2014 Ok State Preview: What You Need To Know
Oklahoma State RB Desmond Roland
Oklahoma State RB Desmond Roland
Posted Jul 17, 2014

Preview 2014 - What You Need To Know About Oklahoma State (Getty Images)

2014 Oklahoma State Preview

What You Need To Know...

- 2014 Oklahoma State Preview  
What You Need To Know About The Offense: The offense wasn’t quite as explosive as Cowboy fans might be used to, and now it could take a step back with seven starters gone and some question marks on the line and at quarterback. Can J.W. Walsh become the type of passer who can keep up in Big 12 shootouts week in and week out? Will superstar recruit Tyreek Hill use his blinding speed to become the game-breaking receiver the passing game needs after losing top two targets Josh Stewart and Tracy Moore? Is Desmond Roland ready to be a 13-game back, and will the revamped line be able to pave the way? It’s Oklahoma State, so there will be 30+ points on a regular basis and times when the attack is unstoppable, but it might be a year away before it comes together and is better than 65th in the nation like it was last season.

What You Need To Know About The Defense: There might be some rocky moments, but defensive coordinator Glenn Spencer’s group can really, really move. Everyone seems to look the part with the right athleticism and the right speed, but there isn’t a ton of size and experience is a concern with seven starters gone. However, the line has the talent to be fantastic with a little bit of tweaking. The upside on the outside it limitless, and while there isn’t a lot of bulk inside, getting into the backfield shouldn’t be an issue. Only two starters return in the back seven, but again, speed should hide some of the problems. Can the run defense be stronger after getting run over for 180 yards per game? Considering the goal is the Big 12 championship, all it’ll take is one or two bad days to screw up the season. The D has to be ready to rock by mid-October.  

Players You Need To Know

1. RB Desmond Roland, Sr.
A big back who can do a little bit of everything including return kickoffs, the 6-2, 210-pound veteran took over the starting job midway through last season and turned in a huge year, leading the team with 811 yards and 13 touchdowns and making the most of his nine catches with 83 yards and three scores. He got in a little bit of work over the first half of the season with 36 carries in the first six games, with just two carries for a yard against Kansas State, and then came the Iowa State game. 219 yards and four scores later, it was his running game to take over. Not really a power back, he's a big runner with wide receiver quickness and straight-line speed. This year, he could be the workhorse from the start, even if he has problems with the Florida State defensive front.

2. RB/WR Tyreek Hill, Jr.
The 5-10, 185-pound JUCO transfer is about to blow up the Big 12. Really, really fast, he was one of the star sprinters on the Big 12 champion indoor track team, and his wheels translate to the football field where he lit up the Cowboy defense this offseason. If he’s not the fastest player in the conference, he’s a very close second with home run hitting ability from anywhere on the field. Get ready to see him get the ball in a variety of ways as the coaching staff gets creative – he’ll be a receiver, but he’ll see plenty of touches as a running back.

3. OT Daniel Koenig, Sr.
A right tackle early on, he moved over to the left side and turned in a nice season despite injury problems early on. One of the team’s best technicians, he’s a good run blocker and solid in pass protection, but he’s not necessarily a mauler. Physical, he’ll get the job done, and at 6-6 and 300 pounds he has a long, good frame that’s tough to get around. Steady and consistent, he was originally thought of as a guard, but it turning into a whale of a tackle. Considering the experience issues up front, the spotlight will be on.

4. DE Jimmy Bean, Jr.
The hope was for the 6-5, 250-pound Bean to become a breakout star right away, but he got hurt early on in 2011 and ended up redshirting in 2012. Last year he turned into an every game starter making 34 tackles with a team-leading 4.5 sacks and 9.5 tackles for loss, showing glimpses of why there was so much excitement about the possibilities right out of high school. With the right size, the right quickness, and the right burst to the quarterback when he gets his chance, now that he has a year of experience, he should blossom on an emerging line.

5. DT James Castelman, Sr.
While he might not have prototype size to be a run-stuffing Big 12 anchor, the 6-2, 300-pounder is active, moves well and can be a disruptive force working in a variety of ways inside. Last year he came up with 33 tackles with a sack and five tackles for loss including a huge moment against Baylor with a key fumble recovery. A steady starter, he turned into a nice surprise two year ago making 30 tackles in 2012 and 6.5 tackles for loss before getting hurt. Athletic, he works for what the Cowboy coaching staff is trying to do.

6. QB J.W. Walsh, Jr.
He’s going to get pushed really, really hard for the starting gig, but he’s the veteran the team needs, especially to start the season against Florida State. A baller, he’s 6-2, 205 pounds, and can move a bit with decent accuracy, a fearless mentality, and the ability to keep things moving when he’s on his game. While he struggled with his consistency, and Clint Chelf eventually took over, he showed what he could do with a brilliant performance against UTSA, completing 24-of-27 passes for 326 yards and four touchdowns – hitting 89% of his passes. On the year he completed 60% of his throws for 1,333 yards and nine touchdowns and five picks, and he finished fourth on the team with 294 rushing yards and three touchdowns, and now he has to be the man. A big deal when he first came to Oklahoma State, he was outstanding at times in 2012, putting up huge yards before suffering a knee injury.

7. LB Ryan Simmons, Jr.
With 6-0, 235-pound size, he’s not massive in the middle, but it’ll be his job to move over from the weakside and take over for leading tackler Caleb Lavey – he can handle the job. Better on the inside, he’s tough, has range, and has the ability to hit and hit big, coming up with 179 tackles as a high school senior and growing into a job with the Cowboys over the last few seasons with 67 stops and a sack with nine tackles for loss with a pick. 100 tackles isn’t out of the question now that he’s in the right spot, but he has to stay healthy. A big-time recruit, he got hurt early on and had to redshirt after looking like he’d breakout as a true freshman. The big stats are about to come.

8. DE Sam Wren, Sr.
The 6-2, 255-pounder flies off the ball and is quick enough off the snap to become a devastating pass rusher in his final year. Good so far as a part of the rotation, now he’ll get his shot at a starting job on the other side of Jimmy Bean after making 22 tackles with half a sack and two tackles for loss. The talent and potential are there to be a star after cranking up 14.5 sacks at Arizona Western CC. A phenomenal athlete, the production has to match the tools.

9. CB Kevin Peterson, Jr.
One of the team’s fastest players, and he held up well on the other side of Justin Gilbert making 24 tackles with two picks and four broken up passes. At 5-11 and 185 pounds, he has decent size to go along with his wheels and athleticism to grow into an all-star and a corner with the upside to be a good pro prospect. He might not be Gilbert as a playmaker, but an Oklahoma high school state champion sprinter in the 100 and 200 meters, he can move. Can he put it all together and best something special? As the only returning starter in the OSU secondary, yeah.

10. QB Mason Rudolph, Fr.
The coaching staff isn’t afraid to throw a true freshman into the fire – Wes Lunt got the call two years ago. Can Rudolph be that good? The 6-4, 207-pound star recruit looks the part and has all the tools and skills to become a passing superstar with the arm that J.W. Walsh doesn’t have. The South Carolina got away from the SEC schools – including Alabama, LSU and South Carolina – and he’ll get every chance to win the job this summer. If it’s not his spot this year, it will be in the near future. He stretches the field too much to not get his chance to open things up.

- 2014 Oklahoma State Preview