Oklahoma State Leads Big 12 in Net Points Per Drive by Wide Margin | Pistols Firing

Hey, it’s that time again. Time for old, curmudgeonly me to worship at the altar of points per drive. Won’t you join me?

The Big 12 season is now 1/3 over, and there have been 416 drives in Big 12 games this season. As we start to gather more data, the best teams will emerge.

For the sake of this exercise I’ve taken out all 0-play drives from the data. Example: Jalen McCleskey’s punt fumble on Saturday is counted as a drive. That is not a drive and it doesn’t count against OSU’s offense (or for Baylor’s defense). I have left in end-of-half drives and garbage time drives.

Let’s take a look. Offense first since, you know, this is the Big 12 after all.

Screen Shot 2017-10-18 at 12.23.45 PM.jpg

Oklahoma State, Oklahoma, West Virginia and Texas Tech are the class of the league, and OSU is the cream of the crop thus far. But they’ve played Baylor! So has Oklahoma. Kansas, my friends, not good! This is where TCU could get into some trouble. They have a strong defense, yes, but they don’t have one of the four best offenses thus far. At some point they’re going to get into a shootout and … then what?

Let’s take a look at the defenses.

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Iowa State, my gosh! Oklahoma State actually looks pretty good here thus far, although it still has two of the top three non-OSU offenses still to play (OU has all three, yikes!) Texas and TCU being in the top three is no surprise, but that November 11 game in Ames …

And finally, net PPD.

Screen Shot 2017-10-18 at 12.24.17 PM.jpg

Ohhhhhh Kansas.

Lastly, let’s look at stop rates. So this is percentage of defensive drives that do not end in a field goal or touchdown. From most porous to least porous. These numbers mean Baylor allows a score on 61 percent of the drives it faces, and Iowa State allows a score on just 19 percents of the drives it faces.

Team Stop Rate
Baylor 39%
Oklahoma 50%
Kansas 54%
Oklahoma State 56%
Texas Tech 58%
Kansas State 59%
West Virginia 63%
Texas 68%
TCU 70%
Iowa State 81%

I’d like to see a better number from Oklahoma State here — something in the 65 percent range — however, if you flip it to TDs only, OSU improves to fourth-best in the league instead of fourth-worst. The ol’ “bend but don’t break, and if you break give your offense enough time to get a game winner” defense!

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Unsung Hero: Baylor

It was an offensive onslaught in Stillwater on Saturday, with Oklahoma State beating Baylor 59-16. The Cowboys set a school record with 747 yards on offense, led by Mason Rudolph and James Washington (nothing new here). Rudolph threw for 459 yards and three touchdowns while adding another one with his legs, and Washington had two total TDs and 235 yards receiving on six catches.

The defense was fantastic on Saturday as well. When you hold a Big 12 team under 20 points, you are doing something right on that side of the ball. The leader on the defense was Justin Phillips, with six tackles, 2.5 for loss, a sack, and two forced fumbles.

This week for the unsung hero, I am staying on the defensive side of the ball. There has been a lot of scrutiny put on the young corners for Oklahoma State, AJ Green and Rodarius Williams. Williams rose to the occasion this week, he is my unsung hero. Williams had five tackles, and two passes defended. The most impressive part of the game was the island he put Denzel Mims of the Bears on.

This was incredible, and a major part of the reason the Cowboys won by such a wide margin. Williams was able to take away Zach Smith’s No. 1 wide receiver. Williams has gotten better every week, and has the ability to be one of the best corners in the league. In a league where such an emphasis is put on offense, it is important to have a shutdown corner. I think AJ Green is getting better as well, but Williams had the game against one of the best receivers in the conference.

He had such a good game that he received some high praise from Coach Gundy, being named the defensive player of the week.

Cowboy fans on social media took notice of his great play on Saturday as well.

Williams will be a key part of Oklahoma State’s success down the stretch of the season. This upcoming three-game stretch will have the Cowboys going up against some great wide receivers. He’ll be lined up against guys like Lil’Jordan Humphrey (1st Team All-Name Team) of Texas and David Sills V of West Virginia. If he can take them out of the game, that gives the Cowboy defense an edge. We all know the offense is going to put up points, but the defense needs to make an impact on the game like they did on Saturday, and Rodarius Williams will be a big part of that.

