From the Bird’s Nest: Ups and Downs from Oklahoma State
Well, game one of the Mark Hudspeth era is in the books. And, now that we've had a day or two to digest things, here are some of my ups and downs for game one.
Let's get the bad stuff out of the way first.
1. 61--While there were some bright spots on defense, the bottom line is the Cajuns gave up 61 points, albeit to the best offense in college football. OSU averaged 44 points and 520 yards per game last year. They had that by the end of the third quarter. Even against a great offense, 666 yards and 61 points is not a good thing.
2. Field Position--The Cajuns best field position of the day was at the UL 46 after a Daryl Surgent punt return. The Cajuns threw a pick on the next play. Only one other time in fifteen possessions did the Cajuns start a drive outside their 25 yard line. Conversely, OSU had ten possessions where they started a drive outside of their 40 yard line.
3. Kickoffs--Directly responsible for much of the OSU field position. The worst OSU did after a kickoff was start at their own 28.
4. Three and out--The Cajuns had nine possessions where they failed to pick up a first down (including twice when they turned it over.) Seven of those came consecutively at the end of the first quarter through the first two possessions of the third quarter. It was 10-3 when that started. It was 37-10 by the time the Cajuns picked up another first down.
5. Dropsy--Part of the three and out problem were at least four dropped passes by Cajuns receivers.
6. Off Target--Blaine Gautier shoulders some of the responsibility as well, missing on several easy throws in the first half.
7. Big plays--The Cajuns gave up 20 yards or more ten different times. They gave up ten or more yards a bunch more.
8. Sack Time--Despite Gautier's mobility, he was sacked five times.
9. Not enough big plays. The Cajuns had only four plays of over 20 yards in the game.
1. The punting game--Brett Baer punted for the first time in his Cajuns career and was outstanding. Baer averaged 45.5 yards on eight punts. Only three were returned for a grand total of 12 yards. A net of 43 is winning football.
2. Youth will be served. There's no question that Alonzo Harris and Qyen Griffin are going to be very, very good. Watch for them to get even more carries this week.
3. Pick Six--Not once, but twice. Bill Bentley and Javarlous Moten each took one to the house.
4. Field Goals--Four times the Cajuns forced OSU to settle for three.
5. O-line is improved--Hud says the Cajuns will be better in this department this year. Despite giving up five sacks, I agree. There were actually a few holes to run through.
6. Effort is there--This team played hard for sixty minutes, just as Hud said they would.
7. Mistakes are correctable--The Cajuns had quite a few missed tackles and missed assignments on defense. That can be fixed.
8. Return game was better--Darryl Surgent had a 31 yard punt return and had a fine kickoff return called back because of a penalty. Kid is a weapon back there.
9. Distribution: Cajuns completed passes to ten different players, including all three tight ends.
10. Impressive drives--When the Cajuns weren't dropping the football or missing receivers, they showed they can drive the football. The Cajuns scored four times on offense (2 TD, 2 FG). They drove 64, 68, 82 and 80 yards to do it.
In most games, you'll find ups and you'll find downs. Hopefully in future games, there will be lot more ups. It has to happen if the Cajuns are going to win football games.