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2012 Oklahoma State Preview - Offense

CollegeFootballNews.com
Posted Jun 24, 2012


CollegeFootballNews.com 2012 Preview - Oklahoma State Cowboy Offense


Oklahoma State Cowboys

Preview 2012 - Offense

- 2012 Oklahoma State Preview | 2012 Oklahoma State Offense
- 2012 Oklahoma State Defense | 2012 Oklahoma State Depth Chart

What You Need To Know: There was some concern that the offense wouldn’t quite have the same pop and explosion with offensive coordinator Dana Holgorsen moving on to become the head coach at West Virginia. Todd Monken didn’t seem to have too many problems getting things moving with the O finishing third in the nation averaging 546 yards per game and second in scoring averaging close to 49 points per outing. Now the offense has to replace QB Brandon Weeden, two-time Biletnikoff winner Justin Blackmon and four starters from the line. No worries. Joseph Randle and Jeremy Smith form one of the nation’s best 1-2 rushing tandems working behind a line that quickly filled in the holes. The passing game will take a step back to potentially make a giant leap forward with several good young receivers ready to take on bigger roles and with true freshman quarterback Wes Lunt being thrown to the wolves.

Returning Leaders
Passing: Clint Chelf
20-30, 307 yds, 3 TD, 0 INT
Rushing: Joseph Randle
208 carries, 1,216 yds, 24 TD
Receiving: Tracy Moore
45 catches, 672 yds, 4 TD

Star of the offense: Junior RB Joseph Randle
Player who has to step up and be a star: Freshman QB Wes Lunt
Unsung star on the rise: Junior TE Blake Jackson
Best pro prospect: Randle
Top three all-star candidates: 1) Randle, 2) OG Lane Taylor, 3) WR Tracy Moore
Strength of the offense: Coaching, Running Back
Weakness of the offense: Quarterback Experience, No Weeden or Blackmon

Quarterbacks

There was going to be a massive hole to fill no matter who had to take over for Brandon Weeden, so why not sink or swim with the most talented option on the lot? 6-4, 211-pound true freshman Wes Lunt won two Illinois state championships thanks to a live, accurate arm and decision-making ability that goes well beyond his young age. A bomber, he threw for a state-record 590 yards in a game and was unstoppable by everything but an injury over his last two seasons. Smart, he should be able to handle the pressure and the playbook right away.

The assumption was that redshirt freshman J.W. Walsh was going to be the star of the show at some point, but that might be put on hold with the emergence of Lunt. At 6-2 and 199 pounds he’s not huge, but he’s one of the team’s most mobile option with an accurate short-to-midrange arm and good running ability. He was good enough to look like the No. 2 man in the pecking order, but junior Clint Chelf isn’t out of the hunt quite yet. The main backup last season completed 20-of-30 passes for 307 yards and three scores in his limited action, and while he can step in once again if needed, he doesn’t quite have the tools or the spark Lunt has. However, he’s a better rushing option.

Watch Out For … Chelf. Don’t assume he’ll be completely out of the hunt for playing time. The coaching staff might be rebuilding with a youth movement at the position, but if push comes to shove, if Lunt struggles in any way there might be a chance Chelf steps in and provides a little bit of veteran leadership.
Strength: The offense. Who doesn’t want to be Mike Gundy’s quarterback? The receiving corps is always going to be fantastic and the passing game is always going to be among the most effective in the country. It’s a high-octane attack that makes statistical superstars out of its passers.
Weakness: Experience. Lunt really does seem like a special talent who’ll grow into the job in a hurry, but he’s still a true freshman. Brandon Weeden’s strongest attribute was inability to be thrown off his game. He was as cool and as calm as any quarterback in the country, and it’s asking for way too much for a young player like Lunt to handle everything that will be thrown his way.
Outlook: Weeden should have been in the mix for the Heisman trophy after a phenomenal season. Lunt won’t be asked to be Weeden right away, but no one is making any excuses and no one is planning on the production falling off. No, he won’t throw for 4,737 yards and 37 scores, but he has all the tools to come up with a big season. Chelf and Walsh aren’t bad options if needed.
Unit Rating: 7.5
 
