What Worries Us About Oklahoma State In 2016

first_imgWhile you’re here, we’d like you to consider subscribing to Pistols Firing and becoming a PFB+ member. It’s a big ask from us to you, but it also comes with a load of benefits like ad-free browsing (ads stink!), access to our premium room in The Chamber and monthly giveaways.The other thing it does is help stabilize our business into the future. As it turns out, sending folks on the road to cover games and provide 24/7 Pokes coverage like the excellent article you just read costs money. Because of our subscribers, we’ve been able to improve our work and provide the best OSU news and community anywhere online. Help us keep that up. We have talked a lot this preseason about what we like about this OSU football team. This is the time of year when everyone is going 12-0 and everyone’s QB1 is going to NYC for a trophy presentation in December. There are concerns though, and we’re going to roll through a couple of those today as we discuss what concerns us for this upcoming season.Kyle B.1. I’d be remiss if I didn’t mention the offensive line as a chief concern headed into the season. As a rushing offense in 2015, OSU ranked No. 113 in the country (page 3 of the NCAA online statistic sheet!), which was 14 slots worse than 2014 and the Daxx Garman Memorial offense.The biggest improvement this offseason seems to be depth, adding two junior college transfers in Larry Williams and Shane Richards – neither of whom seem destined to start. What kind of improvement can we realistically expect from essentially the same bunch of guys, just a year of extra experience? Mike Gundy would rather grow a mullet and talk about Big 12 expansion than address the progression on the offensive line which speaks volumes to me about where the group stands.2. It’s been several years since OSU has finished out a full season with one QB going the distance. J.W. Walsh started the season in 2014 but did not finish due to injury. Mason Rudolph started the season in 2015 and finished with the bowl game, but missed the majority of several key games down the stretch in conference play. If the success of the season comes down to QB2, OSU’s fate could rely on a 6-foot-6 walk on from Bushland, Texas, who has just 8 more total passing yards at the Div. I level than I do.Sam Aldrich1. How will the secondary replace Kevin Peterson? I’ve been largely unimpressed with Ramon Richards to this point in his collegiate career, and I’m not sure senior transfer Lenzy Pipkins is ready to start in the high-flying Big 12. Otherwise we’re probably looking at a freshman starting.2. The Offensive line. Sure, Oklahoma State has a bevy (five, to be exact) of running backs to pick from, between Chris Carson, Rennie Childs, Barry J. Sanders, Jeff Carr, and Justice Hill. But it won’t matter who’s got the rock if the guys in front of him can’t open up lanes. The 2016 edition of the Oklahoma State offense has the potential to be a top-10 offense in the country if the line can run block and give the backfield a chance to make plays. If OSU struggles to run the ball again in 2016, it will limit the offense and this team’s ceiling as a whole.Thomas Fleming1. Their road schedule is a real toughie. Other than Kansas, which we have learned isn’t always a gimme in the first place, the others aren’t going to be easy.2. Other than Lampkin and Richards, the rest of the corners have little, if any, experience in an OSU uniform. Harper and Williams are freshmen, Pipkins is a transfer and Curry and Balous haven’t received serious playing time. Hopefully they’ll be able to step up and prove themselves, or else teams will just spread them out and pick them apart.Kyle P.1. The Marcell Ateman injury worries me. I know we’re all thinking mid-October, but I was told about 394 different dates with Phil Forte last year that never materialized. Ateman isn’t Justin Blackmon or even James Washington, but Rudolph trusts him when the chips are down. Do you have that guy right now that you know you can go to on 3rd and 9 when you have to have a first down? Washington is a tremendous deep thread, but Ateman complemented him very well. That’s missing right now, and no amount of depth can solve it.2. I’m with everyone else on the cornerback depth. What if Lampkin gets re-injured and we have Darius Curry running around with, uh, a true freshman backing him up? True freshmen playing corner is never a delight (see: Richards, Ramon in 2014), and OSU is a couple of rolled ankles from needing to score about 55 a game to get some dubs. Sports have always been (and will always be) about getting stops when you need them. I’m not sure OSU can do that with the defense it’s rolling out there right now. At least against the best teams.last_img

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