John Helsley: Power Lunch Chat transcript, August 8, 2012

John Helsley answered questions from readers in today's Power Lunch Chat. Participate in our Power Lunch Chats Monday-Friday at 11 a.m. at NewsOK.com/sports.
by John Helsley Modified: August 8, 2012 at 2:24 pm •  Published: August 8, 2012
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Evan, as long as that doesn't mean the offense takes a step back, I'm sure Bill Young and his guys would be all for it. A year ago, the Cowboys scored a lot and they often scored fast, putting the defense back on the field. That's tough on a defense. And it skews the numbers, because they're required to be on the field more than defenses on teams with more controlled offenses. If you look deeper into the stats, the Cowboys weren't bad in average yards per play and they led the Big 12 in scoring defense.

How has Wes Lunt looked, and do you think he can do it as a freshman?

It's early, but he's been sharp, even more so than in the spring. He's bigger, having added some 20 pounds on the Rob Glass plan, which will help him. There's a lot to like about the kid. He made great progress throughout the spring in claiming the job. He's very accurate, which is what this offense requires. And he's mature, which should allow him to grab the respect of teammates. The offense is fairly simple, ala Texas Tech. And when Leach was there, they rolled out new QBs and never flinched. We'll see if that works here.

When is the new indoor football practice building expected to open?

We're probably a year away from that, which means the teams could perhaps utilize it to beat the heat at times next preseason. The structure is up, with the steel in place. It's no longer just a plan.

Sounds like Walsh is having a pretty good fall camp so far. Any chance he makes the coaches think twice about going with a true fresh?

The job is Lunt's. When the Cowboys went hard after Walsh, they were still running an offense featuring some QB run game, with Zac Robinson. The hiring of Holgorsen changed that. The direction has changed and they aren't going back. Walsh will have a package and he could prove very valuable in a limited role. But until he becomes more of a pocket passer, he'll have a difficult time unseating Lunt.

Besides Tracy Moore and Josh Stewart, who can we expect to step up at the receiver position and make plays for us this fall?

Receiver is one of the fun positions to watch right now. A lot of possibilities. I think Isaiah Anderson, who has been productive, could have a big year. Charlie Moore was great in the spring game. Torrance Carr is a redshirt freshman to keep an eye on. And then there are the freshmen, who have really showed up in early practices. Blake Webb, C.J. Curry, Brandon Shepard, those guys have a chance to play and play early.

The IPF isn't air-conditioned is it, so beating the heat would be the shade, is this correct? Also now they all practice on one field, I believe, and their new facility will have the IPF and 2 outdoor fields, so not everyone will beat the heat. Will these extra fields help practice, and Gundy's observing?

No AC, but there will be exhaust fans and huge doors that open on each end, for air flow. In the shade, I can guarantee it'll feel better than being outside, especially in the morning. Gundy won't want it to be too comfortable anyway, with games played in rough conditions early in the season. But it would be a nice alternative for a second practice in the evening. Yes, there will be two outdoor practice fields, which basically mean just more room to work. Could allow the kickers to be in the same vicinity, where they now do most of their work away from the team, in the stadium.

Which game this year do you think could be the turning point in the season and really tell us how good these Cowboys can be?

There are obvious checkpoints: at Arizona, if only because it'll be Lunt's first road Game. Home against Texas, which will be the first test against elite athletes. If all goes well through that point, back-to-back games against TCU and at K-State will tell us if the Cowboys can contend for the Big 12 crown again.

Run D was probably our biggest weakness last season (see Stepfan Taylor and Collin Klein), but I've heard that we'll be a lot stiffer in the middle this year. Does that match with what you've been seeing? Do we have a shot at being a great D, or merely a good one?

Again, you'll have to measure greatness differently in the Big 12. The offenses are different than in the SEC or other places, impacting statistics. So if you're just tied into stat rankings... Juco DT Calvin Barnett should be a key addition in the middle, where depth is better than perhaps ever at OSU. Littlehead, Rogers, Castleman, Collins. They have options in there, where they haven't in the past. The back 7 is as good as anybody's.

Mike Gundy made alot about his "two deep" early on. What positions are we 2 deep? Where do we still lack depth?

For the 10 spots across the O-line, there are probably eight players they feel like they can truly count on, which is pretty good. There has been concern at corner, although true freshmen Kevin Peterson and Ashton Lampkin have been major surprises so far. The young receivers are providing depth so far, giving hope there as well. Everywhere else, it looks good. That's what Gundy is referring to.

We've gone to overtime! Time for another question or two, as a bonus.

How is the D line looking so far?

I think good. Barnett is a major addition. And he's better than he was in the spring, with a better understanding of the scheme. I think Littlehead looks better than at any point in his career. Davidell Collins is filling out in his third year. Castleman is a year older, after being forced into action as a true freshman. And Anthony Rogers has been solid.

I'm hearing a lot about Blake Jackson, how do you see him converting to big time football?

He's a great target and potential safety valve for Lunt, as a mismatch in the middle. He still has some things to learn about route running, etc. But the talent is there.

OK, folks, enjoyed the chat. Thank you all for spending time with me. Look forward to the next time, when we'll have a lot more insight into both the football team, but perhaps the hoops team, too, due to their trip to Spain. Have a great rest of the week!

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by John Helsley
OSU Reporter Sr.
John Helsley grew up in Del City, reading all the newspapers and sports magazines he could get his hands on. And Saturday afternoons, when the Major League Game of the Week was on, he'd keep a scorecard for the game. So the sports appeal was was...
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