I don’t want to worry anybody, but FOOTBALL IS ONE SINGLE WEEK AWAY! SEVEN SLEEPS!
As we collectively wait until it’s zero sleeps, here’s some roundtable questions.
1) Other than Mason Rudolph, Justice Hill and James Washington, who will have the greatest impact on the Cowboys' offense?
Colin Price: I'm going to go with Keenan Brown. OSU has used the Cowboy Backs in the run game and if he develops into a steady run blocker while maintaining the solid WR skills he brought to OSU, he will be a fulcrum in the offense.
Micah Allen: Jalen McCleskey. He was also put on the watch list for the Biletnikoff Award and I feel like he's the future. Washington is gone after this season so I feel like the offensive coaching staff needs to get McCleskey the ball more so he's prepared.
Brodie Smith: It's gotta be the receiver lining up opposite of Washington, which should most often be Ateman, provided he is and remains healthy. His emergence as a weapon anywhere on the field should not only open up more opportunities for Washington but also for the tight ends, slot receivers and running backs. He's the perfect counterbalance to this offense.
Robert Whetsell: Mike Gundy. I'm saying it now...
If The Master of OSU Football releases Yurcich from his indentured servitude, the Cowboys will crush Tulsa, dispatch Pitt rather easily, and Gundy will be in a lawn chair for South Alabama. If this is business as usual, Tulsa will be aggravating, Pitt could be a loss, and South Alabama will just be embarrassing. Well, South Alabama could be embarrassing either way, but you get my point. If they are going to challenge 2011 for historical status, then the offense needs to be full throttle at all times.
Cullen Clark: I want to say Tyron Johnson because of all of the hype that he's had this offseason. I'll go a different direction though. I think Jalen McCleskey is the player not referenced that will have the biggest impact on the season. He paced the team in receptions last season with 73 and showed that he knew what to do when he caught it by turning seven of those receptions into touchdowns. With the embarrassment of riches that the Cowboys have at wide receiver it seems we overlook a different one every week.
Gallagher Martin: I've been reading up on Cal-transfer Aaron Cochran and what excites me most about him is his eagerness to learn and get better. He's 6-foot-8 and has 16 career starts at the Division I level, so there shouldn't be any drop-off at left tackle as he takes over for Victor Salako. Gundy said Cochran is in much better shape than when he arrived in the spring. He also said if Rob Glass could have gotten ahold of him as a freshman he'd, "look like a Greek god now." I believe it, too.
Joel Penfield: I think it will be Marcell Ateman. He gives Mason Rudolph a big target to throw to and is a matchup nightmare for corners. You can't double him to take away his jump ball ability because that frees up another receiver. He'll have a huge impact this season.
Tyler Wiederhoeft: I’m going to go with Tyron Johnson. The former 5-star recruit and LSU transfer has been impressing in practice. He also appears to be living up to his hype and loving the “wide-open offense” that OSU has. Johnson should be lining up opposite of James Washington every week, causing nightmares for the defense if they try and cheat the safety over to double team No. 28. I’m excited to see what he can do this season.
Start one, cut one, bench one: Rudolph, Hill and Washington.
Colin: This one's going to be tricky and there's no right answers so I'll take a crack at it. First, I'm starting Rudolph. I feel like we haven't seen enough of the other QBs for me to confidently say that the offense will be the same. I'm benching Hill next. He might be the feature back but with four freshmen also in the rotation, I feel like he needs to be there for the depth. That means I'm cutting Washington. I know that probably heresy, but the WR corps is deep enough and talented enough that another star could emerge fairly quickly.
Micah: I would cut Washington because there’s so much depth at wide receiver, and then probably start Hill because I'm not too sure if I have a lot of confidence in our other running backs and the experience we have there. Then probably bench Rudolph. We've got a couple of good back up quarterbacks that could get the job done if needed.
Brodie: You have to start Rudolph. Everyone else at the position is unproven or has a completely different skill set than QB1. I hate to think it, but Washington hits the chopping block due to the depths at receiver, especially with a starter like Rudolph delivering the ball. That leaves Hill taking a seat on the bench because in this scenario you could being him back in when necessary. But really, I just want to hear the luscious sounds of "Chuba" chants rolling throughout BPS.
Robert: Start Rudolph. That's an easy choice
Cut Washington. So many great options, don't know that there will be any drop off for the two-deep in this group.
Bench Hill. My assumption would be that if you bench him, he could still contribute, but fact is that you have some possibilities at RB that are not guaranteed, so I wouldn't want to cut him.
Cullen: Start Rudolph, Bench Hill, and cut Washinton. Rudolph is the guy you have to start out of this group. Its hard to replace a senior quarter back. Especially one with the career that Rudolph has had. I'd cheat and bench Hill for one snap and then roll him out there. Hill is a freak with the ball in his hands. I've been saying it since I saw his film in high school. You can't just replace a running back like him. While Washington is without a doubt the best receiver on the team, there is just so much depth that he has to be the one cut.
