During the early years of Mike Gundy’s tenure as Oklahoma State’s head coach, the Cowboys were known for having dominating offensive lines. In pass protection, run blocking, all of it, It was a position of strength for the Cowboys.
But after OSU and Joe Wickline parted ways in 2013, the position group hasn’t been the same. The offensive line is now on its fourth coach in six years with former Kansas State coach Charlie Dickey taking the reigns of the position group.
During Wickline’s nine years, OSU’s offensive line gave up a total of 132 sacks and had only one season with a total in the 20’s; year one. In the five seasons since, the line has given up 162 sacks with the lowest single season total coming in 2017 at 24.
The biggest issue for OSU has been the depth at the position group, or more specifically a depth of talent. When Wickline left, he left the cupboard bare. Not to say there haven’t been some really good offensive lineman to come through the program the past five season, but let’s be honest. Probably the best one, Brad Lundblade, who is now on the Cincinnati Bengals’ roster, was a walk-on.
The classes signed included some solid lineman, including Johnny Wilson, Larry Williams, Shane Richards, and Dylan Galloway. But too many guys either didn’t pan out or took too long to develop into actual contributors.
The good news for Oklahoma State fans; that may finally be changing.
After a 2017 class where Oklahoma State signed just one offensive line prospect, Mike Gundy hired Josh Henson to coach the offensive line. He proceeded to bring in not just nine commits, he signed the two highest rated offensive line classes since Wickline left.
Fast forward to now, and Charlie Dickey is picking up where Henson left off, and then some. The class already has three offensive line commits in Eli Russ (who was recruited by Henson and Dickey retained) , Trent Pullen, and Cade Bennett. If Russ and Pullen end up signing, they’ll be the two highest rated offensive line prospects OSU has had since the 2012 class.
Add in Cade Bennett and, likely, one more prospect in the class, and OSU could have their best offensive line class since... you guessed it... 2012.
I’m not sure this will equal a massive decrease in sacks or better lanes for running backs for the 2019 season, but beyond that? If Charlie Dickey can continue to be one of the better offensive line coaches in the country, as he was at Kansas State, and the offensive line recruiting continues to trend the way it has since 2018, Oklahoma State could be looking at an offensive line renaissance, the likes of which fans haven't seen for quite some time.