Oklahoma State football: Cowboys still among Big 12 favorites despite uncertainty in Stillwater

Oklahoma State football is facing change that's unprecedented in the Mike Gundy era. But this much is sure — you still have to count the Cowboys among the favorites in the Big 12 next season.
by Jenni Carlson Published: January 14, 2013


photo - COLLEGE FOOTBALL / BOWL GAME / CELEBRATION: Oklahoma State's Jeremy Smith (31) celebrates a touchdown during the Heart of Dallas Bowl football game between the Oklahoma State University (OSU) and Purdue University at the Cotton Bowl in Dallas,  Tuesday,Jan. 1, 2013. Photo by Sarah Phipps, The Oklahoman
COLLEGE FOOTBALL / BOWL GAME / CELEBRATION: Oklahoma State's Jeremy Smith (31) celebrates a touchdown during the Heart of Dallas Bowl football game between the Oklahoma State University (OSU) and Purdue University at the Cotton Bowl in Dallas, Tuesday,Jan. 1, 2013. Photo by Sarah Phipps, The Oklahoman

Todd Monken's gone.

Joseph Randle's left.

Bill Young's out. Glenn Spencer's in.

Oklahoma State football is facing change that's unprecedented in the Mike Gundy era. Losing an offensive coordinator was one thing, but now with the Cowboys saying goodbye to their best offensive player, parting ways with their defensive coordinator and elevating his backup in a mess of a situation, the uncertainty is thick in Stillwater.

But this much is sure — you still have to count the Cowboys among the favorites in the Big 12 next season.

I know it sounds crazy considering the change that's on the horizon. Who's going to call plays? Who's going to be the feature tailback? What will come of the crazy situation involving Young and Gundy? How will Spencer fare as a defensive coordinator?

Still, when you look at what the Cowboys return and what the rest of the league offers, it's impossible to think of OSU as anything other than one of the league favorites.

Let's start with what OSU has.

First, the Cowboys are committed to running the spread offense. Gundy has said repeatedly that he has no plans to change offensive philosophies even though Monken has gone to Southern Miss. Whomever Gundy brings in will either know the spread or learn it.

The latter is what happened last time. Monken didn't know the spread, but he learned it.

Worked out quite well, don't you think?

No reason to think the Cowboys won't just pick up where they left off again. They have three quarterbacks who would start at any school in the league. They have wide receives galore, including their top four pass catchers from this season, headlined by Josh Stewart, as well as Tracy Moore, who returns from injury. They have an offensive line under Joe Wickline that always seems to replace whoever graduates and carry on as though nothing changed.

Yes, the running back situation is in flux. Randle was spectacular, steady and sturdy, a rare combination.

But Jeremy Smith and Desmond Roland are capable backs. And you have to think the Cowboys will be able to make a push in recruiting for a big-time tailback now that they can dangle the lots-of-playing-time-available carrot.

All things considered, the offense will be just fine.


by Jenni Carlson
Columnist
Jenni Carlson, a sports columnist at The Oklahoman since 1999, came by her love of sports honestly. She grew up in a sports-loving family in Kansas. Her dad coached baseball and did color commentary on the radio for the high school football...
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