Can Oklahoma State's Running Game Survive With a Pass-Oriented Offense?

Curtis Finchum@CRose24Correspondent IApril 16, 2010

STILLWATER, OK - SEPTEMBER 5:  Running back Kendall Hunter #24 of the Oklahoma State Cowboys rushes for a nine yards during the third quarter of the game against the Georgia Bulldogs at Boone Pickens Stadium on September 5, 2009 in Stillwater, Oklahoma. (Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images)
Christian Petersen/Getty Images

Oklahoma State has historically been known as "Running Back University" because of its great history of running backs. 

Over the past few seasons they've been the top rushing team in the Big 12.  This year returns their top rusher from 2008 in senior Kendall Hunter. 

Hunter missed a majority of last season due to an ankle injury that occurred early in the season.  Despite his injury, the Cowboys still managed to be close to the top of the Big 12, thanks in part to Keith Toston and Beau Johnson who both graduated. 

However, Cowboys head coach Mike Gundy made a decision that could potentially change the entire outlook of the Cowboys offense. After getting thrashed by Houston early in the season, Gundy stole their offensive coordinator Dana Holgorsen.

Holgorsen's offensive style is built around the passing game, using a barrage of pass plays, from screens to deep routes. 

Gundy has reportedly handed over full control of the Cowboys offense to Holgorsen.

But what does that mean for Hunter who finally gets his starting job back and now has to wonder what is going to happen to his number of carries?

A new quarterback in junior Brandon Weeden and a receiving core that only has one season of experience are now the top weapons in the Cowboys offense.

This could end up leaving Hunter out of the mix, other than as a decoy.

The running game can survive, however, if Holgorsen is willing to use Hunter's speed and ball skills to his advantage. The reigns of the Cowboys offense is in the hands of a new man and fans are going to have to get used to even a more high octane offense. 

This should be a solid return to form from their 2008 season where they were one of the top scoring teams in the country. 

Hunter is the only returning player that controlled that offense and hopefully will be able to carry the offense to new heights again.