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.
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.
Until it did.
First down: Joe Randle run, 1-yard loss.
Second down: Chelf pass behind Austin Hays, incomplete.
Third down: Chelf pass wide and high to Josh Stewart, incomplete.
No doubt Chelf made some throws Saturday that reminded us why he was named third-stringer instead of starter. He threw low. He threw high.
And he did it when the stakes were highest.
On OSU's final five possessions, including the decisive overtime, he went 4 of 10 for 26 yards.
Not exactly clutch.
But those miscues might have been a side note had the Cowboys slowed it down a bit. Just a smidge, even. Remember, after all, the Sooners scored the game-tying touchdown with only 4 seconds left in regulation.
“It is a very difficult situation when you have to transition from one style to another,” Monken said. “That's just the way it is. I don't know the right or wrong. I just know when it comes up, you're like, ‘Damn, that would've been nice if we could've taken up more time' or ‘Damn, I wish we could've run four minute and taken time off the clock.'
“That's not what I'm thinking.”
Monken described what he is thinking about in the coach's box, and frankly, it sounds a little like pandemonium.
“When you're a huddle team, you have your play sheet, you look at it, and you go, ‘OK, let me think about this. Third and 5. Third and 5,'” he said, his voice slow and deliberate. “The clock's running. ‘All right, give me 21 personnel.'”
His eyes shot open.
“Here,” he said, his voice speeding up, “it's ‘All right, flip, flip, flip, give me switch Z end.'”
This offense demands a lot of Monken, but if he's not thinking about the game situation, the time left on the clock or the number of plays that the defense has run, someone needs to be. Gundy. A position coach. A graduate assistant. Someone needs to be monitoring this stuff.
Otherwise, the Cowboy offense and the Cowboy defense are operating as two separate entities.
Obviously, that has worked fine lots of times over the past two-plus seasons. But sometimes, it's the difference between winning and losing like it was Saturday.
“It's always everybody,” Young said.
The Cowboy defensive coordinator was talking about his guys and how they have to play as a unit and take responsibility as a unit. But he might as well have been talking about this entire Cowboy team.
All of them deserve some blame.
Jenni Carlson: Jenni can be reached at (405) 475-4125. Like her at facebook.com/JenniCarlsonOK, follow her at twitter.com/jennicarlson_ok or view her personality page at newsok.com/jennicarlson.