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Roundtable: South Alabama

Our staff talks about Saturday’s game against South Alabama, as well as a little about Thursday’s game against Missouri State.

Missouri State v Oklahoma State Photo by Brett Deering/Getty Images

In this weeks roundtable I asked the staff about fans opinions on Taylor Cornelius as well as how they think this week’s game will go. And with that, lets get to it!

1.)What are your thoughts on the “Cornelius isn’t the guy!” fans? Do you think he deserves another chance or do you think it’s time for a change at QB sooner rather than later?

Robert Whetsell:1. (SERIOUS ANSWER ALERT) Despite my reservations about Gundy and picking the right QB, I’m signing on for his “long game” view. OSU has ZERO QB depth for 2019 if Dru Brown is done after this season, but here’s where I want to know exactly what Gundy’s stance will be for burning a redshirt. OSU has enough talent to compete for a Big 12 title game appearance. Can Cornelius get the Cowboys there? Possibly, but we haven’t seen enough from him to form an educated opinion. If he struggles over the next game and a half, will we see someone else in the second half vs Boise State? How long would Gundy ride this out? The 2014 season is not a fair comparison because of the seismic change in the redshirt rule, which if that had been in place then we would have seen Rudolph much earlier (I think...). Given that the expectation of a Big 12 title game is not unreasonable, I would hope that the trigger would get pulled, IF NECESSARY, way before the final three-game gauntlet.

Phillip Slavin: I don’t think it’s about deserving another chance, I don’t think he’s done enough poorly to NOT be the guy. We don’t have enough information after one game to determine if he is or isn’t the guy. I want to see if he can correct some of the mistakes from game one and look more comfortable now that he’s had his first start in five years. If this week he looks like he did in the second quarter of Missouri State, then we can start calling to see the other guys. But remember, there’s no guarantee that at this point they’re more prepared than Cornelius.

Louis Pineda: R-E-L-A-X. My goodness, we are a “quick to forget” bunch, aren’t we? Cornelius made his first start in over five years, and this isn’t a guy who was billed to be the next Mason Rudolph. This is a former walk-on shaking some of the cobwebs off, but it was apparent that he had full control of that team while he was out there. I would much rather have him running the offense right now than someone who picked up the playbook like 8 seconds ago.

Zach McCoy: I feel like this question deserves more than just a quick roundtable answer, and maybe I’ll go all long-form on this topic at some point in the near future, but the short answer is Cornelius is the guy. It’s amazing to me to see so many people go from patient and optimistic to irrational and impulsive after a 41-pt (“great teams cover”) victory.ed 44-7 victory in Mobile last year. Do you expect more of the same or is it a bit closer?

Ryan Harris: Taylor Cornelius needs to improve on two things, not over throwing receivers and making quicker reads. He’ll improve as the season goes. He hasn’t started a football game in five years, so he played about how I expected him to. Eventually I’d like to see Spencer Sanders and Dru Brown get some playing time since they can do so without burning their redshirts. OSU’s schedule is backloaded so everyone can afford a little patience with Corn Dog. I really don’t want to see people put him down next week, but I also hope he picks up his game a little bit. Overall I didn’t mind the showing from Corn Dog.

Matt Harris: I think that Taylor Cornelius is absolutely still “the guy,” at least for another four quarters. I’ll give him a pass for game one considering it was really his first ever meaningful snaps, but I’m only giving him one game to get it together. If we see another shaky performance against South Alabama, Gundy might want to consider going in a different direction when a good Boise State team comes to town. More on this in my preview of what we want to see from Corndog this week, coming out Thursday...

Joel Penfield: Everyone needs to calm the hell down to be frank. If you go back and watch the tape, he really only had one bad quarter. He bounced back well in the 3rd quarter and overall did well. This was the first time he had taken meaningful snaps since 2013, of course there were going to be nerves. That being said, I did have some legitimate concerns. He was breaking clean pockets early and going to checkdowns/running before he needed to. He needs to feel pressure better in this game for me to feel better about him in this offense. His shortcomings against Missouri State are correctable, but if we see more of the same I will have a lot of concerns and be ready to see someone else be QB1.

2.) The Cowboys won a lopsided 44-7 victory in Mobile last year. Do you expect more of the same or is it a bit closer?

Robert Whetsell: It’s OSU football Twitter. There will be gnashing of teeth and overreactions regardless.

Phillip Slavin: I think it will be closer, but that’s about perspective. 40-10 is technically a closer game (I’ll give my prediction in a bit). I think OSU wins big, but I think this South Alabama team will be more competitive. They play a more aggressive style both on offense and defense under new head coach Steve Campbell, so expect them to throw everything they have at OSU.

Louis Pineda: It will be more of the same, and we will know very little more about this team at the end of the game. We won’t know how we will stack up in the Big 12 until we play Boise State

Zach McCoy: South Alabama is fresh off an opening weekend loss to CUSA juggernaut Louisiana Tech and struggled to find any semblance of a passing game in the process. The front-6 is the strength of this Cowboys defense. Add those pieces together and you get more of the same. Cowboys roll.

Ryan Harris: This game might be a tad closer but it won’t be close either way. It all depends on how much Gundy wants to experiment, and I doubt that will be much. Look for a similar score this season.

Matt Harris: I expect this game to be similar to last year. This is a team who is coming off a 30-26 loss to Louisiana Tech and played three quarterbacks last week. I don’t expect OSU to struggle in the slightest (as far as the score goes... we’ll keep an eye on Corndog).

