to score at the goal-line and failure to finish some other promising drives not only gave Oklahoma momentum but also hurt the overall team effort by the Cowboys. The defense actually draws momentum and confidence from the offense. When that is not there you get the kind of outcome that was experienced in Norman Saturday. It's sad to blame offense for defense, but when the defense struggles and so badly needs help and the offense is capable then that becomes a viable conclusion.

As difficult as this loss was the program has no time to wallow in pity or let the loss cost them further. The goal has to be to use the upcoming bowl practices to get better. Mike Gundy said after the game that roughly a third of the practice time in the first six bowl practices will be devoted to the younger players.

There are recruiting weekends coming up starting next weekend with Texans the likes of Waco safety Victor Johnson and Pflugerville safety and running back Zaviar Gooden coming to Stillwater. The current players need to work hard to get some of the better players left on the prospect list to join the fold.

Finally, there is also the bowl game and winning that. A win in the bowl game makes for back-to-back winning seasons and brings back the momentum that they had a year ago with the Independence win over Alabama. It buoyed the end of recruiting, off season, spring, and summer, but they weren't able to make it pay off this past season. You still want that momentum to carry into this next year. You also don't want to take a perceived step back and a 6-7 finish with a bowl loss causes that opinion to make the rounds.

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