How To Make Up For The Loss Of Tyreek

The immediate shock is over and while everyone from the man that had to make the decision (head coach Mike Gundy) to the Oklahoma State players, coaches, staff, and, of course, Cowboys fans mostly agree but still are saddened by the loss of Bedlam punt return hero Tyreek Hill after the events of last Thursday night. Now the football portion of the program moves on.

Gundy said on Saturday that he had spoke with Hill and that Oklahoma State football would help Hill in trying to get his life back in order. It is expected that the school and the program would do that.

That assistance, unfortunately, will not include having Hill on the field performing some of the talents that he does so well. The most important aspect of this situation off the field is helping the young lady that is the alleged victim in this situation and helping Hill in whatever ways are possible to better himself in the face of these accusations.

Hill was involved in a variety of ways for the Cowboys this past season, maybe serving the team in the most versatile role this season. Overall, his production was huge as he combined as a running back, slot receiver, punt and kick returner to produce 1,811 all-purpose yards. The majority of the yards came on kickoff returns, which includes some easy yards as he returned 30 kickoffs for 740 yards, a 24.7 yard average, and two touchdowns.

He had 27 punt returns for 256 yards, a 9.5 yards per return average, and the one touchdown for 92 yards in Bedlam. For all those huge critics of OU head coach Bob Stoops on punting to Hill a second time, prior to that return Hill had not returned a punt for a touchdown and was averaging 6.7 yards a return with a long of 37 yards back in the second game against Missouri State. Kickoff returns is where Hill had been the most dangerous. Doesn't matter as he was lethal on that Bedlam return.

On offense, Hill had carried 102 times for 534 rushing yards and one touchdown with a 5.2 yards per carry average. His receiving numbers were 31 receptions for 281 yards with a touchdown against Iowa State, and 9.1 yards per reception. Good numbers, but by no means off the chart.

The virtually for sure thing is whether it is in the Cactus Bowl against Washington on Jan. 2 or the 2015 season, it will take more than one person to make up for all that Hill could do.

There is also the chance, and now we will likely never know, that Hill was looking hard at declaring early for the NFL Draft. If those rumoers were true then he was not going to be part of the Cowboys in 2015.

We'll start at running back. In the bowl game, the Cowboys will have Desmond Roland and hopefully the re-emergence of Rennie Childs (shown in the photo above). Childs is healthy and when he is at his best he is quite capable.

Long term the Cowboys have a commitment from McKinney (North), Texas standout Ronald Jones II and he could be an immediate impact player. While he has had injury concerns I also love the potential when he is full speed of redshirt freshman Sione Palelei.

There is also now room to add to the recruiting class at the position and the names of powerful Chris Warren of Rockwall, Texas and New Orleans (Newman), La. standout Kendall Bussey have been thrown around in connection with Oklahoma State. There will absolutely need to be more players at that position. They don't have to be the same style as Hill but they have to be productive.

The slot position should be easier to fill. Oklahoma State has a number of receivers right now that are just simply not producing. At the slot one name comes up is that of Ra'Shaad Samples, who if the light clicks on and he starts playing as he did for his father at Dallas Skyline then he has the speed to be a threat.

I have trouble understanding but there has to be some way to shake out the potential that Samples came in possessing. I refuse to believe that he is a recruiting bust. He showed too much talent against a very good brand of high school football in Texas. I would say an exclamation point needs to be placed on Samples and those around him to keep pushing to find the key to unlock that door.

Blake Webb is in a similar category in that he was the star of the spring's Orange Blitz. He has produced some in game action and needs to put his priorities on pushing through to hit on his potential. Although Kameron Doolittle is not lightning quick, he is deceptively elusive, has proven he will catch the ball, and has a muscle bound build with power. That is not to mention the recruits that will be brought in to assist including the upcoming freshman class.

As for the special teams aspect of replacing Hill the Cowboys cannot make up for the loss of Hill. This is the area where he excelled the most as evidenced by his three touchdowns and 996 yards of production on returns.

In the short term (the Cactus Bowl in Arizona), look for Brandon Sheperd, who is coming on in so many areas, James Washington, and perhaps freshman cornerback Ramon Richards to help in this situation. David Glidden is a possibility to be back for safe punt.

In the long term, there are some redshirting players and possible freshmen in the 2015 class that could end up being strong in the return game. There is time to examine all those options in the spring and fall camp next August.

It won't be easy to replace Tyreek Hill's heroics and speed in an Oklahoma State uniform. Unfortunately, they are now truly a memory.



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