Wednesday, January 30, 2013
Offseason to-do list: Oklahoma State
By David Ubben
Every year, there's lots of turnover and change for every college program. What do the Big 12 teams need to do before next fall? Let's continue our look with the Cowboys up in Stilly.
1. Sort out the "mess" at quarterback. Let me be clear when I say this: Oklahoma State has a good problem at quarterback. It has three guys who I really think could win a Big 12 title in Stillwater next season, but you've got to make it clear that one is your guy. That's what this spring is about. Clint Chelf will take the tag of starter into his last spring practice as a Poke, but sophomores J.W. Walsh and Wes Lunt will be right there challenging him. Again, this is a good problem to have, and these guys will all make each other better. I don't expect Walsh's short-yardage package to go anywhere regardless of who wins the job, but I still buy Lunt as the future of the position for Oklahoma State, as long as he stays healthy. The game will slow down for him in his second season, and the mistakes will lessen as a result.
2. Adjust to a new face leading the defense, and mature. The Pokes' defense wasn't awful this past season, but they're going to be loaded with talent in 2013. Can that become production? The defense brings back eight starters, headlined by CB Justin Gilbert, LB Shaun Lewis and DT Calvin Barnett. The secondary loses only Brodrick Brown, but Kevin Peterson is a promising player who can help that secondary bounce back from a disappointing 2012. Linebacker Alex Elkins is gone, but new coordinator Glenn Spencer slides into the role after coaching linebackers under Bill Young, who didn't have his contract renewed at the end of the season. Can Oklahoma State get back to forcing turnovers in bunches like it did under Young, but slow opposing offenses better than ever before?
3. Fill a gigantic hole in special teams.Quinn Sharp has done everything for Oklahoma State's special teams for the past two seasons and has been one of the Big 12's best kickers, punters and kickoff specialists all at once throughout that period. He emerged as a punter, but did a fantastic job in all of his roles after replacing Dan Bailey as kicker. Oklahoma State's had the luxury of not worrying about special teams with Sharp there, and it's hoping to have that continue. We'll see what happens this offseason when the Pokes try to replace Sharp. Oklahoma State actually has three kickers returning (Bobby Stonebraker, Matt Green, Cody Phillips) and one punter, Michael Reichenstein.