Six Games. Six wins. Zero losses. The Oklahoma State Cowboys are off to a hot start and remain unbeaten heading into their bye week, preparing to enter the gauntlet that is the back half of the season. This stretch features trips to Lubbock and Ames as well as home games versus the TCU Horned Frogs, the Baylor Bears and the Oklahoma Sooners. Oh, and the Kansas Jayhawks, but who really cares about that one if it's not on the basketball court? The depth chart has changed a little since the start of the season, but not too much, so let's dive right in with the offense.
|WR||13 Glidden (Sr.)||77 Salako (Jr.)||74 M. Wilson (Jr.)||71 Lundblade (So.)||57 Lewis (Jr.)||60 Crabtree (So.)||47 Jarwin (Jr.)||WR||WR|
|3 Ateman (Jr.)||84 McCleskey (Fr.)||78 Mucha (RS Fr.)||64 Robinson (So.)||76 Hegwood (Sr.)||66 Galea'I (RS Fr.)||51 Pertile (So.)||44 Seaton (Sr.)||88 Hays (Jr.)||28 Washington (So.)|
|7 Sheperd (Sr.)||15 Lacy (So.)||81 Seales (Jr.)|
|2 Rudolph (So.)||32 Carson (Jr.)|
|4 Walsh (Sr.)||23 Childs (Jr.)|
The only notable changes on the offense is the switch at wide receiver between Marcell Ateman and Brandon Sheperd and the naming of Blake Jarwin as the starting Cowboy Back over Jeremy Seaton. With the offense explosion of Ateman came the opportunity to start over the senior. However, since the Cowboys are extremely deep at wide receiver, Sheperd sees plenty of time and is still fourth on the team in receiving yards. Jarwin and Seaton have been used interchangeably in the offense but Jarwin is a much bigger physical presence so he's seeing the ball just a little bit more. The primary play makers at wide out are David Glidden and Marcell Ateman, both of which are averaging over 16 yards per catch.
At running back, Chris Carson may still be the starter but Rennie Childs is starting to pick up more carries as Carson has been struggling to return to 100 percent after injuring his foot against Texas. He's lacked the explosiveness we saw early in the season while Childs continues to showcase his speed and shiftiness. I have no problem naming Childs as the primary play maker at running back.
Of course, both quarterbacks are play makers in their own right. Mason Rudolph beats defenses with his passes and J.W. Walsh beats them with his runs and surprise passes.
The chart for the offense has remained relatively stable, but how has the defense fared? Let's take a look.
|CB||38 Ogbah (Jr.)||56 Maile (Jr.)||96 Taylor (So.)||92 Bean (Sr.)||CB|
|1 Peterson (Sr.)||90 Clark (Sr.)||79 Daniels (Fr.)||97 Davis (Jr.)||93 Owens (RS Fr.)||6 Lampkin (Jr.)|
|17 Hunter (Sr.)||24 Jones (Sr.)|
|18 Richards (So.)||SLB||MLB||WLB|
|20 Burton (Jr.)||45 Whitener (So.)||10 Jacobs (Jr.)|
|9 Akem (So.)||50 Mabin (RS Fr.)||40 Averette (Jr.)|
No changes along the defensive line but Darrion Daniels is a lot more reps than anticipated and is getting plenty of experience alongside Vincent Taylor. The obvious play makers though are the two All-American candidates in Emmanuel Ogbah and Jimmy Bean. Combined, they have totaled 13.0 sacks, 21.5 tackles for loss, and two forced fumbles.
At linebacker, we see the only major change on defense. With the season ending knee injury of Ryan Simmons, Cal transfer Chad Whitener has been called on to start. He has done an excellent job in the role, amassing 32 tackles and 2.0 sacks. At linebacker, the major play makers have been Whitener, Jordan Burton, and Seth Jacobs. The three have compiled 93 tackles, 15.5 tackles for loss, 3.5 sacks, a forced fumble, and an interception.
No major changes have been made at corner and safety either. The tag-team of Tre Flowers and Jordan Sterns have been a tackling force in the secondary, amassing a combined 91 tackles and 2.5 for loss, one interception, and a forced fumble. At corner, five players see significant time and each contributes in their own way. The starters, Kevin Peterson and Ashton Lampkin are excellent in man coverage and create difficult matchups on the outside. Michael Hunter Jr. and Ramon Richards provide plenty of depth and frequently come in with the dime package. Miketavius Jones also sees plenty of time in the dime package but as a pass rusher, collecting 2.0 sacks for -31 yards. The primary play makers in this bunch are Jordan Sterns and Kevin Peterson.
Finally, we have our special teams players. No change has been made to this lot since the beginning of the season but let's take a look once more.
|19 Grogan (Jr.)||61 Smith (So.)||29 Sinor (RS Fr.)|
|59 Hockett (RS Fr.)||54 Elias (Sr.)||59 Hockett (RS Fr.)|
|20 Carr (Fr.)||30 Reber (Sr.)||84 McCleskey (Fr.)|
|7 Shepherd (Sr.)||82 Neph (RS Fr.)||13 Glidden (Sr.)|
|19 Grogan (Jr.)|
|59 Hockett (RS Fr.)|
Once again, no big changes here but Ben Grogan, aka the Ice Pirate, has already hit two last-minute game winners this season. True freshman Jeff Carr and Jalen McCleskey have done an all right job in the return game but neither has really broken free for major yards or returns. However, Zach Sinor has been making a name for himself with some booming punts, earning himself Big 12 Special Teams Player of the Week against the West Virginia Mountaineers.
The major play makers on this side of the ball are the kickers, Grogan and Sinor.
With the season halfway through and the team is starting to hit its stride, hopefully we won't see much more change this season and everyone will fully take on their roles while growing into them.