What if the Steelers had picked Dan Marino ahead of the Dolphins in the 1983 NFL Draft?

first_imgOf course, the Steelers chose Luckman on the Bears’ behalf, and then traded him to Chicago. They cut Unitas after training camp. They traded Dawson after a couple of uneventful seasons.At least the Marino experience taught an enduring lesson: Dan Rooney, president during the Super Bowl years, had brought up the possibility of drafting Marino before the coaching staff settled on Rivera. In 2004, when Roethlisberger was available and Cowher was leaning toward selecting Auburn guard Shawn Andrews, Rooney reminded the Steelers’ war room of the potential consequences of passing Big Ben.“It’s been cited. Dan said: ‘I’m not going to tell you who to draft, but passing on a franchise quarterback is the worst thing that will live with you. It’s lived with me. I still yell at my brother Artie about this. It will keep you up at nights for years,’” Wexell told SN. “And they did a re-read. They changed to Ben Roethlisberger and lived happily ever after.” It was 64 degrees and sunny in Miami that day, but given it was January, Dan Marino was playing quarterback for the home team and the victor of the game in question would be headed to the Super Bowl, it felt more like 164 degrees to the Pittsburgh Steelers.“We would score on like a 10- or 12-play drive,” former Steelers guard Craig Wolfley told Sporting News. “Danny comes back with Mark Duper and Mark Clayton and like three throws he’s over the 50-yard line, down around our 35 or 30. I remember (Pittsburgh center) Mike Webster got off the bench, grabbed the Gatorade and he went to the sidelines and yelled, ‘Jesus, could you slow ‘em down so I can get a drink?’ “That’s how good Danny was. It was just unbelievable. I remember Jack Lambert hit Danny, and he’s almost horizontal going backward with Lambert all in his grill, and he sidearms it to Tony Nathan, who gets a first down. You couldn’t get to Danny if all five offensive linemen had a heart attack at once and dropped to the ground.”MORE: NFL Draft sleepers: 11 possible stealsThe Dolphins won that game, 45-28, and went on to play in Super Bowl 19. You may not be aware, but this story could have been entirely different — maybe a little less humorous, but a lot happier for Steelers fans. The 1984 AFC Championship could have been played in Pittsburgh on an overcast 36-degree day, and Marino could have been wearing the classic black-and-gold uniform of his hometown team.Marino was the 27th player chosen in the 1983 NFL Draft. The Steelers picked 21st. Marino had been an All-American in his junior year at Pitt. He had been a prep superstar at Central Catholic High School, five miles from where Three Rivers Stadium once stood. When it was the Steelers’ turn to make their selection, though, with four other quarterbacks already selected and Marino still available, they opted for Gabe Rivera, a defensive tackle from Texas Tech.The Steelers had selected a quarterback just three years earlier, when they were coming off their fourth Super Bowl victory and picked Mark Malone with the last pick of the first round. Cliff Stoudt had been a member of the team since he was taken in 1977’s fifth round, and the staff believed in his potential. And Hall of Famer Terry Bradshaw was about to turn 35, but was coming off a strike-shortened season in which he led the NFL in touchdown passes.Dan Marino, though.Did it seem like a good idea at the time?“I have looked back at newspapers in Pittsburgh, and there was no mention of taking Marino as a possibility,” Jim Wexell, publisher of Steel City Insider, told SN. “This retrospect that everybody has, this shock that everybody has — there was no shock the next day in the paper. I think there was some explanation, a bit, because he was a Pitt player. But they were more explaining why they didn’t take Dave Rimington, went through his bad knees and that.”Marino subsequently threw for 61,361 yards and 420 touchdowns for the Dolphins. The single-season record for passing yards he set in 1984, the season in which he trucked the Steelers on the way to the Super Bowl, stood for 27 years. His career passing yards record held for 12 years. His record for career touchdown passes fell to Brett Favre within a decade, but Marino still stands fifth in career touchdown passes.Pittsburgh, all this could have been yours. And, perhaps, so much more.It might have come at a price, though.A look at what might have been:The Steelers reach the 1984 Super BowlThis seems almost a given. Although there were many great years to follow, that was Marino at his best. He wouldn’t have played in the same offense; the Steelers did not throw nearly as often as the Dolphins. He would have been surrounded by a team, though, that managed to reach the championship game with someone other than Marino at quarterback.It seems unlikely they would have been capable of beating that year’s 49ers once there. They were one of the greatest teams in NFL history, with a 15-1 regular season record and an 18.7-point margin of victory in three postseason games. The experience of coming close, though, might have driven the team forward to subsequent excellence.“Dan was extremely popular. He was a great leader,” said Bob Smizik, who covered Marino at Pitt and subsequently became a columnist for both The Pittsburgh Press and the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. “At that point in my career, I had never seen that kind of leadership. Players just gravitated to him. He had that swagger, he was a solid guy. In the locker room, he was ‘Iceman.’ That was his nickname with the players.”Chuck Noll stays longerIn Michael MacCambridge’s exquisite biography of the Hall of Fame Steelers coach — “Chuck Noll: His Life’s Work” — the author describes Noll in his final season as beaten down, struggling. Joanne Deininger, his niece, said Noll was struggling to connect with the players, to motivate them.If Marino had been slinging touchdowns all over Three Rivers, think that would have been a problem?Noll was only 59 when he retired. He won his final game, received the game ball from the team captains, then a few days later sat down with owner Dan Rooney and said, “I think it’s time for me to get on with my life’s work,” a catch phrase he’d used in the past with reporters when suggesting aging players might be done with playing.Noll ended with a record of 193-148. He reached double figures in victories just once after winning the franchise’s fourth Super Bowl, in 1979. He still is eighth on the career wins list, but it’s easy to imagine him passing fifth-place Curly Lambeau (225 wins) with Marino on his side.“They didn’t have really great teams in the ’80s. They would have been infinitely better,” Smizik said. “Now, you can’t forget they only went to one Super Bowl with the Dolphins. Poor Don Shula was never able to give Marino complementary players. He would have had better targets with the Steelers.”MORE: NFL mock draft 2020 with tradesThe Bill Cowher era never happensCowher was 34 years old and had been Chiefs defensive coordinator for three years when the Steelers hired him to replace Noll. He obviously was someone to watch as a head coaching candidate.He would not have gotten the Chiefs job anytime soon. Marty Schottenheimer, who brought him over from the Browns, spent another seven seasons there and won 72 games in that stretch. So Cowher likely would have ended up somewhere else. Perhaps to Denver the following year, after Dan Reeves was fired, but perhaps he would have had to wait awhile. Not many hot young defensive coordinators were hired to become head coaches in that period. Ray Rhodes didn’t get the Eagles job until 1995.Perhaps the best-case scenario is Noll might have been genuinely tired after three more successful years, and the Steelers would have hired Cower to replace him then.By 1995, though, even without Marino on his side, Cowher had led the Steelers to four consecutive playoff berths, two AFC Championship games and one Super Bowl appearance. He is a part of this year’s Pro Football Hall of Fame class. It seems the Steelers’ decision not to draft Marino worked out beautifully for Cowher.“Now you’re really getting me into one of those ‘Back to the Future’-type things,” said Wolfley, who has been an analyst with the Steelers Radio Network since 2005. “Obviously, if Chuck had won a couple more, I think the whole paradigm shifts as far as coaching eras.”Louis Lipps becomes a Hall of FamerWith such quarterbacks as Malone, Bubby Brister and Neil O’Donnell throwing to him, Lipps caught 359 passes in his career for an average of 16.8 yards per reception. He never caught more than 59 balls, but five times hit the 50 mark and, in 1985, accumulated 1,134 yards.“I really think Louis would have been just unbelievable,” Wolfley told SN. “Louis was one of the most underrated great talents I remember in a long time.”So why didn’t the Steelers take Marino? Part of it was their quarterback room seemed pretty full, with Noll sincerely concerned about how drafting Marino would have impacted Bradshaw and his plan to play a few more years.Part of it was Noll’s belief the team needed to begin rebuilding a defense that had lost Joe Greene to retirement two years earlier and Jack Ham the year before. The intent was to move to a 3-4 scheme, and Rivera looked like the perfect — not the ideal, but the perfect — nose tackle.And part of it might have been concern Marino that had gotten a bit wild during his senior year, when his performance declined noticeably. That probably was a factor in his being available when the Steelers drafted.“Art Rooney Jr. has told me that they investigated him pretty thoroughly on those matters, and they felt it was just minor recreational stuff,” Wexell told SN.But Hall of Fame coach Tony Dungy, then on the Steelers’ defensive staff, told MacCambridge the team “knew a little too much” about Marino. “You heard all the rumors and everything.”Rivera was 6-2, 298 pounds but ran a 4.8 40-yard dash. He was a consensus All-American at Texas Tech in 1982. He made 105 tackles that season from a defensive line position. He played only six games for the Steelers, though, and then was paralyzed in an automobile accident while driving drunk.“How do you quantify what Gabe was capable of doing? He was such a special guy,” Wolfley said. “He was fast. He ran quarterbacks and running backs down from behind. That kind of speed was scary. But we never saw the opportunity for Gabe to become the guy who had a lot of Steel Curtain attributes.”MORE: Believe Bradshaw when he says BigBen is best Steelers QB everThere is a suspicion that perhaps it was best for Marino to get away from Pittsburgh at that age, to enter new surroundings and build something entirely new. That’s a theory that can’t be proven wrong. Marino entered the Hall of Fame in 2005. He still lives in South Florida and is active in business, including as a co-owner of a winery and a pizza chain.“The team that drafted Sid Luckman, Johnny Unitas, Len Dawson, Terry Bradshaw and Ben Roethlisberger did not draft Dan Marino,” Wexell said. “They could have had Hall of Famers at that position through just about every year of their history.”last_img read more