Gallagher: I would start Rudolph because he's the undisputed leader and it all starts with him. I would bench Hill only because I have to. And I would cut Washington simply because of all the depth at wide receiver. Oklahoma State could have lost Washington to the draft last year and they'd still have the most depth at wide receiver in the conference.
Joel: Start Mason, bench Washington, cut Hill. Mason is an NFL caliber quarterback with a winning track record. Washington is a fantastic wide receiver, but he is a talented receiver among other talented receivers. I'll cut Hill just because he's young, but he's still a stud.
Tyler: Start Rudolph – Yes we have some QBs behind him, but none of them know this offense and can run this offense like the soon-to-be school record holder in multiple categories.
Bench Hill – With Jeff Carr announcing his transfer to a D-II school, I’m led to believe that the competition in camp is crazy good. Do we actually have capable RB depth? If all my speculations are correct, we could bench Justice Hill and still hand the ball off to Ja’Ron Wilson or LD Brown and be alright. (I believe Chuba Hubbard will redshirt.)
Cut Washington – With the depth at WR, we could probably cut both Washington and another WR and still be one of the best WR corps in the nation. We are that deep. I can’t wait to see them carve up some defenses.
What are you looking forward to the most about game day? Be specific.
Colin: I just need to have the game back in my life. Something to track and talk about all week until the next outing. Something to look forward to that isn't work related. Something exciting to be happening regularly. And most importantly, having highlights back. I love highlights.
Micah: Going to the strip after a win, and paddling my arm off. Speaking of I need costume ideas if you have one tweet me!
Brodie: This may seem silly, but the "run on". This classic, one-of-a-kind marching band entrance (I performed it countless times) and pregame performance officially signals the start of OSU football for me. Follow that with the most beautiful alma mater in the country, and all you've got left is the kickoff.
Robert: Nothing. I'm looking forward to nothing about this first game other than football is back. I'll be ill worrying about whether or not Gundy is going to allow Yurcich to dust off the second page for the playbook before Big 12 play begins.
Cullen: My favorite part of the game is the atmosphere during the game. There's nothing in the world better than a Saturday afternoon (mornings recently) spent with 55,000+ of your closest friends cheering on the Cowboys. Nothing will ever beat watching the games live at BPS.
Gallagher: Something I'm looking forward to on game day is the drive to Stillwater. I live about three hours away, but it's a pretty straightforward drive. I haven't been to Stillwater since the spring game, so I'm looking forward to getting out of class Thursday afternoon to drive for the Tulsa game. The drive back probably won't be as fun though.
Joel: I look forward to the hype video/Tombstone clip before the team runs out of the field. I've seen it for every home game for the last two years, and it gives me chills every time.
Tyler: I love the Pistol Pete intro. The clip from the old movie Gunsmoke playing. Watching the team pour out of the tunnel in awe-inspiring uniforms. Also as a much newer tradition, I love throwing my arms around my friends and singing Garth Brooks’s “Friends in Low Places” after the third quarter.
With schools starting for another year across the nation, what was your favorite thing you did all summer?
Colin: I don't know if it counts as summer but I graduated. That was fun. Took a couple trips and have been applying for jobs so it's been a quiet summer. A lot of minor league baseball too.
Micah: I was an intern for Oklahoma State Athletics marketing which was amazing. I learned a lot and had a lot of fun while I did. On a more personal note, I got to go to a signing of one of my favorite bands since I was high school and it was amazing. The concert was one of the best I've been to.
Brodie: A day away at Lake Eufala was probably the highlight. Though I lost my only pair of sunglasses in an unfortunate tubing incident, it was a great day spent on the lake with friends and family. Could have done without the sunburn though.
Robert: Send my kid to sleep away camp.
Means his Mom isn't expending every ounce of her energy constantly chasing him around and trying to plan every second of his day. Means he's not showing up in our bedroom UNANNOUNCED at 7 a.m.
Oh yea, and playing in the senior flight of the club championship. It was so much more enjoyable to have a first round match that didn't involve me shooting 75 and getting beat 5&4 by some flat-bellied kid not even half my age.
Cullen: Family vacation to Navarre Beach, FL. We had a great time at the beach and Destin was just a short drive away.
Gallagher: I did nothing noteworthy, PASS.
Joel: I went to a bunch of Royals and Sporting Kansas City (MLS Soccer) games with my dad. My favorite pastime is going to any sporting event with him, so it was good to go to as many as we could while I was home.
Tyler: I didn’t really do much this summer. I enjoyed golfing with my dad and following some local sports teams and writing about them for my local paper. Other than that, I had a boring summer.