With the beginning of spring practice just one week away, Oklahoma State Cowboys' head coach Mike Gundy is ready to finally start seeing what he has for 2013. He can also begin to find the answers to many of the team's pressing questions.
Oklahoma State made a lot of changes this offseason, particularly in its coaching staff, and this could become the most important spring of Coach Gundy's tenure.
Many concerns are currently on the table, but a month of spring training should help answer most of them.
Here are five things Gundy will be looking to address during the Cowboys' spring practices.
When the Oklahoma State Cowboys lost running back Joseph Randle to the NFL, they lost the best running back in the Big 12, as well as, arguably, their most important player.
Quarterback may be the most talked about position in the conference, and that's no different for the Cowboys; however, Randle's ability as an all-purpose back is what made OSU work so well last season.
Randle was able to make his presence known as a rusher and as a pass-catcher out of the backfield, forcing defenses to account for both; thus, making the quarterback's job that much easier.
Randle's backup, Jeremy Smith, has the ability to be Randle's equal in the running game, but Smith only has 14 career catches.
Luckily, 2012 third-string running back Desmond Roland actually played receiver in high school, which means he should excel when asked to make plays in the passing game.
Replacing Randle isn't going to be easy, but with a combination of Smith and Roland, Mike Gundy will find a way to make it work.
The Oklahoma State Cowboys were forced to find replacements for both offensive coordinator Todd Monken and defensive coordinator Bill Young—decisions that could shape the 2013 season for better or worse.
Oklahoma State decided on Mike Yurcich to run its offense, while Glenn Spencer will take care of the defense.
Yurcich is relatively unknown, but he did run Division II's best offense in terms of total yardage and should be just what the doctor ordered for Mike Gundy's staff.
Gundy wants to keep running the "Air Raid" offense and Yurcich is a guy who should be able to come in and do that exceptionally well.
Spencer's promotion to defensive coordinator means that the Cowboys won't have to learn a new defense and could become a more aggressive unit in 2013.
He also is one of the better recruiters in the Southeast, particularly in his home state of Georgia.
This should help Oklahoma State continue to improve as a national power, which is exactly what every fan asks for.
The Oklahoma State Cowboys are going to be without the services of three of their most productive defensive ends this fall, which means some of the young guys are going to have to step up and get after opposing quarterbacks.
Nigel Nicholas, Ryan Robinson, Cooper Bassett and their combined 15 tackles for loss are all gone, and this could be a big problem in the pass-happy Big 12.
Fortunately, there's a plethora of young guys behind them who should step up, making these losses less problematic.
This should be one of the most interesting position battles in spring practice, as five or six guys look to make their case for playing time.
Look for Tyler Johnson to likely start, with Lyndell Johnson and Ryan Simmons continuing to come off the sideline for added pressure.
Who starts opposite of Tyler Johnson is still up in the air, but don't be surprised if early enrollee Sam Wren comes in to make an immediate impact for the Cowboys.
In 2012, Quinn Sharp was basically the entire Oklahoma State Cowboys special teams.
He was the kickoff specialist, placekicker and the team's punter.
That's at least two positions the Cowboys have to replace this offseason; however, they might have an incoming freshman with the potential to be as good as Sharp.
Ben Grogan is probably going to be the best kicker on the team when he gets to campus, but for now, Oklahoma State will need to work without him.
Look for Grogan to begin the season on the bench, but quickly become the team's starter, possibly at all three positions.
This is the most obvious concern for everyone involved with the Oklahoma State Cowboys, who's going to start at quarterback to begin 2013?
Wes Lunt has the better skill set, but there is some concern that he's injury-prone and doesn't shine in big moments like Clint Chelf.
Chelf lacks Lun'ts elite ability; however, he never faltered under pressure, something that can't be said of Lunt.
The Cowboys dominated the West Virginia Mountaineers, Texas Tech Raiders and Purdue Boilermakers under Chelf, while also being ahead of the Oklahoma Sooners for the entire game, only to have their defense let it slip away in the last seconds.
Lunt, on the other hand, looked good at times, but also threw six of his seven interceptions on the road in games Oklahoma State lost.
It will be interesting to watch this quarterback battle take place, as it really comes down to whether or not Lunt has grown more confident after his first season as a collegiate quarterback.
Lost in this discussion is J.W. Walsh, who could steal the job away from the two big names, but will likely continue to be the Cowboys' red zone quarterback.
Look for Lunt to assert himself in spring practice and win the job, while Chelf continues to give the team one of the best backups in the nation.