By Wendell Barnhouse | firstname.lastname@example.org
2013 record: 10-3 overall, 7-2 in Big 12, lost to Missouri, 41-31, in Cotton Bowl.
Returning starters: 6 on offense, 4 on defense.
Top players returning: Junior QB J.W. Walsh, senior RB Desmond Roland, sophomore WR Jhajuan Seales, senior OL Daniel Koenig, senior DT James Castleman, junior DE Jimmy Bean, junior LB Ryan Simmons, junior CB Kevin Peterson, sophomore K Ben Grogan.
Key players to replace: QB Clint Chelf, WR/KR Josh Stewart, RB Jeremy Smith, OL Parker Graham, WR Tracy Moore, WR Charlie Moore, LB Shaun Lewis, LB Caleb Lowery, CB Justin Gilbert, S Daytwaion Lowe.
Oklahoma State has enjoyed the greatest run in school history over the last five seasons with 50 victories, a Big 12 title and a Fiesta Bowl victory. But the Cowboys headed into spring practice with more questions than they've had before the recent streak started.
Because of roster departures and a number of injuries, coach Mike Gundy opted to not stage a spring game. Instead, Oklahoma State capped its spring practice with an "Orange Blitz" practice that was open to fans.
"We would all like to have a spring game, but I also have to look at what's best for our team and best for our fans," Gundy said. "For example, we only ended up with one linebacker at two positions. It would have been hard having an Orange team and a White team. We would have been limited to a couple of formations on offense and sub-packages wouldn't have happened on defense because there's not enough bodies … so I think it's better the way we did it.
Senior running back Desmond Roland (shoulder) and offensive lineman Brandon Garrett (leg) missed all of spring practice while safety Larry Stephens (leg) and linebacker Demarcus Sherod (leg) were limited in how they could participate.
While the spring workouts did not yield an announcement regarding who will be the starting quarterback this season, it appears that junior J.W. Walsh is the leading candidate. He started five games last season as a sophomore, is the front runner. He passed for 1,333 yards and nine touchdowns and ran for 294 yards and three touchdowns.
*Oklahoma State has to replace seven starters on defense and most of those were players who started for most of their careers. Defensive coordinator Glenn Spencer believes the unit will develop nicely. "The fun part about it is the young group is really hungry. "They're hungry to show what they can do. They're hungry to learn. And as a coaching staff, we can hammer in the core principles and values of what we believe in. They're young and they'll absorb all that, molding them for what we believe in on our side of the ball."
*Jhajuan Seales had 39 receptions for 571 yards, tops among any freshmen receivers in the Big 12. With Oklahoma State's top three receivers no long on the team, Seales is expected to take over as the Cowboys' No. 1 receiving threat.
*Among FBS schools, only Utah State has fewer returning starters than Oklahoma State. The Cowboys are missing seven defensive starters and four of those were first-team All-Big 12 performers.
Coach Mike Gundy on …
Junior defensive end Jimmy Bean:
"We've got a lot of faith in him. He's now become a mature, veteran player, and I like him. Jimmy Bean has come a long ways. A couple years ago, (Bean) wasn't sure if college football was for him. There was a lot of issues with structure and discipline and accountability. He wasn't sure he fit the role of college football player."
Junior quarterback J.W. Walsh:
''J.W. has always had great leadership. We want him to have a great feel for what we want to accomplish on offense from a read standpoint, footwork, fundamentals - things that he can control. Certainly, J.W.'s the one that brings some experience to the table."
Tyreek Hill, who won the Big 12 indoor title in the 200 meters and finished second in the 60 meters and who could contribute at running back, receiver and returner:
''I watched him run on the internet, and he's fast, that's for sure. We need to make a decision by the middle of August where we want to play him. Part of it is how he develops. We've got to find out how much he can do and what he can comprehend and absorb to where he can play fast. We'd like to be able to have him touch the ball 10-15 times a game."
|Aug. 30||Florida State (AT&T Stadium, Arlington, Texas)|
|Sept. 6||Missouri State|
|Sept. 13||UT-San Antonio|
|Sept. 25||Texas Tech*|
|Oct. 4||Iowa State*|
|Oct. 11||at Kansas*|
|Oct. 18||at TCU*|
|Oct. 25||West Virginia*|
|Nov. 1||at Kansas State*|
|Nov. 22||at Baylor*|
|Dec. 6||at Oklahoma*|