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Oklahoma State’s Loss to Iowa State a Further Indictment on Constant Personnel Switching

The Cowboyw were not prepared for Big 12 play.



[Devin Wilber/PFB]

The Cowboys made the trip to Ames, but they weren’t quite up for it.

Oklahoma State lost its Big 12 opener at Iowa State 34-27. The Cowboys were behind two touchdowns late but fought back before the would-be game-tying drive was killed by Alan Bowman’s second interception.

Just one game into the one-quarterback section of OSU’s season, it’s hard to say how much negative effect the first three games had on the QB play we saw on the field Saturday. But I would wager to say that it didn’t help it.

That late pick by Bowman will be a talking point for a lot of the Cowboys’ fan base over the upcoming by week as they stew on the loss. And it’s a valid gripe.

But as I tried to come up with big picture questions that were answered by the Cowboys’ loss to the Cyclones, every talking point came back to the way rotations were handled (at QB and in other positions) over the first three weeks of the season.

In his first time taking all the snaps, Bowman went just 23-for-48 (48%), threw two touchdowns and two interceptions. He overthrew a handful of receivers and overall didn’t look crisp in a loss.

There were some positives. Bowman made nice plays down the field, and he rushed for OSU’s first touchdown. But he didn’t look comfortable for good chunks of the game, and the Cowboys were unable to sustain drives.

Setting aside what you think about the actual QB decision, — whether you’re Team Bowman, Rangel or Gundy — let’s examine the execution.

Based on what we’ve heard from Mike Gundy through the first three games, none of OSU’s three QBs did enough to distance himself through Weeks 1-3. So why was it that Bowman was “the guy” in Week 4?

If we read between the lines on some of Gundy’s QB talk over the last month, he several times mentioned the transfer portal and it was implied that you have to keep guys happy so they don’t leave. I understand that concern. Gundy just lost a four-year starter to the portal last season. But if that kept OSU from pulling the trigger on who coaches thought was the best guy in Week 1, then it cost the Cowboys some crucial development time and may have put them in a deep early hole to start the season.

If [INSERT QB] wins the job in the offseason but throws four picks against Central Arkansas, you move down the list. If he doesn’t, you move forward, building momentum and comfort within the offense.

It was clear that Bowman wasn’t in any type of rhythm in Ames. But it wasn’t just him. You saw miscommunications and missed assignments on both sides of the ball. And I lost count of how many snaps Bowman had to jump up to catch. Issues like make me think a team hasn’t gotten enough reps, isn’t prepared. And that’s something you don’t’ want to see four weeks, in conference play.

Regardless of who you wanted to play, one month in, Bowman was deemed the best option by the coaching staff. How much could he and the offense have benefited from an actual shot at QB1 reps from the start?

“It definitely is hard when you know you’re only getting an X amount of drives,” Bowman said on Saturday. “But then to say, ‘Alright, it’s the first quarter, a punt is OK.’ I think going through the first three games, a punt wasn’t the best thing because you wanted to score as many points as you could because you only had a certain amount of plays.

“But kinda getting a full game under your belt, kinda knowing what’s going on, you can be able to settle in. It’s been a lot better. I felt more confident out there.”

When Gundy was asked about Bowman, he gave a non-descript “pretty good” answer on his play. When he was asked Bowman’s continued grasp on the reins of the offense, and Gundy said he didn’t have the answer. When it was brought up again, he said, “I’d rather not go into details and talk about all that.”

If they do make a switch during the bye week, it will not only dissolve any type of consistency and confidence the team might have gained, but it will also put that much more doubt in the next man up. Worst-case scenario, it could condemn the Cowboys to a season-long ride on the carousel.

It’s still early and the Cowboys could still figure things out. Gel. Improve. And maybe we look up at Halloween and think, “Wow, where was this team in September?” If that’s the case, it will be an even further indictment on strategy to split reps.

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