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OSU football: Balanced offense not just about racking up numbers

By Scott Wright Modified: September 10, 2008 at 9:03 am •  Published: September 10, 2008
The other is Oregon, which benefited from bulky yardage statistics in a blowout of Utah State last week.

For OSU, it's a quality that goes from game to game, too. Last week, the Cowboys became the first team of the season to have 300 rushing yards and 300 passing yards in the same game — a statistical plateau that has been reached about four times a year in all of NCAA Division I football the previous 12 seasons.

Also contributing to OSU's balance is the coaching staff's ability to keep numbers where they belong — on the stat sheet, not the goal chart.

"We don't have any numbers, as far as goals,” Brewer said. "We're not one of those teams that drives on stats, because at the end of the year, that takes care of itself.

"Our guys are focused in on eliminating turnovers, finishing plays, dominating their opponent.”

Another favorite coaching phrase to describe offensive balance? Taking what the defense gives.

"If they take something away, we'll go to the next option. That's how we approach it,” Taylor said.

"We've got to take what the defense gives us. As soon as we start getting selfish and thinking we're not running it enough or we're not passing it enough, that's when we die.”

Balance starts up front
The key to having a balanced offensive attack of run and pass doesn't rely solely on the runners and passers.

First, you have to have an offensive line that can block equally well for both.

"People forget about the big guys up front,” Oklahoma State co-offensive coordinator Gunter Brewer said. "But any time you have balance, it's because you have that front wall there.”

OSU's front five haven't always gotten the credit they deserve, as they continue to develop into one of the most talented units in the Big 12 Conference and the country. They've allowed only two sacks so far this season, while opening gaping holes for the Cowboy backs to run through.

Their ability to block for running backs as well as protect quarterback Zac Robinson is the biggest reason for the Cowboys' balance.

"I think a lot of teams, they're either really good at run blocking or really good at pass blocking, but (OSU offensive line coach Joe) Wickline always goes after guys who can do both,” said starting left guard Andrew Lewis. "He harps on being able to be good at run blocking, but you've also got to be able to pass block.

"He's not going to play you just because you're a great run blocker. You've got to be a pass blocker, too.”

By Scott Wright


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