2013 Oklahoma State Preview – Offense

CollegeFootballNews.com
Posted May 8, 2013


CollegeFootballNews.com 2013 Preview - Oklahoma State Cowboy Offense



Oklahoma State Cowboys

Preview 2013 - Offense

- 2013 Oklahoma State Preview | 2013 Oklahoma State Offense
- 2013 Oklahoma State Defense | 2013 Oklahoma State Depth Chart

What You Need To Know: The pressure is on new offensive coordinator Mike Yurich to fill some very, very big shoes. Expect a lot more of the same, but even more four-wide sets to take advantage of all the receiver talent led by Josh Stewart and helped by the return of Tracy Moore. The line will be terrific again after the right combination is found, and the combination of running backs Jeremy Smith and Desmond Roland should make up for the loss of Joseph Randle, but the key to the season will be the quarterback call. Clint Chelf, J.W. Walsh and Wes Lunt all saw time last year and all got an equal shot at the gig, but Mike Gundy isn’t letting on who the No. 1 will be even with Lunt choosing to transfer. No matter what, there will be a quarterback controversy.

Returning Leaders
Passing: Clint Chelf
119-197, 1,588 yds, 15 TD, 6 INT
Rushing: Jeremy Smith
70 carries, 371 yds, 8 TD
Receiving: Josh Stewart
101 catches, 1,210 yds, 7 TD

Star of the offense: Junior WR Josh Stewart
Player who has to step up and be a star: Junior C Jake Jenkins
Unsung star on the rise: Sophomore OT Devin Davis
Best pro prospect: Stewart
Top three all-star candidates: 1) Stewart, 2) RB Jeremy Smith, 3) OT Daniel Koenig
Strength of the offense: Wide Receiver, Production
Weakness of the offense: Quarterback Controversy, Proven Workhorse Running Back

Quarterbacks

The quarterback situation was a revolving door last year thanks to a slew of injuries, and in the end, senior Clint Chelf rose to the top. The 6-1, 210-pounder is the least talented option, but he’s a baller who made things happen throwing 15 touchdown passes and hitting the 200-yard mark in each of the last five regular season games with a four-score day against West Virginia and 333 yards in the loss to Baylor. The tools aren’t there compared to the other two options, but he he’s a decent runner who knows how to keep the chains moving. If he can cut down on the picks, he could be the main man.

In a big surprise, Wes Lunt was handed the key to the car as a true freshman, and he did just fine throwing for 436 yards and four scores in the loss to Arizona, but he threw three interceptions in the game. That was fine – the coaching staff was going to let the young prospect sink-or-swim – but he couldn’t stay healthy suffering a knee injury early on and later getting knocked out with an apparent concussion after cranking out 324 yards in the win over TCU and throwing three picks in the loss to Kansas State. The tools aren’t in question with 6-4, 215-pound size, a big-time arm and a winning attitude, leading his team to two Illinois state titles, but staying on the field has been a problem since his junior year in high school. Now, after not being happy with how the offseason played itself out, Lunt is choosing to transfer out.

Sophomore J.W. Walsh was supposed to be the next-big-thing for the Oklahoma State offense before Lunt became the main man last offseason. The 6-2, 205-pounder is a terrific runner with a solid midrange arm, but just when everything started to click last season with 347 yards and four scores in the win over Louisiana, 301 yards and two touchdowns against Texas and 415 yards and a touchdown against Iowa State, he suffered a knee injury and was essentially out of the mix with Chelf taking over. On the season he completed 67% of his passes for 1,564 yards and 13 scores with three picks, and he ran for 290 yards with seven scores including three late in the year as a rushing option in the rotation.

Watch Out For … the battle to continue. Every new day there’s a new top option, and the coaching staff isn’t helping the cause by vowing to wait until the last possible second to decide on an option – and it could take even longer.
Strength: Options. On the plus side, all three quarterbacks showed they could play and all three proved they could handle the workload. They all hit on over 60% of their passes and they all moved the offense, however there were problems with …
Weakness: Interceptions. It’s not a shocker considering the new players under center, but the 16 picks in the regular season proved to be a problem at inopportune times. There were only three multiple interception games, but they came in losses to Arizona, Kansas State and Baylor – the Cowboys should’ve beaten the Wildcats and Bears. The D was a problem in the defeats, but the turnovers didn’t help.
Outlook: It’s going to be one of the big national discussions throughout the offseason. All three quarterbacks have to be at the ready considering the various injury problems, and the coaching staff won’t hesitate to make a change if there are problems. On the plus side, Walsh is an excellent young prospect and Chelf is now a proven veteran. After combining to throw for over 4,300 yards with 34 scores when they didn’t know what they were doing, the production will be there even with Lunt out of the equation.
Unit Rating: 8
 
Running Backs

Joseph Randle wasn’t everything for the running game, but he was close. However, when senior Jeremy Smith got his chances, he was more than fine finishing with 371 yards and eight touchdowns, averaging 5.3 yards per carry. At 5-10 and 208 pounds he’s a compact runner with every down skills, able to run through the interior and bounce to the outside when necessary. The reserve over the last few seasons, and now it’s his time to shine after taking on more and more of the workload as last season went on. He has to prove he can be a workhorse, but the skills are there to be a 1,000-yard backs with double-digit scores.