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Breaking Down the First Half of Mason Rudolph’s Senior Season (Part 1) | Pistols Firing

At the midpoint in the season, I thought it would be a good idea to evaluate the play of Mason Rudolph thus far six games in.  

Preseason the expectations were sky high for Rudolph and the Oklahoma State offense, and so far they have delivered. I wanted to base this review off a previous segment I did, evaluating his play from the first 2+ seasons of his career.  You can read that previous article here.

First thing I would like to mention is that Rudolph is a fantastic player.  I generally like to dig deeper into someone’s play, because I’m a NFL Draft junkie. Rudolph is on pace for over 5,000 passing yards and 54 total TDs, so to say he’s been anything less than great is a mistake. However, I think it is a good idea to focus on some things that he has improved on since last season and some mistakes he has made as well.  

Impressively, Rudolph has improved every single season he has been at Oklahoma State, which is hard to do when you’re playing at a high level. He’s been labeled as a relentless worker and you can see easily in some key areas where big steps have been made.  You can see improvements in his game throughout each season, which is important in his overall progression and preparing for the NFL Draft next year.  

Some things really stand out in regards to where Rudolph has improved the most from the 2016 to 2017 season. I will break down each section and provide some examples of where he has improved and some areas that are still lacking.  

1. Pocket Movement and ability to get outside and make unscheduled plays. This has been far and away the best improvement from Rudolph’s game from last season, and has directly accounted for 4 passing TDs (some of which I will highlight below).  In my previous article, you can see that I talk about how Rudolph was unable to bounce out of the pocket to buy more time to push the ball down the field. There are a ton of examples of this, and you can clearly see he is more comfortable outside the pocket this season.  

EXAMPLE 1 – Just a tremendous play, he did not have this play in his game last year.  Great pocket movement to buy more time, sets feet and rips a ball about 40 yards down field. Best part about this is Ateman was not open when he throws ball, and he put the ball towards the sideline where only he could catch it.

EXAMPLE 2 – Great play to bounce the play outside of the pocket to buy more time and find McCleskey wide open in the corner of the end zone.

EXAMPLE 3 – This similar play actually happened against Tulsa as well. Although Rudolph has become much better at buying time and making plays with his legs, he has to be able to have a better internal clock than this. This play is almost identical to the TD to Mckleskey above, he just held the ball too long. Once you feel that pressure, need to pull ball down and take the 3-4 yards to live another down.

2. Short throws, intermediate, deep ball. The No. 1 issue I found with Rudolph from 2016 is lack of accuracy in throws under 5 yards and at or behind the line of scrimmage.  While his intermediate throws on the sidelines were absolutely his best throws, his intermediate throws to the middle were inconsistent. His deep ball was good but not great, although it accounted for a huge portion of OSU’s offense.

From what we have seen in 2017 thus far, his short passes have shown tremendous improvement. You can clearly see the coaching staff have more confidence in him in these situations, shown by Justice Hill having 15 receptions in 6 games vs. 5 receptions all of last season.  

His intermediate throws both inside and outside the hashes have been extremely consistent, and a staple in this offense this season. However, his deep ball has been inconsistent. I have mixed feelings here, but I think he may have actually regressed in deep ball accuracy from a season ago (some of this might be related to swirling winds in BPS Saturday vs. Baylor).

EXAMPLE 1 – This is one of the only examples of a bad throw on a lateral throw this year. Rudolph consistently has cleaned up footwork inconsistencies on short throws and looks more confident here. Huge improvement considering it was one of the biggest weaknesses of his game.  

EXAMPLE 2/3/4 – Intermediate throws are the best part of his game. In 2017, Rudolph has added intermediate posts, digs and slants as routes he is very comfortable with. Being able to work the middle of the field consistently has been crucial for OSU’s offensive success as well. The 4th example is one of the best throws I’ve seen him make at a crucial 3rd down …. on the road …. in the 4th quarter …. tied game. Just money.  

