September 25, 2010

Where is OSU? Team looks good so far

Three games up, three games won for Oklahoma State.

Not a bad start to the 2010 season for the Cowboys, a group many expected to be rebuilding this season after the departures of Zac Robinson, Dez Bryant and others. Everything seems to be clipping away at a nice pace for OSU, as the Pokes have scored points at will and the defense has played solid, including some clutch red zone stops.

All that said, is OSU really as good as we've seen so far? Or is this just a matter of three games against out-matched, non-conference competition?

"I don't really know how good we are, to be honest with you," said head coach Mike Gundy. "I think we'll have a better feel for where we're at in about a month."

That's probably a pretty honest assessment, although it's tough for fans in Orange Country to not get overly-excited about what has been displayed so far. While young in spots, OSU has turned in a solid start, which can pay off down the line over the course of a season.

Not that it's all been sunshine, roses, lollipops and unicorns. The Cowboys have made their share of mistakes, say, oh, most of the Troy game. But that weird performance was sandwiched between two flawless showings against Washington State and Tulsa.

"I just think our execution was a little bit better," said defensive coordinator Bill Young on his unit's progression from game two to three. "I think we carried out our assignments for the most part a lot better and we are getting better from understanding what the defensive scheme is and what we want as coaches and we're trying to get that relayed over to our players."

And, while he was hard on his bunch after that Troy near-loss, he has a different assessment of his crew as that game gets smaller in the rear-view.

"I'll tell you, they (Troy) made some huge plays on some reverse throwbacks and we had the throwback covered so they end up just scrambling and running for 25 yards - kind of semi-busted plays because we executed fairly well defensively in taking away what they were trying to do," he said. "So I guess when you go back and look at it, they played a little bit better than I gave them credit for last week."

What about on offense, where offensive coordinator Dana Holgorsen has seemingly installed an entirely-new offense fairly seamlessly?

"Well I mean, it didn't look bad the first game, other than the fact we three-and-outed a bunch," he said. "The second game was obviously about turnovers and penalties and (against TU) we, for the most part, executed pretty good. Didn't turn it over until late and we didn't have a bunch of penalties, which didn't put us in third-and-long and I think we were 5-of-7 on third downs, so that keeps you on the field. I thought we got better on the two things we focused on, which was the penalty aspects of things and the turnovers."

First-year starting quarterback Brandon Weeden says the offense is getting more and more comfortable on the field.

"Getting better," he said. "Getting a lot better. It was kind of an eye-opener last week; we hurt ourselves. The turnovers and penalties and stuff we can dictate. We eliminated those things, this offense kind of takes care of itself in a sense because it's a great offense and not fun to game-plan against. We're excited we're 3-0 but we still need to get better."

Gundy is also excited about where the offense seems to be going.

"I like where we're at now," he said. "In the preseason I said that I was impressed with the system, I was impressed with the way the players understood how to get lined up and how to execute at a high tempo. But we've got a lot of work to do. There are some areas where we have to get better. And I think we'll know about a month from now how good we are.

"We're a long ways from being the finished product, so our guys need to stay focused mentally and have three good practices."

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