6-2, 210-pound junior Desmond Roland is more of a power back than Smith, but he can crank up the wheels when needed returning a kickoff 80 yards for a score against Kansas State and looking fantastic in blowouts. Running for 104 yards and three touchdowns against Savannah State doesn’t really count, but on the year he filled in late in games finishing with 301 yards and four touchdowns. Not really a power back, he’s a big runner with wide receiver quickness and straight-line speed.

The Cowboys don’t often use a true fullback, but senior Kye Staley is a proven contributor doing a slew of different things for the offense. It took a while to get back from a horrendous knee injury suffered in 2009, but he grew into a star on special teams before doing a nice job last year as a receiver catching 12 passes for 166 yards with two scores. At 5-10 and 236 pounds he’s a big blocker who pushes his way through the interior, doing a good enough job to earn Second Team All-Big 12 honors over the last two seasons. He’ll be backed up by sophomore Jeremy Seaton, a huge 6-2, 250-poudn blocker who walked on as a tight end and turned into a fullback catching two passes for 19 yards and a score. While he didn’t get any carries, he could be a short-yardage runner if needed.

Watch Out For … Corion Webster and Rennie Childs, two nice recruits who’ll play a huge role next year once Smith is done. The 5-11, 185-pound Webster is the better of the two prospects with great pop and straight line speed, able to make one cut and fly. The 5-10, 180-pound Childs brings a little more pop to go along with his quickness. He’s also a strong receiver.
Strength: Quickness. Oklahoma State running backs all fit the type with the ability to get in and out of their breaks in a hurry. Get them a little bit of room and they’ll bust out five yards a crack. Smith should pick up where Randle left off.
Weakness: Pure power. That’s not really Roland’s thing despite his size. The fullbacks don’t get any carries and the new guys are more slippery than slam. The Cowboy attack doesn’t seem to miss the lack of blast, but it’s an element that’s not there.
Outlook: Losing Randle will hurt. The running game improved last season with more of a reliance on the backs than the new quarterbacks, and having some mobility under center didn’t hurt, but Smith and Roland have to rock to help the O averaged 215 yards per game again on the ground. Smith might not get Randle’s 274 carries, and it won’t necessarily be running back by committee, but the overall production will be strong. As long as the backs are averaging over five yards per carry, all will be fine.
Unit Rating: 7.5

Receivers

Who was going to replace Justin Blackmon? No one had his power and physical game, but junior Josh Stewart quickly became the main producer to help pick up the slack with 101 catches for 1,210 yards and seven scores. Only 5-10 and 185 pounds, he’s a dangerous inside target with phenomenal quickness and great hands, and while he wasn’t necessarily a big play target, he made a whole bunch of midrange ones with 13 catches against both Iowa State and West Virginia and 23 grabs for 297 yards and two scores over a two-game stretch against Oklahoma and Baylor. Ultra-reliable and consistent, he’ll be the No. 1 target, but there are several other inside receivers ready to do even more.

Former JUCO transfer Blake Jackson is a big 6-3, 235-pound senior who’s built like a tight end, but has inside receiver skills. Used in a variety of ways, he’s a physical target across the middle and a bit of a field stretcher averaging 19.9 yards per catch on 30 grabs for 598 yards and three scores. A matchup nightmare, the NJCAA All-American at Scottsdale CC was awesome early and good for around three catches per came throughout the year. He’ll combine on the inside with the quicker Austin Hays, a 6-2, 185 true sophomore who kicked off his career in garbage time against Savannah State with eight catches for 77 yards and a score, and after getting banged up, he returns to come on strong late to finish with 29 catches for 394 yards and two scores. He has the size and speed to be moved outside if needed.

Senior Tracy Moore was supposed to be the new star coming into last year with his 6-2, 215-pound size and excellent deep speed, but he suffered an ankle injury after starting out the season with 20 catches for 259 yards and four scores – with all four touchdowns coming in an amazing performance against Arizona. Able to work inside or out, he’s back and healthy with the talent to grow into a No. 1 receiver. 6-2, 202-pound senior Charlie Moore stepped up when Moore got hurt finishing with 35 catches for 542 yards and six scores, topping out with 135 yards on seven grabs against Kansas State. The team’s second-leading receiver, he lived up to his 2012 offseason billing.

