The Cowboys are 5-1. They've won five straight and sit 3-0 in Big-12 play. Their only loss was to the defending champs/No. 1-ranked Florida State. In other words, everything looks great on paper.
But when you actually watch the games, there's some serious cause for concern; especially on the offensive side.
The OSU attack simply doesn't look right, and it's hard to pinpoint exactly what the problem is. There's no doubt that the Cowboys' offensive line needs to improve – that is made obvious by OSU's decreased production on the ground. The Pokes ran for 35 touchdowns last season and are on pace for just 24 this year. Leading rusher Desmond Roland ran for 811 yards on 4.6 yards-per-carry in 2013, while that average has dipped to 4.1 this season.
The passing attack hasn't exactly excelled, either. Daxx Garman has moments of NFL-style brilliance, but the inconsistency is glaring. It seems like every play that the Cowboys run is either a dive play that gains a couple or a 50-yard bomb. And that's one issue that can't be chalked up to the offensive line. If Garman has time to heave it deep, he should have time to find receivers on short routes in the middle of the field.
It's hard to tell why the Pokes can't find any consistency with the short and intermediate passing game. Is the Oklahoma State coaching staff not calling shorter passing plays because of an infatuation with Garman's deep-ball skills? Or are they shying away due to Garman's inability to deliver on those routes in practice?
Either way, this all-or-nothing form of offense isn't likely to fly against better opponents. And if you've taken a look at OSU's second-half schedule, you know that there isn't a cupcake on the list.
Some numbers lie; these don't. The Cowboys are on pace for the same number of rushes as last season (roughly 500) but the passing totals are way down. OSU is on pace to complete 224 passes and attempt 392, which respectively would be 56 and 92 fewer than in 2013.
OSU had three receivers who totaled 39 catches or more in 2013. They have no one on pace to do so this season. Jhajuan Seals caught 39 balls for 571 yards last season, but only has 13 grabs at this year's halfway point. Everything just looks clunky, which is difficult to comprehend for a Mike Gundy-coached team.
It's safe to say that the jury is still out on second-year offensive coordinator Mike Yurcich. Many Cowboy fans have voiced their displeasure with the play calling and production. If Yurcich wants to get things turned around, he'll need to find a way to make things look a little easier. Some screen passes, shovel passes or maybe a reverse or two. Tyreek Hill is averaging nine offensive touches a game; make it 15. Less vanilla, more rainbow sherbet.
Oklahoma State heads to Fort Worth this weekend to face the high-flying Horned Frogs. TCU dropped 37 points on Oklahoma and 58 on Baylor. Unless the Cowboys want to suffer the same fate, the offense will have to control the ball and string together some long drives. Dive plays and vertical routes won't get that done.
5-1 is a great place to be. But that record is gonna change for the worse unless the Cowboys change for the better.