CHAT SUMMARY: View from the Cowboys sidelines

OKLAHOMA STATE SIDELINE REPORTER Robert Allen, who's been covering the Cowboys on their official radio broadcasts for the past six years, was in the CF.C chat room on Thursday and taking questions. From the Oklahoma State offense, defense, special teams and beyond, here's a summary of that chat session.

COUGFANcom: Hello and welcome to Robert Allen. Let's go ahead and open it up for questions. We'll start with one for Robert: Who's the headliner on offense this year for Oklahoma State?
Robert Allen: This offense is built to have multiple weapons. No doubt, it starts with the QB Zac Robinson, but I would also point out tight end Brandon Pettigrew, wide receiver Dez Bryant, and running backs Kendall Hunter and Beau Johnson.

Robert, of that group, who is the home run hitter?
Robert Allen: I would say all but Johnson, who I haven't seen in a game in D1 and is really more the grind it out back, but the other four are all capable of home runs.

Subscriber question via COUGFANcom How has camp gone for Oklahoma State so far, is the defense winning the battle or is the offense shining brightest.
Robert Allen: Give and take and as opposed to past seasons Gundy and his staff have put ones versus twos and the ones win regardless of side of the ball. They have done some ones versus ones and that is mixed, but the offense wins a higher number of those matchups.

COUGFANcom: What are most of the media picking OSU to finish at in league and do you agree with their assessment.
Robert Allen: The Big 12 media picked OSU 4th behind OU, Texas, and Texas Tech and ahead of Texas A&M and Baylor. I would agree with that going in. Those picks are for the South Division.

Defense: These teams were ranked 101 and 91. Do you think OSU has improved significantly on D? Does it look like whoever has the better offense will win?
Robert: What is the strength of the defense this year? Position wise, DB's, Linebackers...?
Robert Allen: I think the Cowboys have improved and I would predict they would jump up to somewhere in the 70s maybe high 60s for this season. They have brought in plenty of JUCO players to help on defense and four of them will play a lot in the opener. They will all help with depth and physicality. The secondary is much better, linebacker is better than I expected, defensive line, mainly tackle is the biggest question mark, but they return two starters and a JUCO addition that could help, so we will see….. Overall, on a total strength of program OSU would probably ranks 6th or 7th in the overall Big 12.

Subscriber question via COUGFANcom: Has the flap with the media from last season completely blown over or are there any lingering after effects, are the fans pretty much solidly behind him, is that reporter still covering the OSU beat.
Robert Allen: It has gradually diminished. The reporter is a female columnist that has since seemingly been given more fluff assignments. I don't know if she will be doing any college football this fall. The public here in Oklahoma sided with Gundy at about 90 percent. I would say there could be some residual damage with that newspaper, but not with fans or the other media.

LA_Coug: So would you say they are more vulnerable to the run or the pass?
Robert Allen: Tough to say, but just on last year's numbers they were more susceptible to the pass as they were somewhere around 109 in pass defense.

COUGFANcom: What are the top 3 things OSU needs to have happen in order to be successful this year.
Robert Allen: Healthy quarterback, playmakers do what they are expected to do, defense improve just moderately.

cougarr: Robert: Where do you expect see OSU thrive this year and where do you expect them to struggle?
Robert Allen: I think they will be a load for anybody and everybody on offense as they were a year ago averaging close to 500 yards and even balance on offense. Obviously, if they struggle it will be on defense. I don't think they will struggle. I just think it is a sign of the times in the Big 12 on offense, everybody is strong. Defense is a problem for everybody.

Subscriber question via COUGFANcom: How would you rate the Oklahoma State special teams, punt coverage, punt return, kickoff coverage, kick return, headed into the season.
Robert Allen: They return an All American candidate at punter, a senior deep snapper that has started for four years and a kicker that broke in last season so the specialists are proven. They have beefed up the cover units and they have changed their return specialists. I would expect them to be solid on special teams…. Last season, they gave up too many yards on punt returns and also on kickoffs, so being better on coverage is important.

Subscriber question via COUGFANcom: What's the hottest topic (or two) surrounding the OSU football program right now as the season approaches.
Robert Allen: Backup quarterback race, I find that amazing and with the offensive coordinator Larry fedora going to Southern Miss as head coach, who will call the plays?

COUGFANcom: Injuries are always a part of fall camp unfortunately, how is Oklahoma State faring in that department so far.
Robert Allen: Only one major injury in camp to a backup wide receiver in Will Cole, who tore his right ACL. Other than that they have been healthy except for the normal bumps and bruises.

Coug2k: How does the team look from a depth standpoint on offense/defense
Robert Allen: Depth wise they are better than a year ago as the top 25 recruiting classes have paid off and they are now a solid two deep everywhere except maybe defensive tackle and they are three deep at many positions.

COUGFANcom: Who has Gundy been leaning towards for playcalling, any chance he would take on the role himself on the field like some coaches have
Robert Allen: Yes, and Gundy has called plays before. At Baylor in the mid 90s and at OSU for Les Miles before Miles left for LSU and Gundy was promoted. As for backup, the hope is it never comes into play except for who will go in when the issue is decided. As for play calling, I think Mike Gundy, who called the plays in the bowl win over Indiana will likely call plays.

Subscriber question via COUGFANcom: Would you characterize the Oklahoma State defense as an attack style unit.
Coug2k: Do you expect any new playmakers to emerge this year on offense.
Robert Allen: Yes, I think they are aggressive in nature. That was tempered some as the players learned the defense last season, but I would expect the aggression would increase. As for offensive playmakers, Beau Johnson will be new and there are several complementary wide receivers, three red-shirt freshmen and a JUCO transfer that have a ton of speed and should emerge this season.

Subscriber question via COUGFANcom: Which true freshmen do you think will play or have a shot at earning starting time.
Robert Allen: I think they will only play two or three true freshmen all season, Markell Martin, who is a corner that was here in the spring and two safeties that will play a lot of special teams, Johnny Thomas and Victor Johnson. The rest should all red-shirt. That goes to that depth I told you about.

LA_Coug: so what are OSU fans thinking about the trip to Seattle and the game against WSU?
Robert Allen: I also do the sidelines on the OSU radio network and I host a four hour radio show daily. Our radio station has filled a 737-800 chartered jet for the trip with fans and listeners, so they are pumped. I would imagine there will be 3-4,000 OSU fans at the game between those traveling and those that are living in the Pacific Northwest or West Coast. Former OSU safety Mark Moore has pizza restaurants out there in Seattle.

COUGFANcom: We're going to put you on the spot, What's your prediction for the game
Robert Allen: I like OSU. I think the offense will be hard to stop and I remember back to 2005, Gundy's first year when Fedora brought in the spread and a radical change in offense and it took a while. I'm sure the new coaching staff and schemes will be an adjustment for the players that will take some time.

coug9650: What does the scouting report say about our Cougars?
Robert Allen: I do know from talking to a coach I respect, Jim Walden, your radio analyst that used to coach at WSU and in the old Big Eight at Iowa State that Wulff is the right guy. he knows the school and the situation, which is a challenge like it is at OSU and Walden is convinced Wulff in a couple of season will have WSU humming and playing well.

COUGFANcom: Unless there are any more questions, Robert, thanks for taking the time to chat with a few of the CF.C members
thanks Robert
Robert Allen: No problem and we'll see you in Seattle.

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