Oklahoma State Cowboys
Big 12 Conference
2008 Record: (9-4, 5-3)
2008 Bowl: Holiday Bowl vs. Oregon (L 31-42)
Coach: Mike Gundy (27-23 at Oklahoma State, 27-23 overall)
Offensive Coordinator: Gunter Brewer and Joe Wickline
Defensive Coordinator:Bill Young
Rushing: Kendall Hunter, RB, 1,555 yards
Passing: Zac Robinson, QB, 3,064 yards
Receiving: Dez Bryant, WR, 1,480 yards
Tackles: Andre Sexton, LB, 100
Sacks: Jeremiah Price, DE, 3.0
Interceptions: Perrish Cox, CB, 2; Patrick Lavine, LB, 2
Other Key Returnees: K Dan Bailey, OT Brady Bond, DE Derek Burton, DE Ugo Chinasa, WR DeMarcus Conner, LB Orie Lemon, C Andrew Lewis, OT Russell Okung, RB Keith Toston
Key Losses: DT Jeray Chatham, G Steve Denning, P Matt Fodge, CB Jacob Lacey, S Quinton Moore, TE Brandon Pettigrew, S Ricky Price, DT Tonga Tea
Oklahoma State nearly tallied 500 yards of offense per game last year. This year should not be much different, but OSU still struggled against the better teams in the Big 12 South. If they expect to take the next step the Cowboys must knock off a team like Oklahoma or Texas.
Eight starters return on offense and that should make this one of the most dangerous and dynamic offenses in the nation. Tight end Brandon Pettigrew will be missed, but the rest of the skill players are back. Quarterback Zac Robinson proved to be a dangerous player with his arm and his legs and he will have plenty of help in both categories. Even without Pettigrew, the Cowboys have a ton of receiving threats. Most notable is Dez Bryant who caught 87 passes for 1,480 yards and 19 touchdowns a year ago. On the ground the dynamic duo of Kendall Hunter and Keith Toston accounted for 2,241 yards and 27 touchdowns. Losing David Washington and Steve Denning off of the line is not a good thing, but with the return of tackle Russell Okung, the line should give the offense plenty of time to pick apart the opposing defense.
Weaknesses: The defense failed to get pressure on the opposing quarterback and in a league like the Big 12 where there are so many pass happy offenses, that spells trouble. Starting defensive ends Derek Burton and Ugo Chinasa are back, but those two combined for a mere 2.5 sacks on the season. Somebody has to find a way to get to the quarterback or the secondary will get thrown all over…just like last season. This year it could be even worse since three of the four starters are gone. Corner Perrish Cox is the only returning player in the secondary with any major starting experience. And while it is never a good time to bring in a new secondary, it is even worse right now in the Big 12 South when every team wants to throw.
The Bottom Line: Coach Gundy will have this offense moving and what makes them different than some other teams in the Big 12 is the fact that they can pass and run. That versatility puts a ton of pressure on the opposing defenses. However, OSU does not have as much talent on the defensive side of the ball as teams like Texas and Oklahoma and that will once again have the Cowboys on the outside looking in at a Big 12 title.
2008 Team Stats:
Rushing Offense: 245.46 (8th in nation, 1st in conference)
Passing Offense: 242.23 (38, 10)
Total Offense: 487.69 (6, 3)
Scoring Offense: 40.77 (9, 5)
Rushing Defense: 137.85 (52, 6)
Pass Defense: 267.69 (109, 9)
Total Defense: 405.54 (93, 8)
Scoring Defense: 28.08 (76, 5)
Turnover Margin: .38 (35, 4)
Sacks: 1.15 (107, 12)
Sacks Allowed: 1.23 (17, 4)