Oklahoma State Cowboys 2010-2011 Season Preview

2009 Total Offense Rank (yards per game): 70
2009 Total Defense Rank (yards per game): 31

The Oklahoma State Cowboys had back to back nine win seasons the last two years, not an easy feat to accomplish in the Big 12. Even without star receiver Dez Bryant, the Cowboys played well, barely missing double digit wins after a loss to Ole Miss in the Cotton Bowl. A new scheme and new players will try to continue the Cowboys’ winning ways.

The team lost a lot of talent on both sides of the ball. The starting quarterback and running are both in the NFL, but it looks like they have capable players ready to step in. Running back is more secure with the return of Kendall Hunter from injury. In 2008, he rushed for 1,555 yards and 16 touchdowns and was an All-American. He may not get much help up front though, with the offensive line returning only one starter from a year ago.

The quarterback spot is a little more shaky. 26 year old Brandon Weeden, a former minor league pitcher, takes over for Zac Robinson. Weeden played well in spot duty in 2009, leading the team to a victory over Colorado. Leading receiver Hubert Anyiam returns after gaining 515 yards through the air.
Oklahoma State Cowboys Cheerleader

The Cowboys’ offensive success will be determined by how well they can pick up the new system instituted by coordinator Dana Holgorsen. Holgorsen is coming over from Houston where his offense was the best in the nation. He is instituting a fast paced, no huddle spread offense to keep the defense off guard. Weeden’s lack of experience with this system may cause some early issues.

The defense made some major strides in 2009, improving from 93rd to 31st. The problem is most of the starters from that team are gone. Nine seniors on last year’s defense leaves the Cowboys with a lot of unproven players trying to step in. Linebacker Orie Lemon, the leading tackler in 2008, is back after missing all of last season with a knee injury. Safeties Markelle Martin and Victor Johnson provide some continuity in the defensive backfield. Defensive ends Ugo Chinasa (6.5 sacks) and Jamie Blatnick are back, but outside linebacker, defensive tackle and cornerback are all areas of concern.

If Holgerson can accomplish the same offensive success he had at Houston and young players on defense can step up, the Cowboys will again be shooting for a bowl game. However, the window of opportunity may have closed for the team, and it may take a couple years of rebuilding before they are back to double digit wins.

Oklahoma State’s odds to win the Big 12: + 4000

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