MEMPHIS, Tenn. – Following a stint of injuries, the Cowboy defense has struggled stopping some offenses.
According to NCAA data, Oklahoma State’s defense gave up an average of 5.87 yards per play, which added up to about 437 yards per game.
In all, the Cowboys ranked 100th in total defense.
OSU head coach Mike Gundy says some of those troubles can be credited to losing players to injury
“We just need to be more sound. When we lost Darrion Daniels, we struggled,” said OSU head coach Mike Gundy. “We lost a 325-pound guy that was a pretty good football player. We lost him right before we started to get into the meat of the schedule and that set us back a little bit. We tried to sure up the inside part of our defense in recruiting and we hope that works out well for us. I think the backend – our safeties, quarters and outside backers who stay and help cover the pass, we feel better about how they’ve matured as the season has gone on, but it’s been an adjustment. It’s a completely different system than what we were doing before. I think they’re progressing. The spring will be really important. The other thing you’re looking at are 25 [Jason Taylor] and 31 [Kolby Peel] are guys who were thrown into the fire in the middle of the year. They’re young. They’ve made some adjustments an gotten a little better.”
Despite those hiccups, Missouri coaches say they know the Pokes will likely play some of their best ball of the season during the AutoZone Liberty Bowl.
“They’re very disruptive. They give you a lot of looks. They try to create a lot of negative plays. These guys have, this team especially, has played their best against the best teams. It’ll be a big challenge. They do some things in coverage that are a little different than we’ve seen. They do some things with their fronts that are a little different than we’ve seen. It’ll be a big challenge. We’ve got to make sure we can play the kind of game that has helped us be successful.” Missouri Offensive Coordinator Derek Dooley.