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Oklahoma State Football: A Season Surrounded By Question Marks

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Oklahoma State Football: A Season Surrounded By Question Marks

Two seasons removed from such promise and praise, Oklahoma State head coach Mike Gundy now has to start over, kind of.

Returning seniors Kendall Hunter and Orie Lemon are the faces of a team now filled with youth and inexperience. They are also the faces of team about to transition from a running program to passing barrage. 

A new offense is being brought in by offensive coordinator Dana Holgorsen that worries a majority of Cowboy nation. 

A program that historically has been dominated by star running backs (Tatum Bell, Barry Sanders, Vernond Morency, Thurmon Thomas, and Keith Toston) is about to drastically change. 

Junior quarterback Brandon Weeden is being given the freedom to be a gunslinger in the new offense. Dominated by screen passes and quick routes, Hunter will now have to adjust his speed for the passing game. 

The Cowboys will need to find a replacement for superstar receiver Dez Bryant and they have two options that are capable of doing so.

Sophomore Justin Blackmon and junior Hubert Anyiam have shown flahses of being the main targets, and sophomore Tracy Moore has become a reliable third option as well. 

With the season beginning on Saturday, lets look at what the Cowboys have to offer: 

Offense:

Weeden and Hunter headline an offensive duo that could prove to be a rather impressive offense this season. 

With Holgorsen allowing Weeden to cut loose, the Cowboys will become a big play team. Moore, Anyiam, and Blackmon become the main receiving options along side Hunter that Weeden has to rely on. 

However, the offensive line is an area of concern. Particularly with the loss of All American left tackle Russell Okung. Questions around the line and depth at quarterback cause potential problems for Gundy and Holgorsen as no true back up has emerged behind Weeden. 

Overall, barring any major injury or lack luster performance the Cowboys could have an overachieving year offensively. 

Defense:

Consider this, you lose all three of your starting linebackers who happen to be leaders or you defense and some of your best players...and yet the following season it's your strongest position defensively yet again. 

Well that's what defensive coordinator Bill Young gets this year after losing Andre Sexton, Patrick Lavine, and Donald Booker. 

Lemon however, was probably the best of those four until a torn ACL kept him out last season. 

Along side Lemon are seniors Justin Gent and Tolu Moala, and a deep and talented group of youngsters are behind these seasons just waiting their turn. 

The question for the Cowboys is once again, their secondary after losing senior and lock-down corner Perrish Cox. Now an extremely youthful secondary looks to step in, yet there isn't a lot of depth in the position. 

Sophomore's Brodrick Brown and Andrae May look to be the starters this season as while junior's Markelle Martin and Johnny Thomas look to start at free and strong safety. 

Seniors Ugo Chinasa and Shane Jarka lead a defensive line that might happen to be the best the Cowboys have had in years. 

However a successful season defensively rides on a shallow secondary to not only step up, but grow up quickly. 

Special Teams:

Sophomore Quinn Sharp and senior Dan Bailey return to the Cowboys special team crew, the question marks all surround the return game. 

After losing Bryant and Cox, whom teams started to avoid kicking to after consistently being so explosive. 

Junior Josh Cooper and senior Colton Chelf returned punts and kickoff's during the spring game, but things could be different by the time kickoff comes around on Saturday. 

Overall

This season's success after two nine win seasons relies on the productivity from the secondary and the consistency of the offensive line. 

There is no doubt that the Cowboys will be able to move and score the ball but will they be able to stop anyone? 

Washington State provides the first test and the first glimpse of a new high octane offense for Cowboy fans. Time to find out how the transition from the ground to the air will work for Oklahoma State. 

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