2012 record: 8-5, 5-4 in Big 12, won Heart of Dallas Bowl.
Returning starters: Offense: 7; defense: 7; kicker/punter: 0
Top returning players: QB Clint Chelf, QB J.W. Walsh, WR Josh Stewart, CB Justin Gilbert, LB Shaun Lewis, LB Caleb Lavey, DT Calvin Barnett, S Daytawion Lowe, DE Tyler Johnson, RB Jeremy Smith.
Need replacing: RB Joseph Randle, LB Alex Elkins, K/P Quinn Sharp, CB Brodrick Brown, DE Nigel Nicholas, WR Isaiah Anderson.
Oklahoma State is in a position to establish itself as a dominant team in the Big 12. The Cowboys overcame injuries at quarterback last season to win eight games after winning the 2011 Conference title. If they can finish on top again, two championships in three seasons would be attention grabbing.
Two new coordinators spent the spring getting their methods installed. Mike Yurcich from Division II Shippensburg State takes over the offense. His goal is to get the fast-paced Cowboys attack playing even faster. Glenn Spencer takes over the defense. He wants more blitzes and tighter coverages with the intent of forcing more turnovers.
When the spring game ended on April 20, it wasn't clear who would be Oklahoma State's starting quarterback. Junior Clint Chelf closed 2012 as the starter with sophomores J.W. Walsh and Wes Lunt in contention.
It's now a two-man race between Chelf and Walsh. Lunt, who started the season opener and four other games last season, recently announced he planned to transfer.
Junior Josh Stewart had a breakout season in 2012 with 101 receptions for 1,210 yards and seven touchdowns. Blake Jackson had trouble with drops last season but he had an impressive spring game. The Cowboys never seem to run out of reliable and productive receivers.
Senior defensive back Justin Gilbert had two interceptions in the spring game. Insignificant, you say? Last season Gilbert failed to intercept a pass in 13 games after picking off five passes as a sophomore when Oklahoma State won the Big 12 title. His ability to make plays was missed last season and could be a huge factor in 2013.
For the past two seasons, Quinn Sharp handled all of Oklahoma State's kicking – punting, kickoffs, place kicking. Replacing Sharp – who capably followed Groza Award winner Dan Bailey - will be a challenge. Bobby Stonebreaker could handle field goals and extra points while Kip Smith and Michael Reichenstein are battling to win the punting job.
Quarterback J.W. Walsh and receiver Josh Stewart, who led the team in receptions and yards last season, are from Guyer High School in Denton, Texas. Jimmy Bean, a redshirt freshman defensive end, was a high school teammate of Walsh and Stewart. He is a speed rusher who was impressive during the spring and had two sacks and a fumble recovery in the spring game.
Coach Mike Gundy on ...
On replacing Joseph Randle, last season's leading rusher:
"I think our run game is going to be fine. It's all based on how a defense wants to defend us. We're going to rush the football and we're going to throw it. We're not going to change what we do."
Not naming a starting quarterback:
"I don't think there is any doubt that we would that (season-opening opponent Mississippi State) not know exactly what to work on. They have all of our video and we have theirs. There are no secrets there. But it's better for us if people don't really know exactly what we are doing and it does make a difference in who we open with. There is no question about that."
"I am really excited about the play that we are getting on defense. Ultimately, in the long run, we are going to move the ball and score a lot of points here because of what we do and who we are. If we want to consistently compete for a championship, we have to play better on defense. I am excited about our group."
|Aug. 31||Mississippi State (at Houston)|
|Sept. 7||at Texas San-Antonio|
|Sept. 28||at West Virginia*|
|Oct. 5||Kansas State*|
|Oct. 26||at Iowa State*|
|Nov. 2||at Texas Tech*|
|Nov. 16||at Texas*|