Now would be a perfect time for the O-line to play its best game
by Frank Bonner II
Oklahoma State has four regular-season games left, and winning Bedlam this week would get the Cowboys one step closer to playing in the Big 12 Championship in Arlington next month.
The OSU defense will need to play well, and nothing has indicated that it won’t when the Cowboys take the field in Norman at 6:30 p.m. Saturday.
Defense alone won’t win the game. The Cowboys need help from their offense, and that starts with the offensive line.
“Our defense has played really well this season, and it’s obvious our offense has not been as productive,” OSU coach Mike Gundy said. “We’re down three offensive linemen. We’re playing two freshmen guards, and so when you’re playing freshmen guards you have two things going on, and it’s no secret they’re not as strong as they need to be to play at this level and they’re not as experienced.”
Injuries up front have caused a lot of movement on the O-line. Center Ry Schneider still trusts in his teammates no matter who is switched in and out. Schneider said if he focuses too much on his teammates and their assignments, then he’ll be the one to mess up.
“Whoever is stepping in, I expect you to step in and do your part,” Schneider said. “Do your job and do it to a high potential. Of course, it’s Bedlam and there is going to be more energy and everything, but you’ve still got to go in and do your job and everything.”
This week would be a perfect time for the O-line to play one of its better games. The Cowboys are matching up against a strong defensive line that has OU leading the Big 12 in rushing defense and sacks.
The OU defensive line is solid, but if the Cowboys can hold long enough for quarterback Spencer Sanders to get the ball out of his hands and open big enough holes for the run game, OSU can leave Norman with a win for the first time since 2014.
“This will be their biggest test,” Gundy said. “The guys up front for them, now that they’ve got some of those guys back, they’re competitive. They can rush the quarterback and they’ve been good against the run. So offensively, we have to have a really good strategy. We have to be patient in the way we want to attack and reduce turnovers. And play as consistent as possible up front with our blocking schemes.”
The offensive line struggled against Kansas State, but backup running back LD Brown still ran for 110 yards on 15 carries. Chuba Hubbard has rushed for at least 139 yards twice this year, and receiver Tylan Wallace is playing at an All-American level.
The Cowboys have the weapons to win. They just need the offensive line to hold long enough to use them.