EXAMPLE 5/6 – We did not see a lot of seam throws from Rudolph before this season, but there have been several examples of Rudolph making confident throws with pace down the seam this year. At least 6-7 accurate seam throws thus far, the only example I found where he was not accurate is the second video (which was a big miss).  

EXAMPLE 7/8 – Deep balls have been Rudolph’s bread and butter, but he has been inconsistent here as well. Having James Washington and Marcell Ateman certainly help, and they have covered up some inaccurate throws from him both this season and in the past. Here are two examples of the wide disparity in accuracy we have seen thus far.  

We will take a look at Part 2 on Thursday.

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MVP Draft Recap: BayLLLLLLor

What a thorough beatdown of Baylor by Mason Rudolph and the Oklahoma State Cowboys, huh? What a great way to end America’s Greatest Homecoming.

There are so many deserving players of MVP nods this week (not really from Baylor), it’s hard to pick just one. However, let’s try our best to do just that.


Offense

May as well start with the hardest one first. Mason Rudolph is definitely deserving after his 19-of-31, 459 yard, four total touchdown performance. Weirdly enough, nobody picked him this week. Marcell Ateman once again wowed us with his strength and athleticism to go get the ball and make a defender look silly.

He ended with four catches for 114 yards and that touchdown.

Justice Hill had a good game as well, busting away for the longest touchdown run of his career – 79 yards. He totaled 117 yards on 14 carries and the touchdown.

However, one receiver blew everyone away, and it’s the Biletnikoff favorite James Washington. The senior WR had six catches for an astounding 235 yards and a touchdown. He added another TD on a backwards pass, which is technically a run play in the stat book.

As a special treat, here’s all six of his catches from multiple angles. Video courtesies go to FOX Sports and OStateTV.

Defense

This one was easy after looking at the game film. Justin Phillips was a monster – especially in the first quarter.

Phillips ended up with six tackles (five solo), one sack, 2.5 tackles for loss and two forced fumbles. I’m kind of surprised that it wasn’t more, but that ludicrous first quarter gets him the point!

I realize nobody picked him this week, but his performance was too good to not reward.


Offense

Three contributors thought Denzel Mims was going to have an incredible game. Well, he didn’t. He had two receptions for 20 yards and one rush where he lost six yards. Ouch.

Zach Smith was the pick from the other two participants. He had a 3.2 QBR. That’s not a typo.

(Seriously….3.2…that’s the lowest any QB has gotten against the Cowboys this season. Even South Alabama’s starting QB had a 23.7 QBR….yikes.)

Baylor fans after watching that performance:

Defense

Clay Johnston was a popular pick, but only had two tackles on the afternoon.


NCAA Football: Baylor at Oklahoma State

Rob Ferguson-USA TODAY Sports

Taylor Young, on the other hand, led the team in tackles with seven. The senior linebacker led his team and was the leading pick amongst our pickers.

That’s good enough for me!


Let’s tally ‘em up!

Cade – 1 point

OSU: O – Justice Hill | D – Tre Flowers
BU: O – Denzel Mims | D – Taylor Young

Joel – 0 points

OSU: O – Justice Hill | D – Ramon Richards
BU: O – Denzel Mims | D – Clay Johnston

Micah – 1 point

OSU: O – James Washington | D – Ramon Richards
BU: O – Zach Smith | D – Clay Johnston

“Pete” – 1 point

OSU: O – Justice Hill | D – Calvin Bundage
BU: O – Denzel Mims | D – Taylor Young

Dustin – 0 points

OSU: O – Justice Hill | D – Tre Flowers
BU: O – Zach Smith | D – Clay Johnston

Standings after Week 6:

T1 – Dustin: 8
T1 – Micah: 8
T1 – “Pete”: 8
4 – Joel: 6
5 – Cade: 4

Look for the Texas picks on Friday!

*Editor’s note: there are a lot of videos and gifs that are worth watching. If you can’t see them, check your internet connection and ensure you aren’t viewing through GoogleAMP/Apple News.