Running Backs

You probably didn’t notice with Brandon Weeden and Justin Blackmon taking away most of the spotlight, but Junior Joseph Randle was one of the most productive running backs in college football finishing with 1,216 yards and 24 touchdowns while catching 43 passes for 266 yards and two scores. The 6-1, 194-pound speed back is explosive and phenomenal when he gets a little room to run through averaging 5.8 yards per carry. While he only ran for 23 yards against Stanford and was held to 49 yards in the loss to Iowa State, he ripped off 151 yards and two scores against Oklahoma and had a two-game stretch against Missouri and Baylor when he ran 28 times for 290 yards and seven scores averaging 10.4 yards per carry. After not getting 20 carries in any of the last nine games he’ll be have to carry more of the workload. Slippery and explosive, he’s great at finding the holes and cranking out big play after big play. While he won’t provide much power, he darts rather than bulldozes.

5-10, 204-pound junior Jeremy Smith has every down back skills with good toughness in the interior and nice hands on the outside. The team’s second leading rusher exploded for 7.1 yards per carry rushing for 646 yards and nine touchdowns and catching 11 passes for 81 yards. He rocked against Texas with 140 yards and two touchdowns and tore up Oklahoma for 119 yards and two scores on just ten carries.

The Cowboys don’t often use a true fullback, but Kye Staley is a tough blocker and decent receiver catching ten passes for 81 yards and a score. He gave up football after suffering a horrendous knee injury a few years ago, but he came back and turned into a star on special teams and an unsung part of the offense. He’ll be backed up by 6-2, 267-pound senior David Paulsen, a special teamer who’s a pure blocker. While he’s strong and tough, he’ll never see the ball.

Watch Out For … Sophomore Desmond Roland. A good receiver prospect when he came to Oklahoma State, he showed off a little bit of his rushing skills last season with 85 yards on 17 carries. With the loss of promising back Herschel Sims after being charged with two counts of second-degree forgery, the backfield needs more options.
Strength: Randle and Smith. The passing game might be the shining star of the Oklahoma State offense, but the 1-2 rushing punch in Randle and Smith is every big as devastating. The passing game helps set up the run, but these two are great at taking advantage of their opportunities.
Weakness: Power. Smith can hit a little bit and Randle doesn’t shy away from contact, but there isn’t a bruiser who can plow over people. Randle is more like Marcus Allen in the way he gets through a line around the goal line, but it would be nice to have a short-yardage pounder from time to time.
Outlook: The Cowboys ran for 159 yards per game and cranked out 2,062 yards and 36 touchdowns averaging 5.3 yards per carry. The numbers might not be the same with so many replacements on the offensive line and with teams loading up to slow down Randle, but the backfield will once again get terrific production.
Unit Rating: 9

Receivers

Trying to step up and be the new Oklahoma State star receiver is Tracy Moore, a 6-2, 220-pound senior with excellent size and great deep speed finishing third on the team with 45 catches for 672 yards and four touchdowns averaging 14.9 yards per grab. He tore up Kansas State for 146 yards and a score on nine catches, but he was clearly the No. 3 man in the equation working more on the inside than outside. He’ll have to hold off 6-2, 202-pound junior Charlie Moore, who did next to nothing last year catching three passes for 56 yards but ripped it up in the spring game scoring three times.

Senior Isaiah Anderson has been around long enough to know what he’s doing. The 5-10, 168-pounder caught 28 passes for 315 yards and four touchdowns as a steady part of the equation. While he didn’t explode, he has the 4.34 track star wheels to do big things when he gets the ball in his hands.

5-10, 170-pound sophomore Josh Stewart is a promising inside target with good quickness and better hands. As a true freshman he caught 19 passes for 291 yards and two touchdowns with both scores coming on two grabs against Texas Tech. He showed this offseason that he’s ready for a far bigger role, while former Parade All-American David Glidden will provide a push. The 5-7, 171-pound redshirt freshman isn’t big, but he’s extremely quick and could end up shining as a punt returner.

6-3, 238-pound JUCO transfer Blake Jackson from Scottsdale CC earned NJCAA All-America honors and will see time both as a tight end and a big inside receiver. He’ll block from time to time, but his job will be to work as a matchup nightmare across the middle with great route running skills and enough quickness to give linebackers fits.

