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Run game makes OSU's pass attack more lethal

BY JOHN HELSLEY Modified: October 30, 2011 at 8:22 pm •  Published: October 30, 2011

OSU remains strongly committed to the spread and to filling the air with Weeden darts. The Cowboys rank fourth nationally in passing offense. Still, despite a league-low 271 run attempts, they rank sixth in the Big 12 in rushing per game (181.9). No one averages more per carry (5.4) than the Cowboys and their 25 rushing touchdowns are the league's most, by far.

Randle averages 105.2 rushing yards per game and his 16 rushing TDs are seven more any other running back in the league.

The fit would seem more comfortable for Monken, who maintains roots in the power run game from his time at LSU and in the NFL. Offensive line coach Joe Wickline, credited by Holgorsen for placing his major stamp on the diamond, remains a strong influence on the Cowboys attack.

Still, with so many weapons at his disposal, Monken hesitates to overdo it with the diamond, “because you end up taking some of your skill guys off the field,” he said.

And yet, a major benefit of the formation is the freedom it allows Weeden and Blackmon near the goal line. While teams regularly commit two and even three defenders to bracketing Blackmon, OSU's jumbo package typically forces more men into the box, leaving Blackmon in single coverage outside.

That's what happened on Saturday, with Weeden twice switching from a called run play to the fade to Blackmon.

“Every one I've ever thrown to him is a called run play,” Weeden said, “and I just kind of flash it out there to him and then throw it up. We're on the same page.”

The page, er, cocktail napkin, is the same, too.