Mike Gundy deflects any alarms attached to Oklahoma State's repeated roster hits.
Still, the warning signs are evident.
Since last summer, the Cowboys have seen 16 players exit the program for a variety of reasons, including such potential high-impact guys as Michael Bowie – the starter at left tackle – running back Herschel Sims and receivers Michael Harrison and Isaac McCoy.
In the past few weeks alone, OSU has lost Bowie, defensive tackle Mike Mustafa and four-star offensive line recruit Greg Brantley.
Even more concerning, 12 prospects originally signed in the 2010 recruiting class are gone, including perceived franchise quarterbacks Johnny Deaton and Nathan Sorenson.
The good news: OSU is getting production from most of the 2010 recruits who remain, with Joseph Randle, Justin Gilbert, Shaun Lewis and Caleb Lavey leading the way.
“We had guys leave, mainly for personal reasons,” Gundy said. “A very small percentage of those guys were actually going to factor into the three-deep this year.”
But what about next year? And 2014 for sure?
There soon could come a time when the Cowboys find themselves short on veteran contributors, and in turn, short on leadership.
And up a creek in terms of APR.
Immediately, it's hardly a reason for panic – as long as players at key positions don't get injured. Quality depth at wide receiver, running back, quarterback and on the offensive line has been stressed, putting a heavy burden on unproven youngsters to be on call, ready or not.
Good thing Cowboys coaches are excited about their cast of freshmen receivers, because they're already being expected to contribute. Next year, they'll be asked to star and lead the next big wave of freshmen wideouts who are being courted now, out of necessity.
Reasons for the roster shrinkage are many. In some cases, discipline problems were jettisoned. Some players decided college football was too hard. Others sought more immediate playing time, rather than wait their turn.