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Daily Bullets (October 18) | Pistols Firing

Happy birthday to my Dad, I had a great time watching OSU light up Baylor with you on Saturday.

The Secret Sauce

Mason Rudolph’s most helpful friend may not be James Washington, Aaron Cochran or Justice Hill… but receivers coach Kasey Dunn.

Dunn takes a two- or three-star recruit because they fit the needs better than a more highly rated recruit. As a result, there have been times when OSU was among only a few Power 5 teams to offer a scholarship to a receiver. Lots of recruiters shy from that; they’ll offer higher ranked players because if the player busts, it’s the player’s fault.

Take a lower-tier recruit who busts, and it’s on the coach.

But Dunn takes recruits not everyone wants and turns them into a receiving corps everyone covets. [NewsOK]

Dunn exposed an inefficiency in the market – players that fit the OSU system aren’t universally valued but turn into a Moneyball-esque proposition: a well-oiled machine.

Road Rage

Big 12 authorities really (didn’t) spare the rod with the next five weeks for the Pokes’ schedule.

The Cowboys, considering their three road games among the next four, may face the most challenging schedule among Big 12 contenders.

This week and next, they hit the road to tangle with quality teams in imposing environments. That’s some kind of setup to Bedlam and the No. 9 Sooners, who maintain a stranglehold on the series. By the time OSU returns from Morgantown, the Cowboys will have played five of their eight games on the road. Then after Bedlam, it’s off to Ames. [NewsOK]

@ UT, @ WVU, OU then @ Iowa State will be the defining legwork in an underachieving Alamo Bowl, a satisfying New Years’ Day game or a program-altering college football playoff appearance.

OSU and NCAA Notes

Big 12 players dominated the USA Today mid-season All-American team….CRFF peeks at OSU football’s efficiency metrics (special teams… woof)….Mason still top five in ESPN‘s Heisman Watch….Watch video on the Cowgirl soccer stadium’s construction….The AP highlighted Marcel Ateman

Apparently, this guy sparked the game-saving fourth quarter for the Mountaineers on Saturday.

Marcus Smart didn’t come to terms with the Celtics before the deadline on Monday night.

A third are Pokes:

What You Missed on PFB
Other Stuff I’m Reading

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Watch: Get Your Chills from Josh Stewart’s Career Highlights | Pistols Firing

The absolute embarrassment of receiver talent that Oklahoma State has enjoyed during Mike Gundy’s tenure is almost unfair. But one of my favorite wideouts to ever wear orange is one we sometimes overlook.

Josh Stewart wasn’t the biggest and he the wasn’t fastest but this guy would just make plays week in and week out. And he was the best thing to ever happen to the all-orange uniform combo.

So sit back and enjoy his career highlights courtesy of Alexander Beiersdorf.

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Why College Football Is the Best Sport From Week to Week | Pistols Firing

After covering a long, slogging golf season that includes nearly as many tournaments as there are weeks in the year, college football is a reprieve for me. It’s 12-13 games in 15 weeks (plus bowl season), and boom, you’re done. The midpoint of the season always comes as a shock. Wait, didn’t we just start this thing?

It’s also why college football is one of the best products going right now.

Is it better than the NFL? A lot of people think so, and while Roger Goodell’s league ratings are trending down, college football’s are not. There was a really interesting article recently in the Washington Post about just why college football has become arguably a better product than the NFL.

There are innumerable theories, but one clear one seems to be that college coaches and administration have become more willing to take risks than their professional counterparts. They are more innovative, and peewee and high school football prepare you better for CFB than CFB does for the NFL.

The way players learn football and play it until reaching the NFL creates a seemingly incongruous truth. College football players are better at playing college football than NFL players are at playing NFL football. [Washington Post]

I feel like this is the opposite of what has happened in basketball, but that’s another post for another day. Mike Gundy talked about the thrill of college football and its appeal to viewers on Monday, and I thought what he said was really intriguing.

“So many games now are big games,” said Gundy. “College football has the market on the future here based on the four-team playoff and specifically this league based on the conference championship game being the top two teams.

