One of the recurring themes we’ve seen as to why Georgia will survive the departures of Stafford and Moreno just fine, thank you, is that we’ve-got-‘em-where-we-want-‘em rationale of lowered expectations and under the radar flying that’s come from the players and coaches on a fairly regular basis this offseason.
Well, they’re not alone with the pop psychology. It’s alive and well at Oklahoma State, too. The words are a little different, but the melody is similar.
“The only thing I’ve heard since I came back to Oklahoma State is that we can’t play defense,” Young said. “I tell people to look at Oklahoma and Texas, who have the best players in college football, and their statistics aren’t much different than our stats.”
Young inherits an OSU defense that ranked 93rd in the country in total defense last season, allowing 405.5 yards per game. Texas was the highest-ranked defense in the Big 12 (and 51st nationally) in 2008, allowing 342.9 yards per game. Oklahoma was third-best among Big 12 teams (and 68th nationally), yielding a 367.7-yard average.
“I think it’s more the spread offenses and the great quarterbacks,” Young said. “Look at the quarterbacks in the Big 12. If you miss a tackle in the open field now, it could be an 80-yard gain, instead of an 8-yard gain like it used to be.”
In other words, what he’s saying is that it’s not that our defense was bad. It’s those incredible offenses we faced week after week that made it look bad. Of course, I’m wondering what it would take for Young to acknowledge a big statistical difference between teams, given that I find the range of fifty first to ninety third to be a helluva lot larger than he does. (Tulsa, which played at a lightning pace on offense in a conference that was offensive minded with lesser athletes than those suiting up in Stillwater, still managed to finish almost twenty slots higher in total defense than OSU did last year.)
I’m not trying to pick on Young here – you’ve got to do what you’ve got to do to get your players mentally ready. I just think it’s good to remember that the kids in red and black won’t be the only ones on the field come September 5th with something to prove to themselves.