Olympia Resident Receives Unexpected Shipment of 19,000 UNICEF Coin Boxes

first_imgFacebook91Tweet0Pin0 Pirates Cliff Rice, Burt Meyer, and Di Meyer, serenade Griffin students as they turn in UNICEF coin boxes.Olympia resident Ellen Rice received an unsettling phone call last Friday. A staff member from UNICEF called to say that an error had been made and 19,000 “Trick or Treat for UNICEF” coin collection boxes would be delivered to Rice’s house sometime this week.Rice had just finished a UNICEF coin drive for the Griffin School District. “Based on that success, I am seeing this delivery error as 19,000 opportunities to help the children of the world,” she says confidently.Rice is seeking schools, church groups, teams and others who would like a bundle of coin boxes for this week’s Halloween activities.“The coin boxes come flat, in bundles of 25. They fold up to a box about the size of an animal cracker box. I’m happy to deliver a bundle anywhere in Thurston County,” Rice explains.Michael Walther and Paxton Rice use a Coinstar machine to donate coins collected at Griffin School to UNICEF.“It’s easy to turn in the coins,” Rice reports. “Coinstar machines at Ralph’s Thriftway, Haggen’s and Fred Meyer all have a ‘Donation’ choice that is followed by button to donate the change to UNICEF.  Coinstar passes 100% of the donated coin amount on to UNICEF.  Not all Coinstar machines are set up the same, so it’s important to go to a store that has a machine set up for UNICEF donations.”Anyone wanting “Trick or Treat for UNICEF” coin collection boxes can contact Rice at 866-2468 or via email.last_img read more

Ferndale scores four in sixth to beat Waldorf in NCS semifinal

first_imgFerndale >> Trailing late in the game with their season on the line, the reigning North Coast Section Division VI champions showed what being a champion is all about.Down 3-0 against a pitcher that had befuddled them for five innings, the Ferndale Wildcats (12-11) scored four runs in a wild sixth inning to snatch an NCS D-6 semifinal victory, 4-3, over San Francisco Waldorf on Friday at Ferndale High School, advancing to the section championship for the second-consecutive year. “It’s just a …last_img read more

Honda Grazia scooter bookings to open today

first_imgHonda, India’s largest scooter manufacturer will soon be launching a brand new scooter in the market. Numerous pictures of the Honda Grazia have surfaced before the launch. The Grazia is based on the concept of the Advanced Urban Scooter for the metropolitan cities and targets the younger base of customers. Official bookings for the scooter start on the 25th of October and booking amount is Rs 2000. The Grazia has been spotted at a dealer stockyard and the deliveries are expected to start by early November.The Grazia is based on the Activa 125. The scooter gets raked front apron with body mounted wide headlamp and large turn indicators. The scooter has an imposing front and the scooter also gets a lot of creases which makes it look muscular and also adds a sporting bit to it. The pictures also show the semi-digital instrument console. The Grazia gets an all-fibre body unlike the Activa 125 which has a metal body. The fibre body will make the Grazia lighter and fun to ride.The scooter will get alloy wheels, front disc brake along with Honda’s Combi-Brake System (CBS), telescopic front forks and a dual paint scheme. The floorboard gets a small storage area. The Grazia also will probably get USB sockets to keep the phones charged while riding.The Grazia is tipped to be powered by the same 125cc, air-cooled engine as seen on the Activa 125. The motor churns out a maximum of 8.5bhp with a peak torque of 10.54Nm. The scooter is expected to be priced at around Rs 65,000.advertisementHere is an official sneak peek from Honda:last_img read more

