OSU Football: Breaking Down The OSU Offense By Position
Saturday, August 16th 2014, 9:36 pm
By: News 9
We're taking a look at Oklahoma State position-by-position over the next two days. Here we take an in-depth look at what the Cowboys will look like on offense in 2014:
Returning: J.W. Walsh, Daxx Garman
Losing: Clint Chelf
Gaining: Mason Rudolph
Mike Gundy and Co. can't seem to escape the quarterback carousel the past few seasons and things don't appear to be any different heading into 2014.
J.W. Walsh is the clear frontrunner and has been running the first-team offense but he hasn't been named the starter in any official capacity. But, at least from an outside perspective, it's clear that Walsh should be given the nod. Walsh's experience and natural leadership abilities should not be overlooked in their importance on a team that lost 28 starters. And the junior signal caller hasn't exactly been bad despite losing his job to Clint Chelf midway through last season.
Walsh's mobility gives this offense an added dimension that could come in handy behind a green o-line and while a rapport is being built with an unproven but promising receiving corps. His accuracy and decision making are questionable at times, but he likely provides OSU with its best chance to win right out of the gates.
Even though Walsh has a deserved upper hand, he will have to fend off two very capable quarterbacks behind him. Arizona transfer Daxx Garman hasn't played a meaningful snap of football since his junior year of high school at Jones (Okla.) back in 2009 but he turned heads in spring ball and even prompted Gundy to declare he'd see 10-12 snaps against defending champion Florida State in the season opener. Garman has a big arm and impressive accuracy. He definitely has the tools to make a push.
Speaking of having all the tools, enter freshman blue chipper Mason Rudolph. This four-star prospect from South Carolina is cut from the Brandon Weeden mold and had a ridiculous high school career that landed him offers from LSU, Louisville, Virginia Tech and North Carolina, among others. Rudolph completed 72.6 percent of his passes as a senior for 4,377 yards and 64 touchdowns against eight interceptions en route to a 62-35 smack down victory in the state title game. Rudolph is probably the future of the Pokes' offense but maybe not quite yet. The jury is still out.
Key Returners: Desmond Roland, Rennie Childs, Jeremy Seaton (FB)
Key Losses: Jeremy Smith, Kye Staley (FB)
Gaining: Tyreek Hill, Sione Palelei, Corion Webster (RS),
Tyreek Hill has been the recipient of the lion's share of offseason attention and there is plenty of reason to be excited about the preseason Big 12 newcomer of the year. Hill, as numerous coaches have said, could be the fastest player in the Big 12 the moment he steps on the field. Hill is likely give defenses fits with his top-end speed, shifty running style and his knack for being able to peel out as a receiver.
However, Hill might not even start. That's what happens when the Big 12's leader in rushing touchdowns returns to the lineup. Desmond Roland didn't take over the starting gig until the Iowa State game a season ago but he made the most of the opportunity with 219 yards and four scores against the Cyclones. Roland went on to start the final seven games, scoring 16 total touchdowns and racking up 811 yards on the ground. His north-south, more-traditional style matched with Hill's explosivity could make for a dynamic duo in Payne County.
Rennie Childs should also factor into the equation after seeing time in eight games as a true freshman. Childs had 45 yards and a touchdown in a win against TCU and also piled up 70 yards on 7.8 yards per carry against Texas Tech. Junior Caleb Muncrief has been steady in mop-up situations, while redshirt freshman Corion Webster will also try to enter the fray. Don't sleep on true freshman Sione Palelei either. He comes to Stillwater with 4.35 speed and picked the Cowboys over offers from LSU, Tennessee, Arkansas, etc.
Jeremy Seaton started two games at fullback a season ago and saw action in all but one game. He is a valuable road grader in the Pokes' rushing attack.
