The freshmen in football this season were outstanding -- from Wes Lunt, Austin Hays, Trace Clark, and Kevin Peterson to those that have yet to play like big offensive tackle Michael Wilson and defensive ends like Emmanuel Ogbah, Victor Irokansi, and Eric Davis.
The players coming to OSU seem to get better each year in ability and in character too. Not a slam on the past as those young people also made great impressions. Oklahoma State athletics is in a good state as far as athletes and especially in caliber of individuals.
Along those lines, here is my Christmas present to GoPokes.com subscribers. Everybody likes a fortune teller and while it is an impossible task, here is a guess at how Mike Gundy and his staff, including a yet to be named offensive coordinator, might send the Cowboys out for the 2013 season opener at Reliant Stadium in Houston against Mississippi State.
As a bonus I throw in my very early (and it comes without a guarantee) candidates for offensive coordinator, which I listed last week on the radio show.
Candidates for Offensive Coordinator
From the College Ranks
Mick McCall - OC/QB coach at Northwestern
Mark Helfrich - OC/QB coach at Oregon and footballscoop.com OC of the Year, but he would only be available if Kelly goes to NFL and he wants to stay college and doesn't get HC job at Oregon
Gregg Brandon - OC/QB coach at Wyoming, as he knows this style of offense
Jay Johnson - OC/QB coach at ULL and has been in Big 12 at KU
Dan Werner - Co-OC/QB coach at Mississippi
Jake Spavital - QB coach at WVU; he's young but knows offense and helped put it in at OSU as a GA under Holgorsen
Lincoln Riley - OC/QB coach at East Carolina is one of the elder statesmen of the Leach/Mumme family
Rod Smith - Co-OC/QB coach at Arizona if you like the Rich Rod version of spread and want to incorporate some of that
Mike Norvell - OC/QB coach at Arizona State knows this style of spread
Rhett Lashlee - new OC/QB coach at Auburn and may be very tough to pry away from mentor Gus Malzahn as he played for him at Shiloh Christian
Blake Anderson - chief lieutenant of Larry Fedora as OC/QB coach at North Carolina
Sonny Cumbie - WR coach and likely move up under Kingsbury at Texas Tech
From the NFL
Chris Scelfo - Currently with the Atlanta Falcons staff, extensive college experience including head coach at Tulane
Zac Taylor - Currently with the Miami Dophins staff as QB coach, played at Nebraska and coached at A&M
Doug Pederson - Currently with the Philadelphia Eagles staff
Scott Linehan - Currently with the Detroit Lions staff
2013 Projected Starting Line-up
QB: J.W. Walsh. This is the hardest position to pick and could be any of three. If grit decides it, Walsh has a big chance.
RB: Joe Randle. We think he'll stay for senior year. But if he goes, Jeremy Smith is outstanding too.
FB: Kye Staley. So glad the NCAA gave him another season.
WR: Tracy Moore. I think losing this season made him very hungry
IR: Josh Stewart. This guy is off the charts fantastic.
OT: Parker Graham. He should be the anchor on the offensive line.
OG: Brandon Webb. Qualifies now as a returning starter.
OC: Jake Jenkins. He played well when needed last season; a tough East Texas guy.
OG: Daniel Koenig. Could move inside as Wick looks to get best five on the line.
OT: Devin Davis. He's ready to come into his own at tackle.
IR: Michael Harrison. He's back and he can play. WR: LaQuon Treadwell or Austin Hays or Charlie Moore. Every depth chart needs an either/or and Treadwell makes it fun.
DE: Sam Wren. Juco standout will come in ready to earn the spot.
DT: Calvin Barnett. He could be working on an All-American season.
DT: James Castleman. He should only get better with experience and more time with Rob Glass and staff.
DE: Tyler Johnson. Don't forget the former baseball player who has a knack for making plays.
Star: Shaun Lewis. He could be ready to have a monster senior season.
MLB: Caleb Lavey. A smart player who makes teammates better.
WLB: Ryan Simmons. He's big enough to play the middle but quick enough for weakside and will pack a punch on the fly.
CB: Kevin Peterson. He played a lot as a freshman and he is ready to take over.
SS: Daytawion Lowe. He moves to strong safety where he will pack punch in the secondary.
FS: Larry Stephens. He has the speed, and moves from corner to help coverage ability in the back middle.
CB: Ashton Lampkin. The other half of the sophomore corner duo
PK: Ben Grogan. It's hard to project freshmen to start but not as hard at kicker.
KO: Bobby Stonebraker. He has a huge leg for kickoffs.
P: Michael Reichenstein. He needs to find consistency but the 6-4 frame produces some big kicks.
DS: Andrew Suter. He's back for one more season.
Short Snapper: Connor Sinko. Also back for one more season.
PR: Charlie Moore. He actually did pretty well after he got the hang of it.
KR: Jeremy Smith or Kevin Peterson or Josh Stewart or Jerel Morrow. It could be fun deciding who fits here.