“People want to watch every game we play because it matters. It’s not like basketball. You can lose 10 games in basketball and still be a national champion. Baseball, you can lose 20 games and still be a national champion because not every game matters. In football, every single game matters.”

Combine this week-to-week playoff nature with a more intriguing, well-played game on the whole (like I mentioned above), and you get an elite product without a ceiling.

Gundy was asked about whether the OSU-Texas game was bigger than other games because OSU has so many kids that are from the state.

“You don’t see as much put into one game or another like it used to be because if you don’t play well and you lose a game you lessen your chances on what could be your long-term goal,” he added.

“It’s each week. That goes back into the parity that we talked about. That’s what makes it so interesting in this league is that you have to play pretty well each week from here on out. If not, you get a chance to get knocked out.”

It really is true. Each week is monstrous. That’s why blogs like this one even exist. Each week’s game has the implications that five NBA games or 10 college basketball games have. I don’t know what rivalries were like in the 1970s, but I can presume that OU didn’t pay as much attention to Iowa State as it did Texas.

That might be a bad callback because it’s clear OU didn’t pay as much attention to Iowa State as it did Texas this year, but to Gundy’s point, that will get you beat.

So it’s the basis for fewer intense rivalries, perhaps, but it’s also the basis for maybe the best sport going right now. Every game is a playoff for Oklahoma State from here on out. And anybody can take you down (except maybe Kansas).

(Unless you’re Texas).

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Rickie Fowler on Stillwater and Oklahoma State: ‘It’s a Family’ | Pistols Firing

With the madness of Homecoming weekend, I hadn’t really had a great chance to see all of what Rickie Fowler said about his experience as the grand marshal last week. Hayden Barber wrote a great piece about how Fowler works to stay grounded despite his insane life that you should read, but his comments in Stillwater in particular caught my eye.

“When people see (Homecoming weekend), I think they understand a little more what Oklahoma State is,” Fowler said. “What it stands for, the family. The amount of people that come back and turn out for Walkaround to the parade this morning. You always feel like you know people in the crowd, and if you don’t it doesn’t feel like you’re very far removed from them. It’s a big family, and I got to be a part of that for two years.”

Fowler noted that he came to Stillwater to play golf, but he got a lot more return than just a launching pad for an elite golf career.

“The main reason I came here was to play golf and use as a stepping stone to get to my next point in my career which is to ultimately be on the PGA Tour. I was able to do that, and this was a great place for me to do that.

“I was able to get everything done that I wanted to … have a place that is forever going to be a part of me. Even though it was only the two years. It’s a place I love to come back to, enjoy coming back to. I’ve been able to make some stops here and go practice and play with the team. It was exactly what I needed for a stepping stone to get to that next point in my career.”

He also said he tries to come back at least once a year.

“I try and get back for the Cowboy pro-am and a football game,” said Fowler. “There’s been a couple of years where I’ve made it back twice. (Once) is enough, but I wish there was more. If I could make it back once every year, it’s special. Kind of fills that little hole in there. I’d like to try and make it back more. Busy schedule makes it tough.”

Pretty cool stuff from a globetrotting superstar who rakes in money like I rake the leaves in my front yard. He’s been a tremendous ambassador for Oklahoma State on the biggest stage possible with nothing to gain from it other than the goodwill of the good folks in Stillwater, USA. He’s gotten that and more for his efforts, and all of it is well deserved.

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Pokes In the Pros: NFL Week 6

As the NFL season approaches the halfway mark, a group of former Oklahoma State Cowboys continue to perform on football’s biggest stage.

Lenzy Pipkins (Packers) – Though he hadn’t played in three weeks, Pipkins made his presence felt in Green Bay’s loss to Minnesota. He had six total tackles and a pass defensed in his first meaningful action of the season, though he suffered an injury in the third quarter.


NFL: Green Bay Packers at Minnesota Vikings

Appleton Post Crescent-USA TODAY Sports

How did Pipkins get to this point? Check out this video montage:

Lane Taylor (Packers) – Green Bay has had injury issues all season, but none is potentially more devastating than Aaron Rodgers’ broken collarbone and surgery that will likely shelve him for the rest of the year. Taylor will have more on his shoulders in protecting newly-minted Packers starter, third-year backup Brett Hundley. He’ll have to overcome a knee injury after he was rolled up on by Hundley in the third quarter and sat out the rest of the game. His status will be updated later in the week.

