After a gut-wrenching, heatbreaking loss last weekend in Waco, TCU looks to get a much needed win against a feisty Oklahoma State team. The Cowboys have looked really great in pockets this year--they played Florida State really well opening weekend--however, Saturday will prove to be a tough test.
Oklahoma State's near gaffe last week against lowly Kansas was saved because Tyreek Hill is less than a God, but more than a man--you know, like Hercules (that's a Sandlot reference if you're keeping up). Also, they have a lot of questions at offensive line. An offensive line that isn't giving newbie Daxx Garman--who's doing a great job given what he has--adequate breathing room since being thrown into the deep end after J.W. Walsh's injury.
Will Gary Patterson's defense punish the Oklahoma State offense--an offense similar to what they see in practice every day now that former Cowboy coach Doug Meacham is on board? Will Meacham's offense punish his former team? We sat with one of my favorite Big 12 blogs, Cowboys Ride For Free to find out.
Coming off last season, there was a lot of ground to make up. Y’all played Florida State quite well, and have had some big wins since then. What’s made the recovery process so smooth? Also, how good of a barometer is this team right now for where Gundy will have them in two or three years?
I don’t know if Cowboy Nation would call this year smooth. The Pokes are 5-1, but the best they’ve looked was in the loss to Florida State. Fans are hopeful this is just a case of a young team playing down to the level of their opponents. This week will either put the Pokes fears to rest, or show there is indeed cause for concern.
The Cowboys are to a point where they do more than rebuild. They reload, and the good news for the Pokes is what’s an inexperienced team this year, turns into a team with a lot of depth in the following two years. Most fans expect OSU to challenge for the Big 12 Trophy by next season.
Daxx Garman has done an admirable job filling in for Walsh. What’s your take on him?
Daxx hadn’t played a football game in five years when he came in for Walsh, and there were some signs of rust. He typically has to get going in a game a little bit to get dialed in, especially in the intermediate passing game. He’s progressively gotten better though, and throws a much, much better deep ball than Walsh.
No question he has the arm to be an above average QB, but his reads and decision making needs to improve a little more. That’s where Walsh has the real advantage. Daxx needs to check down to the underneath routes a little quicker. He tends to look for that homerun ball a little too often.
You would have a hard time convincing me there’s a better receiver group in the Big 12. I believe that just about every time the Pokes like up, he sees an advantage on the outside. When you have four guys that can play jump ball with anyone, there’s bound to be a mismatch somewhere.
Unfortunately the offensive line isn’t going to provide the kind of time needed to take advantage of them on a consistent basis, and he has to accept that.
Tyreek Hill is one of the most exciting and intriguing players in the entire league. What should we expect from him and is there anything we don’t know that you can tell us?
Tyreek "The Freek" Hill will undoubtedly be the fastest guy on the field. Very rarely do you find a guy with that kind of speed be that fast in pads, and is a football player, not just an athlete. He’s a homerun threat at any moment, and can flip a game on its head as evidenced last week with his second kick return on the season.
Yurcich had been using him primarily at the running back this season, but that hasn’t proven to be effective. Mostly because of the struggles up front. Last week they utilized him more as a receiver to try and get him the ball in space. I would expect to see more of that this week.
Doug Meacham was once at Oklahoma State and served under Gundy and Dana, how do you think that impacts the game--if at all?
This is a little bit of a sore spot for Oklahoma State fans. More and more it’s looking like Meacham is the one that got away. When the offensive coordinator position opened up at Oklahoma State, Gundy turned to match.com, so Meacham packed up and took off for Houston.
Meacham will certainly be familiar with what the Cowboys are doing, but the offense has also changed enough that I don’t think Gundy is too worried about it.
Interestingly enough, during Gundy’s weekly press conference he said it looks like Doug is doing what Oklahoma State was doing three years ago, just running the QB a little more. I’m not sure there will be an advantage one way or another, but it will be something to watch.
For better or worse, we inherited Texas A&M’s schedule--so this is y’all’s first trip to Fort Worth. What’s the perception of the TCU culture amongst fans in Stillwater? Do the Frogs have an identity or are they still the new kids on the block?
If the Frogs have developed an identity since joining the Big 12, I’m not sure it’s one you want. I think for the most part TCU is still considered the new kids on the block. I doubt it will take long to change that though, and I think we are already seeing signs of that.
Gundy was one of the first coaches to publicly come out and declare the addition of TCU to be an asset to the Big 12. Oklahoma State is a little bit of an underdog themselves--do the majority of fans feel like TCU has earned their spot, despite its first two seasons?
TCU has seemingly come out of nowhere this season. To start the season, many projected Oklahoma State to finish 8-4, and the Horned Frogs were considered a "W" for the Pokes. That’s clearly changed.
They’ve definitely earned their spot in the conference. TCU had been a solid program for a couple of years before coming in, and I think most fans welcomed the addition. It was a little bit of a bumpy start, but looking back that probably should have been expected. I don’t think I would have been too happy if they came in and immediately started running the show either.
I think this year’s TCU team is the one most fans expected coming into the conference.
What does Oklahoma State do to win this game? How do they lose it?
The best thing for the Pokes is the where they’re getting TCU. You couldn’t ask for a better spot than after back to back top 10 matchups, and coming off a heartbreaking defeat. To me that will be as big a factor as anything the Cowboys do.
For Oklahoma State, they just have to give themselves a chance by limiting the mistakes. With Gundy’s track record I have to believe he’ll have them ready.
And of course, no Q&A would be complete without the great American pastime--care to give us a score prediction?
Oklahoma State 34 – TCU 27
Glenn Spencer and the defense has been strong all season, but have gotten little help from the other side of the call. I expect Gundy to take more control of the offense this week, and come up with a game plan to get the Cowboys in rhythm. Hopefully it all comes together this week and the Pokes can steal one.