With those linebackers, ISU will almost surely use the same approach as KU, no matter who plays quarterback for the Cowboys. That means OSU will need to throw it successfully.
Monken insisted after the game Saturday that he needed to trust Walsh with more of the playbook. But he obviously knows Walsh's strengths — and limitations — better than anybody. And those limitations throwing the football are, and always have been, what have hindered Walsh in OSU's spread system.
“We just couldn't take advantage of plays down the field that we thought we could get,” Monken said. “We have to be able to do that. Moving forward, it doesn't really matter who plays (quarterback) — we have to have a better plan.”
Perhaps the offensive struggles will all be solved when Lunt returns from his knee injury, which could happen as soon as this week. But even if Lunt does start against the Cyclones, he could be lacking a go-to receiver, following injuries to seniors Tracy Moore (ankle) and Isaiah Anderson (finger) that forced them to leave Saturday's game.
Coaches have tried to bring OSU's four true freshmen receivers along slowly, but now they will likely need to play significant time. For example, Austin Hays got his first-career start Saturday and was in the game on the fourth quarter's crucial drives.
Additionally, receiver John Goodlett did not play Saturday, apparently because of injury, and Torrance Carr (foot) has yet to make his OSU debut. Running back Jeremy Smith (ankle) was limited to just one carry Saturday, and Desmond Roland did not play, also likely because of an injury.
Here's a crazy thought: Kansas could be the best defense OSU has faced so far. Texas' hyped unit entering the season has tackled horrifically and been gashed by the run. Savannah State, Arizona and Louisiana-Lafayette certainly don't feature stout defenses.
And neither does KU. Which means unless Saturday's clunker was an aberration, the Cowboy offense could be in serious trouble again when the Cyclones come to town.