2012 Oklahoma State Cowboys Football Preview
2011 Record: 12-1 (8-1 Big 12)
Head Coach: Mike Gundy, eighth season (59-30 all at Oklahoma State)
Projected Returning Starters: 16
Spring Game: April 21st (Gray 31 Orange 21)
Notes: In 2001, Oklahoma State hired Les Miles to turn around their football program, replacing Bob Simmons. To date, Miles first season at Oklahoma State is the only one in which he had a losing record. He was 1-2 in bowl games before departing for Baton Rouge. With Miles leaving Stillwater, Mike Gundy was hired as his replacement. Cowboy fans remember Gundy as having played quarterback under Pat Jones. Gundy, Miles’ offensive coordinator at Oklahoma State, struggled in his first season as head coach in 2005. The Pokes went 4-7 that season, only beating Texas Tech. Since then, the Cowboys have been to six straight bowls, including the Fiesta Bowl last season, going 4-2 in those games. Oklahoma State finished third in the country last year, winning the Big 12 and posting their highest ranking under Gundy.
BVTSB Take: Key pieces of the Cowboys offense have been lost to the NFL Draft, putting them in somewhat of a rebuilding year. Still, a rebuilding year doesn’t mean the Pokes can’t compete, or even win the Big 12, it just means its going to be a lot tougher than last season. Quarterback Brandon Weeden is now a member of the NFL’s Cleveland Browns. He threw for 4727 yards last year, completing 72.3% of his passes, while throwing for 37 touchdowns. Expect a significant drop off in those numbers. Clint Chelf, Wes Lunt, and J.W. Walsh all saw playing time in the spring game. Chelf is the only one of the three to have experience at quarterback; even then, he only attempted 30 passes last year (37 yards and 3 touchdowns). Walsh is a mobile redshirt freshman quarterback, while Lunt is a true freshman. Following the spring game, Gundy announced that Lunt would be the starting quarterback; the quarterback is nearly ten years younger than last year’s starter. Lunt was a four-star pro style quarterback from Illinois, ranked in the top ten at his position, in the country. Charlie Moore emerged as a star from the spring game, as the wide receiver caught nine passes for 243 yards and three touchdowns during the Orange and Gray Game. Tracy Moore, Josh Stewart, Isaiah Anderson, and Blake Jackson are the expect starters at wide receiver, with Moore being the only returning starter. Leading receivers Justin Blackmon (1522 receiving yards and 18 touchdowns) and Josh Cooper (715 receiving yards and 3 touchdowns) are now members of the NFL’s Jacksonville Jaguars and Cleveland Browns, respectively. The two accounted for 192 catches, 44.8% of the total catches of Oklahoma State wide receivers. By contrast, Moore, Stewart, and Anderson accounted for 92 catches last year, totaling 1278 receiving yards and 10 touchdowns. Expect the receiving corps numbers to decrease a bit this year, with inexperience at both the receiver and quarterback positions. Expect Oklahoma State to rely a bit more on the running game, especially since Joseph Randle and Jeremy Smith return. Randle had 1216 rushing yards and 24 rushing touchdowns last season, while Smith had 646 rushing yards and 9 rushing touchdowns. The two combined for over 90% of the team’s rushing yards and nearly 92% of the team’s rushing touchdowns. Oklahoma State opens with Savannah State, Arizona, and Louisiana-Lafayette. Oklahoma State does face Oklahoma on the road, as well as Kansas State, but has Texas, TCU, and West Virginia at home. The quarterback play will determine Oklahoma State’s success this season. Their pass defense did a great job of forcing turnovers, can they do the same this year?
2012 Early Projection: 8-4
To see the 2012 Big 12 composite schedule, click here.
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