Last week, Oklahoma State defensive end Cooper Bassett called some of the Cowboys’ practices prior to their loss at Arizona “lackadaisical,” specifically referring to the defense needing to do more to be aggressive and force turnovers.
Bill Young agrees.
While OSU’s defensive coordinator, who returned to the sideline against Louisiana-Lafayette after missing the Cowboys’ first two games while recovering from an undisclosed medical procedure, said he was pleased with the way the players stayed with their assignments and got pressure on the quarterback in Saturday’s bounce-back win, he knows they need to get more takeaways.
“Sometimes it’s just blind luck, sometimes it’s just not working hard enough,” Young said. “I’ve got to lean toward the second one. We’re not working hard enough. We’re not being demanding enough as coaches, and our players are not following through and doing the job. We’ve got to do that.
“For us to be a great team, we’ve got to do a great job of forcing turnovers.”
Last season, the Cowboys were both a great team (Big 12 and Fiesta Bowl champions) and did a great job of forcing turnovers (an NCAA-best 44). This season, OSU has just three takeaways in three games, with two coming against lowly Savannah State and one coming on a completely unforced fumble against ULL.
OSU is currently tied for 107th in the nation in turnover margin (-4) and tied for 95th in the nation in takeaways (three). Alabama and Mississippi State are tied for first in the NCAA in turnover margin (+11), while those two schools and Kansas lead the nation with 12 turnovers forced so far in 2012.