2010 Oklahoma State Preview
Oklahoma State RB Kendall Hunter
Oklahoma State RB Kendall Hunter
Posted May 19, 2010

2009 was a strange and disappointing year for Oklahoma State, and while the expectations will be far lower this season, the team might turn out to be better. The offense is being changed up, the defense will be fast, and RB Kendall Hunter appears to be back to 100%. Check out the CFN 2010 OSU Preview.

Oklahoma State Cowboys

Preview 2010

- 2010 Oklahoma State Preview | 2010 Oklahoma State Offense
- 2010 Oklahoma State Defense | 2010 Oklahoma State Depth Chart
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By Pete Fiutak

Head coach: Mike Gundy
6th year: 36-27
Returning Lettermen:
Off. 12, Def. 17, ST 3
Lettermen Lost: 24
Ten Best OSU Players
1. RB Kendall Hunter, Sr.
2. LB Orie Lemon, Sr.
3. DE Ugo Chinasa, Sr.
4. WR Hubert Anyiam, Jr.
5. SS Markelle Martin, Jr.
6. DE Jamie Blatnick, Jr.
7. P Quinn Sharp, Soph.
8. WR Justin Blackmon, Soph.
9. OT Nick Martinez, Jr.
10. NT Chris Donaldson, Sr.
2010 Schedule

Sept. 4 Washington St
Sept. 11 Troy
Sept. 18 Tulsa
Sept. 25 OPEN DATE
Sept. 30 Texas A&M
Oct. 8 at Louisiana
Oct. 16 at Texas Tech
Oct. 23 Nebraska
Oct. 30 at Kansas St
Nov. 6 Baylor
Nov. 13 at Texas
Nov. 20 at Kansas
Nov. 27 Oklahoma

Oklahoma State football is a little like E!. It's flashy, it's pretty, it's entertaining, and it's also a lot of fluff without a lot of substance.

Like most "State" schools (like Michigan State to Michigan, Mississippi State to Ole Miss, Oregon State to Oregon, and so on), Oklahoma State has to play second fiddle to the big brother bully university that gets all the attention, has the better tradition and is simply the bigger deal, and that's not going to change no matter how much money ol' T. Boone throws at the program. That's fine as long as once in a while the little brother gets its licks in, and for Oklahoma State, the production simply hasn't been there on a consistent basis. That's not going to change this year.

Partially a victim of bad timing (the 2008 team might have pulled out the South last year when the division was winnable) and partially due to Oklahoma being such a monster, OSU has tried to make itself great by simply being as athletic as humanly possible. It can't get all the same players that OU and Texas can get, but there are enough fast prospects in the area to go around and the Cowboys always have their share. But to break through the ceiling and finally become the type of program that can go into each season realistically dreaming about winning the Big 12 title, it needs to come up with one magical year when everything goes right and generates the type of buzz that brings in more and more top players and more and more attention. This year has to be seen as the stepping stone to what might be a special season in 2011.

This year's team will be more than fine, it'll go bowling, and it'll have its share of bright spots against the big boys to get everyone excited. And unlike last season when the spotlight was on, the expectations will be low so OSU can just sneak up on everyone. But the key will be development, and while no one wants to hear that and no coaching staff will ever say that out loud, if head coach Mike Gundy and his staff plays this right, the payoff could be enormous.

There's a ton of turnover on both sides of the ball with several of last year's stars gone from OT Russell Okung and QB Zac Robinson on offense (not to mention WR Dez Bryant), and CB Perrish Cox and S Lucien Antoine from the defense, but this is a very fast, very athletic, and very promising team that should be loaded with a capital L next season. While there will be a little bit of turnover in 2011, the projected backups for this season in several spots have as much or more talent as the starters that will be gone, and all the young players who'll be thrown to the fire this season, most notably in the secondary and on the offensive line, should be ready to do big things after a little bit of seasoning. But again, fans want to win now and coaches are only thinking about this season.

Few teams will be faster and more athletic, and even with all the newcomers in key spots, OSU should be able to reload in a hurry in key areas like the offensive line and the offensive backfield. This is a sleeper team in the race, and while there will be at least eight wins and a bowl bid without much of a problem, getting those other four victories could be a struggle unless everyone grows up over the first month of the year. However, this will be a dangerous team that no one will be excited about facing. It might be just young enough not to know any better, and just good enough to pull off the big wins needed to finally get the program to a place it has longed to go.

What to watch for on offense:
The maturation of the offensive line. OSU has had some terrific skill players over the last several years, but the key the last few seasons has been the offensive front. The attack might not have been as stellar as expected last year, but Russell Okung and a group of veterans formed one of the nation's best front fives, and it would've received a whole bunch more attention in 2008 if Oklahoma's O line wasn't so special. This year, talented freshmen Parker Graham and Brandon Webb need time to grow into roles and push the projected starters while the rest of the line, led by three juniors, a sophomore, and just one senior, has to come together right away to make the skill guys look good.

