Oklahoma State (10-2, 7-2 Big 12) Scouting Report
This offense has looked pretty bland at times but at others we've seen flashes of what OSU fans missed since 2011. Led by quarterback Mason Rudolph, the offense looked good until about halftime of the Baylor game when Rudolph broke his foot.
The tandem that be Mason Rudolph and J.W. Walsh is certainly special. The easiest way to explain it is to give you an example in another sport, baseball. Rudolph is the starter that can go all nine innings and win a game while Walsh is the closer that you're pretty certain will win the game for you if you give him a lead to work with. Rudolph came in after being forced to burn his red shirt against Baylor last season and after losing that game he led OSU to a streak of 12 wins in a row.
Rudolph won't move a lot, but he can if need be. He will mainly stay in the pocket like a statue until forced to move around and make the throw. Occasionally overthrows a receiver but a majority of his throws are on target. His attempts per game range from 30-50, depending on which run game decides to show up. A good pass rush could force some ill-advised throws but Rudolph also thrives under pressure (usually).
If Walsh is forced to play more than needed, than it's probably good for the Rebels. Walsh is a good player and leader, but his throws are very sub-par and his stats make him look better than he is. Will come in around the red zone and try to finish drives off. If he gets into third and long, Rudolph will come back in. A lot of jet sweeps, triple options and quarterback draws. He is honestly the best back that OSU has due to his ability to squeak past defenders.
Oklahoma State fans have seen better. Rennie Childs, Chris Carson and Jeff Carr were all hyped in the preseason but have done nothing to warrant that hype. Carson is the "starter" but has only had one 100-yard game all year, being outplayed by former walk-on Raymond Taylor. Taylor will bounce around on a good day and score a touchdown or two. The run game is so weak, there was literally a game where the team didn't get over 10 yards on the ground. If Ole Miss somehow allows OSU to gain more than 100 on the ground, I'd be worried for the run defense.
Probably the most under-appreciated group on this team. James Washington just became the seventh OSU receiver in history to go over 1,000 yards. That's with starting the season with only 12 catches in the first four games 155 yards. He finished with five of the last seven games being over 100 and at least one touchdown in five of the last six. Washington is the guy that can make even J.W. Walsh throws look good. He can beat you with his speed and catch the ball with one hand, he's pretty much the go-to guy.
David Glidden is a solid second and third down receiver, not afraid of contact and great at catches over the middle. Marcell Ateman and Brandon Sheperd are both solid but the most on-again, off-again players you may ever meet. Both are solid at sideline catches but not much else.
In this group is also the hybrid tight end/full back guys the team calls "Cowboy Backs." Jeremy Seaton and Blake Jarwin fill these roles. Although they aren't the most important and aren't really used well, the two can find an open hole occasionally for a quick dump off pass.
Better than last year but not good enough. OSU has had a rough time since losing Joe Wickline to Texas and it's shown. They have been playing a bit injured but have kept the quarterbacks pretty safe, at least compared to last year. The run blocking is horrid. Easily the biggest hole on this 10-2 team and not even arguable. This might be part of why the run game has been so bad all year but not completely.
The defense isn't as bad as the stats say. Led by redshirt junior Emmanuel Ogbah (potential first-round pick), this defense started off solid but weakened as the season wore on. Since the Texas Tech game, the defense has played in over 435 snaps and allowed about 43 points per game, before that game the defense allowed only 18.8 points per game.
Emmanuel Ogbah certainly leads this group and the defense and there really isn't a question about it. When Ogbah is on his game, the rest of the defense sort of follows suit. Leading the Big 12 in sacks (13) and tackles for loss (17.5) while also forcing three fumbles on the year. He also has 19 quarterback hurries on the year.
Jimmy Bean started the season off as the opposite end for Ogbah, but has since been injured and out for the rest of the year. Trace Clark and the other backups have stepped in pretty well but it's definitely a noticeable drop off, enabling offenses to really focus on Ogbah.
The middle of the line is sort of an off and on thing. Vincent Taylor, Darion Daniels and Motekiai Maile have all played well though and against weaker competition really make everyone think they're turning a corner. Can be pushed around pretty easily at times in the run game due to lack of size and experience.
This may be the receivers of the defense. These guys play well and are deep at the position but don't have the star power that the line does. Seth Jacobs has really developed into an all-star at linebacker, playing well in coverage and hardly ever missing tackles. Jordan Burton is a fast linebacker, sort of almost like a safety and is second on the team with 91 tackles. Chad Whitener really interests me as he stepped in after OSU lost it's four-year starter Ryan Simmons and played fantastic. Since stepping in he has 88 tackles, two interceptions and a pair of sacks.
This is where it can get ugly. Jordan Sterns is a hard-hitting safety that will occasionally play coverage well but is always looking for that big hit so will let some big passes by. Kevin Peterson really is a star but seems to be injured every other day, but when he's on his game he's shut down receivers like Josh Doctson, Kevin White and more. Ashton Lampkin is a less-injured version of Peterson but also a less-consistent version. Ramon Richards will come in at times and he's essentially only looking for interceptions, so every ball is a 50/50 ball and Michael Hunter is decent but quits on a lot of plays.
This group definitely looks better when Ogbah and the front seven are all putting pressure on the quarterback. Unfortunately, that hasn't happened much the last few weeks.
Ben Grogan can either be the best kicker or the worst kicker. There are times in his career some think he's the second coming of Dan Bailey and then there's times where we'd rather have Mason kick the ball because Grogan can't get an extra point.
Jeff Carr won't ever really do anything special on kickoff returns. On punt returns, Jalen McCleskey is a wildcard. He has one touchdown on the year in returns but will either late to the last second to fair catch or not do it at all and take the hit. Has muffed a few punts but his pure speed allows him to recover it pretty quickly.
Overall this team is good and can be even better, but when you stop two or three of its players from rolling, you can stop the whole team. People think the defense is weak, and to be honest it's looked that way the past few weeks, but when it is playing well, it's amazing. Mason Rudolph had a procedure on November 30, so he's still recovering from that. Biggest weakness is running the ball on offense and having Walsh try to throw. He's a running back who can throw every once in a while. On defense, secondary is the biggest hole. The team certainly has missed Jimmy Bean, but the replacements haven't played terrible. The offensive line has improved since last year but not by a lot. Being told that the line has also been fighting with injury the last few weeks and I'll be updated on that more as the game gets closer.