OSU Hopes for No 2018 Football Season Replay
By: Zachary Barth, Staff Writer
The 2018 football season is one that the Oklahoma State Cowboys will not only want to learn from, but to forget entirely. The Cowboys had a 10 win season for three consecutive years, which came to a halt with their 7-6 record.
The Cowboys went 3-6 against teams in the Big 12 last season.
“We didn’t pay as well last year as we should have, in my opinion, and it was the result of me not doing my job and holding coaches and players accountable,” Gundy said.
“We weren’t a very disciplined football team. We weren’t a very tough football team. Those are two areas we can control.”
In the offseason, offensive coordinator Mike Yurcich accepted an offer to become the passing coordinator for the Ohio State Buckeyes.
Leaving a spot to fill, Gundy and the Cowboys hired Princeton’s offensive coordinator Sean Gleeson. Gleeson helped the offense lead the Tigers to an undefeated season.
Gleeson’s coaching style involves run plays including the quarterback option. When Gleeson elects to go to the air game, he employs vertical plays with a single receiver running the shallow cross for the easy dump off if necessary.
Along with the news of hiring a new offensive coordinator, the Cowboys have a big decision regarding the starting quarterback.
With Taylor Cornelius graduating, Gundy said he has decided to start the season without a traditional starting quarterback.
“We haven’t had anyone take the reins. I’d like to give you a timetable (on naming a starter) but can’t. If neither one gives us indication before first game, we’ll play both guys,” Gundy said.
One option for Gundy is former Hawaii-transfer and redshirt senior Dru Brown who last played in 2017. Brown completed his passes at 61.7%, threw for 2,785 yards, and had 18 passing touchdowns. Along with is passing, Brown rushed for 306 yards and 4 rushing touchdowns.
The other option for quarterback is redshirt freshman Spencer Sanders who committed to OSU. Sanders was named the Gatorade Player of the Year for Texas after his senior season.
Will Gundy’s two-quarterback rotation work?
This isn’t his first time trying the strategy. He had it in affect with former players, Mason Rudolph and J.W. Walsh. The Cowboys went 10-3 in the 2015 season with the two-quarterback system.
With the departure of Justice Hill and Tyron Johnson, the Cowboys are in need of a star player to carry the offense.
All eyes will be on junior wide receiver Tylan Wallace, who had a breakout season as a sophomore last year hauling in 1,491 receiving yards and 12 receiving touchdowns. Wallace’s production led him to being named one of the finalists for the 2018 Biletnikoff Award.
One of the biggest offseason stories for the Cowboys is the defensive front seven having four true freshman defenders starting. The Cowboys lost six players off the defensive line, who combined a total of 161 tackles and 21 sacks.
Missing their leading tackler Justin Phillips, who tallied 98 total tackles last season, the Cowboys can look to returning linebacker Calvin Bundage who brought in 62 total tackles for the defense.
Senior cornerback A.J. Green returns after earning second-team All-Big 12 honors. Green recorded his best season with 47 total tackles and 4 interceptions. With his recent success, Green was named to the preseason watch list for the Jim Thorpe Award.
OSU’s non-conference matchups don’t present any real challenges on paper, so the Cowboys will have to focus on their big conference matchups.
Up first, the Cowboys will have to travel to Austin, Texas, to face the Texas Longhorns who are ranked in the AP Preseason Top 10.
Then the Cowboys will have to hit the road to play Iowa State, ranked 21st, who starts the season ranked for the first time under Matt Campbell.
Finally, Oklahoma State will close at home against in-state rival Oklahoma, who looked primed for a fifth straight conference title.
Although it may be a struggle, Gundy and the Cowboys plan to avoid another 7-6 season.