What to watch for on defense: The secondary. There's a world of speed and upside at all four spots in the defensive backfield, and everyone is young and hungry. Sophomores Andrae May, Brodrick Brown, and Malcolm Murray and redshirt freshman LeRon Furr form the nucleus for a secondary that should eventually be terrific on the corners, while veteran Markell Martin and junior Johnny Thomas have the potential to be one of the Big 12's most productive safety tandems. OSU has never been a rock against good passing teams, but the faster this year's secondary matures and produces, the less pressure on the rest of the D.

The team will be far better if … a Dez Bryant-like wide receiver emerges. Hubert Anyiam had an all-star year as the No. 1 target after Bryant was suspended for the year early on, but there wasn't the same pop to a passing game that finished 99th in the nation. Everything was supposed to work around Bryant, but this year the big, fast corps should be ready to handle the load better with several good players like Josh Cooper and Justin Blackmon to join Anyiam to make the passing game go. RB Kendall Hunter will be the focal point of the attack and will take all the attention away from the passing game, and the receivers have to take advantage.

The schedule: The Cowboys will need a little time to rebuild, and they'll get it with three wins against teams that will provide a bit more than a light scrimmage (Washington State, Troy, and Tulsa) before getting 12 days to prepare for a Thursday night game against Texas A&M. Win that, and they're 5-0 before going to Texas Tech. Going to Texas is a problem but getting Oklahoma at home, even though the Sooners don't lose in the state of Oklahoma, is a plus. Having to play Nebraska, the star of the North, isn't a pluss, but at least the game is at Stillwater. After hosting the Huskers, three of the next four games are on the road.

Best offensive player: Senior RB Kendall Hunter. In a year when it was all about the offensive fireworks through the air, Hunter was the star of the ground games leading all Big 12 rushers in 2008 with 1,555 yards and 16 touchdowns to go along with 22 catches for 198 yards and a score. He was quick, he was powerful for his size, and he was consistent cranking out nine 100-yard games and scoring two rushing touchdowns six times. But a foot injury kept him under wraps last year and he gimped his way to 382 yards and a score. Now he's healthy, and if the line gives him the help, he's a lock for 1,000 yards.

Best defensive player: Senior DE Ugo Chinasa (or LB Orie Lemon if his knee is 100%). Chinasa hasn't lived up to his prep hype, but he has improved each year and is the type of player with the type of skills who might go from being an unknown to a devastating pass rushing maniac with the flip of a switch. He has good 6-5, 252 size, a great first step, and a ton of experience, but now he has to be more consistent and he has to do more to scare opposing passers. If he's not great, the rest of the defense is in trouble.

Key player to a successful season: Junior QB Brandon Weeden. The coaching staff won't hesitate to make bold moves when it comes to its quarterbacks (one classic rant about Bobby Reid proves that), the 26-year-old Weeden has to be good enough to make sure that no major changes need to be made. The 6-4, 224-pounder doesn't have to be special, but he has to keep the mistakes to a minimum and he has to keep the offense moving by letting his speedy playmakers do most of the work. With the former Houston offensive coordinator, Dana Holgorsen, at the helm, Weeden will get his chance to throw. If he's not great, then it'll be up to a freshman, there will be three to choose from, to try to save the season.

The season will be a success if … OSU wins nine regular season games. That's aiming way high for a team with so much turnover and won nine last year, but there are only three games on the schedule that would be acceptable losses: Nebraska, at Texas, Oklahoma. Everything else, from the game at Texas Tech to the trip to Kansas State to the home date with Texas A&M to the light and breezy non-conference slate, is winnable. However, OSU would happily trade a loss it shouldn't have if it means a win over the Huskers, Sooners, or Longhorns.

Key game: Oct. 16 at Texas Tech. If OSU can find the firepower on offense and just enough key stops on defense to beat Texas A&M in Stillwater on September 30th, it'll be a stunner if the record isn't 5-0 going into the trip to Lubbock. The game will be coming off a road game at Louisiana-Lafayette and is the second away game in a run of five road trips in five weeks. A loss with Nebraska coming up the following week and a date at Kansas State to follow might trigger a bad run to start the second half. Oh yeah, and there's still Texas and Oklahoma to deal with.

2009 Fun Stats:
- Opponent 1st quarter scoring: 30 – Opponent 2nd quarter scoring: 104
- Punt return average: Opponents 17.8 yards per try – OSU 13.3
- Sacks: Oklahoma State 29 for 203 yards – Opponents 11 for 65 yards

- 2010 Oklahoma State Preview | 2010 Oklahoma State Offense
- 2010 Oklahoma State Defense | 2010 Oklahoma State Depth Chart
- Oklahoma State Previews  2009 | 2008 | 2007 | 2006