Midwest City Safety Evan Fields Cuts List to Five

first_imgWhile you’re here, we’d like you to consider subscribing to Pistols Firing and becoming a PFB+ member. It’s a big ask from us to you, but it also comes with a load of benefits like ad-free browsing (ads stink!), access to our premium room in The Chamber and monthly giveaways.The other thing it does is help stabilize our business into the future. As it turns out, sending folks on the road to cover games and provide 24/7 Pokes coverage like the excellent article you just read costs money. Because of our subscribers, we’ve been able to improve our work and provide the best OSU news and community anywhere online. Help us keep that up. Three-star defensive back Evan Fields, a rising senior from Midwest City, Okla., has named his top five schools which he released on twitter. Among his top options includes K-State, Oklahoma State, Arizona State, Mississippi State, and Illinois.https://twitter.com/Evan4_/status/802273235131723776The Cowboys entered the conversation late in the recruiting process, and earned an official visit earlier this season which he took alongside well-known Cowboy signee Tramonda Moore, who is currently at a junior college.“That’s family,” Fields told PFB of his connection with Moore, adding that he “loved” his visit to Oklahoma State, and that “it felt like home”.Whether that’s by blood or by friendship, I don’t know. But Tramonda isn’t playing his cards close to the vest in recruiting Fields. Here’s what he tweeted at Fields after he released his top five schools.#GoPokes ? https://t.co/0PQ3nxLA6h— Tramonda Moore⏳™ (@TramondaMoore) November 25, 2016The caveat in Fields list, though, is the fine print at the bottom: List can change with new offers.Fields has had a monster senior year, and it took OSU surpsingly midway through the season before extending an offer — likely to make sure he was back to full health. Now, though, there’s chatter that Oklahoma could get involved late, even though an offer has not been extended. The Sooners seem to have several other prospects on their board, before making a decision on whether to pull the trigger on Fields or not.Oklahoma State recently added a commitment at safety with Texas’ Trey Sterling, but the Pokes also lost the pledge of Tyon Merchant, so Fields would likely secure that final scholarship at safety should he land on the Cowboys. With signing day less than 3 months away, it will be interesting to see if teams jump in late or if he elects to stay with his core 5.last_img read more

Oklahoma State Offers 2018 Georgia Running Back Prospect Lyn-J Dixon

first_imgDixon rushed for more than 1,500 yards last season as a junior that garnered him a ton of attention in SEC country, but the attention has tapered of late. LSU, Minnesota, and OSU are the only schools to get on board of late, but it seems clear that his early offers from the blue-chip schools have been put on hold. OSU is likely aiming to swoop in and get his attention midway through the process, doing so with its recently hired running backs coach John Wozniak. While you’re here, we’d like you to consider subscribing to Pistols Firing and becoming a PFB+ member. It’s a big ask from us to you, but it also comes with a load of benefits like ad-free browsing (ads stink!), access to our premium room in The Chamber and monthly giveaways.The other thing it does is help stabilize our business into the future. As it turns out, sending folks on the road to cover games and provide 24/7 Pokes coverage like the excellent article you just read costs money. Because of our subscribers, we’ve been able to improve our work and provide the best OSU news and community anywhere online. Help us keep that up. Oklahoma State’s recent success in finding offensive weapons in Georgia has the Pokes fishing in similar territory, as 2018 running back Lyn-J Dixon, a 2018 prospect from Butler, Georgia, announced an offer from OSU this week.A three-star prospect, Dixon’s recruiting credentials don’t quite match his offer sheet. Although considered the 401st best prospect nationally in his class and 25th best running back, prominent schools like Alabama, Georgia, Tennessee, and others have hopped on board for the speedster.last_img read more

Mike Gundy Has the Opening He Needs, Will Oklahoma State Capitalize?

