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The five biggest problems facing OSU

Kicking, running, and passing…does that sum it up?



Photo Attribution: USATSI

Photo Attribution: USATSI

There are many, many directions we could go with this but at this point in the season, with a 3-1 team coming off its worst loss as a school since Ames in 2011, these are the five biggest challenges I see facing OSU as it tries to recover and win (compete for?) the Big 12.

1. Walsh’s arm — This goes hand-in-hand with No. 2. I was talking to my dad today and he brought up a good point that I haven’t written about yet. Teams don’t respect JW’s arm and because of that you’re going to see an offensive line that looks like a problem even if the real problem is that defenses are putting nine dudes up front because they, like us, are unsure about whether or not Walsh can throw it over 15 yards with any accuracy or consistency.

That is why your offensive line looks bad at times, not because it’s actually bad.[1. Diamond formation amber alert.]

This stifles the offense in so many ways.

Now, I think Walsh’s arm has gotten better, way better than last year,[1. And don’t look at me as critic No. 1 — Gundy said on Monday Walsh has been “average” throwing the ball the last two games which is coachspeak for “my gosh, will he be better if we give him Weeden’s old jersey?!”] but it’s still a hindrance to this team for the simple reason that it allows other teams to take away the run.

2. Running game — In my segment on the Sports Animal on Wednesday Mark Rodgers brought up the fact that because OSU’s wide receivers are the best unit on the team (by far…on offense, anyway) would it not make sense to play Chelf…?

Personally, I think that ship has sailed but the point is taken. If you have no running game (see No. 1) because your QB isn’t always accurate[1. Which, tangent here, but I think Walsh’s bigger issue is his lack of accuracy at times than his actual arm strength. You can go win 11 games with a dude who can’t go super deep but if he’s hitting fingertips and creating tip drills, that’s a problem.] and you can’t get the most prolific part of your offense going, well, that’s a big-time problem.

We’ll get to Yurcich in a second but this team needs to figure out how to strike back agains teams that don’t respect Walsh’s arm because if it doesn’t we’re going to see some more “15 carries for one yard” games from Mr. Biceps.

3. #CollegeKickers — Gundy said in his presser on Monday that Grogan “can do it” but “he’s never done it in front of 60,000.” How about we all organize a day when we drive to Stillwater and sit in the stands and just scream our heads off while Grogan practices kicking 20-yarders and 30-yarders.

And if OSU is anywhere beyond the 13-yard-line, just go for it on fourth down.

4. Forcing turnovers — The defense has been phenomenal — Spencer has done a terrific job so far — but they’re ranked No. 63 in the country in turnovers created per game and the competition hasn’t been, uh, stiff on the offensive side.

With a QB who’s going to throw it away a little bit and some shaky special teams, OSU is going to have to see even more forceful production from its already-stellar D.

5. Yurcich’s creativity — Look, he wasn’t exactly handed the keys to a Ferrari — more like a Camry or maybe a RAV-4 with Walsh at the helm. But he’s going to have to get the Legos out at some point and figure this thing out. His challenge is a unique one — create space for a team that other teams like to bunch up against when they spread it out.

OSU is going to see more stuff like they saw last Saturday in Morgantown — between puffs on his cigars stamped with the Longhorn insignia, Art Briles will be watching that tape from now until November — and if he can’t figure out how to move the chess pieces around in a way that gives Walsh time and easier situations, he’s going to be playing checkers again somewhere at the D3 level in a few years.

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