Vincent Taylor (Dolphins) – Miami shocked just about everyone by taking down last year’s NFC Champion Atlanta Falcons on Sunday, taking advantage of stellar defense that limited Matt Ryan’s vaunted attack. Taylor played a role in that. Though he didn’t record any tackles, Taylor notched a pass defensed coming off the bench.

Emmanuel Ogbah (Browns) – Ogbah made another tackle for winless Cleveland, but the Browns had all sorts of trouble containing Deshaun Watson and the Texans offense. As much as the Browns offense seemingly can’t answer it’s questions, the defense—especially the young, athletic defensive line—may serve as the launchpad to bringing Cleveland back into relevance.

Russell Okung (Chargers) – The Los Angeles Chargers are enjoying a winning streak of sorts. After starting the season 0-4, LA has won its last two contests—the latest, a one-point victory over the Raiders—largely because of the play of QB Philip Rivers, who has benefited from Okung’s protection. Rivers has thrown four touchdowns and only one pick in those two games.

Michael Hunter, Jr. (Giants) – Another surprising victor, the previously winless Giants took down Denver on the road 23-10. Hunter, Jr. played after having the last two weeks off, but he didn’t record any measurables this time.

Tyler Patmon (Jaguars) – Jacksonville faced off against one of the NFL’s highest scoring offenses Sunday and had difficulty keeping the Jared Goff and the Rams in check. Like Hunter, Patmon was on the field but didn’t register any statistics.

Brandon Weeden (Titans) – Most of us believed Weeden would find himself on an NFL roster this season despite being cut by the Houston Texans at the close of the preseason. His age and experience make him a trustworthy option if needed, and the Tennessee Titans came calling following Marcus Mariota’s injury two weeks ago. Weeden has yet to see the field as Mariota returned to action in Monday night’s win over Indianapolis. Regardless, it’s good to see Weeden in uniform once again.


NFL: Tennessee Titans at Miami Dolphins

Steve Mitchell-USA TODAY Sports

Dez Bryant and Dan Bailey had the weekend off amid Dallas’ bye.

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Line Segment: OSU’s Defensive Line Gets Help in Adding Pressure | Pistols Firing

This was by far the most interesting defensive scheme prepared by Glenn Spencer in possibly his entire tenure at Oklahoma State. I think a lot of that stems from the fact that Spencer knows he needs to get pressure on the QB in the Big 12 to have a chance, and that issue needs to get ironed out before they enter into the meat of the Big 12 schedule.

There was a lot of buzz coming out of the summer and fall camp that we would see multiple looks from the OSU defense up front, and we definitely saw that and more Saturday against Baylor. One of the biggest advantages of playing three-down is the flexibility it gives you with your back eight, in both coverage and rushing the passer.

A big part of what I wanted to see watching the tape would be what happened on the first drive. It seemed like Baylor just marched down the field and scored pretty easily, and the most surprising part was it was on the ground. Baylor had 10 rushes for 57 yards on their first and only TD drive of the game, this coming from one of the worst rushing teams in the country.

I think the answer is pretty simple, although I was pretty impressed with some of Baylor’s run blocking. Fact is, I think OSU wasn’t expecting Baylor to come out and try to establish the run game. The Bears have a fairly explosive vertical passing game, and OSU came in fully expecting to try and stop that aspect of their offense. OSU came out trying to take away the Bears’ vertical game and hit the edges for rushing the passer, and Baylor kept gashing OSU on inside zone plays.

OSU came out with a three-man front and actually slanted their defensive line several times. Anyone who stays up for #PAC12afterdark knows that Washington State has been having a lot of success slanting their undersized D-line. Generally, slanting is designed to punch the gaps for added pass rush, but consequently is counterproductive against the run — especially on zone run plays. It generally leaves one side over-exposed, where you rely on safeties or even sometimes corners to fill in gaps vacated by the slanting defensive lineman.

