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After TCU loss, Oklahoma State Cowboys fans need to step away from the ledge

NCAA Football: Oklahoma State at Kansas State

It’s okay to be angry, Oklahoma State fans. Believe me, I understand. I was in the stands as TCU came into Stillwater and beat up OSU like a bully on a playground.

It was hot and it was humid, and the Cowboys melted. Or at least they melted down.

It looked bad in person and I’m sure it looked worse on tv but I’m here to tell you all that’s its okay. Like I said to start to start this off it’s okay to be angry. It’s okay to frustrated. It’s okay to wonder exactly which of his orifices Mike Yurcich had his head up when he called that wide receiver double pass in the fourth quarter.

Mike Gundy has done enough and more importantly won enough that we as Cowboy fans expect to win those games, expect to win EVERY game. It wasn’t so long ago that we only HOPED to win those games. We hoped the breaks went our way against a higher ranked team so we could pull off the upset. Now more often than not we’re the team that the fans are hoping for breaks against so their team can get the win.

And that’s what happened in Boone Pickens Stadium Saturday afternoon. TCU is a very good team, they are very well coached, and they were very lucky.

Please don’t misunderstand me because I’m not trying to downplay what the Horned frogs did. They had phenomenal game plans both offensively and defensively. The executed them almost flawlessly. They punched the Cowboys in the mouth and the boys in orange couldn’t get it together quick enough to claw their way all the way back.

But they did claw, and that’s why everyone needs to step away from the ledge.

Think about this, Cowboy fans: that game was a complete disaster. OSU, missing the starters on the right side of the offensive line, looked completely out of whack offensively. They could barely run and Mason Rudolph was pressured all game. The defense looked helpless to get a stop, giving up third down after third down and letting Gary Patterson’s boys chew up the clock. The special teams were anything but special. The Cowboys turned the ball over four times to TCU’s one, played undisciplined and racked up penalties, and just couldn’t get out of their own way all game.

And with three minutes left in the contest they were within six points with a chance to win the game.

Consider that. Absolutely everything went wrong against the number 16 ranked team in the nation, every break went the other teams way, and the Cowboys could’ve won it.

That offense that sputtered and stalled all game? Well it racked up 500 yards against the best defense it’s going to see all year. Rudolph had a terrible game but still threw for 398 yards and two touchdowns. The two interceptions were bad but both can be partially blamed on the depleted offensive line. Two receivers went for over a hundred yards and Justice Hill hit the century mark on the ground.

I’ll reiterate, against the best defense they are going to see all year.

I said that twice because it’s worth mentioning more than once. TCU does defense. It’s Patterson’s passion and he prides himself on his team playing it well. The Longhorns down in Austin have some dudes on that side of the ball and maybe the Sooner defense getting torched by Baylor was an anomaly but the Horned Frogs will be the most prepared and well coached group Mason Rudolph and company will play against, and maybe the fastest.

They played terrible, they were short handed on the most important position group on the field, they turned the ball over four times, and they still ran off 500 yards against a Gary Patterson defense. I promise you when the upcoming opponents watch film of that game they will think the same thing. You can’t stop them.

Trust me the offense will be fine.

Before moving on to the defense let’s discuss offensive play calling. I haven’t watched my recording of the game, I may not ever bring myself to watch it, so I can’t really say much because the view from the stands isn’t always so great.

I will say I was disappointed in the lack of deep routes. I understand the offensive line was more suspect than usual due to injury, but if the Pokes line up in a four receiver set one of the routes should be a go route or a deep post every single time. If nothing else it forces one of the defenders to chase someone deep which unclogs the underneath stuff at least a little. Plus there’s always the chance that the coverage busts and you get the big play.

But what I really want to talk about is THE play. The wide receiver double pass, Jalen McCleskey to Dillon Stoner, that ended up being an interception. Despite the obvious reasons for Mike Yurcich to not call that play, the ‘why would you have anyone but your star quarterback Heisman candidate who has finally found his rhythm throw the ball’ reason, there’s another one that I haven’t seen discussed yet:

Why would you try a trick play against a Gary Patterson defense that they got burned by not once, but TWICE, the week before?

I promise you the Frogs spent time on that in practice last week. I’m sure they watched that part of the SMU film over and over and over. They might not fall for a double pass the rest of the season, and they certainly weren’t going to fall for one the next week. After watching something gimmicky work on Patterson’s guys you don’t decide to use it, you take it out of the playbook because it’s not happening again. Yurcich just has to be better than that.

Now the defense, the teams Achilles heel! I won’t have to spend much time here as it’s pretty simple in my mind. It’s time to shake things up. I said after Bedlam last year that I thought Gundy should promote defensive line coach Joe Bob Clements to co-defensive coordinator and turn play calling duties over to him. Glenn Spencer can continue to coach linebackers and have a hand in what happens but the final say should come down to Clements.

Maybe Clements wouldn’t want it or maybe he’d be terrible but I know my faith in Spencer is all but gone. He has athletes all over the field but it seems like when the other team finds something that works it works all game. TCU offensive coordinator Sonny Cumbie figured out early that OSU’s linebackers couldn’t cover his receivers underneath and he took advantage of it for four quarters. The Cowboys simply couldn’t get TCU off the field.

Spencer’s squads slow you down but rarely stop you. They are perfect for when you are playing with a lead but they can’t flip the switch to get-the-ball-back mode. Clements defensive line had improved in every one of his three seasons in Stillwater. They play hard and aggressive and I’d like to see if he could infused that attitude into the entire defense.

But if the Cowboys can get the offense rolling to the level we saw the first three games this year the defense will be enough, and that brings me the long way around to my original point:

Step away from the ledge!

Every goal that OSU had before Saturday is still in front of them. A Big 12 Championship, the Playoffs, and National Title? Regardless of what your expectations were winning out makes them all happen. The only thing that’s impossible now is going undefeated.

Hopefully the team refocuses and gets ready for Tech. Win that one and then move on to Baylor. Win out and they are 12-1 with a Big 12 Championship that includes a win over probable ranked opponents OU and WVU, a win over a solid KSU team and media darling Texas, and a rematch likely with OU or TCU.

Oh and that loss this weekend certainly falls into that “quality loss” category the playoff selection committee loves so much!

Don’t get me wrong Cowboy fans, the road is long and the climb is steep, but not all is lost! Keep your heads up and enjoy the rest of the season. I wouldn’t be surprised if it turns out better than you think!

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