Oklahoma State Preview 2006

Posted Jul 31, 2006

Former head coach Les Miles was just starting to make things interesting in Stillwater before jumping to LSU. Coming off three straight winning seasons and three bowl appearances, Oklahoma State hired former star quarterback Mike Gundy to take over and keep the momentum going. Instead, Gundy and his staff started from scratch.

Offense | Defense | Depth Chart | Further Analysis

Outside of a stunning win over Texas Tech and an even more shocking first half against Texas, the Cowboys appeared to be overmatched and out of sync all season long. There were concerns that the no-huddle spread offense wasn't working when it had problems scoring on Montana State, Florida Atlantic and Arkansas State, and then it looked lost most of the time in Big 12 play.

Combine the offense's issues with a defense that finished 11th in total D and last in scoring defense, and 2005 signaled a crashing thud for the once-surging team. However, it might have been a case of taking a step back to jump three big steps forward.

Head coach: Mike Gundy
2nd year: 4-7
Ten Best OSU Players
1. OT Corey Hilliard, Sr.
2. WR D'Juan Woods, Sr.
3. RB Mike Hamilton, Soph.
4. DT Ryan McBean, Sr.
5. LB Rodrick Johnson, Jr.
6. SS Donovan Woods, Jr.
7. QB Bobby Reid, Soph.
8. TE Brandon Pettigrew, Soph.
9. CB/S Calvin Mickens, Soph.
10. WR Adarius Bowman, Jr.

2006 Schedule
CFN Prediction: 4-8

9/2 Missouri State
9/9 at Arkansas State
9/16 Florida Atlantic
9/23 at Houston
10/7 at Kansas State
10/14 at Kansas
10/21 Texas A&M
10/28 Nebraska
11/4 at Texas
11/11 Baylor
11/18 at Texas Tech
11/25 Oklahoma

2005 Schedule
CFN Prediction: 5-6
205 Record: 4-7

Preview 2005 predicted wins

9/3 Montana State  W 15-10
9/10 at Fla Atlantic W 23-3
9/17 Arkansas State W 20-10
10/1 Colorado L 34-0
10/6 Missouri L 38-31
10/15 at Texas A&M L 62-23
10/22 at Iowa State L 37-10
10/29 Texas L 47-28
11/12 Texas Tech W 24-17
11/19 at Baylor L 44-34
11/26 at Oklahoma L 42-14

Gundy needed to get his guys in place as quickly as possible to run his offensive system, and he played so many true freshmen that there wasn't any hope of the team turning in a consistent season. Last year's team was so young that it still needs another year of seasoning before it start to think about challenging for the Big 12 South title and being good enough to hang with the top dogs.

How young is OSU? On the projected two-deep depth chart there are 24 players with sophomore, redshirt freshmen, or freshmen eligibility with new recruits like linebackers Chris Collins and Donnell Williams and guard Jacob Secrest expected to start at some point this year
. Throw into the mix a potentially shaky quarterback situation and this is a year to get everything in place for a big 2007.

One-time superstar quarterback recruit Bobby Reid has all the tools to be a great one, but he has to stay healthy and has to figure out how to throw with some semblance of accuracy while utilizing his running skills as much as possible. If the light turns on for him, the offense should be far better with a decent line, a dangerous 1-2 receiving punch in D'Juan Woods and Adarius Bowman, and a productive backfield tandem of Mike Hamilton and Julius Crosslin.

The defense will need at least another year of seasoning in the back seven, but the time is now up front with five good seniors that should finally make for a solid Cowboy defensive line. This won't be the type of defense that will shut anyone down and it has to force more turnovers, but it should be more aggressive and it has plenty of upside.

It does appear that things are on the right track under Gundy as long as the fan base can be a little patient. The Big 12 South is a nasty place to try to build a power, but Oklahoma State will be in the hunt ... next year.

The Schedule: Few teams have had lighter non-conference schedules in recent year than Oklahoma State, and this season isn't any different starting with Missouri State, Arkansas State and Florida Atlantic before the one decent game against Houston. There's a welcome off-week before the Big 12 run starting off on the road against both Kansas State and Kansas. Playing at Texas, at Texas Tech and Oklahoma in three of the final four weeks means the Cowboys have better have bowl eligibility wrapped up after the Baylor game.

Best Offensive Player: Senior OT Corey Hilliard. Able to play guard or tackle, the 310-pound senior is one of the Big 12's best linemen with the next-level type of talent to be the one the team runs the offense behind. He could stand to be a little bit better in pass protection, but he's good enough.

Best Defensive Player: Senior DT Ryan McBean. McBean came from the JUCO ranks and came up with a tremendous season. If he can continue to progress and can be a bit stronger against the run, he could be the type of All-Big 12 talent who can anchor the entire defense.

Key player to a successful season: Sophomore QB Bobby Reid. It'll all be about staying healthy. His raw talent is undeniable, but he needs more time to learn how to be a D-I quarterback; the game has to slow down for him. He's 6-3, 225 pounds, and has the running skills to do far more than the 139 net yards he came up with last year.

The season will be a success if ... the Cowboys come up with a winning season. Considering OSU will likely be the underdog in every Big 12 game except the home date against Baylor some upsets are needed and there can't be any misses in the non-conference schedule.

Key game: Oct. 7 at Kansas State. KSU is one of the few Big 12 teams Oklahoma State has a reasonable shot of beating on the road. A win might be a must before going on the road to face a solid Kansas team and before getting into the start of the of the South slate.

2005 Fun Stats: 
- Fourth quarter scoring: Opponents 102 - Oklahoma State 50
- Fourth down conversions: Oklahoma State 10 of 13 (77%) - Opponents 10 of 19 (53%)
- Interceptions: Opponents 17 for 186 yards - Oklahoma State 5 for 57 yards

The Last Time Oklahoma State…
…played in a bowl game…2004 (Alamo Bowl vs. Ohio State)
…missed a bowl game…2005
…pitched a shutout…2001 (Northwestern State)
…was shutout…2005 (Colorado)
…scored 50 points…2004 (SMU)
…went undefeated…1945
…won a conference title…1976 (share, Big Eight)
…had a 3,000-yard passer…2002 (Josh Fields)
…had a 1,000-yard rusher…2004 (Vernand Morency)
…had a 1,000-yard receiver…2003 (Rashaun Woods)
…had a first-round draft choice…2004 (WR Rashaun Woods)

Related Stories
Oklahoma State Preview 2006 - Defense
 -by CollegeFootballNews.com  Jul 31, 2006
Oklahoma State Preview 2006 - Offense
 -by CollegeFootballNews.com  Jul 31, 2006
Oklahoma State Preview 2006 Further Analysis
 -by CollegeFootballNews.com  Jul 31, 2006

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