Finding replacements for six key players are the challenges awaiting the Oklahoma State football team.
There are going to be a lot of new faces on the defensive line this year, but they will get a chance to settle in with a relatively easy nonconference schedule.
The Cowboys got a key transfer from Colorado in Israel Antwine. Antwine started in 11 games last year for Colorado.
Antwine brings much-needed experience to the Cowboys defensive line, something it will lack.
Another player to look out for is redshirt sophomore Brock Martin. Martin played in all 13 games but will have his role expanded as he battles for a starting spot at the defensive tackle position.
Martin said he knows the young defensive line has a lot of shoes to fill after losing the likes of Enoch Smith Jr. and Jordan Brailford.
“Me, Cam (Murray) and Brendan (Evers) played together last year, but not really a whole lot,” said Martin. “We got a lot of shoes to fill. It's going to be tough but we gotta do it."
Redshirt junior Cam Murray played in every game, recording seven tackles. Murray has a chance to start at defensive tackle and would be a nice complement to Israel Antwine.
Redshirt sophomore Brendon Evers could emerge as a starter at defensive tackle for the Cowboys, but will most likely receive significant playing time as a backup to Antwine or Martin. Evers made an appearance in all 13 games but didn’t receive much time with the experienced players in front of him.
Evers recorded seven tackles and a sack last year. He has gone through some growing pains of a first-year player after redshirting.
On the edge, redshirt senior Mike Scott, will have to step up and be one of the leaders. Scott appeared in 12 games last year, showing an ability to pressure the quarterback as he had two quarterback hurries and three sacks.
Scott will have to get to the quarterback more often as he is one of the only experienced defensive ends.
Oklahoma State has struggled at times getting pressure on the quarterback during the past few years. If this young group of defensive lineman can work together and get better, then it can help the offense and get them more possessions.
It could be an up and down year for the defensive line as it has adjust to being the starters and the players everybody relies on.