The Cowboys lost their opener to No. 1 Florida State, and all weighing in said they were disappointed and didn’t like it.
Still, even in defeat, there’s a sense that OSU made some gains.
Immediately following the game, many of the Cowboys took to Twitter, signaling pride in their effort of a 37-31 close call.
Zac Veatch: “I hate losing more than I love winning but that was a hell of a game. Love my brothers. #GoPokes.”
OSU coach Mike Gundy weighed in via Twitter, too.
“So proud of this team. Love their character, work ethic, attitude and they play as a team. They fought their butts off and showed no fear.”
Monday, Gundy was asked if his team even gained momentum, whether in perception or in his own locker room.
“I would say that’s true,” he said.
Gundy also issued caution on paying attention to too much praise.
“One thing I talked to them about on Sunday night was, ‘You were fighting for your life for four weeks, because nobody gave you a chance to compete against Florida State. And now they’re going to tell you you’re better than they thought you were. And we don’t know if that’s true or not. We really don’t, until the middle of October.’
“We have to play a number of games in a row. We have to get some players beat up and injured, some other guys have to step in and play. They have to get tired and hurt, deal with adversity, all those things that really identify with a team. So in five or six weeks, we’ll know a lot more.”
O-LINE HOLDS UP
The seriousness of Saturday night eventually caught up to Cowboys center Paul Lewis.
“I didn’t really get too nervous until we got there for warm-ups,” the sophomore said. “I got my stuff on and it was like, ‘Wow, we’re finally here. August 30th. Florida State.’
“It got better throughout the game, though.”
That took a while, too, but OSU’s rebuilt right side of the line – Lewis included – eventually settled in and the offense began to break through against a touted Seminoles defense.
“I want to say it was about halfway through the second quarter,” Lewis said. “Once we got some confidence, we knew we could play with those guys.
“We got into a rhythm, got up on some linebackers and started pushing their line back more and more. It just started to click.”
Lewis, sophomore right guard Veatch and redshirt right tackle Zach Crabtree had but one combined start among them before Saturday.
The entire unit, including left tackle Daniel Koenig and left guard Chris Grisbhy, accounted for almost every snap up front.
HAVING FUN WITH HILL
Gundy acknowledged that the Cowboys coaches are getting creative in finding ways to get Tyreek Hill the football.
And, he joked, he’s open to ideas.
“And we’re taking suggestions,” Gundy told a room full of reporters. “There’s a box outside. Drop it in there. You guys have been around, you’ve seen a lot of games, seen a lot of plays. Any of them that you know for sure work, drop it in the box. If you don’t, keep it to yourself.”
POKES PRESSURED WINSTON
FSU quarterback Jameis Winston finished with solid stats and provided one of the game’s signature plays with a 28-yard touchdown run.
Still, he was pressured frequently, sacked twice and picked off twice.
“We were able to disrupt him, get in his face and challenge him,” said OSU linebacker Seth Jacobs. “We were aggressive, and we fought hard.”
The Cowboys got pressure with limited blitzing against an offensive line that started five seniors, at least three of whom are projected as first-round NFL draft picks.
“I feel like we did a good job, with them having all seniors on the offensive line,” end Jimmy Bean said. “The defensive line did a good job of putting pressure on Winston.”
GARMAN’S TIME WILL COME
After talk of preparing a package for backup quarterback Daxx Garman, OSU went with J.W. Walsh all the way at quarterback.
Gundy said it was a product of how the game progressed.
“Daxx has taken a lot of reps. And I think he’s ready to play in a game,” Gundy said. “There wasn’t a time Saturday night where we thought it benefitted our team for him to be in there. But I would say in the future, it will benefit our team for him to be in there.”
Gundy on using Hill to return punts:
“If I was playing us and he had a chance to return a punt, it would make me nervous. He’s a serious threat. Every chance we get to allow him to touch the ball in space, we need to give him the opportunity.”
ESPN’s Skip Bayless on Monday’s First Take show:
“Oklahoma State has a whole bunch of athletes. Every time I looked up, another athlete was making a play.”
Cowboys running back Desmond Roland left the FSU game with apparent bruised ribs. His status for Saturday is uncertain... One statistic playing to just how tight both coaching staffs played things Saturday: OSU used just 53 players in the game; Florida State 46... According to Scout.com, several high-profile recruit targets attended the game in Arlington to see the Cowboys, including Midwest City safety Will Sunderland, Casady offensive lineman Josh Wariboko, and Mesquite, Texas, linebacker DeAndre McNeal. Also there were several current OSU commitments: Norman North quarterback John Kolar and Texas cornerbacks ZaCarrius Green from Duncanville and Jaylon Lane from Nacogdoches.