Thursday, September 17, 2009
Sports NewsMayfield's Mutterings: Illinois completes futile effort

No. 16 Cowboys' offense sluggish with Rice looming

Send a link to a friend

[September 17, 2009]  STILLWATER, Okla. (AP) -- Oklahoma State hasn't started the season the way it had hoped. The same could be said about the No. 16 Cowboys' games.

Two weeks into the season, the offense that was so prolific a year ago has yet to record a first-quarter point. Both Georgia and Houston were able to strike first, forcing OSU into a dangerous game of catch-up that proved costly in Week 2.

"We're going to try and get it started," coach Mike Gundy said. "We'd like to put at least 3 1/2 quarters together. I don't know what we're averaging scoring, but if we can score a little earlier, maybe we can get 10 more points."

Gundy and offensive coordinator Gunter Brewer said they had no solid reason for the Cowboys' sluggish starts, although there have been some correctable mistakes getting in the way. Three of OSU's first four drives against Georgia stalled after penalties, and the other died after three straight incompletions by quarterback Zac Robinson.

Against Houston, Robinson fumbled an attempted handoff to Kendall Hunter to squelch a promising opening drive before Dan Bailey's 37-yard field goal sailed wide right to cap the second.


"Going back on the tape, being a second-guesser, there's obvious things we can pick out," Brewer said.

How to get the Cowboys out of the blocks quicker is no exact science, starting with Rice this Saturday.

Brewer believes there has been a lack of chemistry so far with an offense that is replacing tight end Brandon Pettigrew, two starting offensive linemen and has had limited contributions from receiver Demarcus Connor, who started 13 games last season.

The last time the Cowboys failed to score in the first quarter in back-to-back games was in 2006, when they did it in four of five games to start Big 12 play. OSU didn't score in the first quarter only once in each of the past two seasons.

"It's just a case and point where young guys have to fight through some things and understand where their mistakes come from and learn from them," Brewer said. "We've just been very fortunate around here that we've had some older players the last three or four years that have stepped in, and now it's time for the younger guys to step in and do their part."

Instant offense has come much easier for the Cowboys in the third quarter. After receiving the second-half kickoff, OSU has scored on both of its opening drives after halftime. Receiver Dez Bryant added an 82-yard punt return touchdown as the Cowboys outscored Houston 21-0 in the third quarter to overcome a 24-7 halftime deficit.

What's missing is the consistency to perform at that level from start to finish.

[to top of second column]

Funeral Director

"I think as it grows on into the season, you'll find the timing gets a lot better," Brewer said. "We do have a lot of young players. We're missing Pettigrew. You've got inexperience at tight end. You've got inexperience at receiver. I think that has a little bit to do with it. We've got two new guards that are brand new, never really played a whole lot."

Robinson's numbers have also fallen off after he recorded the top two seasons in total offense in OSU history the past two years, averaging about 280 yards per game. The dual-threat quarterback is averaging 215 yards per game this season, and picking up only 2.5 yards per carry when he runs.

Robinson has said he is healthy again after missing a chunk of preseason camp with a hamstring injury, but his coach believes there may be some lingering doubt in his mind.

"I think that he's gone through some of that, that it's affected him a little bit," Gundy said. "Zac doesn't want to make excuses for himself, nor am I going to do it for him, but I think there's probably some truth to that. Will he overcome that? You bet."

Either way, the Cowboys are sticking with Robinson, who is already established as one of the program's most productive quarterbacks.

"He is the captain of our ship and there's some things that we've got to correct, but not all of it can fall on his shoulders," Brewer said. "He is the president, so he gets all the credit and all the blame, but there's 10 other guys that don't have the ball if he has it and they've got to do their job."

[Associated Press; By JEFF LATZKE]

Copyright 2009 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

< Sports index

Back to top


News | Sports | Business | Rural Review | Teaching & Learning | Home and Family | Tourism | Obituaries

Community | Perspectives | Law & Courts | Leisure Time | Spiritual Life | Health & Fitness | Teen Scene
Calendar | Letters to the Editor