2009 CFN Oklahoma State Preview
Oklahoma State QB Zac Robinson
Oklahoma State QB Zac Robinson
Posted Jun 16, 2009

CollegeFootballNews.com 2009 Preview - Oklahoma State Cowboys

Oklahoma State Cowboys

Preview 2009

By Pete Fiutak

Interested in blogging about OSU football?  Let us know

- 2009 CFN Oklahoma State Preview | 2009 OSU Offense
- 2009 OSU Defense | 2009 OSU Depth Chart
- 2008 OSU Preview | 2007 OSU Preview | 2006 OSU Preview

Head coach: Mike Gundy
5th year: 27-23
Returning Lettermen: 
Off. 14, Def. 18, ST 2
Lettermen Lost: 15
Ten Best OSU Players
1. WR Dez Bryant, Jr.
2. OT Russell Okung, Sr.
3. QB Zac Robinson, Sr.
4. RB Kendall Hunter, Jr.
5. LB Andre Sexton, Sr.
6. LB Patrick Lavine, Sr.
7. CB/KR Perrish Cox, Sr.
8. LB Orie Lemon, Sr.
9. FS Lucien Antoine, Sr.
10. OT Brady Bond, Sr.

2009 Schedule
CFN Prediction: 10-2
2009 Record: 0-0

9/5 Georgia
9/12 Houston
9/19 Rice
9/26 Grambling State
10/10 at Texas A&M
10/17 Missouri
10/24 at Baylor
10/31 Texas
11/7 at Iowa State
11/14 Texas Tech
11/19 Colorado
11/28 at Oklahoma

2008 Schedule
CFN Prediction:
2008 Record: 9-

8/30 Wash. St W 39-13
9/6 Houston W 56-37
9/13 Missouri State W 57-13
9/27 Troy W 55-24
10/4 Texas A&M W 56-28
10/11 at Missouri W 28-23
10/18 Baylor W 34-6
10/25 at Texas L 28-24
11/1 Iowa State W 59-17
11/8 at Texas Tech L 56-20
11/15 at Colorado W 30-17
11/29 Oklahoma L 61-41
Holiday Bowl
12/30 Oregon L 42-31

For all the fireworks, and for all the stats, and for all the offensive wizardry, and for all of the "I'm a man" bluster, and for all T. Boone money, has Oklahoma State really arrived yet?

This seems like it should be one of the "it" teams going into the 2009 season, along with Ole Miss and California, but this is still a program that was no better than fourth in its own division, got ripped up by Oregon's running game in the Cotton Bowl, and beat one team with a pulse, Missouri, all year long.

Coming close to beating Texas doesn't cut it, and playing Thomas Hearns to Oklahoma's Marvin Hagler in a 61-41 home loss is still a loss. Oklahoma State isn't going to settle for coming close on a regular basis now that it has had a taste of what it's like to be close to the big-time. It's openly talking about winning a Big 12 title with bracelets being worn with the date of the championship game, and with an uber-booster in Pickens leading the way, the expectations are being set at an unprecedented level.

OSU isn't going to be this year's Texas Tech, considering an 11-1 record would be phenomenal with Georgia, Missouri, Texas, Oklahoma, and Texas Tech to deal with, but it has all the talent and all the athleticism to honestly shoot for the title in the nation's toughest division.

The program has been building to this point under Mike Gundy, who has a loaded team on both sides of the ball in his fifth year at the helm. The skill players are among the best in America, while future first-round draft pick Russell Okung leads a line that's as good as any. The offense will put up points in bunches, but it'll be up to the defense to stop the better teams.

It's not just that OSU gave up a ton of yards and points last year, every Big 12 defense stunk, but it was the inconsistency. Just when it seemed like the defense was going to be not-that-bad, bombing from Texas Tech kicked off an ugly finishing kick that put the pressure on going into this season. The D doesn't have to be a brick wall, but it has to be merely average for this to be a big year. That can happen.

It's not quite right to call this a make-or-break year for the program, but there might not be a convergence of so many positives at the same time. From the talent level, to getting most of the big conference games at home, to the buzz that can only surround a team and the program that believes it's on the ascension to big things, it's all there. Now it's time to finally prove it belongs.

