Helsley’s Back and Forth: Week 2
By John Helsley
My weekly look back and ahead at five key talking points for OSU sports:
1) Quick Fall. OSU’s run with the big boys didn’t last long; about as long as that skinny, wobbling dude dodging horns at the annual Running of the Bulls in Pamplona, Spain. The warnings were out there all week about the dangers of Week 2. Trap game. Houston’s offense. Even the SI jinx. No matter the denials, the Cowboys just didn’t look ready to go from the start against the Cougars. That doesn’t mean they overlooked or disrespected the Cougs. But isn’t it just inevitable that a letdown was to be expected after so much effort and attention went into the Georgia game? Too bad the Cowboys couldn’t have swapped Houston-based foes, playing Rice in Week 2 and the Cougs Week 3.
2) Driving Ford. Travis Ford’s big raise and extension was a shocker, coming after just one season. But know this, OSU athletic director Mike Holder truly believes Ford is the man to drive this program, pardon the pun, to the next level. The new deal gives stability to both coach and school and will make for a strong marriage. And the $3 million buyout ensures that only major fish will test the waters to lure Ford away.
3) Zac Slack. Zac Robinson hasn’t been the same and the proof is in the numbers – yards and points are down for the quarterback and the Cowboys. Rumors about possible hidden injuries are rampant. Anything’s possible, but this reminds me of what I saw with DeMarco Murray last year on the OU beat. Murray, while deemed 100 percent and cleared for action following offsesaon knee surgery, looked slow and indecisive through about half the Sooners season. Then on some run, he stuck his leg in the ground and pushed off hard and nothing bad happened. And his play took off. I think Zac may be similarly hesitant after suffering a second hamstring pull this preseason. And it’s affecting his play. Unlike with Murray, the Cowboys can’t afford to wait half a season for Robinson to regain his mojo.
4) In Defense. Will the real OSU defense please stand up? So good against Georgia, the Cowboys D dipped against Houston. I, however, don’t heap massive blame on the defense, at least not in the second half. The Cowboys played more aggressive, played more press coverage and got themselves off the field. The OSU offense didn’t hold up its end of the bargain.
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