Camp Cowboy: Will Offense Put Up Numbers?

Camp Cowboy is designed for first-year students to learn about the traditions and what makes attending Oklahoma State University special. But the Camp Cowboy that I speak of was very secret, held in a new location, the Sherman Smith Training Center and adjacent practice field, which made it difficult for anybody to learn anything about the Cowboys for the upcoming season.

In another post on the Premium Board on Sunday, NorthDFWPoke asked me who would be the starting quarterback and what the first six to eight offensive plays would be in the opener against Mississippi State.

If practice was at the previous practice site east of Gallagher-Iba, it would have been easy for almost anyone to answer these questions after parking a few mornings at the On Cue across Duck Street.

Now with the indoor training facility and and new practice field set farther back away from the street where prying eyes have no chance of seeing what the Cowboys are doing, along with continued education with his team and support staff of keeping information within the ranks, Mike Gundy has been successful at keeping the Cowboys progress a mystery.

Don't look at me to spill the beans. I understand the opportunity I'm given and on what basis it is allowed. However, that doesn't mean that based on the revelations of coaches and players that we can't review camp and have fun with it.

It didn't take long for someone to ask who would start at quarterback. Gundy and Mike Yurcich will talk that out, probably over the next two days. My guess is the first snap of team when the Cowboys are back in practice on Tuesday will be inside as that might be the most concrete answer to that question to this point.

According to coaches and players, both quarterbacks have played well but you very rarely hear the names Clint Chelf or J.W. Walsh. Gundy has said he didn't want to discuss the quarterback situation until after the first game and it's amazing how little quarterback talk there has been.

It is safe to presume that both will play and both will play a lot. This camp also needed to knock off as much rust as possible on Daxx Garman, and according to the coaching staff they have tried to do that as well. I would love to be able to be more authoritative on this topic but the authorization and the keys to the powerful Oklahoma State offense will come from Gundy and Yurcich.

Running Backs
The top two were known going in. The hope was that Jeremy Smith and Desmond Roland would continue providing the answers they started giving in the spring to whether that duo was ready to be dynamic like the duos have been recently in the Oklahoma State offense.

Names like Savage and Toston, Toston and Hunter, Hunter and Randle, and Randle and Smith have handled the load. According to running backs coach Jemal Singleton, Smith and Roland are prepared to handle the workload.

Smith stays humble and says he still has much to work on, but he has performed well and stayed healthy and he needs to continue.

Roland has really improved and the best part of his game going forward is going forward. His body lean and balance and ability to get his pads out in front of his lower body started in the spring and he says he has improved on that even this camp.

The one remaining answer at running back is who is next? The seemingly always needed third back needs to surface. Chances are he has in the eyes of Singleton and the staff. The candidates included sophomore Caleb Muncrief and the more mentioned freshmen duo of Rennie Childs and Corion Webster.

The word early was Childs, the word later was Webster, especially after the first scrimmage. The decision is forthcoming.

This position doesn't get a lot of publicity but it should get more. While the fullback doesn't play much, when they do they get the job done.

Kye Staley is in good shape and ready for his 23rd season as a Cowboy. Hang on that is how old he turns this week. It just seems like he has been at OSU that long. Expect Staley to get the ball more this season as well as newly scholar-shipped walk-on Jeremy Seaton, who caught his first touchdown pass in the bowl game.

Last season, Staley's average on that explosive fullback pass was 13.8 yards per catch. Dominic Ramacher has moved to linebacker on defense, so Teddy Johnson could help out some at fullback as well as his role of special teams dynamo.

Wide Receivers
It is tough to break this up because so many guys play both inside and outside. But with the knowledge that Tracy Moore and Charlie Moore are givens on the outside, but both can line up inside as well.

The new knowledge is that freshman Marcell Ateman has lived up to the "Robert Allen hype." Yes, I hyped the young man, especially when some Cowboy fans felt the recruiting class was cursed when Fred Ross de-committed and signed with Mississippi State. Ross has struggled some with injuries but is talented and will do well for the Bulldogs.

Ateman has come in and drawn strong reviews from the head coach as well as coaches and players on both sides of the ball. He is a part of the puzzle but he is not ready to be nominated for All-American just yet.

The great thing is the puzzle has so many pieces. I heard throughout camp the Yurich and receivers coach Kasey Dunn compliment not only the three receivers mentioned above but also Brandon Shepard, Jhajuan Seales and John Goodlett. Goodlett is the walk-on that Gundy put him on scholarship, and he makes plays.

Inside Receivers
Again, there's a huge collection of names at this position with Josh Stewart, Austin Hays and Blake Jackson heading the list. Stewart should be even more of a threat as he has so much company at receiver to take the attention off of him.

Hays may not be spectacular but he is very consistent. Jackson is striving to be more consistent, but, at times, is spectacular. Freshman Ra'Shaad Samples is still in line to make an impact and expect to hear the names of David Glidden and Blake Webb.

Defenders say Glidden is almost impossible to cover at times. Don't forget the name of Kameron Doolittle, the former All-State player at Edmond Memorial and all-conference player at NEO A&M J.C. He has made some plays in fall camp, according to the coaches, that keep him on the cusp.

Offensive Line
The key here is to stay healthy as there is a distinct line between the starters and the back-ups and the line represents experience. Center is a great example as junior Jake Jenkins has started one game in his career –– against Louisiana-Lafayette last season, and played significant snaps against Savannah State, Arizona, Texas, Iowa State, Texas Tech and Purdue.

The backups in the revolving door world of offensive line coach Joe Wickline could include Zac Veatch, Travis Cross or Paul Lewis, none of whom have played any significant snaps. It's not much different as senior Parker Graham, junior Daniel Koenig, senior Brandon Webb, and sophomore Devin Davis are the experienced guys.

Of the others, Cross has played in two games, Chris Grisbhy played in two games, Paul Lewis, Zac Veatch, and Michael Wilson are redshirt freshmen. Colby Hegwood and Brandon Garrett are junior college transfers. True freshman Zach Crabtree appears to be the real deal and may be the best freshman offensive lineman at OSU since Russell Okung, he certainly looks the part.

The offense would seemingly look to be ready to pick up where it left off last season. There are some changes but remember there were so many changes game to game last season and that did not slow the attack down. It certainly won't be slow, as Yurcich likes to snap it fast. There are a lot of weapons and if the blockers stay healthy and consistent once Joe Wickline nails the line-up down, then it should be business as usual on the scoreboard.

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