- Associated Press - Monday, October 27, 2014

STILLWATER, Okla. (AP) - Despite two straight defeats to conference opponents in which they were outscored by a combined 76-19, the mood at Oklahoma State remains optimistic.

Two days after OSU fell 34-10 at home to No. 20 West Virginia, dropping his team to 5-3 (3-2 in Big 12), head coach Mike Gundy met the media in a positive mood, cracking jokes and engaging in witty banter with reporters. He also expressed optimism about his team’s recent performance.

“Each week is different and you can’t get too high or too low because you have to play a game next Saturday,” Gundy said. “I think people want me to be frustrated and bang this table, but that’s just not my approach, and it’s not who we are. I will be disappointed if we don’t give effort, prepare as a coaching staff and work as a group. What’s happened is frustrating just from the standpoint that I want good things for the players.”

Things don’t get any easier for the Cowboys, either, as they go on the road against No. 11 Kansas State on Saturday and face three top-20-ranked opponents in their final four games. Counting the last two losses against ranked squads, which knocked OSU itself out of the top 25, it will be five ranked teams in their final six of the season, with four of them on the road.

“The schedule’s set, it is what it is, we’re playing all good teams,” Gundy shrugged. “This is a strong conference, so it’ll be a challenge each week. We will make plans to win this game. We understand who we’re playing, we understand (our lack of) experience, we understand what they’ve done - we know all that. But we will have a plan in place, and as long as we put forth the effort, and the guys pay the price, I’m okay with that.”

Gundy cites the steady improvement of his large contingent of inexperienced, first-time starters as a reason for optimism.

One such example is quarterback Daxx Garman, a junior who hadn’t played in a game since his junior year of high school five years ago before taking over the reigns in the second game for injured starter J.W. Walsh.

After four straight contests of declining passing yardage totals, Garman bounced back with a better performance last Saturday against West Virginia, completing 21 of 42 passes for 242 yards and a touchdown, although he also had two interceptions.

“I think there’s a lot of room for Daxx to improve,” said offensive coordinator Mike Yurcich. He knows that, he expects to play better. So this week is really important for him to get better and give great effort. We know he will, he’s a great leader. His attitude’s excellent, and I think he has a very positive mental outlook on things.”

One thing that will help Oklahoma State is to avoid digging a deep hole early. Each of their last two opponents built up multiple-touchdown leads (21-3 against No. 10 TCU on Oct. 18 and 14-0 against West Virginia) in the first quarter. Facing such large deficits so quickly allowed the defense to line up a little differently against them, and it forced Oklahoma State to alter their offensive game plan to accommodate.

“We had a good philosophy and then we got behind and we started to change just a little bit, which we can’t do,” Gundy admitted. “We know that going in, but that’s extremely difficult to not try to play catch-up a little bit.

“Defensively, we’ve got to find a way to get a couple of three-and-outs in the first quarter, and offensively, we need to have some sort of consistency where we’re moving the chains and then punch it in the end zone and quit kicking stinking field goals. Now, how we accomplish that, we’re still working on it.”


Copyright © 2018 The Washington Times, LLC.

The Washington Times Comment Policy

The Washington Times welcomes your comments on Spot.im, our third-party provider. Please read our Comment Policy before commenting.

 

Click to Read More and View Comments

Click to Hide