first_imgCharlie Weis’ last season as head coach of Notre Dame was in 2009. He went on to become the Kansas City Chiefs offensive coordinator and Florida offensive coordinator after that before taking the head job at Kansas. Cincinnati’s Brian Kelly took the job in South Bend for the 2010 season. It was a position approximately 12,000 people were rumored for including Bob Stoops who had just had his worst season since 1999 as OU went 8-5.A fun game to play is, “How many Big 12 titles would Oklahoma State have if Bob Stoops had taken the Notre Dame job in 2010 instead of Brian Kelly?”Nobody knows the answer, but you could reasonably make the case that OSU would have four of those things, and nobody would really bat an eye. That staggering alternate reality has just merged with our present actual reality to create a future for Oklahoma State that looks as opulent as a future has ever looked.AdChoices广告I wrote on Wednesday after Bob Stoops retired that I think he made Oklahoma State better as a football program. I truly and vociferously believe that. I will always believe that. Mike Gundy had no idea what he was doing when he took over — no head coach ever does — and Stoops provided a blueprint for how to be awesome in the state of Oklahoma. The result is that OSU has, outside of that wily late-season game in Stillwater or Norman, more or less met OU stride for stride over the last decade.I also think Gundy is going to eject from this business in more or less the same manner Stoops did. He is going to be 50 in 65 days, is not a lifer, has more money than Wild Bill can ever charge him for and has submerged himself into a grind that is both 1. Unknown to coaches of yesteryear and 2. Likely unhealthy for a human being to withstand in the long term.Gundy will hang around for one final monstrous contract, negotiate for some Bass Pro stock, groom somebody new, hand over the reins much like Stoops and drive his tractor west down Highway 51 towards the setting sun. This is how it will go.What happens in the interim, however, will define his legacy.Gundy has won 104 games in his career at Oklahoma State. He is its most successful football coach by 10 miles and is on the Mt. Rushmore of OSU coaches (and maybe people) generally. Off the top of my head: Gundy, Gary Ward, Mike Holder, John Smith, Mr. Iba and Eddie Sutton. I don’t know who you’re taking off the mountain of that list of six, but it probably shouldn’t be Gundy. He has been the best coach in the most important sport at a time when the competition in that sport has never been deeper.And now he has a chance to ice the cake.There is an inane faction of Oklahoma State fans undeterred by the fact that Oklahoma State has played for four of the last six Big 12 championships (and five of seven if you include 2010 when the Bedlam winner went on to the Big 12 title game). This is an enormous deal. Playing for one conference title is difficult. Doing it four times in six years is a preposterous mark of consistency OSU has never known on the football field.But Gundy also only has one Big 12 championship to his name after 12 seasons of coaching the Pokes. A singular wondrous night in December 2011 in which Brandon Weeden, Justin Blackmon and Joe Randle put to bed all the demons and all the ghosts of so many fruitless Bedlam gatherings. OSU should have won in 2013, could have won in 2015 and outright put No. 10 in Bob Stoops rain coat pocket in 2016.It’s a new time for the Big 12, though. The head coaches of Texas, Baylor and OU — those teams have won or shared 12 of the last 13 titles (the only team to win it outright in that time was OSU in 2011) — have a combined 0 wins at their current schools.The logic, specifically as it relates to OU, is as follows: Unless you believe that 33-year-old Lincoln Riley will be 100 percent as good as (or better than) the best football coach in Big 12 history (Bob Stoops), then you must believe some sort of drop off is coming for the Boomers. If that is true, then the conclusion for me is that Oklahoma State is going to have a chance to win a handful of Big 12 titles in the coming years, starting with 2017.Think about it. How much worse would OU have had to be since 2010 for OSU to have just 2-3 more titles? 10 percent worse? 15 percent? 5 percent? We can all agree (OU fans included) that even a minuscule step down from the crimson and cream would have meant a largesse for the Pokes. They are currently (and have been) next in line to Stoops’ throne.Hey, maybe Riley is the next Stoops. Maybe he will rock. But the chasm between telling Baker Mayfield to roll out and hit 260-pound tight ends and leading one of the premiere football programs in a hundreds-of-millions-of-dollars industry is wide enough that I’m not sure even Uncle Rico could hit the other side on a post route. He’s one year older than I am. I can barely run a blog, and this guy is going to not skip a beat as the coach of OU? I’m dubious.And maybe Tom Herman will flip Texas and they will intercept the scepter that Oklahoma State fans badly want. But Texas has proven time and time again that it is a conglomerate that looks nice to investors and does well financially but has trouble letting real change wash over itself. Texas, might I remind you, has one more Big 12 title than Baylor in the history of the conference.So everything is coming up for Gundy in 2017 and beyond. He rode Stoops’ rising tide, and now he is arguably the best head coach in the league (depending on how you feel about Bill Snyder and Gary Patterson). He is in a position to take the mantle from Stoops. This season is big, though. If Oklahoma State can perform the way most of us think it will perform, it will put a stake in the ground. The Big 12 title could run through Stillwater for the foreseeable future.And that’s a nice reward for the Mullet Man after a decade of labor. He spent the first six years laying a foundation and the next six building his kingdom. Hopefully in this final six(ish) he’ll get to enjoy the fruits of his effort because in the wake of Stoops success and OU’s renaissance as a program, a Big 12 title or three would be mighty tasty. While you’re here, we’d like you to consider subscribing to Pistols Firing and becoming a PFB+ member. It’s a big ask from us to you, but it also comes with a load of benefits like ad-free browsing (ads stink!), access to our premium room in The Chamber and monthly giveaways.The other thing it does is help stabilize our business into the future. As it turns out, sending folks on the road to cover games and provide 24/7 Pokes coverage like the excellent article you just read costs money. Because of our subscribers, we’ve been able to improve our work and provide the best OSU news and community anywhere online. Help us keep that up.last_img read more

