Oklahoma State football: How the Cowboys' offense keeps getting faster

The Cowboys keep spinning through offensive coordinators. And yet, they keep ramping up expectations on playing faster than the previous play caller.
by John Helsley Published: August 10, 2013
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photo - New Oklahoma State offensive coordinator Mike Yurcich gives instructions to the quarterbacks at practice on Friday, Aug. 2, 2013 in preparation for the fall season. Yurcich is taking over offensive coordinator duties from departing coach Todd Monken.  (AP Photo/The Oklahoman, KT King) ORG XMIT: OKOKL105
New Oklahoma State offensive coordinator Mike Yurcich gives instructions to the quarterbacks at practice on Friday, Aug. 2, 2013 in preparation for the fall season. Yurcich is taking over offensive coordinator duties from departing coach Todd Monken. (AP Photo/The Oklahoman, KT King) ORG XMIT: OKOKL105

And just as Brown makes his counter move, the Cowboys are hoping to stay one step ahead.

“In the Big 12, a lot of teams run the spread, but nobody really runs it like us,” Webb said. “So you see a lot of confusion. And you see people get tired, and they try to sub and they can't.

“That's an advantage for us.”

Said Graham: “Last year we were trying to throw refs out of the way so we could get the ball going. This year, I don't even think the ref is going to get a chance to get it down. We're just going to grab it from him and go.

“It's going to be a lot of fun for us. We love playing fast. It's a lot of fun to wear out the defense. By the fourth quarter, they're going to be trying to crawl off the field.”

Yurcich makes it all sound simple, and in terms of philosophy, it is simple: hustle up after the play; hustle back to the line; hurry and snap the ball.

And repeat.

Making it all happen smoothly, however, requires a concerted effort from everyone, linemen included. For the big guys, their job description is changing, with the flat-bellied Graham and his linemates literally changing the shape of the position.

“I think that's something that coach (Joe) Wickline and the offensive line embrace,” Yurcich said. “They know that's our strength. And they identify with that.”

Strength and conditioning coach Rob Glass has become even more instrumental in getting the Cowboys up to speed, pushing players through offseason workouts. And it extends across the board.

For the wide receivers, who run faster and farther than the linemen, their roles resemble something like a hockey shift: play to exhaustion, then get off the field for a break.

“Last year, I thought we were going fast,” said receiver David Glidden. “I could go five, six, seven plays in a row. This time, not so much.

“The substitutions are a little more rapid.”

Defensively, the Cowboys should also benefit, just working to keep up their offense.

“It definitely forces you to be in top shape,” said linebacker Shaun Lewis. “It makes you take care of your body, because you can't be out here moving slow with them. It makes you think fast.

“I think we have one of the fastest offenses in the country. If we practice against that every day, it will only make us that much better as a defense.”

Yurcich knows he's not reinventing the wheel, with spread offenses now the rage at all levels of the game, the NFL included. But he is going for a shinier, sportier — and most of all — speedier version.

“Innovation always occurs in this particular sport,” Yurcich said. “It's a lot of fun and our players really enjoy it. That's important.

“And our fans enjoy it too, so that's a good thing.”

by John Helsley
OSU Reporter Sr.
John Helsley grew up in Del City, reading all the newspapers and sports magazines he could get his hands on. And Saturday afternoons, when the Major League Game of the Week was on, he'd keep a scorecard for the game. So the sports appeal was was...
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