Breaking news, rankings, predictions and analysis all in one place.

College Football Preview: 10. Oklahoma State Cowboys

10. Oklahoma State Cowboys

It was a disappointing year in Stillwater last season. Coming off a Big 12 championship season in 2011 the Cowboys struggled to find a consistent quarterback and their defense was terrible at times all ending up with a 8-5 record. If the Cowboys stay healthy with a weakened Big 12 it could be a record-setting year for Oklahoma State.

J.W. Walsh
Backfield: Wes Lunt, a freshman, started off as the Cowboys' starting quarterback in 2012. Though injuries hit and the Cowboys ended up using junior Clint Chelf and freshman J.W. Walsh. Lunt is going to transfer to Illinois so the quarterback competition is now done between Chelf and Walsh. Chelf is the more experienced and has a strong, accurate arm. He was named the starter of the spring game and it looks like coach Mike Gundy may be leaning towards him. Walsh has more star potential with a huge arm and the ability to scramble but decision making is an issue. Whoever starts has the talent around him and is in the right system to have a huge year. Last year's leading rusher Joseph Randle is now gone leaving an opening at the halfback position. Senior Jeremy Smith has the edge right now after rushing for 371 yards and eight touchowns in a relief role last season. Bigger and more powerful junior Desmond Roland should also be a factor in 2013. Fullback Kyle Staley should help lead the way for an improving ground game.

Receivers: Senior Tracy Moore is ready for a breakout year after receiving a medical redshirt last year. Being the best receiver in this air raid offense means Moore should rack up a ton of receptions and yards. If he can stay healthy Moore could remind a lot of Oklahoma State fans of Justin Blackmon. Junior Josh Stewart could have a big year as well. He is incredibly quick with great hands and can be a leader. Freshman Ra'Shaad Samples is ready to be an instant playmaker in this offense. An Under Armour All-American, Samples provide instant offense. Senior Charlie Moore should also help break in the quarterback. He does a good job of moving the chains though he isn't necessarily explosive.
Josh Stewart

Offensive Line:  6-7 Parker Graham moves from tackle to guard after two great years at the tackle spot. He is massive but he should be one of the most athletic guards in the nation after spending time at tackle. Senior left guard Brandon Webb should likely be the anchor of this line. He uses his big frame to push big D-Linemen backwards. He knows a lot of these pass rushers in the Big 12 after seeing them for three years. Junior center Jake Jenkins looks like he'll have a solid season. Though he needs to stay healthy because the Cowboys have very little depth behind him. All across the offensive line we see a lot of potential and some solid experience.

Defensive Line: In order for the defense to improve from a season in which they allowed 420+ yards per game and 28.1 points per game they need more pressure from their line. Junior college transfer Calvin Barnett emerged as a bright spot for Okahoma State in 2012 after recording 8.5 tackles for loss. After winning Big 12 Defensive Newcomer of the Year the 'Boys should look to Barnett to be a leader. Senior end Tyler Johnson appears ready to be a contributor right away after recording 4 sacks last season. Starting alongside Barnett at the opposite defensive tackle slot will be junior James Castleman who is a proven run stuffer. Juco transfer Sam Wren should also provide some much needed depth. If Barnett continues his strong play in the Big 12 and Tyler Johnson emerges as a dominant pass rusher teams shouldn't be able to gain any easy yards against OSU.

Linebackers: The Cowboys don't have any stars in this linebacker group but it appears like it will be a solid unit in 2013. Senior Shaun Lewis has had a great career so far in Stillwater and will look to finish it out with an impressive performance. He recognizes plays a lot better now than he did early in his career and has matured in a ton of ways. Another senior, middle linebacker Caleb Lavey also hopes for a big year. He also has great instincts and has a nose for the ball. Although these two seem like they have been at Oklahoma State for a while the rest of this linebacker group is young. Sophomores Ryan Simmons and Kris Catlin should spend a lot of time at the outside 'backer spot. Sophomore DeMarcus Sherod, also a sophomore, should provide depth behind Lavey in case injuries are a factor.

Secondary: A lot of last year's defensive struggles were blamed on the Cowboys' secondary. Though a good group of returners and some impact freshman should definitely change that. Senior free safety Daytawion Lowe is the Cowboys' leading returning tackler after recording 75 tackles and he also had 2 interceptions. He has fantastic instincts and can really rack up tackles. Senior Justin Gilbert does most of his damage in special teams but he can be lockdown occasionally. He is a pretty hard hitter and loves to cover receivers like a shadow. Junior Lyndell Johnson moved from linebacker to safety a move that could really benefit them. With his ability to tackle in the open field and speed to the ball he could compete for the starting job at the strong safety position. The best prospect out of Kansas this year freshman cornerback Jerel Morrow is a hard-hitter with loads of potential.

With a pretty weak Big 12 and a lot of talent on both sides of the ball the Cowboys are ready for their second conference title in three years if they can stay away from injuries.

No comments:

Theme images by LUGO. Powered by Blogger.