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No reason to hang OSU's loss on the defense; offense must be responsible, too

The Cowboys' high-flying offense is no doubt great — but it didn't give the defense much time to rest
by Jenni Carlson Published: November 26, 2012

STILLWATER — Bill Young looked like he'd been on the field for 103 plays.

Or like he'd been watching all the snaps that his defense played Saturday.

“I've been better,” he admitted Monday afternoon.

Bedlam was rough on the Oklahoma State defensive coordinator and his guys.

“We can't blame anybody but ourselves,” he said.

That's easy to do, isn't it?

When your team rolls up 48 points, you're supposed to win. When you lose by three instead, you blame the defense.

After a Bedlam that more than lived up to its name, you can point fingers at the Cowboy defense. You can say this one's on Justin Gilbert, Calvin Barnett and Co. You can do what Young suggested and blame his bunch.

But I wouldn't.

There are plenty of reasons to hold the offense responsible for this loss, too.

Yes, an offense that scored six touchdowns and amassed nearly 500 yards deserves blame.

The reason?

Difficulty adjusting.

I know it seems crazy. How could this no-huddle, new-fangled, uber-creative offense that was the long-awaited answer to Cowboy prayers be a stick in the mud?

Turns out what makes this offense great is what makes it susceptible in games like Saturday.

This offense has become a machine. No matter who plays quarterback or receiver or offensive line, it hums along.

I mean, it's amazing that injury has necessitated the switch from Wes Lunt to J.W. Walsh to Lunt to Clint Chelf with an occasional Walsh Cycle, and yet the Cowboys have still won seven games.

But the machine-like nature of this offense was also the problem Saturday — the Cowboys just kept playing at a frenetic pace even when they needed to slow it down.

Late in the game, they needed to preserve the lead, but every bit as important, they needed to bleed the clock. Shorten the game. Give the defense a breather.

And they didn't do it.

It wasn't even a thought.

So says Cowboy offensive coordinator Todd Monken. There are times that he asks Cowboy coach Mike Gundy if he wants to huddle and run some clock. But when the defense held on fourth down and the offense got the ball back with a seven-point lead and seven minutes to go, Monken didn't ask Gundy if he wanted to huddle.

“We just got in our stuff — ‘Seven minutes left. Let's go score,'” Monken said.

It's easy to see why Monken and the offense would have that mindset. They'd already rolled up 45 points and driven 77 yards on only seven plays with their last possession.

No reason to think that would stop.

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by Jenni Carlson
Jenni Carlson, a sports columnist at The Oklahoman since 1999, came by her love of sports honestly. She grew up in a sports-loving family in Kansas. Her dad coached baseball and did color commentary on the radio for the high school football...
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