The Reload: Top 2019 QB Target Chooses Texas A&M, Big Name Recruits Visit

first_imgThe Reload is PFB’s recruiting recap catching you up to speed with the latest Oklahoma State recruiting news, with an ear to the ground for what to expect.2019 QB Grant Gunnell commits to Texas A&MOklahoma State’s top target at quarterback in the 2019 class, Grant Gunnell, committed to Texas A&M this week over OSU and dozens of other offers.Gunnell is rated as the No. 2 pro-style quarterback in the country and a top-60 national recruit.“A&M feels like home to me,” Gunnell told Scout. “This university I love it, the academic side of it, I feel like even if I was not playing football I would want to go to it.”OSU and Mike Yurcich had been recruiting Gunnell from the jump and made a big impression on an unofficial visit in the process. But Mikey Y. must now move down his board that includes Grant Tisdale and Bo Nix.Big name recruits visit Oklahoma State for campAmong the heralded recruits who visited this week for camp were 2018 OSU quarterback commitment Spencer Sanders, 2019 defensive end target Marcus Hicks, 2018 safety commitment Kanion Williams, 2018 defensive tackle target and Ole Miss pledge Israel Antwine, and 2018 cornerback target Eddie Smith.Sanders has been a longtime firm OSU pledge; Hicks, a Kansas-area recruit, holds offers from a dozen schools including OU; Eddie Smith, a Louisiana cornerback, is tops on the OSU radar and could be nearing a decision soon.We’ll have more on Eddie Smith later this week. But just that list alone is a sign of a rising tide in Stillwater as the Class of 2018 continues its rise in the national recruiting rankings, with more potentially on the way.2018 WR Gabe Lemons offered by OSUFollowing an unofficial visit, 2018 wide receiver Gabe Lemons of Coppell reported a scholarship offer. Lemons is a 6-2 talent whose offer list includes Illinois, Air Force, Rice and Texas State.As you can see, OSU is now the 247Sports crystal ball favorite for him. As a junior last season, Lemons exploded on the scene with 616 yards, 43 receptions and 7 touchdowns.2019 WR Jeffery Carter offered by OSUAnother pass-catching talent offered this week is Jeffery Carter, a 2019 talent from Aledo. The 6-foot speedster has exploded in the past week with offers from Texas Tech, Illinois, Baylor and now OSU.Carter had 217 yards last season for Aledo but is bound for a big junior season for the Texas powerhouse. While you’re here, we’d like you to consider subscribing to Pistols Firing and becoming a PFB+ member. It’s a big ask from us to you, but it also comes with a load of benefits like ad-free browsing (ads stink!), access to our premium room in The Chamber and monthly giveaways.The other thing it does is help stabilize our business into the future. As it turns out, sending folks on the road to cover games and provide 24/7 Pokes coverage like the excellent article you just read costs money. Because of our subscribers, we’ve been able to improve our work and provide the best OSU news and community anywhere online. Help us keep that up.last_img read more