Looking to find his way into the inside rotation is former Parade All-American David Glidden, a 5-7, 185-pound flier with tremendous quickness and upside. He only caught one pass for an 18-yard touchdown against Baylor, and this season he could turn into a dangerous punt returner.

Watch Out For … Marcell Ateman and Ra’Shaad Samples, two fantastic recruits who have different styles, but should each put up huge numbers over the course of their careers. The 6-4, 190-pound Ateman is a big target who beats people up on the inside, but has the speed to get deep and be a dangerous option outside. At 5-11 and 170 pounds, Samples is a fighter for the ball with phenomenal athleticism. He’s not huge, but he has the total package of skills.
Strength: The passing game. Whether it was Rashaun Woods, Dez Bryant, Justin Blackmon, or now Josh Stewart, the OSU offense puts up massive numbers and makes superstars out of its receivers. With most of the talent returning to work around Stewart, the attack should be deadly again.
Weakness: A true tight end. That’s sort of Jackson’s role with his size and ability to bust through the seam, but there isn’t a blocker on the outside who’ll do much for the ground game. For the most part it’ll be a four-wide attack with everything being spread out. That’s not really a bad thing.
Outlook: Loaded. Stewart might have been the statistical superstar, but with Moore, Jackson and Hays, the Cowboys have plenty of receivers to work with. Throw in a healthy Moore, and look out. The improved quarterback play and the numbers could be astronomical.
Unit Rating: 9

Offensive Line

The line had to undergo a major overhaul last season, but it still did a phenomenal job leading the Big 12 with the fewest sacks allowed while paving the way for 215 yards per game. A few key pieces are gone, and now some more shuffling will be done starting at right guard where Lane Taylor has to be replaced. It’s not set in stone, but 6-7, 315-pound senior Parker Graham will likely move over from left tackle. The veteran bulked up over the last few years and now could be a whale of an interior blocker. There’s a chance he could end up on the left side – and he was more than fine at tackle – but he could end up filling more of a need in the interior. Senior Brandon Webb held down the left guard job over the final part of the season as he turned into a blaster. At 6-3 and 326 pounds he has great size, and after turning in a great final five games, he appears ready to turn in a big final year.

The other big loss up front is in the middle where Evan Epstein is gone at center. After spending last season in a backup role, 6-3, 298-pound junior Jake Jenkins appears ready to be the next man up. Very strong and very promising, he started against Louisiana and logged in some time as a reserve. Able to play guard if needed, he could move over is the coaching staff wants more size up front with junior Chris Grisbhy, a 6-5, 325-pound former JUCO transfer who saw a little bit of work. Still learning the game, he’s raw, but powerful.

Sophomore Devin Davis is going to get a long, long look at the starting left tackle job. At 6-5 and 298 pounds he has the right frame and right skills, but he needs to log in more time after seeing backup time throughout the year and started against Texas Tech and Baylor. While he wasn’t a top prospect, coming to OSU as a guard, he quickly showed a world of upside as a pass protector on the outside, looking good enough to possibly move Graham to guard. On the right side will be 6-6, 310-pound junior Daniel Koenig, who moved up the depth chart in a hurry and started every game except for Texas Tech. One of the team’s best technicians, he was steady and consistent, showing all-star potential with his physical style.

Watch Out For … tackles Zach Crabtree and Jesse Robinson, two talented prospects who’ll be future starters once they get a bit bulkier. The 6-7, 275-pound Crabtree has the frame, but he needs to add 40 pounds of good muscle. He’s a potential left tackle, while the 6-6, 280-pound Robinson has the potential to work anywhere up front, but he has the athleticism to grow into a whale of a right tackle.
Strength: Pass protection. The OSU offense always seems to do a fine job of making sure the quarterbacks get the ball out of their hands in a hurry, but the line did its part allowing just 12 sacks on the season. It’s a large, athletic line that’s good on the move and tough when it will need to be.
Weakness: Developed depth. The coaching staff is going to play around with the starting lineup until the opener, but the backups are also going to be a concern early on.
Outlook: Any problems are nothing compared to the overhaul the Cowboys had to deal with last season. There will be some shifting around with Graham tried out in several areas, and there might be a little bit of juggling, but one of the most underappreciated aspects of the OSU offense over the years has been the line. There might not be any sure-thing all-stars, this year’s front five should be a rock.
Unit Rating: 8

- 2013 Oklahoma State Preview | 2013 Oklahoma State Offense
- 2013 Oklahoma State Defense | 2013 Oklahoma State Depth Chart