Big 12 Football Preview - Oklahoma State

Last season: 7-5 overall (4-4 Big 12). The Cyclones couldn't keep up with running back Vernand Morency as he rushed for 143 yards and two touchdowns. Jason Ricks added three field goals as Iowa State fell to No. 25 Oklahoma State 36-7.


This season: Iowa State hosts Oklahoma State for its homecoming game on Oct. 22


Notes –


After being a member of the OSU coaching staff for 10 of the past 14 years, Mike Gundy took over the Cowboy helm earlier this winter. He was a former OSU quarterback and was an offensive coordinator and quarterbacks and receivers coach at Oklahoma State.


"Obviously, what you have done in your past as assistant coach and the people you have been around have had an effect on what you do," Gundy said. "We learn on the run, and every day has been a good day for me. We have had a couple situations in the last six months that are tough, but I am excited and look forward to coming to work every day, more than I ever have been in my life."


This past May the Cowboy Nation lost one of their defensive leaders, when safety Vernon Grant was tragically killed in an automobile accident.




With the addition of Larry Fedora, former offensive coordinator at Florida, the Cowboys' will implement a new offensive scheme.


"Larry has had a history of a no-huddle offense and fast break," Gundy said.


The offense will be balanced, but the running game will be without all-Big 12 running back Vernand Morency who left the Cowboys early. Also gone are tight end Billy Bajema, center Chris Akin, offensive guard Sam Meyers and all-Big 12 offensive guard Sam Mayes.


Returning will be starters Corey Hilliard, David Koenig and Kellen Davis. Charlie Johnson was moved from tight end to offensive tackle.


A physical, blocking tight end, Johnson finished last season with four catches for 51 yards.


Donovan Woods looks to be the favorite at quarterback, but will be challenged by redshirt freshman Bobby Reid.


"Donovan Woods is obviously the player that was with us the most last year, played in our games, has got -- he is more mature than Bobby is at this time," Gundy said. "They are both very talented and done a great job this summer. I saw the results from some of the testing somebody put on my desk the other day; they are doing a good job in the weight room, so I would say we play both."


Shawn Willis will be at fullback; in 2004 he rushed 39 times for 175 yards and three touchdowns.


D'Juan Woods, Luke Frazier, Kenny Williams and Tommy Devereaux will be the core of the wide receiver corps.


D'Juan Woods was a second-team all-Big 12 selection a season ago when he led the Cowboys in receptions (33), yards (690) and touchdown catches (six). On his career, Woods' 1,225 career yards, put him 11th on Oklahoma State's career list.




Lots of experience return to the OSU defense, which implemented a new defensive scheme last spring when the Cowboys transitioned from the 4-2-5 they had been running to a 4-3 defense.


Returning to the Cowboy defensive line will be Nathan Peterson, Marque Fountain, Darnell Smith, Victor DeGrate, Jerry Don Bray and Maurice Cummings, Xavier Lawson-Kennedy and Walter Thomas.


Peterson was sidelined with a knee injury a year ago, forcing him to miss the final six games of the season. He still finished with a team-high four quarterback sacks.


Standing 6-foot-5 and weighing in at 350 pounds, Thomas is a force on the defensive line. As a true freshman in 2004, he had nine tackles, one for a loss and a fumble recovery.


The linebacker corps will feature three seniors in Pagite McGee, Paul Duren and Lawrence Pinson.


An honorable mention all-Big 12 selection, Duren was second on the team in stops with 70 tackles in 2004.


In the secondary Jamar Ransom, Grant Jones, Daniel McLemore, Jamie Thompson, Thomas Wright, Jeremy Nethon and Chase Holland return.


A second team all-Big 12 selection in 2004, Thompson was the Cowboys' leading tackler with 85 stops. He also had three sacks, two interceptions and forced three fumbles.


Special teams:


Jason Ricks will see action as the Cowboys' kicker. As a true freshman last year, he made 10-of-10 field goals from inside the 40 yard line. His career long field goal of 55 yards against Texas Tech is the second-longest in school history.


Fast Fact:


Talent runs deep in the Woods family as it has produced three impact players for the Cowboys in Rashaun, D'Juan and Donovan Woods.


Rashaun is a former OSU all-American who now plays for the San Francisco 49ers. While at Oklahoma State he broke every school and Big 12 Conference season records for receiving.


His senior season, Rashaun spent time grooming D'Juan and the duo finished 1-2 among the OSU receivers in 2003. The two had 108 receptions for 1,846 yards and 16 touchdowns.


The youngest Woods – quarterback Donovan, started all 12 games for the Cowboys as a freshman. He set the freshman records for touchdown passes (13) and total offensive yards (2,064).


The Schedule:


9/3/05           vs.       Montana State

9/8/05           @         Florida Atlantic

9/17/05        vs.       Arkansas State

10/1/05        vs.       Colorado

10/8/05        vs.       Missouri

10/15/05      @         Texas A&M

10/22/05      @         Iowa State

10/29/05      vs.       Texas

11/12/05      vs.       Texas Tech

11/19/05      @         Baylor

11/26/05      @         Oklahoma



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