By the Numbers: OSU’s Rapid Pace Left Tulsa in the Dust

first_imgWhile you’re here, we’d like you to consider subscribing to Pistols Firing and becoming a PFB+ member. It’s a big ask from us to you, but it also comes with a load of benefits like ad-free browsing (ads stink!), access to our premium room in The Chamber and monthly giveaways.The other thing it does is help stabilize our business into the future. As it turns out, sending folks on the road to cover games and provide 24/7 Pokes coverage like the excellent article you just read costs money. Because of our subscribers, we’ve been able to improve our work and provide the best OSU news and community anywhere online. Help us keep that up. Oklahoma State got its season off to a quick start with a dominant performance over Tulsa in Week 1. The first quarter was the stuff dreams and had everyone looking up which bowls were hosting the semifinal games. But beyond the hyperbole and besides the flashy highlights and Tyron swag, what else can we glean from the season opener? Let’s take a look at the numbers.OSU Drive ChartThe Cowboys scored on the opening three possessions while burning up all of 4:31 off the clock. The first was a methodical but blazing-fast eight plays for 74 yards that culminated in Tyron Johnson’s first catch for his first touchdown at OSU. Two more quick strikes and the game was set on its fixed trajectory. Zach Sinor got just two shots to build his faux Heisman case.AdChoices广告On the empty side of the glass, a boneheaded mistake from Mason Rudolph resulted in a strip sack and Jalen McCleskey’s attempt at the most ill-advised punt return I can remember ended with six points on the wrong side of the board. Matt Ammendola missed a 33-yard field goal attempt wide-left which Mike Gundy blamed on the sophomore getting in a hurry. Let’s hope Philly can slow down.Here’s a look at OSU’s pertinent numbersPoints per drive (offense): 4.33Points per drive (defense): 1.21Yards per play: 10.2Third-Down conversions: 5/9 (55.5%)Average starting field position: own 30-yard lineRed-zone scoring: 4/5Points off turnovers: 14Time of possession: 23:20The points-per-drive disparity was heavy in the Cowboys’ favor but could have been even more so had OSU not turned the ball over twice (giving up 10 points) and missed a short field goal. I want to say something smart like, “They won’t be able to get away with that against (insert team).” But I’m not actually sure. I’m not saying the needless giveaways should be ignored or that place kicker is not a concern. What I am saying is that this offense is really, really good and we knew that coming in. Let’s just not make a habit out of silly mistakes and I won’t have to be wrong.Tulsa Drive ChartYou know the saying “If you have two quarterbacks, you don’t have one.”? Well, Philip Montgomery might empathize. He wouldn’t admit to anyone (and possibly himself) who his starting QB was until kickoff. President, Skipper, President. I’m not just recalling random proper titles of leadership. That’s Tulsa’s QB rotation.With inexperienced leadership behind center and the passing game a work in progress, we all expected Tulsa to come out with an emphasis on the rushing attack. The Golden Hurricane finished 2016 as the eighth-best rushing team in the country with the Nos. 1 and 2 rushers in the AAC. No. 2 is back for 2017 — D’Angelo Brewer’s jersey number is 4 actually — and returns after a 1,435-yard, 7-TD season where he averaged 5.4 yards per carry. On Thursday night, Oklahoma State held him to 33 yards on 22 carries for a rough 1.5 average. Tulsa ended up averaging 4.1 yards per carry but that was a bit inflated due to a garbage-time run for 55 yards by Corey Taylor II. Glenn Spencer cracked exactly one and a half grins during postgame availability — that’s a good sign.Here’s a look at Tulsa’s numbersPoints per drive (offense): 1.21Points per drive (defense): 4.33Yards per play: 4.4Third-down conversions: 16/26 (61.5%)Average starting field position: own 25-yard lineRed-zone scoring: 2/4Points off turnovers: 10Time of possession: 36:40So Tulsa couldn’t stop Oklahoma State. No surprise there. But its 61.5 percent on third-down is somewhere between head-scratching and concerning. Especially when you consider that Tulsa was 5 of 10 on third-and-long and 5 of 8 on third down with at least 10 to go. It was also 1 of 2 on fourth down.The Golden Hurricane actually started 0-for-4 on third-and-long until the second quarter when the score was 28-7. OSU’s defense then gave up five of the last six third-and-long situations. Like I said, it’s not ideal but it does fall into OSU’s lane of a “bend-don’t-break” defense. I’m not going to worry too much about it. If not for an unnecessary fumble by QB1 and a perplexing snafu by Jalen McCleskey, OSU wins the turnover battle 2-nil. I’ll take that, 1.1 points per drive and a 50-percent success rate on my opponent’s red-zone trips most days if I’m Spencer.last_img read more