Travis Ford insists he's not frustrated by Oklahoma State's 6-4 beginning to the basketball season, a start that has admittedly created more concern than comfort.
“I'm not frustrated, I wouldn't use that word,” Ford said. “I'm trying to figure things out. I like these guys.
“I fully grasp what's going on. I fully grasp why things are happening, the excuses of it.”
Ford doesn't want to lean on those excuses, yet can't completely ignore them, either.
“The schedule has a lot to do with it,” he said. “And just youth. And guys understanding and going through the process of just getting it. What can we do to speed it up? What can we do to continue to stay positive and keep everybody up?
“Figuring it out … I stay up all night. We're going to figure it out.”
The Cowboys are young – and just got younger with Fred Gulley leaving the program – as four freshmen and a sophomore figure prominently among a nine-man rotation. All four losses have come outside Gallagher-Iba Arena, and the schedule delivers another not-so-neutral site game Wednesday night, with OSU facing Alabama in Birmingham (8 p.m., ESPN2).
Figuring things out, Ford said, starts with an understanding that can be hard for a fan base to stomach, especially in light of all the optimism that accompanied the Cowboys into this season.
“All these teams are better than us,” Ford said. “Eventually they won't be.”
Flipping that trend, of course, is Ford's task.
The Cowboys have yet to produce anything close to a complete game or dominant performance, even with the likes of Texas A&M-Corpus Christi, Arkansas-Pine Bluff and Langston on the schedule.
OSU shoots just 42.1 percent from the floor, has been out-rebounded for the season and has 126 turnovers to 105 assists.
Inconsistency rules the roster, too, with Le'Bryan Nash, Jéan-Paul Olukemi, Keiton Page and Markel Brown running hot and cold, without warning.
Then there are the dry spells, stretching for minutes in seemingly every game, that keep sinking the Cowboys into deep deficits.
“We've done that a few times this season,” Page said.
Ford is working to fix it or mask it, along with the team's other flaws.
“They're things we can correct,” Ford said. “I do believe that. It's just time.
“I know everybody is wanting instant gratification and all that. We've wanted to win all these games, but I've fully grasped what's going on with us. I think it's a process. When's it going to happen for us? That's what we're looking for as well.
“We'll figure it out. Just, when's it going to be.”
When: 8 p.m. Wednesday
Where: BJCC Arena, Birmingham, Ala.
TV: ESPN2 (Cox 28)
Radio: KXXY-FM 96.1
Three things to know
*The Crimson Tide, once ranked in the Top 25, has lost three of its last four games, including a 71-58 setback to Kansas State in Kansas City on Saturday.
*Bama forward JaMychal Green, a projected NBA draft pick, could be the best player the Pokes have played to date.
*This is the neutral site return game for last year's meeting in the All-College Classic, won by the Cowboys 68-60.
Oklahoma State (6-4);;;;;
F;Le'Bryan Nash; 6-7;Fr.;12.7;5.2