Those new coaches and analyst arriving Sunday will find a football program where two large trophies (Bedlam and Cactus Bowl) will greet them when they step off the elevator and into the lobby area of Cowboy Football. The shine on those two pieces of hardware are both symbolic and emblematic of the positive momentum of the program.
This Oklahoma State team may have been 7-6 last season but in its final days seniors like defensive tackles James Castleman and Ofa Hautua, running back Desmond Roland, safety Larry Stephens, defensive end Sam Wren and more laid the foundation of success that the 2015 team will have a great opportunity to build on.
On offense, the Cowboys return 15 or 16 players that started at least two games in 2014 (the difference between 15 or 16 players is whether quarterback Daxx Garman decides to stay in the program). We have no official news but Garman's consideration of a possible transfer was widely rumored last week. Transfer offensive left tackle Victor Salako comes from UAB where he started 12 games this past season.
Over on defense, the Cowboys return nine players that started at least two games. Plus, Jerel Morrow started one game at Kansas State, making it 10 players returning that had at least one start.
The defensive tackle positions and the "star" linebacker spot are where new names and faces will most need to surface. The coaching staff, including Rob Glass and the strength and conditioning coaches, have set the table for that to happen.
We will go through each position group over the next week in projecting and predicting what will need to happen and what options are available at each position.
There are now six new faces that arrived for the start of the spring semester that get added to the mix with SWJCFC all-conference safety Jordan Burton looking like a favorite to jump into the "star" position. Another All-SWJCFC performer in defensive tackle Motekaia Maile is looking to be in the mix at defensive tackle.
We mentioned the transfer in Salako on the offensive line. Also, Brandon Pertile is joining the team after coming from Georgia State University and an injury season at Mesa C.C. in Arizona. He will also play on the offensive line.
Todd Mays from NJCAA national champion East Mississippi C.C. is set to compete at running back and quarterback. Norman North High School standout quarterback John Kolar is in and his role may have jumped up some if Garman does decided to depart.
There are also still some players that have huge promise to add to all those returning starters and back-ups. Transfer linebacker Chad Whitener is ready to compete after sitting out a season and then all of those freshmen that redshirted such as wide receiver Keenen Brown, running back Sione Palelei, offensive tackle Matt Mucha, and offensive guard Junior Galea'i.
On defense, redshirting last season were defensive ends like Trey Carter, Jarrell Owens, Jordan Brailford, and Cole Walterschied. There's also linebacker Josh Mabin, who redshirted because of injury, and safety Tre Roberts.
Of course, while mentioning all these players waiting to uncork their talents with the real opportunity of playing in the games next season, Cowboys fans will be watching the quarterback position, featuring Mason Rudolph, along with the very difficult selection of who to have out there to catch the passes.
Even the offensive line as it is shuffled and re-shuffled again for next season is critical in development to get the Cowboys to the lofty heights some have already projected for them next season.
Stay tuned and enjoy our look at how Greg Adkins will adapt and mold that offensive line. Of how coach McEndoo will work with young tight end Jordan Frazier as well as veteran Jeremy Seaton.
On defense see what Joe Bob Clements does in testing new tackles from Maile to Vili Leveni, Vincent Taylor, and possibly young Trey Carter. New cornerbacks coach Dan Hammerschimdt returns to the defensive side where he started out in coaching and will have some talent with Kevin Peterson, Ramon Richards, and Ashton Lampkin coming back off injury.
With the snow and ice on the ground this weekend it doesn't feel like it but spring is here and it is time to snap the football.