6-3, 254-pound senior Justin Horton will work more like a true tight end. A smooth athlete with excellent size and good speed, he has the ability and the talent to do far more after catching four passes for 101 yards highlighted by a 56-yard play against Louisiana.

Watch Out For … Stewart. He’s not Blackmon and he doesn’t have the great size, but he showed off in spring ball that he’s ready to get the ball his way more often. He has all the talent and all the skills to be a 60-catch playmaker.
Strength: Oklahoma State. Rashaun Woods, Dez Bryant, Justin Blackmon … ? Who’s next? Just when it seems like OSU can’t replace a once-in-a-program receiver, another comes along. Blackmon was supposed to be fine, but others – Hubert Anyiam, anyone? – were supposed to be in line for superstardom. The next statistical monster is just around the corner.
Weakness: Sure things. Losing Blackmon and Josh Cooper hurt, but the loss of Michael Harrison to suspension added more sting. That means Tracy Moore and Anderson are the only two returning wide receivers who made 20 catches or more.
Outlook: You don’t get better by losing Justin Blackmon and Josh Cooper, and most programs would be crippled by taking away over 2,200 yards and 21 touchdowns. So many receivers were involved and there are so many promising targets waiting to show what they can do that the beat should go on. However, losing Blackmon obviously isn’t a plus.
Unit Rating: 8

Offensive Line

The O line has to undergo a major overhaul after dominating last year in pass protection, but it gets a good veteran back in Jonathan Rush, a 6-4, 284-pound senior who missed most of last year with a knee injury. The starting left guard isn’t all that huge, but he’s good on the move and isn’t afraid to provide a pop.

6-3, 328-pound senior Lane Taylor started the last three years over at right guard and returns as the key veteran up front. With his size he’s the bulky blaster for the ground game to go along with the smarts to earn Academic All-Big 12 honors. Strong and consistent, he’s the anchor everything will work around.

Senior Evan Epstein will take over the for Grant Garner at center after patiently waiting his turn. The 6-3, 291-pound transfer from Air Force got a little bit of blowout work in, but he still needs to show he’s ready to handle the workload as the quarterback up front. He’ll be backed up by Jake Jenkins, a promising 6-3, 281-pound sophomore who came to OSU as a guard prospect but will be in line for the starting job in the middle next year.

6-7, 292-pound junior Parker Graham is finally starting to fill out his frame. He was a nice spot starter last year at right tackle, getting the nod in the opener at left tackle and finished off the year on the other side against Oklahoma and Stanford, and now he appears ready to take the job by the horns and make it his for the next few seasons. Just scratching the surface, he has terrific potential with the right size and smarts.

At 6-4 and 323 pounds, senior Michael Bowie turned into a five-game starter at left tackle after coming in from Navarro JC. He started out his career at OSU, went the JUCO route, and ended up showing last year that he can handle himself in the key spot on the outside. A great athlete for his size, he appears ready to solidify the left tackle spot that was constantly changing.

Watch Out For … Bowie. Several decent players appear ready to step up and shine, but it’s Bowie who’s the key to the puzzle. If he’s great at left tackle then everything else should fall into place, but after last year with four different starters in the position it would be a big help if he became a rock.
Strength: The factory. There might be a slew of new starters up front, but it’s not like the Cowboys are picking their starting five out of psych class. The coaching staff does a nice job of preparing the backups to be ready to roll. There shouldn’t be much of a drop off.
Weakness: Continuity. There isn’t too much of a concern after replacing four starters up front, but last year’s line turned into a key part of the explosive attack that kept Brandon Weeden clean. This group should be fine, but it might take a little while to gel.
Outlook: Even with the big turnover there’s enough returning experience to get by. Getting Rush back is a nice start, while having Bowie and Graham ready to take on bigger roles will help on the outside. Will the line finish 11th in the nation in sacks allowed again? No, but it will be more than fine with a little bit of time and seasoning.
Unit Rating: 7.5

- 2012 Oklahoma State Preview | 2012 Oklahoma State Offense
- 2012 Oklahoma State Defense | 2012 Oklahoma State Depth Chart