OSU’s offense is humming, but what can they do to improve?
The outside receivers need to get more involved with Walsh at QB. Isaiah Anderson doesn't have a catch in the Cowboys' past two games. They needed to move Tracy Moore inside against Texas to get him some more touches. Part of that is, again, Walsh just can't make all the throws to the outside like Lunt can, and throws down the middle to guys like Josh Stewart and Blake Jackson are much easier. Some of that could also be chemistry that still needs to be built between Walsh and some of the outside starters. But obviously Lunt and Moore have great chemistry, based on that Arizona game, and Anderson was Lunt's favorite target in the Savannah State game.
Why do you think OSU is so vulnerable on 3rd down, especially 3rd down and long? As a fan, it is extremely frustrating to watch.
I can understand why it would be frustrating. It can be a lot of different factors, depending on the situation. The secondary, as we've mentioned, has struggled. Bill Young wants to see more of a pass rush from the defensive line. There were a couple unlucky breaks on scheme in the first quarter against Texas--OSU blitzed, David Ash ran a screen and it went for big yards and a first down. There have been a couple missed tackles in space. Bottom line, Gundy said, is guys need to make a play.
Are any of the injured defensive players like Andrae May, Lyndell Johnson and others ready to go yet? What is L Cooper's status?
Gundy has really shut questions down on injuries, so it's hard to say. Jason Jones told me a couple weeks ago that he thought May could be ready by the Texas game, so since he wasn't, I think there's a decent chance he could play this weekend. Lyndell Johnson should be back in the next couple weeks. Voch Cooper I'm uncertain.
Do you think Brown and Gilbert are being affected by the lack of depth or by the absences of Martin?
Both, I think. I wrote quite a bit about how much Markelle Martin is missed last week. Perhaps he did more on over-the-top pass coverage than we realized. Shamiel Gary and Voch Cooper certainly don't excel in coverage, so they aren't nearly as much help to Brown and Gilbert. The lack of depth certainly doesn't help, either. Again, Bill Young points to the D-line needing more pass rush to help the secondary out. Gilbert said technique and "finishing" needs to get better. And Gundy, pretty bluntly, said those guys need to get hungrier. Another thing to ponder: How much did defending Justin Blackmon in practice help those guys last season?
How would you characterize team chemistry/morale this year compared to last year? Maybe it's my orange-colored glasses, but it sounds like chemistry is still strong despite the couple of disappointing games.
I think it is still pretty strong. The fact that the Big 12 is wide open certainly helps. But there are some good leaders on this team like Cooper Bassett, Joe Randle, Shaun Lewis, Daytawion Lowe and Brodrick Brown. And the season certainly isn't over because of a 2-2 start.
Any word on Jeremy Smith's injury and how serious it is? It would have been nice to see him instead of Roland in the 4th quarter when Randle needed a breather against Texas.
Again, Gundy has been tight-lipped about injuries. But Smith is still on the depth chart, for whatever that's worth.
West Virginia looks very beatable to me. Who beats them first?
Kansas State, perhaps, with the style the Wildcats play. I don't think any team gets through the Big 12 unscathed.
The single most important thing for OSU to do to win the Big 12 is ________?
Improve on third-down defense and against the pass. Have to do that in this league.
Any word yet on TV for the Iowa State game?
No. Should know Sunday or Monday.
Not to criticize any of the coaches currently on-staff, but how much is DeFo missed?
As far as the safeties go, I think Markelle Martin is missed more than DeFo coaching them. But we'll see how much he's missed on special teams once Sharp and Gilbert are gone. Though, punt returns have been an adventure this season, as have kickoff return coverage. Though Texas' Fozzy Whittaker returned one for a score against DeFo's special teams unit last season.