Oklahoma State football: Cowboys' coaches have become 'schemers'
Mike Gundy and staff adjust game plan to whoever is available. Injuries have dictated what OSU plans each week.
Rarely does the term “schemer” serve as a compliment.
And frankly, Oklahoma State's offensive coaches would prefer it not have to apply to them.
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Yet if the headset fits …
“For the last three weeks, we've become schemers, based on personnel,” said Cowboys coach Mike Gundy, alluding to the rash of injuries that has robbed OSU's attack of playmakers. “There's some adjustments going on.”
Wideout Tracy Moore, the closest thing the Cowboys have to a red zone receiver, remains out with no timeline for a return. Isaiah Anderson, the team's best deep threat, returned Saturday but didn't catch a pass and might have appeared mostly as a decoy. Running back Jeremy Smith played and was productive, yet in a limited role, not yet seeming ready for a heavy workload.
At quarterback and several receiver spots, the Cowboys are counting on relative newbies to carry on the personality of superb spread offense.
And so far, it's working.
Outside of a rainy, weather-delayed day at Kansas, OSU has pushed the pedal with regularity, ranking No. 1 nationally in total offense and No. 6 in scoring despite all their maladies and mishaps.
Games that looked scary the last two weeks — Iowa State and TCU — produced laughers by the fourth quarter.
The names have changed, with Josh Stewart and Charlie Moore and Blake Jackson now filling the roles of primary targets. The quarterbacks have changed, too, from Wes Lunt to J.W. Walsh and now back to Lunt again.
The song remains the same.
Offensive coordinator Todd Monken called it a tribute to the character of the Cowboys. And there's plenty of truth in that.
But it's a tribute, too, to the schemers.
Monken and his offensive aides are moving players all around, finding ways to force feed the few remaining reliable playmakers.
Against TCU, Monken even dipped into his bag of tricks for three gadget plays — a reverse, a flea flicker and a halfback pass — each providing excitement, with two going for big gains and the other producing a touchdown nullified by an unnecessary hold.