OSU slanted their lineman twice on the first drive, and I counted another two times throughout the game but they were more pass-oriented downs (which is where they’re best served). Not surprisingly, the run plays were a success. For the most part after the first drive, the defense settled down and defended the run admirably. It helped that the defense came back the second drive and was far more aggressive stopping the run.

OSU was credited with one sack and four QB hurries. However, there was a noticeable difference in pressure applied to the QB in this game. The rush defense wasn’t up to par overall giving up 219 yards and 4.8 yards per carry.

The biggest story here was the multiple looks OSU gave throughout the entire game. I think Spencer is finally comfortable with this linebacker corps. And he is taking full advantage. This was Calvin Bundage’s pass-rushing coming-out party, as he was sent on countless blitzes to apply additional pressure. I will try to provide a few examples below, but it was a lot of fun to check out all of the different looks that OSU gave the Baylor offensive line.

Observations from film review

Here are two examples of what I was referring to with slanting. As you can see below, each defensive lineman is trying to cross the face of the lineman in front of him and tries get to at least the outside hip of the next offensive lineman. That leaves a pretty big hole on the left side which leads to a 5-yard gain.

Same situation here but add on double-dog blitz. Perfect play call by Baylor with the counter away from the flow of the slants, and you get a nice gain.

This was a really nice push by the D-line as a whole here, but I wanted to highlight how much more aggressive the front seven was. This was the second drive after getting steamrolled on the TD drive. Eight guys in the box. Nice job blowing up the pulling guard.

This was a huge play for obvious reasons, but it’s really nice awareness by Phillips. He was sent on an outside blitz, able to recognize the pass attempt quickly and explode towards the QB for the sack.

This is nice work by the Baylor offensive line. The right guard does a nice job with Osborne, which is not easy. The center gets a good block on Bakari, then the left guard helps with Bakari and has the awareness to pull off and seal the linebacker. The running back picks the vacant hole left by the linebacket and he is off to the races for a nice gain. Bakari gets slid off his spot outside about two yards, which opens up the hole. He needs to have better gap integrity and needs to be strong enough to stay in his lane.

DQ stonewalling the running back. He’s good.

Jordan Brailford is not supposed to be able to run down a running back. He’s fast.

This is where it gets fun.  Here are some examples of what I was referring to with the different looks with a three-man front.

EXAMPLE 1 – Cross-dog blitz bringing all three backers. Check out Osborne. These guys are so worried about him he almost occupies three offensive lineman. This action creates a massive lane for both Phillips and Bundage looping around on the cross, both unblocked. This was actually a pretty good play call. If Phillips wasn’t athletic enough to tackle him behind the line, there was a gaping hole that probably would’ve led to a first down here.

EXAMPLE 2 – Double-dog blitz with slants. Same play call as the second video listed up above but inverted on the other side of the field. You can see how successful it is in a passing situation versus a running play going away from the action. With the D-line alignment it gives you the false perception that the left side of the offensive line will be in help mode given that the defensive line has shifted towards the weak side. But in reality there will be two rushers against the left tackle. Bundage rushes untouched and clobbers the quarterback to cause a quick throw.

EXAMPLE 3 – Zone blitz with three lineman dropping into coverage. Is this real life? This was mentioned in the Chalk Talk, but it’s simply too good not to mention again.

EXAMPLE 4 –  Three-man rush with Bundage showing blitz. He drops back into coverage. Really keeping Baylor guessing.

It was very apparent how the Oklahoma State defense was keeping Baylor on their heels with the different looks and blitz game from all sides of the field. The emergence of Justin Phillips and Calvin Bundage allows Glenn Spencer to dial up some really unique blitz packages. They have a different level of athleticism at linebacker that OSU hasn’t had before and it enables Spencer to open the playbook up. This will only help the defensive line form a more traditional rush with the opposing O-lines unsure where the pressure is coming from. Next week against Texas with All-American Connor Williams still sidelined, Texas is susceptible to giving up sacks and it’s crucial that OSU capitalize.

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