4EVER... OR NOT
OK, so John Martin's entrance song, "Cowboys 4Ever," wasn't such a hit a year ago.
But it was never as bad as it was made out to be.
Still, 4Ever doesn't mean forever. Martin's song was scratched from the playlist.
And OSU took the easy route in the season opener, opting for clichÃ© with a bit from Audioslave.
BEHIND ENEMY LINES
* Cougars coach Paul Wulff: "We're fragile enough and young enough we get in spells and things go against us. And we didn't respond very well. I thought our kids played tight for a while. We just didn't play. I think we wanted to, really bad. And they really want to do great. They didn't cut it loose. They played tentative."
* Wulff on Kendall Hunter: "We went up against a running back who is special. He set the tone for their whole offense and the tempo of the ball game. He dictated the game in several ways."
* WSU defensive end Brandon Rankin on Hunter: "He's a good player, we just didn't wrap him up and take him down like we're supposed to. Too much shoulder tackling, but nothing we can't work on and get better at."
* Cougars freshman wide receiver Marquess Wilson: "I enjoyed it. It was a fun game, except for the score part. It didn't come out quite as we wanted it to."
ESPN analyst Bruce Feldman, following a Twitter feed on the possibility of Brandon Weeden putting up big numbers in Dana Holgorsen's offense, added this:
"Strongest arm of any QB to start in that system."
In the span of a few plays, the Cowboys lost both starting defensive tackles Shane Jarka and Chris Donaldson to apparent knee injuries.
Jarka spent the second half on crutches, while Donaldson stood on the sideline.
Cowboys coach Mike Gundy said both were doubtful for Saturday's game against Troy, but said the thought was that neither suffered a long-term setback.
"Seven days, 10 days, 14 days, something like that," Gundy said.
That needs to be the case, as defensive tackle may be OSU's thinnest position.
With those two out, the Cowboys played primarily with sophomore Nigel Nicholas and redshirt freshman Anthony Rogers, with true freshman Davidell Collins mixing in late.
Weeden's last series his planned last series ended with him shaking his throwing hand after hitting it against a defender's helmet. After the game, he said he was fine.
IN AND OUT
Gundy never revealed his plan for Jamie Blatnick and Victor Johnson, who both missed extended time in the preseason for disciplinary action related to off-the-field incidents.
Johnson played, Blatnik did not.
Johnson didn't start at free safety, but did see significant time.
OSU's 65 points were the program's best in an opener during the modern era.
The previous best: 59 points against Wichita State to open the 1974 season.
Before that, Oklahoma A&M scored 90 in a win over Northwestern (OK) in 1916.
The blowout allowed the Cowboys to nearly empty their bench.
As a result, 29 players appeared in their first game for OSU, including 12 true freshmen and nine redshirt freshmen.
"Just about everybody on our roster got to play tonight," Gundy said, "which is good."
The Cougars faced three separate major fourth-down decisions near the same area in OSU territory and took three distinctly different approaches ï¿½ all in the second quarter.
From the Cowboys 39, kicker Nico Grasu was called on and he hit a 56-yard field goal.
From the Cowboys 37, with the score 24-10, the Cougars tried a fake field goal on fourth-and-5. Taking a pitch from the holder, Grasu ran for the chains around left end and was knocked out of bounds a yard short.
"We knew we wanted to get another score and the play set up nicely for us and we thought we had it," Grasu said. "But the ref just spotted it at a different spot from where I thought I had gotten."
Then from the Cowboys 40, they punted.
When Weeden's night was through in the third quarter, redshirt freshman Clint Chelf was first off the bench at quarterback, ahead of true freshman Johnny Deaton.
Chelf and Deaton have been battling for the No. 2 job all preseason, seemingly going back and forth.
Boone Pickens arrived at his "other" house — Boone Pickens Stadium — and promptly held a press conference.
Why? Because he can.
And because he's like E.F. Hutton, when he speaks, people listen.
And he takes questions, too, providing nothing less than interesting responses.
* Not reaching his prediction of 10 wins last year:
"We were kind of a little flat last year, I'd say. We now have a new offensive coordinator. We'll see how it goes."
* On if he demanded the hiring of the coordinator, Dana Holgorsen:
"I didn't even know who he was. I had nothing to do with that. I'm not the athletic director. I've given some money, so I'm included in some things. But I don't have any interest in micro-managing. I'm not an owner."
* On the erroneous reports that he suggested Mike Gundy was on the hot seat:
"He's had a good five years. Was last year perfect? No. I didn't like the last two games and I said so."
* On the progress of the program:
"Go back five years. I said, 'We're going to get competitive. Last year, I told (Mike) Holder and Gundy, I'm getting tired of being competitive. Now I want to win. No question, Gundy has done a great job. Our program today is stronger than it's ever been."
* On his expectations for this year:
"I said I think we'd win eight games ... if he can get to eight, I'll be happy."
* And, finally, on two specific wins he's expecting — and soon:
"I'm kind of choking with the record with the two big boys in the South. We're 0-10. I want to come up with some wins."
The brats and burgers were firing and the brews were flowing as tailgaters basked in a glorious Stillwater day before kickoff.
The buzz: Dana Holgorsen's new offense, of course.
At the Harrocks family tailgate, curiosity centered on the offense. The takes:
"Want to see how (Brandon) Weeden's going to perform."
"Want to see the offense."
And one concern:
"They keep raising ticket prices."
At the Helm tailgate, much of the same:
"Want to see the offense. I think everybody does."
"Glad to see Kendall (Hunter) healthy again." (Washington State, not so much).
"Want to see what the young kids do on defense."
"Want to see the receivers, if they're going to step up." (Hello, Justin Blackmon).
"Want to see the defense we saw last year, see that we haven't lost a lot."
The live chat at NewsOK.com was lively.
Sooner fans were in panic mode, while Cowboys fans were gleeful, enjoying the scores in both Stillwater and Norman.
Comment from Aaron: "It still remains to be seen how the OSU receiving corps will turn out. It sounds like Blackmon has come to play this game, but I don't know if Blackmon is a star that can pull a double team."
Comment from John: "Is Washington State comparable in quality opponent to Utah State? Not trying to stir something up. Just wanting to see how far people should read into these games."
RAINY DAY FUND
OSU is the only school in the Big 12 that doesn't feature an indoor practice facility for football, much to Gundy's dismay.
An impressive facility was in the plans as part of the Athletic Village, before Pickens' BP Capital fund took a hit with the rest of the economy two years ago.
Athletic director Mike Holder has said that building the facility is tied to a BP Captial bounce back.
"Last year was a pretty good year. Five years before that was great," Pickens said Saturday of the fund, before turning to some football analogies.
"We had some 10- and 12-win seasons. In '08 got hit a little bit, and this year, I'm struggling. We're in a very tough market."
Pickens said he's as anxious to get it done as anyone.
"I know Holder's getting tired of waiting," Pickens said. "I want to get it, too. I'm not getting any younger...
"If Gundy thinks he has it tough, look at me."
Former Colorado quarterback Joel Klatt, part of FSN's pregame production, provided yet another reminder of OSU quarterback Weeden's age, informing that he's only one year older than Weeden.
Klatt, who like Weeden turned to college football after a try at professional baseball, played his final season with the Buffaloes in 2005.