Key Returners: Jhajuan Seales, Marcell Ateman, David Glidden, Brandon Sheperd, Blake Webb, Austin Hays, C.J. Curry
Key Losses: Josh Stewart, Tracy Moore, Charlie Moore, Blake Jackson
Gaining: James Washington, Chris Lacy, Keenan Brown, Jordan Frazier (TE), Ra'Shaad Samples (RS),
The receiving corps was ravaged by personnel losses, including the surprising departure of all-conference wide out Josh Stewart after his junior year only to go undrafted. But even with the loss of so many proven playmakers, this receiver unit could potentially be even better in 2014.
In fact, this might be the strongest unit on the entire roster.
Everyone around the program is high on Jhajuan Seales (6-2, 200) as the next “go-to” Cowboys wide out on the heels of an impressive redshirt freshman campaign where he started every game and is the team's returning leader in catches, yards and touchdowns. While he may very well be the next standout, he shouldn't have a ton of pressure to carry the load with a bevy of talent around him.
Sophomore Marcell Ateman had flashes of brilliance as a freshman last season and has imposing size at 6-foot-4, 210 pounds. Brandon Sheperd has plenty of breakout-star potential, as well, and will get plenty of looks. Same can potentially be said for C.J. Curry on the outside, who played in seven games as a freshman last year.
Austin Hays also returns from an injury-shortened 2013 season but he was extremely reliable as a freshman in 2012 as a true freshman, including starting 10 games to finish fourth on the team in receiving. Blake Webb also hopes to bounce back from an injury-plagued season after seeing action in 11 games as a freshman in 2012. They will join speedster David Glidden and highly-regarded redshirt freshman Ra'Shaad Samples in a deep, blazing-fast corps of inside receivers.
James Washington flew somewhat under the radar in recruiting coming out of tiny Stamford, Texas, but he has been the talk of fall camp and could be the No. 1 freshman to watch on offense in 2014. Washington is said to possess excellent route-running skills and reportedly has elite speed and leaping ability. Four-star high school prospects Chris Lacy and Keenan Brown both have excellent size at 6-foot-3 and could potentially factor into the equation.
Long story short, the Pokes are loaded but somewhat inexperienced across the board.
Key Returners: T Daniel Koenig, T Brandon Garrett, G Chris Grishby, G Zac Veatch
Key Losses: G Brandon Webb, G/T Parker Graham, C Jake Jenkins, G Travis Cross, coach Joe Wickline
Gaining: Devin Davis (returning from season-ending injury), Zach Crabtree (RS), Jack Kurzu (RS), Jesse Robinson (RS)
This offensive line is certainly hurting for experience with only three upperclassmen having any true starting experience in tackles Daniel Koenig and Brandon Garrett along with guard Chris Grishby. Brandon Webb, Parker Graham and Jake Jenkins were all steady and reliable players in the trenches for the Pokes in 2013 but OSU hasn't had a problem in the Gundy era reloading on the line. However, that transition is a much bigger question mark after Joe Wickline – Gundy's longest tenured assistant – packed his bags and headed off to Texas. New line coach Bob Connelly will have his work cut out for him.
That said the cupboard is far from bare, particularly from a talent standpoint. JUCO transfer Garrett (6-5, 295) started four games last season and played in 11, while fellow transfer Grishby (6-5, 325) started eight games and played in 11 last year, seeing time at both tackle and guard. Koenig is the most likely to contend for All-Conference accolades with two full years as a starter under his belt and he thrived at left tackle after shifting over from the right side midseason. Redshirt sophomore Devin Davis returns to the unit after missing the entire 2013 season with an injury he sustained in training camp. He has a bright future ahead of him and could really boost the pedigree of this unit in a hurry if he is able to make a quick return to form.
Sophomores Zac Veatch and Paul Lewis appear to have starting gigs locked down at guard and center, respectively, while redshirt freshman Zach Crabtree (6-7, 290) has impressed and could find his way into the lineup at some point. Sophomore guard Michael Wilson could also push for the starting role at guard with a strong fall camp after seeing limited action as a redshirt freshman. Other youngsters like redshirt freshmen Jack Kurzu (6-4, 305), Jesse Robinson (6-6, 310) and Jaxon Salinas (6-4, 305) have developed nicely and could contend for playing time this year.
This unit has a lot of promise but it is far from the sure thing it has been in recent years.