Oklahoma State football: Cowboys' bye week will be used to make tweaks to offense

Offensive coordinator Todd Monken will adjust to take advantage of J.W. Walsh's strengths at quarterback
Oklahoman Published: September 16, 2012

Walsh clearly got more comfortable as Saturday's game progressed. His first lateral pass was nearly jumped for a pick-six, and the Cowboys pounded the ground game for most of the first quarter. But early in the second quarter, Walsh zipped two straight long balls to Blake Jackson in the middle of the field, the second resulting in a 20-yard score. By the end of the game, he had racked up 347 passing yards and four touchdowns to go with 73 rushing yards and a score.

And this week, Walsh will see a dramatic bump in practice reps, from six of 37 snaps during team drills to 28 snaps. Monken said he expects Walsh to most improve is his drop-back passes, where defenses show more blitzes and coverage looks. And now he's got significant film — Savannah State doesn't count — of himself in a college game to look at.

“How do we speed him up? Like all players, he's only going to get better with reps,” Monken said. “What's he going to get better at? He's going to get better at drop-back stuff, because he's going to get more reps this week.

“When you only get 20 percent of the snaps during the week, you're not going to improve. I think he's gonna see some things. You gain confidence through success, but you gain a lot through failure.”

The extra week should benefit coaches, too, who don't have to start game planning for Texas right away and instead can spend additional time making adjustments for Walsh. A large portion of the load will fall on offensive line coach Joe Wickline, who plays a huge role in crafting the scheme for the running game, and, of course, Monken, who calls the plays.

“Our base system's got to stay the same,” Monken said. “Holy cow, that's what (Walsh) knows. But then we've got to tailor it to him. That's what you're supposed to do. That's the puzzle. That's figuring it out.”

It's for a different reason than Monken originally thought, but the Cowboys' bye week still appears to have come at the perfect time.

by Gina Mizell
OSU Sports Reporter
Gina Mizell joined The Oklahoman in August of 2011 as the Oklahoma State beat writer, where she covered the Cowboys' historic run to the Big 12 championship and Fiesta Bowl in her first season on the job. Before arriving in Stillwater, Gina was...
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