Mike Gundy constantly hears questions about Oklahoma State’s quarterbacks.
Coach Gundy hasn’t publicly named a starting signal-caller between Spencer Sanders and Dru Brown, but this isn’t the only unknown factor for the Cowboys. With new players, coaches and an increased emphasis on discipline, OSU has the opportunity to make some changes after an up-and-down 2018 season. Here are five questions that aren’t focused on quarterbacks:
1. Will the Cowboys commit fewer penalties?
When Gundy talked to reporters Tuesday, he wore a shirt bearing the Cowboys’ slogan for this season: “Win with discipline.”
Gundy has shared this motto with his coaches and players, who echo his message of playing aggressive but disciplined football. During the past season, penalties in critical moments haunted OSU. These blunders weren’t limited to one position group. Gundy is taking early steps to prevent that situation from repeating, but will the Cowboys make the necessary adjustments when it’s game time?
2. How will the young defensive line perform under pressure?
Several seasoned Cowboys such as A.J. Green and Rodarius Williams play in the Cowboys’ secondary, but the defensive line is less experienced.
Mike Scott and Kyle Junior, a graduate transfer from Bowling Green, are the only seniors in the D-line. Without key players such as Jordan Brailford, Enoch Smith Jr. and Darrion Daniels, young guys have increased responsibilities.
Defensive coordinator Jim Knowles said multiple players will have chances to rotate in the lineup.
“You just try to build a lot of depth,” Knowles said. “You have a lot of guys who can step up. We’re gonna be multiple. We’re gonna be able to move guys around in different positions.”
3. Will Jordan McCray make a big impact?
The spotlight is on Biletnikoff candidate Tylan Wallace, but another wide receiver could make a name for himself as a Cowboy.
Kasey Dunn, OSU’s associate head coach/receivers coach, raved about redshirt senior Jordan McCray.
“He is all in, and our kids love him,” Dunn said. “It’s been like he’s been here for five years. I really cannot say enough good things about how Jordan has stepped into his role so far. It’s early, but so far.”
McCray transferred from South Alabama, where he played 34 games. At 6 feet, 6 inches, McCray brings some serious height to the receiver position. Will he thrive as the “X receiver,” the receiver opposite Wallace? Patrick McKaufman and C.J. Moore are other players who could fill this spot.
4. How will the offense look with new coaches?
OSU’s offense has new leadership.
Sean Gleeson is entering his first season as the Cowboys’ offensive coordinator/quarterbacks coach, and Charlie Dickey is the offensive line coach. Dickey knows how the Big 12 operates because of his experience at Kansas State, and he said he is concentrating on making an already-tough O-line even tougher.
Although Gleeson and Dickey haven’t indicated that they’re completely redesigning the offense, every coach brings something new to a position group. Will people notice any differences in the Cowboys’ style of play?
5. What will happen when Les Miles returns to Stillwater?
This question is more about entertainment than it is about football, but it’s still related to the Cowboys’ season. Les Miles, who coached OSU from 2001-2004, is now leading Kansas and will return to Stilwater to take on the Cowboys on Nov. 16.
Gundy was Miles’ offensive coordinator at OSU, and these two guys are known for their humorous, sometimes outlandish antics at press conferences.
What will Miles say when he reminisces about coaching the Cowboys? Will Gundy and Miles tell funny stories about each other?
With a quirky, grass-eating coach facing the coach with an iconic mullet, anything could happen.