During defensive coordinator Bill Young's first season, Oklahoma State's defense forced 30 turnovers including 18 interceptions. It was a five turnover increase for the Cowboys over the previous season's 25 forced turnovers under former DC Tim Beckman.
But Young is far from satisfied.
"We raised it over the year before and it factored in some ball games," Young said. "(But) we want a minimum of three each game. If we get four or five that would really be nice."
The Pokes reached their stated goal of three per game in five games in 2009 including key wins over Georgia, Missouri and Texas Tech. OSU had four games of three interceptions or more last season.
Nonetheless, the Cowboys finished tied for 61st in turnover margin (0) last season. The Pokes offense struggled to protect the ball at key times with half of the Pokes' 30 turnovers coming in their four losses to Houston, Texas, Oklahoma and Ole Miss resulting in a minus-8 turnover margin in those games.
When running back Kye Staley tore up his knee in preseason camp a year ago, reports suggested it was one of the worst knee injuries team doctors had seen.
There were tears to all three ligaments and his hamstring. And the damage didn't end there.
Staley has worked hard to return to the field, impressing everyone in the program. He suffered a minor setback during practice Sunday, yet should return soon.
"He's done and performed unbelievable for the type of injury he's had," said Cowboys coach Mike Gundy. "He's out there. He's been released by the doctors. My staff and myself are very proud of where he's gotten after the type of injury he's had. He continues to work at it.
"All he can do is try to make the best of the situation. And he has done that. He's in good shape. We look for him to stay with us and play well."
The question mark?
One recurring question mark this offseason has been the offensive line. Sophomore Lane Taylor is the Cowboys' lone returning starter but offensive line coach Joe Wickline likes the talent at the position.
"I think he likes the players that he has," Gundy said. "He likes their work ethic, their demeanor. I think he likes their athleticism. Joe's coached a long time and he has a good feel for how much pressure and how hard to push these young guys."
Youngsters like redshirt freshman tackle Parker Graham and veterans like tackle Nick Martinez and center Grant Garner aren't as experienced as the coaching staff would like but they have the physical ability to develop into a solid group in the trenches.
"He's aware that they're going to make mistakes," Gundy said of Wickline. "But he knows that they'll continue to get better and they'll work hard and from this point on all throughout the season they'll continue to get better each day."