It’s time for another edition of the CRFF Roundtable, were our staff of “experts” offer their takes on Oklahoma State athletics. This time around, we’re
1) It's been a crazy couple weeks for Mike Gundy, having to replace his offensive line coach and running back coaches. Now that both spots are filled, which hire, Henson or Wozniak, are you more excited about?
Brodie Smith - I'll take Henson. To bring a guy back who had just left for another (better?) job is tremendous (yes, I know Wozniak is technically coming "back" after a year as a grad assistant under Les Miles). That shows the commitment Henson has to Oklahoma State and to keeping the trajectory Gundy has built moving in the right direction. That being said, if Wozniak is anything like Todd Monken (whom Wozniak served under at Southern Miss), he should be a fun—and quotable—addition to the staff.
Tyler Wiederhoeft - I'd have to say Henson. We needed a recruiter after losing Arroyo, and we got one. Not only that, we are bringing in someone who knows the system and can keep rolling with it.
Joel Penfield - I would have to say Henson. Wozniak has bigger shoes to fill replacing Arroyo. With Henson already being at OSU, he has experience with the program. I think he will build up the offensive line back to the Wickline days.
Phillip Slavin - I’ll go with Henson as well. I think the offensive line is a more important position than running backs. It helps also helps that he’s been with the program the last couple of years so he should already be somewhat familiar. Of course, his talent as a recruiter, filling the hole left by the departure of Arroyo, is huge. The lack of 4-year offensive lineman in the 2017 recruiting class was a bad thing. Hopefully it won’t happen again.
2) Speaking of assistant coaches, according to Scout, Alabama Head Coach Nick Saban reportedly talked to Yurcich about the Crimson Tide’s open offensive coordinator position. What did you think we you heard the news?
Brodie - Meh. I'll believe it when I see it. I just don't see him going anywhere. Like with Gundy every year, the more I hear Yurcich rumors, the less I am inclined to believe them. "Big time programs are looking at Yurcich" seemingly translates to "No one wants to take a chance on him...yet." I have no doubt he'll move up soon, but there's no reason to take a lateral job when a head coaching position will come (probably after next season because of the potential numbers his offensive weapons could deliver).
Tyler - I was surprised. Oklahoma State fans have been calling for Yurcich's head for a while now due to his conservative play calling and poor decision making. But Saban obviously liked it. I'm impressed by the fact Yurcich is committed enough to OSU to stay here instead of going and coaching the offense in what is likely to be a playoff team yet again. I loved the play calling in the Alamo Bowl, hopefully it was a foreshadowing to what this year's offense will be like.
Joel - I was somewhat surprised. I'm still on the fence about Yurcich as a playcaller, so I was surprised when Alabama came calling. I am glad he is coming back though, it gives continuity with Rudolph, which will be needed next season.
Phillip - Maybe it’s finally time for Oklahoma State fans to acknowledge that Yurcich is a good offensive coordinator. Schools like Auburn and Alabama aren’t looking to hire some yahoo off the street. I’m not saying I loved the hire when Yurcich was brought on, but maybe we should all appreciate how well he’s done the past couple seasons.
3) Unless they lose a bunch of their final 6 games (knock on wood) OSU is likely a tournament team. Which seed do you seem them getting? Why?
Brodie - I think they'll be slotted in as a five or a six seed, especially if they can win most of the remaining conference games (the next five are "win-able" and Kansas has to come to Stillwater to close out the season) and perform well in the Big 12 tournament. The momentum Brad Underwood and the Cowboys have built in the last few weeks is once again catching national attention. If the trend continues, these Pokes will be a team no one—no matter the seed—wants to face once the Madness arrives.
Tyler - I think the ceiling is a 5 seed, but they have to win out. Realistically, I see them as a 6 or 7 seed. The Cowboys are playing stellar basketball as of late, but I think their 0-6 start to the season prevents them from getting into the top 16 seeds. However, if they go deep into the Big 12 tourney, they could get a 4 seed, but I think it'll be 6 or 7.
Joel - I see OSU being a 7-8 seed. I think if they win out in the regular season and win a couple tournament games we can go to a 6.
Phillip - I agree with Tyler that the ceiling is a 5. I think if OSU can get to 20+ wins before selection Sunday, they end up a 6 or 7.
4) 5-star Point Guard Trae Young makes his decision today between (likely) Kansas, Oklahoma, and Oklahoma State. Where is he going?
Brodie - I hate to say it, but given those three options, I'd have to tag the Jayhawks as his landing spot. He's a player who can thrive on his own amidst a rebuilding effort in Norman, but Kansas has all the pieces to compete annually for conference and national titles. It's hard to compete with that when Bill Self comes calling. I don't believe OSU is in the running, but that may just be reverse psychology talking. So Kansas or another school not mentioned.
Tyler - Judging from his article, I'd say OSU. The family couldn't find anything tangible wrong with the program. But I'm guessing the lure of Kansas will be too much for the freshman to pass up. He may have been considering OU, but if I was him, the attendance rates show me the fans don't care, and I would want to go somewhere where the fans come out and watch us play.
Joel - I feel like he'll end up at KU. I think the prominence of the program will be too good to pass up. I'd love to see him at OSU, but I don't think it'll happen.
Phillip - Quotes like this make me think he’s leaning Oklahoma State...
5) Let's talk baseball! Oklahoma State’s season starts Friday. What is their final record and who wins the Big 12 this year?
Brodie - Pokes fans feel the team has been slighted a little in the preseason assessments and rankings. Too much has been lost to expect the Cowboys to repeat last year's trip to Omaha, however, I imagine this team has a few surprises in store and will give the Big 12 title a good run, finishing at a respectable 35-21. TCU is the conventional pick with all the pieces it returns to the diamond. I'm not one for convention and will take another Texas team, the Red Raiders, to take home the conference crown.
Tyler - To be honest, I haven't even looked at the baseball team yet. I'd say we will have a winning record, come in top 3 of the Big 12 (TCU, OSU, TTU). The Cowboys lost quite a few key players this past season, but they also retained quite a few. It will be interesting to see how they replace infielders such as J.R. Davis, Donnie Walton and Collin Theroux. Ask me again in a couple weeks after I've watched the team play.
Joel - I think OSU will finish in the Top 3 in the conference, it'll be between OSU, Tech, and TCU for the conference title. Baseball is such a fluky game so it is hard to predict a record.
Phillip - In hindsight, I agree picking the actual record isn’t easy. However, I think OSU wins the Big 12 this season with TCU a CLOSE second. Mostly because, TCU hasn’t won a weekend series over OSU in the past three years.
6) Undefeated No. 1 OSU takes on undefeated No.2 Penn State in Wrestling this Sunday. I realize we don't all know that much about Wrestling, but let's get your final score predictions.
Brodie - Either I'm Debbie Downer today or my reverse psychology is in overdrive, but I see Penn State (also undefeated and the most recent dynasty in the sport) taking down the top-ranked Cowboys 24-19.
Tyler - Cowboys win because of course they do! I'm gonna go and attend my first dual Sunday, so if they don't win, I'm gonna assume it was all my fault because I went and jinxed it.
Joel - This is going to be a fantastic dual, I am very excited to be there on Sunday. I'm going to go 24-14 OSU. I imagine a lot of matches will be won by minor decision.
Phillip - I think the team is inspired by Gundy in a singlet and comes out with a 22-18 victory.