No reason to hang OSU's loss on the defense; offense must be responsible, too

The Cowboys' high-flying offense is no doubt great — but it didn't give the defense much time to rest
by Jenni Carlson Published: November 26, 2012

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.

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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