Oklahoma State Cowboys 2013 College Football Preview
2012 Record: 8-5 (5-4)
Boone Pickens Stadium Stillwater, OK
Odds to Win the Big 12: 5-2 See the Latest Odds
Oklahoma State Cowboys
Head Coach: Mike Gundy (10th Year, 67-35)
Kevin Jairaj-USA TODAY Sports
2012 Record: 8-5 (5-4)
Last Bowl Appearance: 2013 Heart of Dallas Bowl 58-14 W Purdue
8/31 Miss State (in Houston)
9/7 at UTSA
9/28 at West Virginia
10/5 Kansas State
10/26 at Iowa State
11/2 at Texas Tech
11/16 at Texas
2012 Review: Last season was little more than a time to convalesce after the remarkable highs and lows of 2011. Brandon Weeden to Justin Blackmon was the nation’s most prolific QB to WR combo, propelling the Cowboys to within a hair of playing for a national title. Having to replace that duo, along with essentially the entire O-Line and several key players on defense didn’t sink the Cowboys as much as expected, though. Especially considering OSU had the most tenuous QB situation in the Big 12, playing QB carousel between Clint Chelf, J.W. Walsh and Wes Lunt for much of 2012.
Player Ready To Shine: Jr. WR Josh Stewart (5-10, 185). Who was calling the plays was of no consequence to Stewart last season and he poured it on in Oklahoma State’s final two regular season games with an 11 catch, 150 yard performance at Oklahoma and 12 catches for 147 yards against Baylor. Stewart ended the year with a stellar 101 receptions for 1,210 yards and 7 touchdowns on his way to first team All Big 12 Honors.
Offense: The QB situation is obviously a concern with no real standout emerging last season. Soph. J.W. Walsh (6-2, 205) and Sr. Clint Chelf (6-1, 210) passed for almost identical numbers,1,564 YDS, 13 TDs and 3 INTs with a 66.9% completion rate, and 1,588 YDS, 15 TDs and 6 INTs with a 60.4% completion rate respectively. Chelf has the bigger arm and will likely get first crack because of seniority, but Walsh is the better athlete and the more mobile option. Soph. Wes Lunt (6-5, 210) also saw some time behind center as a true freshman, passing for 1,108 YDs, 6 TDs and 7 INTs on 61.8% passing, but ultimately decided to transfer out. The carousel thing usually never works out, but with each guy on the depth chart pretty much as steady as the next, who’s to say it can’t? The WR corps should be the star of this offense. Outside of Stewart, who’s also a dangerous returner on special teams, the Cowboys possess a stable of sizable targets in seniors Blake Jackson (6-3, 235) and Charlie Moore (6-2, 202), who both tallied over 500 yards receiving in 2012. The RB group lost its most productive member to the NFL in three-year workhorse Joseph Randle, but Sr. Jeremy Smith (5-10, 208), 371 YDs and 8 TDs on 70 carries last season, and Jr. Desmond Roland (6-2, 210), 301 YDs and 4 TDs on 46 attempts, both appeared ready this past spring to jump into the fold. The O-Line is an unknown, losing three starters and returning just one player to speak of, Soph. OT Devin Davis (6-5, 298). Davis started two games as a redshirt freshman in 2012.
Defense: The Cowboys do return some standout talent on defense, including pro prospect Sr. DT Calvin Barnett (6-2, 300). Barnett led the team in tackles for loss with eight last season. A fireplug in the middle, Barnett should be the anchor of a defense rife with athletes. The unit with maybe the most next level talent on this OSU roster is the secondary, led by Sr. FS Daytawion Lowe (5-11, 205). Lowe is a heat-seeking missile, whose specialty is lowering the boom on whatever unfortunate soul is in possession of the football. The hardest-hitting DB in this secondary, Lowe led the Cowboys with 97 tackles in 2011, and recorded 75 last season. Sr. SS Shamiel Gray (6-0, 210) is another of this secondary’s next level talents. The Wyoming transfer had 72 stops and 2 INTs last season. OSU’s best player at corner is Sr. Justin Gilbert (6-0, 200), 63 tackles in 2012. Gilbert has the size, speed and athleticism to shadow the Big 12’s best receivers. Starting at the other corner will be Soph. Kevin Peterson (5-11, 185), a high school track champion and one of the fastest members of this OSU team. The LB corps returns another pro prospect in Sr. LB Shaun Lewis (5-11, 225), 58 tackles last season. Lewis is one of the better cover guys on this defense and will also need to become adept at getting to the QB in new defensive coordinator Glenn Spencer’s “more aggressive style of defense.” Also returning to this unit is Sr. MLB Caleb Lavey (6-3, 235), 53 tackles, 7 for a loss in 2012. Lavey is a consistent performer and maybe the headiest player on this defense.
Special Teams: The kicking team must replace Quinn Sharp, who did double duty as a punter and place kicker last season. Soph. K Bobby Stonebreaker and Jr. P Michael Reichenstein lead the depth chart heading into the season. Justin Gilbert returns as the man on kickoffs after averaging 25.8 per return last season, and. wideout Josh Stewart looks to be the leading candidate to return punts in 2013.
Final Thoughts: Head Coach Mike Gundy will probably always be known more for his press conference meltdown back in 07 than what he’s done with the OSU football program and that’s a cryin shame. The Cowboys genuinely deserved a title shot two years ago, but that’s a different argument and I’m sure we’ll hear it again come December, per usual. The Cowboys are loaded this season and, the QB situation notwithstanding, a return to the Big 12 Championship is probably a safe bet at this point.
Follow me on Twitter @SCPRick