Very few programs in college football have consistently been as explosive as Oklahoma State's offenses over the past 10 years or so. Over that time, they've enjoyed a remarkable run where they've been able to push the ball vertically down the field impressively, and compliment that with some big runs.
However, through two games this season, there's a different vibe on offense in Stillwater. Kasey Dunn is entering his second season as the team's offensive play caller and the Cowboys narrowly escaped with a 23-16 win over FCS Missouri State, and followed that up with a 28-23 win over Tulsa this past weekend.
After squeaking out that win against the Golden Hurricane, Mike Gundy very publicly challenged his offensive staff.
"We're going to have to get better at designing plays, period."
"We're going to have to come together and decide how to rush the football and we have to rush the football for 4.5 yards per carry because we are very, very young on the perimeter right now. In years past, we could always rely on chunking it down the field and someone would make a play and we would all look good. As we develop those guys on the perimeter, we're going to have to get better at rushing the football."
"I'm not necessarily talking about the blocking, I'm talking about our schemes. We have to decide what is best and we have to get good at that. I don't care if it is only two things, we have to get better at that so we can average that 4.5 yards per carry and we can take some pressure off some of the guys on the perimeter."
Gundy would go on to mention that 4.5 yards per carry number a few other times in his presser, and looking at their two close wins so far, Oklahoma State is ranked 119th nationally with 2.68 yards per carry currently.
That's not going to cut it as they get into the meat of their schedule, and with Boise State on tap this weekend.
So how do they get to that magic 4.5 yards per carry number? Gundy notes that in his coaching career, the key has typically been to dial back on the number of schemes.
"Usually, in my history, if you need to get better at something, you cut back...not add. I'm not saying we've done one or the other, but as an offense we have to figure out what we're able to do based on the next team that we play"
"We had some fantastic plays to get touchdowns, but that is going to run out. I'm not saying they're lucky, I'm just saying that we can't rely on things that aren't schemed up and drawn up right, and executed. We need to execute better, which is whatever philosophy we come up with, we need to block it, we need to be physical."
"Now a back needs to run through a tackle, and a back needs to make a guy miss. That is all part of recruiting. But the point is, we need to get sound scheme wise, and then get better technique wise."
See Gundy's full comments in the clip.