game in the three outings prior to Kansas — will be thrust to the forefront

#1 von elvafeng , 29.11.2017 09:19

When will Oklahoma State be this good again?
That was one of the prevailing questions after the Cowboys lost in Bedlam for the third straight season, all but ending their hopes to win a Big 12 championship and possibly compete for a spot in the four team College Football Playoff.

A team that featured a Heisman Trophy caliber quarterback in Mason Rudolph, the best running back in the Big 12 in Justice Hill and an embarrassment of riches at wide receiver was supposed to be in the conference championship game.

But three surprising home losses — all when OSU was favored — have the Cowboys awaiting their pre New Year’s Day bowl destination after a third place finish in the Big 12.

In 2018, Rudolph and receivers James Washington, Chris Lacy and Marcell Ateman will be gone from the offense, along with offensive linemen Zach Crabtree, Brad Lundblade and Aaron Cochran.

While Hill figures to continue to excel at tailback and Dillion Stoner, Jalen McCleskey, Tyron Johnson and Tylan Wallace will be fixtures on the outside next season, who steps in for Rudolph? What about the offensive line?

The next Cowboys quarterback could be on the current roster, with a likely spring and fall camp battle between junior Taylor Cornelius and redshirt freshman Keondre Wudtee. Or maybe the next OSU quarterback isn’t on campus.

There is a lot of buzz surrounding 2018 four star recruit Spencer Sanders of Ryan High School in Denton, Texas. The dual threat quarterback is the jewel of the incoming class next season. Could he start as a freshman in 2018?

The offensive line will feature some combination of sophomores Johnny Wilson and Marcus Keyes and redshirt freshman Teven Jenkins. The Cowboys do not have depth within the group overall, though. It will need to find a fixture at center and right tackle.

Changes expected on the defense, too
With the offense figuring to be finding its way for much of next season, the defense — one that allowed 49.6 points per game in the three outings prior to Kansas — will be thrust to the forefront.

Ramon Richards, Tre Flowers, Chad Whitener, DeQuinton Osborne Anthony Brown Jersey, Kirk Tucker and Vili Leveni — veteran leaders and playmakers — will not be around.

Cornerbacks A.J. Green and Rodarius Williams learned a lot in an expected up and down year as first year starters. But the lack of depth and experience took its toll as 2017 wore on.

On the back end, the Cowboys will have to find replacements for Flowers and Richards from a group that includes freshman Thabo Mwaniki and sophomores Chance Cook and Za’Carrius Green.

One position group that could be a strength a year from now is at linebacker, with Calvin Bundage, Kenneth Edison McGruder, Justin Phillips and Devin Harper all back.

Along the defensive line, juniors Trey Carter and Darrion Daniels will be anchors at tackle. The defensive end position sees juniors Cole Walterscheid and Jarrell Owens and sophomore Jordan Brailford returning. But just like many positions on the roster, OSU will need to establish depth.

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