Oklahoma State football: Cowboys' tempo might not be quite the same in Heart of Dallas Bowl

The OSU offense looks like it's on autopilot, but it's not. In fact, according to Todd Monken, play calling isn't easy with the Cowboys' offense. With Mike Gundy or a committee calling plays, the Cowboys might be a bit slower against Purdue.
by Jenni Carlson Modified: December 26, 2012 at 4:55 pm •  Published: December 25, 2012

photo - REACTION: OSU coach Mike Gundy reacts during a college football game between Oklahoma State University (OSU) and Texas Tech University (TTU) at Boone Pickens Stadium in Stillwater, Okla., Saturday, Nov. 17, 2012.  Photo by Bryan Terry, The Oklahoman
REACTION: OSU coach Mike Gundy reacts during a college football game between Oklahoma State University (OSU) and Texas Tech University (TTU) at Boone Pickens Stadium in Stillwater, Okla., Saturday, Nov. 17, 2012. Photo by Bryan Terry, The Oklahoman

Mike Gundy has professed this Oklahoma State offense as one that's easy to call.

That was definitely not the descriptor that sprang to mind earlier this season when Todd Monken described the play-calling process.

The man who was then the Cowboys offensive coordinator first talked about how calling plays for a huddling team is slow and methodical. Coaches have time to look at the play sheet, to ponder the options, to look at the play sheet some more, then to finally get around to calling a play.

“Here,” he said, as his eyes shot open and his voice sped up, “it's ‘All right, flip, flip, flip, give me switch Z end.”

Controlled chaos was the scene he set.

Easy was not.

As the Cowboys enter the final week of practice for the Heart of Dallas Bowl where they will be without Monken, now the coach at Southern Miss, there is little doubt that whatever play-calling plan they've cooked up will work. They are facing an opponent that didn't see anything like this offense during the season yet still allowed half of its opponents to score more than 30 points.

OSU is going to be able to score in bunches on Purdue.

But contrary to popular belief, this offense doesn't automatically fly at warp speed.

It's easy to see where that thinking comes from. Just look at what the Cowboys have done the past couple of seasons. First, they lost Dana Holgorsen and managed to get better. Then, they lost not one but two starting quarterbacks to injury and still clicked along just fine.

The offense looks like it's on autopilot.

Much of that is because of dogged preparation that goes on during the week. Gundy pointed that out when he made his “easy” assertion.

But one of the big reasons that this offense has been so successful the past few years is its tempo.

It moves faster than a pickpocket at a millionaire's convention.

You see how that tempo affects defenses. First, it surprises them early in games. That phenomenon was evident in OSU's wins this season. In five of those seven victories, the Cowboys led by at least two scores before halftime.

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by Jenni Carlson
Columnist
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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