And not just big men.
Among OSU's strengths is the versatility of Le'Bryan Nash, Brian Williams and Marcus Smart, who can defend guards or forwards. The trickle-down means that when the Cowboys slide one of those three inside, Stevie Clark and Phil Forte factor more heavily at guard.
Clark's continued development eases the necessity for Smart to play heavy minutes at the point. Clark handed out a career-high nine assists against Robert Morris.
Freshman Leyton Hammonds could also see his minutes increase.
“We've switched up lineups in practice, so we're kind of used to playing with different guys,” Forte said. “It's not too much of a difference. We have a lot of versatile players, too.
“Brian can play four or five different positions. (Nash) can. Marcus can. When you have that versatility it makes it kind of easier to throw in different lineups. With Mike going down now, I think that's going to be key for us.”
The No. 6 Cowboys, now 12-1, will be replacing more than just numbers with Cobbins. As an athletic shot blocker, he impacted games on the defensive end. And, Ford said, his value on the offensive end was underrated.
“Michael Cobbins brought us, obviously, an incredible presence around the rim,” Ford said. “Shot blocking; one of the top shot blockers in the country. Rebounding. But more than anything, he understood every single thing that I wanted and what we do and it all flowed for him.
“He didn't score a lot of points, but he contributed to our offense greatly. In a lot of ways.”
Quickly, the Cowboys must adjust as they continue their quest for a special season. Their preseason pick as co-Big 12 favorites still centers around Smart and Brown. And Nash, Williams, Forte, Murphy and others offer strong complementary pieces.
So the loss of Cobbins is a blow, but hardly a knockout blow.
“Some of these guys we're going to have to have step up, they may not be able to block shots or they may not be able to do some things that he did,” Ford said, “but they're going to have to find their own niche and make up for some of those things that can help us be successful.
“And they can do that. No question.”