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Gina Mizell: Power Lunch Chat transcript, August 15, 2012

The Oklahoman's Gina Mizell answered questions from readers in today's Power Lunch Chat. Participate in our Power Lunch Chats Monday-Friday at 11 a.m. on
Gina Mizell, Staff Writer, Modified: August 15, 2012 at 4:23 pm •  Published: August 15, 2012

Hey all. Welcome to another OSU Power Lunch chat. Plenty of room for questions right now, so fire away!

Is there someone in the linebacking corps that isn't a starter that could see a lot of time?

Absolutely. I think there at least one third-string guy (Joe Mitchell) will see a lot of time. Ryan Simmons has had a really good camp and could legitimately push Caleb Lavey for the starting job in the middle. Lyndell Johnson, though undersized, had a great spring and is really strong in pass protection. Great athleticism and eye for the football. Nico Ornelas should play some. The depth and speed that Gundy talks about when he talks about this defense starts at linebacker. This is a stacked group with a lot of young talent behind the starters.

Are the Cowboys going to be able to catch the same wave of success that they had last year?

Any chance OSU goes 12-0? Do they have the talent?

These are kind of the same question, so I'll answer them together.

Obviously, when a team loses star power like Weeden and Blackmon, it's going to be difficult to replicate the best season in school history. But there's talent and depth on this squad. And there's a winning culture built in now--the Cowboys have won 41 games in four years.

A ton is going to depend on Wes Lunt and how he plays. I think he's got the talent to perform well in the Big 12 as a true freshman, but how will he respond to adversity? Those are the things that coaches don't even know yet. He doesn't need to be Weeden. If he's solid, doesn't turn it over and distributes the ball to the right play, this team could win 9-10 games.

Which freshman wide receiver will have the better year, Shepard or Curry?

Right now I would definitely say Curry. He's been running with the first team occasionally and is Tracy Moore's backup. Other than Lunt, he's the only true freshman on the preseason depth chart, so expectations were high even before camp. After him, I think the freshman WR pecking order goes Blake Webb--a speedy inside guy--and then, believe it or not, Austin Hays--who has been a surprise of camp. I think Sheperd has a lot of potential, but those other guys have performed better so far this fall.

What have you seen out of the two new DEs? Will they get a significant pass rush on opposing QBs? Please tell me Wes Lunt will be better than Garrett Gilbert, that's all I ask!

To answer your first question, I think the Cowboys will be solid at DE. Nigel Nicholas is back at his natural position, and Cooper Bassett has been solid. Coaches have raved about Ryan Robinson's improvement in his second season since coming over from junior college. Tyler Johnson switched from LB to DE in the spring and is coming along. Bill Young also had a lot of positive things to say about the four freshmen coming in, and especially with Jimmy Bean's knee injury, I'd expect 1-2 of them to challenge for a rotation spot.

As for your second question, I think Lunt will be much better than Gilbert.

If you had to pick one guy who will come in under the radar and impress come Sept. 1 against Savannah St., who would you pick?

Well, I think a lot of guys will impress against Savannah State...because it's Savannah State. I've mentioned some of those under-the-radar guys...Simmons and L. Johnson at LB, Webb at receiver, Kevin Peterson and Ashton Lampkin at corner. I also think Shamiel Gary has some potential at strong safety. He is a transfer from Wyoming (where he was a Freshman All-American) but transferred to OSU last year and obviously had to sit out the season. He could start there.

Good article in today's paper about Roland. Will Muncrief get any playing time this year?

I will pass the message along to John Helsley, who wrote that story. Thanks for reading. Yes, Muncrief will play some, just like Roland played a bit last season. Before Sims was dismissed, I know OSU would have liked to redshirt Muncrief, but now everyone has slid up a notch. He won't play a ton, but I'd probably expect to see him against Savannah State.

Any word on a Walsh package being worked on in practice?

Good question. Nothing specific within the last week. The latest I heard was that perhaps Walsh's role wasn't going to be in a "package" (like the Belldozer), but that he would run certain plays within OSU's system that cater more toward his skill set. He's getting reps in practice and running some zone read stuff, and throwing, as well. He's another guy we'll see plenty of against Savannah State. I'm curious to see what plays he runs.

Sorry if I missed this, but did Gundy name a Special Teams coordinator yet?

That still appears to be a bit up in the air. Grad assistant Ty Linder, who spent the last 2-3 years at Texas Tech working with offense and special teams, is overseeing most of it, but I don't think they're going to give them the specific title of "special teams coordinator." Then some of the assistant coaches like Kasey Dunn, Jemal Singleton, etc. are the head of certain areas like kickoff returns, field goal block, etc. That's something I'll check in on again as we get closer to the start of the season.

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