Joel Penfield: The Cowboys should still win this game convincingly again, but I think South Alabama will score more than 7 points this time around. I hope to see some improvement in the defense this week, but I’m reserving too much judgment considering there were some solid chunk plays given up against an FCS opponent last week.

3. What are your thoughts on the changes to the OSU depth chart?

Robert Whetsell:The fact the Chuba didn’t START as the starter on kick returns gives me “Brandon Weeden-3rd string behind Alex Cate” nightmares. WTF were they thinking? If he doesn’t get multiple screens/jet sweeps/pitch outs in a game, we are right back in “don’t know how to use Tyreek Hill” territory. SPEED KILLS. Figure out how to get it on the field AND use it. FFS, let Bob Stitt handle the joystick. I’ll bet he knows the button combination for “speed boost.”

Phillip Slavin: I didn’t see anything surprising. Though it looks like if this game IS a blowout, we might get our first look at Dru Brown on the field in orange. Also, it’s good to see Chuba-cabra as the official kick returner.

Louis Pineda: Umm...why wasn’t Chuba listed as the PR/KR since the beginning? In fact, make him a new position - the “GHTDBRN” (Get Him the Damn Ball Right Now).

Zach McCoy:Chuba Hubbard at KR is only a week late, so that’s nice. I guess Dru Brown is going to get some scrimmage game reps in this week? My best guess is they use 1 of the 4 games of the redshirt rule for Brown an Sanders in fairly secure situations, while saving the rest of the 3 games for actual backup situations in the second half of the season. I don’t know why you leave Wudtee off unless he’s hurt or they wanted to keep the depth chart to a single page by only listing a 3-deep.

Ryan Harris: Chuba returning kicks. That’s all I wanted to see. That’s all I have. I can’t wait to watch him run on Saturday.

Matt Harris: Interesting that Wudtee isn’t on the depth chart at all, which (maybe??) means that we’ll see either Sanders or Brown if Cornelius doesn’t play the entire game. I think this game will be a blowout and there will be ample opportunity to get other guys some snaps in the fourth.

Joel Penfield:CHUBA IS RUNNING BACK KICKS AND I AM READY FOR THIS. But really, this is what needs to happen. He’s so fast that there’s no reason for him not to. I know it was Missouri State, but he looks as good as advertised by Mike Gundy. Gundy teased us with it for over a year, and finally getting to watch him on the field was absolutely electric.

4.) What (if anything) worries you about this game?

Robert Whetsell: Are you kidding? I’m an OSU fan. EVERYTHING worries me about EVERY game. You might as well ask us what we plan to use this week to address the embedded anxiety. This week will be Monkey Shoulder.

Phillip Slavin: Not this game specifically, but the future. I need to see Taylor Cornelius show improvement from last week. I need to see some of the mistakes cleaned up and I need him to be more comfortable behind center. I don’t care as much about the deep balls as I do not over or under throwing into coverage or leaving the pocket to run when he doesn’t have to. If I’m going to feel good about Oklahoma State beating Boise State and winning eight games this season, I need to have more confidence in Corn Dog. I don’t think Dru Brown or Spencer Sanders are ready to go. If they were, they would.

Louis Pineda: Injuries. Please oh please no one get injured in this blowout.

Zach McCoy: South Alabama has a Biletnikoff Watch List receiver in Jamarius Way (5 rec, for 66 yds last year) but without a passer to get them a ball this threat is limited. T.J. Brunson is Wuerffel Trophy Watch List as a LB but he’ll have his hands overflowing with the OSU 4-headed beast. Corliss Waitman is on the Ray Guy Award Watch List (Best Punter). He’s the guy to watch.

Ryan Harris: Health always worries me. Especially at quarterback. This team doesn’t have a ton of depth, but you also hate to see players get hurt. I’m also worried people will get tired of Cornelius. We have two new exciting guys on the bench, but that doesn’t mean they give us the best shot to win. I’m tired of seeing the Corn Dog slander on Twitter. Have some patience.

Matt Harris: My biggest worry for this game is that we will see another underwhelming performance from Taylor Cornelius and have major questions at quarterback heading in to a matchup with a ranked team.

Joel Penfield: I’m not sure yet, ask me again in the middle of the first quarter when my blood pressure begins to increase.

5. Score prediction?

Robert Whetsell: Not enough OSU points and too many South Bama points as we try to get comfortable with the new reality of a defense forcing 3 and outs while also allowing the occasional big play.

Phillip Slavin: 45-17. South Alabama struggled to run the ball against Louisiana Tech and turned the ball over four times. I don’t think they’ll be that much better against a more talented OSU team. I do think their aggressiveness, especially going for it on fourth downs, will lead to a couple of scores.

Louis Pineda: OSU wins 56-17

Zach McCoy: 42-6; see answer 2 above. With a 31.5-pt spread the Pokes cover again.

Ryan Harris: Oklahoma State: 45 South Alabama: 13. The defense plays a little better this week and the running backs power OSU early for a big win before hosting Boise State.

Matt Harris: Give me the Pokes 45-13.

Joel Penfield: I’ll go 44-21 Pokes. Cornelius plays well enough to get the win, but the offense is predominantly run once again. I think the defense finds a way to cause a couple of key turnovers, and most of USA (I love that by the way) will come late in the game.

We want to see your answers to these questions in the comments below!