Oklahoma State Cowboys

Oklahoma State announces official changes to coaching staff

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Spring practice begins Tuesday for the Oklahoma State Cowboys.

Before a new season gets underway, the program needed to clean up some loose ends.

The school officially announced the hiring of five new assistant coaches to Mike Gundy’s staff:

Titles weren’t bestowed on former Buffalo Bills tight ends coach Greg Adkins, former Tampa Bay Buccaneers quarterbacks coach Marcus Arroyo or Montana State offensive line coach Jason McEndoo, but they’re expected to serve in similar roles to their previous stops.

Report: Three-star recruit leaves Oklahoma State after enrolling early

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The ability to enroll early is usually an opportunity for incoming recruits to get a jump on the competition during spring ball. For one of the Oklahoma State Cowboys’ recruits, it was apparently the wrong decision.

Three-star offensive lineman Matt Kellerman (El Dorado, Kansas/Butler Counter C.C.) is no longer with the program, according to the Tulsa World‘s Bill Haisten.

“Apparently, only a few weeks after having moved to Stillwater, the 6-foot-5, 295-pound Kellerman no longer is on the OSU roster,” Haisten reported. “There has been no confirmation from the football office, but a source indicated that Kellerman has chosen to leave the program. There was no indication whether he remains enrolled at the university.”

Kellerman’s departure is a blow to head coach Mike Gundy‘s offensive line plans. The JUCO recruit was expected to compete for a starting position.

Oklahoma State needed to replace three senior offensive linemen after last season to a unit that struggled throughout the campaign. Gundy and his staff placed a heavy emphasis on the position during the 2015 recruiting cycle and eventually signed four linemen. The team is now down to three incoming recruits without the one addition that was expected to push for early playing time.

Gundy’s offense is one of the most explosive units in college football, but it requires a solid front wall to click on all cylinders. Stabilizing the offensive line will be team’s No. 1 priority as it prepares for the 2015 campaign.

(Photo courtesy of Rivals.com) 

Oklahoma State officials finally meet with NCAA over SI story

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Over a year after the release of Sports Illustrated‘s “The Dirty Game” cover story, Oklahoma State’s brass finally had its day in “court.”

The Tulsa World reported that “university President Burns Hargis and additional Oklahoma State officials were in Indianapolis for a Thursday meeting with the NCAA Committee on Infractions.”

The story originally accused Oklahoma State’s football program of payments to players, improper benefits from boosters, no-show work programs, etc. Y’know, just run-of-the-mill major violations at every level of the program.

As soon as the exposé was released, sources began to poke holes in the story. The esteemed news outlet was even sued by one of Oklahoma State’s boosters who named in the piece.

The NCAA already stated that the allegations were “fundamentally unfounded.” The governing body and Oklahoma State even released a joint statement in October discussing the claims.

“…[a]fter a thorough review by the NCAA Enforcement Staff and an outside consultant hired by Oklahoma State University, allegations of misconduct in the Oklahoma State football program as reported by the media in September 2013 were fundamentally unfounded.”

While the NCAA felt at the time that the majority of the claims lacked substantial credibility, it still continued to investigate the school over three possible Level II violations, according to the Tulsa World‘s Bill Haisten. Those violations involved flawed drug-testing, Orange Pride (student hostess) oversight and a failure to monitor the program.

Those violations aren’t nearly as serious as the original claims, but there is still a possibility that Oklahoma State could lose scholarships over the infractions that were found by the NCAA.

Oklahoma released a statement after the meeting that said, “The university appreciated the opportunity to present its position to the committee and expects a ruling in the near future.”

Oklahoma State’s future is bright after Cactus Bowl victory

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Very few programs around the nation can be consistently dominant. Most programs experience peaks and valleys.

The Oklahoma State Cowboys peaked in 2011 with a 12-1 record and a victory in the Fiesta Bowl. They appear set to peak again in 2015.

A strong performance in the TicketCity Cactus Bowl built positive momentum for the Cowboys as the team enters the offseason. The 30-22 victory over the Washington Huskies (8-6) allowed the Cowboys to finish 7-6. It also highlighted some of the key players coming back for Oklahoma STate next season.

It starts at quarterback.

The program hasn’t had its answer behind center since Brandon Weeden left. After a few years of quarterback competitions, rotations and transfers, Oklahoma State head coach Mike Gundy finally found his new gunslinger in freshman Mason Rudolph.

Rudolph was 17-of-26 passing for 299 yards and a pair touchdowns against the Huskies. During his three starts, the freshman completed 57 percent of his passes for 853 yards and six touchdowns.

The young quarterback’s top targets both return next season.

Junior Brandon Shepherd led the Cowboys with five receptions for 98 yards in the bowl game. Freshman James Washington added a spectacular touchdown catch.

One of the nation’s top pass-rushers will also return.

Emmanuel Ogbah was an First-Team All-Conference performer and led Oklahoma State in both sacks (11) and tackles for loss (17). Ogbah will likely enter next season as the favorite to claim the Big 12 Conference’s Defensive Player of the Year award.

A quickly tally:

Quarterback. Check.

Dangerous wide receivers. Check.

Elite pass-rusher. Check.

The Cowboys are well positioned to compete in the Big 12 Conference next fall.

Oklahoma State will need to replace seven senior starters, though.

The team will miss one particular player the most, but the legend of James Castleman will live on forever in Stillwater, Oklahoma:

Oklahoma State helps Big 12’s cause with 24-0 lead in Cactus Bowl

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It hasn’t been a good bowl season for the Big 12 Conference.

Outside of the TCU Horned Frogs’ impressive Peach Bowl performance, the league came up short in five other bowl games. However, the Oklahoma State Cowboys are doing their best to restore the Big 12’s jilted pride.

The Cowboys built an impressive 24-0 halftime lead over the Washington Huskies in the TicketCity Cactus Bowl.

It’s a surprising effort after the Cowboys required a 38-35 overtime victory over the Oklahoma Sooners on the final day of the regular season to secure a bowl bid. The team lost its previous five games.

However, a switch at quarterback has made all the difference.

In his third career start, the freshman quarterback threw for 198 yards and a pair of touchdowns. He had a little help, though.

Freshman wide receiver James Washington ensnared a tremendous 28-yard touchdown toss to provide an early 14-0 lead.

As the half neared, the Cowboys weren’t content with a 17-0 lead.

Rudolph dropped a beautiful 47-yard pass to Brandon Shepherd, who juked a pair of defenders and crossed the goal line with only 48 seconds before the intermission.

While the Cowboys amassed 293 total yards through two quarters, the Huskies struggled to move the ball. Chris Petersen‘s offense managed only 113 yards.

Due to Washington’s inability to generate anything on offense, the Huskies defense will be required to step up in the second half by creating pressure on Rudolph. Since it was incapable of doing so through 30 minutes of play, it’s probably too much to ask them take over the game in the second half.

Despite a 6-6 overall record, the Cowboys’ bowl effort should build momentum for the program as they get ready for the offseason.