Oklahoma State Preview 2006 Further Analysis
Oklahoma State Cowboys
Posted Jul 31, 2006

Oklahoma State Cowboys Preview 2006 - Further Analysis

1st and Ten – Unknown, underrated and under the radar, but boy, is he good – When a team finishes a season 4 and 7 it’s hard for anyone, outside of a head coach who gets put on the proverbial hot seat unless it’s his first year (hello, Coach Gundy), to garner any recognition from the college football world.  But, that didn’t stop Mike Hamilton from becoming one of the best running backs in the Big XII.  His numbers from last season aren’t by any means overwhelming – 961 yards and only one touchdown, but that doesn’t mean that the opposing defenses haven’t caught on to how dangerous Hamilton is when he gets his hands on the ball.  Not to mention the fact that he’s a big back with some speed (6’1”, 215) he’s tough to tackle when he’s running behind his pads.  He’s also a solid receiver out of the backfield, catching 20 balls last year.  And, he’s only a sophomore.  But, to understand the full effect he had on this team, consider how inconsistent the Cowboys’ QBs were last year throwing the football.  Hamilton was the rock that offensive coordinator Larry Fedora knew he had to rely upon (by the way, how did this kid get out of the state of Florida, considering the fact none of the big three universities in the state have a back like this guy?).   He should be a 1,000 yard back this year, but it might only happen if Bobby Reid turns into the QB who once ‘owned’ the city of Houston when he was at North Shore High School.  Hamilton puts a load of pressure on defenses with his myriad of skills and that makes utilizing him that much easier.  Should make it easier.  When Reid finally puts the S back on his chest, the combination of he and Hamilton could be ultra-dangerous in the Big 12.  With another performance like the one Hamilton put in last year, he won’t be unknown for long.

2nd and Seven – Safeties become linebackers, linebackers become defensive ends – It’s been nearly two decades since Miami head coach (and former Cowboy head coach) Jimmy Johnson decided he’d seen enough of his defense getting torched.  So, he changed his defensive philosophy to get more speed on the field – he put safeties at LB, LB at DE and DE at DT.  That philosophy has been used for years and at Oklahoma State last season the beneficiary of that movement was former LB turned DE Victor DeGrate.  As a junior, he put on some lbs and became the team’s best pass rusher off the edge.  As a linebacker, he had to learn how to use his hands to play off of blocks, but at DE, the technique ends up being a bit different.  As such, DeGrate still has to get used to playing the run and beating blockers off the ball with his quickness, but it’s the offensive tackles who have to deal with his speed off the edge.  DeGrate had 5 sacks in his first year, while still learning, so teams are going to have to spend time and effort preparing for him coming off the corner.  But, in so doing, stud DT Ryan McBean could wreck havoc from the middle if he’s allowed to be one-on-one, as opponents spend more time attempting to stop DeGrate.  Of course, in Johnson’s scheme, DTs really didn’t have any place to go, so McBean’s going to be a DT for life.

3rd and Three – The legacy and the transfer – After following in his brother’s massive footprints, Cowboy WR D’Juan Woods continues to make tracks of his own.  He sits third on the career receiving list behind his brother Rashaun and Hart Lee Dykes and could have a final year that rivaled what his brother did in 2003.  But, the one reason that Woods may have fewer catches in 2006 is also the same reason why Woods may not see as much ‘rolled’ or double coverage this year – Adarius Bowman.  The transfer from North Carolina is a physical specimen and was on track to be a major star in Chapel Hill before he was dismissed from the team in 2004.  But, there’s no question that this young man has as much physical ability as any receiver that will be on the field, for or against the Cowboys.  The combination of Woods and Bowman will be a huge surprise for Big XII opponents and if Reid, wait, is this a broken record?  Maybe so, but if Reid finds consistent footing, he’s got weapons to throw to, that’s for sure - the legacy and the transfer.

4th and One – Time to make the doughuts – Potential can be an albatross that hangs around a player’s neck forever.  When one is blessed with as much talent as OT Corey Hilliard, no one ever seems to be satisfied.  Ever since his freshman season when he stepped into the starting lineup, he’s been projected to be one of the best linemen in the Big XII.  Although he’s had his moments, he just hasn’t consistently hit that level that most thought he would reach.  He’s got good feet and is as athletic as any tackle in this conference or others, but the time to dominate the edge is at hand.  Although the tackle position demands that an OL be solid in pass protection, Hilliard is more a run game stud.  His pass protection skills have to catch up with his ground game skills.  When they do, well, potential may turn into cash – as in first day of the NFL draft cash. 

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