What to look for on offense: The secondary receivers. Dez Bryant has to stay healthy, which has been a wee bit of a problem, even though he's been able to tough it out when needed, but even if he's 100% the second and third receivers need to start doing more. So who will they be? DeMarcus Conner and Justin Blackmon are projected to be starters, but Isaiah Anderson and Hubert Anyiam are good options ready to make a splash.

What to look for on defense: More of a pass rush. New defensive coordinator Bill Young will try to release the hounds and get all the speed an athleticism on the Cowboy defense to start to produce big things. The pass rush was non-existent throughout last year and the secondary suffered. At all costs against the pass-happy Big 12 attacks, OSU has to sell out to hit a quarterback. The results can't be too much worse after getting picked apart for 270 yards per game and 28 scores.

This team will be much better if Young's pass rush really does come through. The linebacking corps should be terrific with all three starters returning and there's speed and hitting ability in the secondary. But after finishing last in the Big 12 in sacks, OSU has to unearth someone who can close on a quarterback. However, it's not like OSU was never in the backfield, with a lot of chasing of Missouri's Chase Daniel, for one example. If the defensive front can go from making 15 sacks to coming up with around 25, the defense could be far, far more effective.

The Schedule:
Georgia. September 5th. If it's time for Oklahoma State to be a real, live player in the college football world, and if it wants to get the taste of the Holiday Bowl out of its mouth, it needs to beat the Dawgs at home to set the tone for the season. The week after against Houston isn't going to be a whole bunch easier in what could be the most exciting offensive shootout of the Big 12 non-conference season. Things get a lot easier after that with a rebuilding Missouri coming to Stillwater the toughest game to deal with until a Halloween battle with Texas. Colorado will be improved, but facing the Buffs along with Iowa State from the North isn't a bad thing considering it means OSU doesn't have to deal with Nebraska. The Texas and Texas Tech games are at home, but the regular season ends at Oklahoma.

Best Offensive Player: Junior WR Dez Bryant. No argument here if anyone wants to vote for left tackle Russell Okung, quarterback Zac Robinson, or running back Kendall Hunter as the team's best offensive player. But Bryant is the weapon that everyone will try to erase first, but that's easier said than done. He has to stay healthy and he has to prove he can dominate no matter what the opposing secondary does, but he has the combination of skills that could make him a top ten draft pick if he chooses to leave early next year.

Best Defensive Player: Senior Star Andre Sexton. Fellow linebacker Patrick Lavine has been the team's most consistent tackler over the last three years, and middle linebacker Orie Lemon might lead the team in stops now that he knows what he's doing, but Sexton is the playmaker. The former safety was a star on the strongside with a team-leading 100 tackles, and now he'll likely be used more as a pass rusher from his strongside spot.

Key player to a successful season: Sophomore DE Jamie Blatnick. Or junior end Ugo Chinasa, or sophomore end Richetti Jones, or senior end Jeremiah Price, or all of the above. All the talk of the improvements in the pass rush will come down to the ends. If they don't produce, then the linebackers will have more responsibility to get into the backfield and the back seven will suffer. If the ends rock, then watch out for what the D can do.

The season will be a success if ... the Cowboys the Big 12 South. OSU is thinking big, like, BCS Championship big, but it can't get there without winning the Big 12, and it can't get there without winning the South. It might be this simple, though; win the South, and get to the national championship. With an offense this good, shooting for anything less wouldn't be quite right. However, the team has to come up with a win over ...

Key game: Oct. 31 vs. Texas. 1997, 11 years ago, was the last time Oklahoma State beat Texas, and that Longhorn team finished an awful 4-7. Texas doesn't just beat Oklahoma State, it seems to do it in soul-crushing fashion. Actually, most of the wins have been blowouts, but OSU has to stop the slide this year to have any real hope of winning the South. If the Cowboys can pull off the season-opening win over Georgia and can beat Texas, barring an upset, they'll be 11-0 going into the Oklahoma showdown. 

2008 Fun Stats: 
- Fourth down conversions: Oklahoma State 14-of-20 (70%) - Opponents 18-of-27 (67%)
- Total offense: Oklahoma State 6,340 yards - Opponents 5,272 yards
- Punt return average: Oklahoma State 18.4 yards per try - Opponents 6.4 yards per try

- 2009 CFN Oklahoma State Preview | 2009 OSU Offense
- 2009 OSU Defense | 2009 OSU Depth Chart
- 2008 OSU Preview | 2007 OSU Preview | 2006 OSU Preview