2007 Oklahoma State Preview

Posted Apr 4, 2007

Oklahoma State returns enough talent to explode on offense and be better on defense, but will it be enough to break through in the Big 12 South? If Adarius Bowman is as good as he was last year, it's possible.

Oklahoma State Cowboys

Preview 2007

By Pete Fiutak & Michael Bradley

- 2007 OSU Offense Preview | 2007 OSU Defense Preview
2007 OSU Depth Chart | 2006 CFN OSU Preview 

Any time an alumnus comes through with a cool $165 million to finance an athletic facility spending binge, hopes tend to rise, steps get a little bouncier, and everybody walks around with a smile. Were Oklahoma State alum T. Boone Pickens’ generous donation the only bit of good news in Stillwater these days, it would certainly be enough. Add in a football team that returns 15 starters, including practically all of its offensive skill-position players, and you have reason for giddiness.

The Cowboys aren’t ready for BCS title game contention, especially with an entire defensive line to replace and some holes along the offensive front, but it’s not far off. There’s a buzz about the program thanks to last year’s seven-win season, Independence Bowl triumph, and four near-misses that OSU folks believe would have become victories with a more experienced club.

Head coach: Mike Gundy
3rd year: 11-13
Returning Lettermen: 44
Off. 20, Def. 21, ST 4
Lettermen Lost: 17
Ten Best OSU Players
1. WR Adarius Bowman, Sr.
2. LB Chris Collins, Soph.
3. QB Bobby Reid, Jr.
4. SS Andre Sexton, Soph.
5. RB Dantrell Savage, Sr.
6. RB Keith Toston, Soph.
7. DE Marque Fountain, Sr.
8. P Matt Fodge, Jr.
9. DE Nathan Peterson, Sr.
10. LB Patrick Lavine, Soph.

2007 Schedule
CFN Prediction:

Sept. 1

at Georgia

Sept. 8

Florida Atlantic

Sept. 14

at Troy

Sept. 22

Texas Tech

Sept. 29

Sam Houston St

Oct. 6

at Texas A&M

Oct. 13

at Nebraska

Oct. 20

Kansas State

Nov. 3


Nov. 10


Nov. 17

at Baylor

Nov. 24

at Oklahoma

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

This is that more experienced club beginning with junior QB Bobby Reid, who overcame a late benching to lead the Cowboys over Alabama in Shreveport. His continued development into a multiple threat could ensure a run at double-digit wins and perhaps a run at the Big 12 South title, although that could be a little premature.

Fact is, Oklahoma State is on the rise. Though some were scared when Les Miles left for LSU, Mike Gundy has done a good job continuing the progress which started under Miles and has even improved upon the recruiting (depending on which services you choose to believe). The trick now, as it is at all the Big 12 programs which aren’t national name brands, is to find a way into the championship chase – and beyond. This could be a big boost in that pursuit, since the Cowboys have so much talent returning and the momentum built up from last year’s bowl win.

The question is whether this team can put together a defense that has the same ferocity as its productive offense. It’s fun to score points, but when you allow 30 or more on seven different occasions (and 29 on another) and go 2-5 in those games, your off-season assignment is pretty clear. Gundy is hoping the hiring of new defensive coordinator Tim Beckham, late of Ohio State, to replace Vance Bedford, who left for Michigan, will do that. Perhaps the Cowboys have to sacrifice a little O to get better at stopping people; then again, maybe they can have both explosive power on one side of the ball and stingy play on the other. That would certainly establish them as a Big 12 powerhouse.   

And get Pickens to get that checkbook cranked up again.

What to look for on offense: Reid was benched in the regular-season finale against Oklahoma due to some shaky decision-making. There’s no question he has talent; now he must lead and win. He’ll do so in a balanced attack that produced almost equal yardage amounts on the ground or through the air. OSU senior wideout Adarius Bowman is ready for a huge season (not that last year was small), while backs Dantrell Savage and Keith Toston have 1,000-yard capabilities.

What to expect on defense: The Cowboys need to get their front wall fixed up, the better to prevent teams from gaining 4.0 yards a carry and scoring 17 ground TDs again. JUCO import Tonga Tea should help the tackle spot, while senior ends Marque Fountain and Nate Peterson combined for 12.5 sacks and 25 tackles behind the line in ’06.  Last year’s youthful back lines should be far stouter this season thanks to increased experience.

This team will be much better if…it can stop opposing quarterbacks from completing 60.8% of their passes. That was a big reason OSU ranked 88th in the nation in pass efficiency defense. A more experienced secondary will help, but the Cowboys also need their front four to put enough pressure on the passer so that Beckham won’t have to blitz too often.

The Schedule: It’s not great, but there are enough easy non-conference games (Florida Atlantic, at Troy, Sam Houston State) to assure a nice base of wins. There are only six home games, but they include key South battles against Texas Tech and Texas. Going to Texas A&M, Nebraska and Oklahoma might tough enough to prevent any dreams of winning the South. To make matters worse, those three are all in October. Starting the season off at Georgia, a more winnable game than many will predict, will be a good measuring stick to see just how much the program has progressed under Mike Gundy.

Best Offensive Player: Senior WR Adarius Bowman. With tight end size, decent speed and enough athleticism to be a part of the basketball team Bowman likely would’ve been one of the top 100 players taken in this year’s draft. He averaged a whopping 19.7 yards per catch with 12 touchdown grabs, and now he has the potential to do even more now that he has a year of experience in the system.

Best Defensive Player: Sophomore LB Chris Collins. If he’s back to his pre-knee injury form and doesn’t have further problems with an alleged sexual assault charge, he’ll be a lock for All-Big 12 honors. One of the league’s newest stars, Collins was all over the place in the first six games making play after play before getting knocked out against Kansas forcing him to miss the final seven games. He’s the type of defender to build a defensive front seven around.

Key player to a successful season: Junior NT Jeray Chatham. The 280-pound junior will combine with Tonga Tea to take over on the nose. With the defensive line one of the only areas of big concern, these two have to be rocks against the run and the type of anchors who gum everything up so the rest of the defense can fly into the backfield like the coaching staff would like.

The season will be a success if ... the Cowboys win eight regular season games. It took a bowl win over Alabama to get to seven wins last season, and now the offense should be even better, the defense gets the entire back seven back, and the coaching staff appears to be hitting its stride as far as knowing what it’s doing. Coming up with a win over Georgia, Nebraska, Texas A&M, Oklahoma or Texas is a must, while winning two of the bigger Big 12 games could make OSU a major player in the South race.

Key game: Sept. 22 vs. Texas Tech. The Cowboys have won their last two at home against the Red Raiders, and it’s a must that it becomes three in a row with the meat of the league schedule coming up with three road games and Texas over the next five Big 12 games. It’s the conference opener for OSU, and if it can win, it’ll likely be no worse than 4-1 going into the road dates at Texas A&M and Nebraska.

2006 Fun Stats: 
- Sacks: Oklahoma State 37 for 250 yards – Opponents 18 for 120 yards
- Penalties: Oklahoma State 74 for 614 yards – Opponents 56 for 424 yards
- Average yards per carry: Oklahoma State 5.2 – Opponents 4.0


Related Stories
2007 Oklahoma State Preview - Offense
 -by CollegeFootballNews.com  Apr 3, 2007
2007 Oklahoma State Preview - Defense
 -by CollegeFootballNews.com  Aug 6, 2007
2007 Oklahoma State Preview - Depth Chart
 -by CollegeFootballNews.com  Apr 3, 2007

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