The Oklahoma State Cowboys were a hoot last year. Their coach starred in the YouTube clip of the season. The quarterback quandary played out like a bad episode of "General Hospital."
Shenanigans aside, an above average team surfaced with slightly above average results. A quarterback prospect led a potent offensive attack. They fired on all cylinders while the defense shot blanks.
Predictably, head coach Mike Gundy's rant has been the subject of the media's line of questioning. It took away from an impressive victory and remains the focal point heading into the 2008 campaign.
Let's hope the team, media and coach Gundy can move along. The team has five big questions to answer before claiming their rightful spot in the Big 12 South. Third place.
One, who will incumbent quarterback Zac Robinson rifle passes to? Senior tight end Brandon Pettigrew is steady if not spectacular. The mammoth TE figures to cause match-up problems for defenses throughout the nation. He is underutilized. Maybe the coaching staff can figure out a way to involve him more in the passing game.
The departure of hot and cold, smoke and toke, Adarius Bowman will be missed. The subtraction of Dantrell Savage out of the backfield also hurts.
If Artrell Woods can regain his previous form he may emerge as a go-to type receiver. Dez Bryant looks to cement some playing time as well. The bottom line is someone will have to step up for this offense to continue playing at the high standard.
Two, can the Cowboys defense keep the ball horizontal? The defense relinquished more than 287 yards per game through the air.
You can trot out Deion Sanders, Ronnie Lott and Darrell Green. If you give a competent quarterback sufficient time he will find an open receiver.
In other words, it starts up front. Can the Cowboys find a way to pressure the opposition? The Pokes continue searching for a live, active body up front since Kevin Williams departed for the NFL.
They've recruited the position ad naseum. Defensive coordinator Tim Beckman got his feet wet a year ago in Stillwater. This year there will be no surprises from the Big 12 opposition. He'll need to tweak his scheme and utilize the strengths of what appears to be an athletic bunch.
Three, can Mike Gundy stay focused throughout the season? Seems like a harsh question. The reality is setting in. This is a make or break campaign for Gundy.
Would he still be at the helm if not for good friends Mike Holder and T Boone Pickens running the show? It's a valid question when you think about it.
Like it or not we live in an era of "win now." Gundy's three seasons have seen him amass a record of 18-9 (8-16 in conference). Many coaches have been shown the door for less accountability.
The record is important, no question, but the issues are much more complex. At times Gundy looks solemn on the sidelines during the contest. Players pick up on this.
There's a reason coaches are often referred to as generals. Would you rather go to battle for a fire-breathing maniac or a passive onlooker?
Four, can the Cowboys get off to a solid start? The Cowboys travel to Pullman, Washington for a showdown with the Washington State Cougars to start the season. The 2:30 kickoff will be televised on Fox Sports Net.
The Pokes then return home to face Houston, Missouri State and Troy before opening Big 12 play at Boone Pickens Stadium against Texas A&M on October 4.
All games are must wins. However, the road opener could set the table for this squad. They need a confidence builder and possible four-game win streak before they welcome the Aggies to Stillwater.
Five, what happens to the bracelets if and when OSU loses? The motivational bracelets read "Big 12 Champs, Dec. 6, 2008". The date represents the Big 12 championship game.
It is an honest question. If the Cowboys lose a couple of games and are eliminated from Big 12 title game competition, what happens to the bracelets?
Do they continue to wear them as a reminder of their failure? Will they hold a team meeting to cut them off and burn them? These are just a few of the possibilities that excite me for the 2008 Cowboys season.
Did I really have five questions that needed to be answered? No. But indicating five questions to follow sounds more professional and slightly more important than four or six questions.
Someone once told me when you run out of things to say stop writing. Pfft.
Here is my quick Olympic take so far. Is it just me or does NBC seem to be going out of their way to tell us, the dumb American public, how gracious and hospitable the Chinese are? Even when the volleyball coach's father-in-law was murdered, the media glossed over it and immediately called it a random act of violence.
But hey, for all we know Bob Costas has been replaced with a Made-in-China robot. Like we'd know the difference. USA, USA, USA!
Share this article: