The Oklahoman

Dunn, OSU get creative as offense comes alive

- Scott Wright

STILLWATER — On Oklahoma State’s first offensive snap last Saturday against Kansas State, running back Jaylen Warren slipped out of the backfield and caught a pass behind four offensive linemen who had pushed their way to the left side of the field.

Left guard Josh Sills pancaked a KState defender. Center Danny Godlevske was still in position to block 40 yards downfield as Warren went for 52 yards on a simple screen pass to kickstart the day for the Cowboy offense.

OSU ran the play three more times and it went for positive yardage all but once.

A running back screen pass is nothing new, but the play design was something OSU hadn’t run this season — and thus, something Kansas State had not seen on video.

Whether it was new formations or new play designs, the No. 18 Cowboys went into Saturday’s game with an advantage because of their offensive innovation. It resulted in the 31-20 victory over K-State last Saturday, and could be a positive trend as the season goes on, starting with this week’s matchup against No. 24 Baylor at 6 p.m. Saturday at Boone Pickens Stadium.

“We had some different schemes

and concepts, alignments and such, based on the front we were seeing,” OSU coach Mike Gundy said Monday, alluding to K-State’s three-man defensive front. “Hopefully we’re learning more as we go through years three and four of what has become the new trend defensivel­y, this three-down. “I thought our schemes were good.” The Cowboys have faced their battles this season, mainly with injuries that forced them to be a different type of offensive team. The game plan two Saturdays ago at Boise State scrapped the passing game almost entirely and went to a straight dose of Warren in the run game — which worked.

But with injured receivers back in the mix against K-State, it opened the door for a more effective passing attack to go with the newly found run game.

“It’s extremely difficult to scheme offensively when you have youth and limited weapons at certain spots,” Gundy said. “It’s just difficult. You get where your hands are tied. They’ve done a great job getting to where we are now, to where we get our head back above water.

“I told the coaches they had really good plans. And sometimes I tell them, ‘Your plans suck.’ I tell them the truth. And sometimes I do. I make mistakes and I tell myself the same thing. But our plans were really good.”

Of course, the offense backslid in the second half against K-State, failing to score and being forced to punt on five consecutiv­e drives, including four three-and-outs.

But the promise of the first half should outlive the struggles of the second as offensive coordinato­r Kasey Dunn gets his feet under him with a close-to-full complement of weapons.

“The first half was Cowboy football. That’s what we want to do,” Dunn said. “We definitely want to do more.”

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 ?? SARAH PHIPPS/THE OKLAHOMAN ?? Oklahoma State running back Jaylen Warren runs after a reception on a screen pass in the first quarter against Kansas State on Saturday.
SARAH PHIPPS/THE OKLAHOMAN Oklahoma State running back Jaylen Warren runs after a reception on a screen pass in the first quarter against Kansas State on Saturday.

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