Cowboys need to giddyap on play calling

BY JOHN HELSLEY, Staff Writer, jhelsley@opubco.com Published: August 15, 2011

Todd Monken snapped his fingers rapidly Saturday night, making a point of what improvement he needed to make coming out of Oklahoma State's first major preseason football scrimmage.

The Cowboys return almost everyone from last year's dynamic offense. And they're sticking with the scheme, even with Monken new in the job of offensive coordinator.

What they don't have – and it's early, still – is that same fast-paced tempo of getting plays called and run, part of the mix a year ago when the Pokes kept defenses on their heels to the tune of 520.2 yards and 44.2 points a game, stout stats that ranked No. 1 in the Big 12 and No. 3 nationally.

And while the offense moved efficiently and effectively Saturday night, it didn't move as swiftly as the Cowboys would like.

“I need to quicken up my anticipation of the next play,” Monken said. “That's what I got out of today myself, that I need to quicken up my anticipation of what could be the next call, by down and distance, yard marker…”

Monken plans to work from the press box on game days. Saturday represented his first foray away from the sidelines this preseason, as he took a spot on the balcony of Gallagher-Iba Arena beyond what is the west end zone of the practice field.

“It was a little different because I was in the end zone,” Monken said. “I couldn't tell if it was third-and-10 or second-and-2.

“But it was good. That was a really good thing for me today.”

For Monken, it's an ongoing process in adjusting to the pace of calling plays with this OSU offense. With so many players back from a proven attack, he's making the transition — from the more conventional system he utilized recently in the NFL — more so than the players.

“We moved a little faster later in the practice, and we actually looked better,” said quarterback Brandon Weeden. “Our tempo was a lot better. We executed a lot better.

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