2013 Oklahoma State Spring Football Analysis
Oklahoma State Cowboys 2013 ...
Head Coach: Mike Gundy
Why To Be Excited 2012 was the rebuilding year, and it was still excellent. While the bar was set higher than 8-5 after coming within a whisper of playing for the 2011 national title, it was a young team that lost a few tough battles while keeping the offense playing at a ridiculously high level. The receiving corps should be fantastic with Josh Stewart looking more and more like a burgeoning star, and the pass protection should be solid with the return of Parker Graham and Daniel Koenig on the outside. The defense that was so maddeningly inconsistent has a nice building block in the middle to work around in tackles James Castleman and Calvin Barnett
8/31 Miss State (in Houston)
9/7 at UTSA
9/21 OPEN DATE
9/28 at West Virginia
10/5 Kansas State
10/12 OPEN DATE
10/26 at Iowa State
11/2 at Texas Tech
11/16 at Texas
11/30 OPEN DATE
Why To Be Grouchy The quarterback situation will be the talk of the offseason, but the defensive side needs to generate more of a pass rush after losing ends Nigel Nicholas, Cooper Bassett and Ryan Robinson. While Tyler Johnson is an up-and-coming factor, he’s a bit undersized and needs to be a part of a rotation. Getting into the backfield wasn’t a problem for the Cowboys throughout the season, but hitting the quarterback on a regular basis was an issue. The less the linebackers have to do to get to the passer, and the less the defensive tackles have to focus on collapsing the pocket, the better.
What Needs Working On The quarterback situation needs to be settled as soon as humanly possible so everything can start to mesh with new offensive coordinator Mike Yurcich. Part of the plan behind going with then-true freshman Wes Lunt was that he’d develop into the job as his first year went on, but instead he got hurt and the next man in kept producing. On the positive side, there’s no wrong answer after Lunt, Clint Chelf and J.W. Walsh all did a terrific job of moving the offense. Walsh provides more of a rushing threat, but Lunt and Chelf to a bit more of what Mike Gundy wants. There’s a reason Lunt was anointed as the main man to start last season – he has the biggest upside and the best pure passing skills – but if he wants to be the star of the Oklahoma State offensive juggernaut over the next three seasons, he has to make it happen this spring.
Non-Conference Games: Mississippi State, at UTSA, Lamar
Realistic Best Case Record: 10-2
Worst Case Record: 7-5
Likely Finish: 9-3
Pre-Preseason Projected Wins: at UTSA, Lamar, Kansas State, TCU, at Iowa State, at Texas Tech, Kansas, Baylor, Oklahoma
Pre-Preseason Projected Losses: Mississippi State, at West Virginia, at Texas
Schedule Analysis: It’s an interesting slate from start to finish, opening up with a statement game against a strong Mississippi State team in Houston before going to what’s sure to be a fired up Alamodome to play UTSA – don’t laugh; the Roadrunners have a good fan base. And then comes the annual Oklahoma State stat-filler with Lamar coming into Boone Pickens before getting a week off to gear up for the Big 12 season.
It’s not a bad way to start out the conference campaign with a trip to West Virginia to kick things off before getting Kansas State at home. If the Cowboys can get through those two games 2-0, with a week off before hosting TCU, going to Iowa State and Texas Tech, and welcoming Kansas, a 6-0 Big 12 start is on the table before going to Texas. It’s a long year, but that’s a positive with a third bye week to rest up late and prepare for the Bedlam showdown against Oklahoma.
Team Concerns For 2013: The Cowboys have a ton of returning talent, but there are still several areas that need to be solidified. The quarterback situation has to be settled this offseason, but it's a good situation with several good options who know what they're doing. Jeremy Smith has to take over and shine at running back in place of Joseph Randle, and he needs the line to be fantastic again despite the loss of center Evan Epstein and guard Lane Taylor. Improvements in the secondary would be a help after giving up 280 yards per game, but three starters are back. Replacing ends Ryan Robinson, Nigel Nicholas and Cooper Bassett will be hard from a front seven that was great at coming up with big plays behind the line.
The 2013 Class Is Heavy On ... Defensive linemen. The stars of the class are are receiver with Marcell Ateman and Ra'Shaad Samples looking to be part of the great run of OSU targets, but the defensive front could turn out to get the most help. JUCO transfer Sam Wren is a ready-made end, but Naim Mustafaa the best pass rusher in the bunch. Defensive tackle Ben Hughes has the size, while Vincent Taylor has the motor to shine once he beefs up a bit. Safety Jordan Sterns and running backs Corion Webster and Rennie Childs have good upside.
2012 CFN Recruiting Ranking: 28. That Class Was Heavy On ... Pass catchers. Oklahoma State is becoming known for developing top-shelf receivers, and the recruits are noticing with several good ones signing on along with JUCO transfer Blake Jackson and some excellent tight ends. Last year’s class brought in a ton of top skill prospects, and this year’s class looks even stronger in the receiving corps. The defense went strong on pass rushers a few years ago, and this year’s haul will be for the next cycle once the 2009 group is done.
2011 CFN Recruiting Ranking: 19. That Class Was Heavy On ... Really, really good skill players. The bulk of the class is on the defensive front with James Castelman leading the group of defensive tackles, and Jimmy Bean is a promising end for down the road while JUCO transfer Ryan Robinson will likely see time right away, but the stars are on offense. With the success of Dez Bryant the Justin Robinson, getting receivers isn’t a problem with Desmond Rolany, Johnny Haynes, and David Glidden all good enough to be the next great Cowboy target. J.W. Walsh is a fantastic quarterback prospect with the potential to do a little of everything for the offense, while Herschel Sims is one of the nation’s top running back recruits.
2010 CFN Recruiting Ranking: 17. That Class Was
Heavy On ... Defensive backs.
No one is talking much about Oklahoma State's class
mainly because Texas and Oklahoma stole all the
limelight, but this was a great year for Mike Gundy.
The secondary got lots and lots of bodies with eight
prospect signed including corner Tommie Saunders and
corner Larry Stephens. JUCO transfer Malcolm Murray
is a big, skilled corner. Quarterbacks Nathan
Sorenson and Johnny Deaton will get their chances
right away to compete for the starting gig, while RB
Joseph Randle might be too good to keep off the
field. Shaun Lewis and Caleb Lavey will be good
starters for the linebacking corps by 2013.
2009 CFN Recruiting Ranking: 40. That Class Was
Heavy On ... pass rushers. The Cowboys weren’t bad at getting into the backfield over the last few years, but they weren’t good at closing. Getting to the quarterback in the pass-happy Big 12 South is a must, and OSU put a priority on bringing in players who can do that. David Paulsen will be a starter on the outside within the next three years, while Anthony Rogers could be special with a little seasoning. Linebackers LeRon Furr and Jordan Barnes can move and will be excellent blitzers.