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2016 Fierce 40 Previews: #28 Oklahoma State

by DJ Boyer on Jul. 20, 2016

#28 Oklahoma State Cowboys

2015 Recap:

One might see the 10-3 record for Oklahoma State in 2015 and think "That sounds like a pretty good year". Then you dive in and realize this team was 10-0 and had fate in their own hands to make the BCS Playoffs. Now granted Baylor and Oklahoma is a tough way to end the season and few thought they would end up 12-0. It was the way they got beat, especially against Baylor that exposed this team as a fraud and rightfully out of the BCS title hunt. Oklahoma State was a good team but not a great team that deserved a playoff birth.


Coaching:
You will be hard pressed finding a coach at the FBS level more passionate and more outspoken then Mike Gundy. Just a few years ago Gundy was under the gun at Okalhoma State but a few years reaching double digit wins make for short memories. Gundy has won 94 games in his 11 seasons at the helm in Stillwater. Mike Yurcich leads an offense that was rankled #22 in the nation and Glenn Spencer has a defense that last year was ranked #100.


Offense

Mason Rudolph is one of the best quarterbacks in the country that nobody seems to talk about. If Oklahoma State has a start like last season we could hear some Heisman hype coming towards Rudolph. 3,770 yards with a nearly 63% completion rating and 21 touchdowns will be numbers that Rudolph should surpass as a junior. The top returning wide receiver in the Big 12 this season from a catches and yardage standpoint is fellow junior James Washington. Washington looks like the best target the Cowboys have fielded since the days of Dez Bryant. The offensive line should be better, especially with JUCO All-American Larry Willams in to play left guard for Oklahoma State. The running attack gets a familiar name in the backfield with Barry Sanders......Jr. Sanders transfered from Stanford where the emergence of Christian McCaffrey all but guarenteed little to no time for Sanders Jr. The Cowboys were a disappointing 114th in the nation running the football last year and Chris Carson will be the starter back for his second season and likely splitting time with Sanders Jr.
 

Best Draft Prospects: Mason Rudolph QB 2nd Round 2018 (Early Declaration possible for 2017).

                                       James Washington WR 2nd Round 2018(Early Declaration possible for 2017).

 


Defense

In the last four games of the 2015 campaign, Oklahoma State barely held off Iowa State and then suffered three consecutive losses and in those games they gave up a staggering 182 points (nearly 47 points a game). A direct correlation can be found with being ranked #87 stopping the run while not being able to run the ball themselves. In those last 4 games Oklahoma State lost the ground battle by a total of 1,104-357, giving up an average of 276 yards on the ground while themselves only picking up 89. When your defense is giving up nearly 200 more rushing yards a game then your offense can generate....it's going to be a rough road. There are some great individual athletes and defensive tackle Vincent Taylor looks primed for a bust out season. Linebackers Jordan Burton and Chad Whitener are one of the best 1-2 linebacker combos in the conference. Three of the four starters from last years secondary return. While the group is marred by inconsistency, they are physical and show great aerial awareness.

Best Draft Prospects: Jordan Burton LB 5th Round 2018.

                                      Vincent Taylor DT 3rd/4th Round 2018.


Special Teams:

Ben Grogan just seems like a placekicker who has yet to "put it all together". He has an NFL leg and has shown he can kick from distance. Grogan is a senior and with a solid year he could wind up in an NFL camp fighting for a job next season. Zach Sinor excelled at downing kicks inside the 20 so the punting game seems to be in capable hands...err legs. The return game was solid while kickoff coverage teams need a little tighening up.


Schedule:

Oklahoma is always the game to close out the schedule while instead of Baylor this season the second to last game is TCU. Both the TCU and Oklahoma contests are on the road. Baylor is the first road test in week 4 followed by a game with the Longhorns. This looks to be a down year for the Big 12 with the exception of Oklahoma who could wind up back in the BCS.

Draft and Overall Outlook:

Outlook is a bit murky becuase I feel this team overachived and caught a few breaks early on. If this team gets a running game going they can set themselves up to have an explosive offense. The defense was on the field too long a year ago. The lack of a running game kept the Cowboys D on the field too long and made the stats look a little skewed. As far as draft prospects, it will remain to see if Rudolph or Washington or even both turn Pro a year early. Vincent Taylor is the diamond on the rough with this team and could be one of the nations premier defensive tackles by seasons end.

DJ Boyer