OSU lost Calvin Barnett, a First Team All-Big 12 tackle and one of the most impactful defensive linemen of the program’s past decade.
Starting end Tyler Johnson and several backups are gone, too.
Still, Cowboys coach Mike Gundy is pushing improvement up front.
“I like our defensive line,” Gundy said. “I think that we could potentially be better on the defensive line than we were last year. We’ve got some speed and some strength and some maturity.”
And the Cowboys have Jimmy Bean.
“We have a lot of faith in him,” Gundy said.
Tackle James Castleman can be an all-conference candidate, and Ofa Hautau is a solid replacement for Barnett. There’s youthful and promising depth inside, along with a deep cast of ends – led by Bean.
Entering his junior season, Bean is a 6-foot-5, 250-pound force on the edge who came on late in 2013. Now there’s an expectation that he’s ready to take the next step.
“He’s now become a mature, veteran player,” Gundy said. “Jimmy Bean has come a long way. A couple years ago, he wasn’t sure if college football was for him.
“There were a lot of issues with structure and discipline and accountability that he wasn’t sure if he fit the role of a college football player, but he’s done very well. He understands the importance, and he has an important future at Oklahoma State.”
Cowboys cornerback Kevin Peterson on the growth of the youngsters in the secondary:
“They’ve progressed and they’ve kind of gotten in their own skin. We’ve kind of grooved together as a family, and tried to learn, ‘Hey, we’re going to need you next year. We’re going to need everybody as a group, as a family.’ We’ve just progressed as we could. So far, it’s been really good.”