Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Oklahoma State Cowboys 2010 Review

2010 Record: 11-2 (6-2), 2nd Big 12 South
2010 Bowl Game: Alamo Bowl, Defeated Arizona 36-10
2010 Schedule/Results: Washington State, W 65-17, Troy, W 41-38, Tulsa, W 65-28, Texas A&M, W 38-35, @ UL-Lafayette, W 54-28, @ Texas Tech, W 34-17, Nebraska, L 51-41, @ Kansas State, W 24-14, Baylor, W 55-28, @ Texas, W 33-16, @ Kansas, W 48-14, Oklahoma, L 47-41


     One word for the Cowboys offense. Prolific. That's what Dana Hogorson was able to create at OSU in his time there. The Cowboys destroyed opposing defenses to the tune of 537.6 yards per game on the season, and boasted a triad of beastly stat monsters in Brandon Weeden, Justin Blackmon, and Kendell Hunter. One more word, impressive.
     Weeden was a blast to watch in 2010. He was like watching a video game in motion, like a pinball machine running unchecked. He completed 66.9% of his passes for 4277 yards and 34 TDs to 13 picks in 342 attempts. Not too bad for a guy that nobody knew what they would get from in 2010. The really great news is that he'll be back in 2011 to make a run at trying to unseat OU for the Big 12-2 title.
     When you have apassing attack that was as prolific as OSU had, you have to shake your head in wonder at the numbers that RB Kendell Hunter posted. Hunter, despite all of the passing action, posted an amazing line of 271-1548-16 on the season as a senior. He is the only piece to the attack that must be replaced in 2011, but a pair of freshmen look to be ready to step up to the next level after receiving playing time in 2010 in Joseph Randle and Jeremy Smith. They combined for 138-714-9 in 2010, so the future seems promising at the RB position indeed.
     There was no better showpiece at WR in America than the insanely talented Justin Blackmon. Blackmon did have one blip on his radar in 2010, as he was suspended one game for receiving a nasty DUI, but he fixed himself and got cranking once again, nevr missing a beat upon his return. Blackmon totalled up a line of 111-1782-20. Those numbers are positively insane. Obviously, Blackmon was our All-Bilo Receiver of the Year, and even though we did not name one single player of the year overall, he would have been it (Newton was ineligible on this site, in case you don't remember).
     When you have an amazing player like Blackmon, that actually benfits othe rplayers at his position, as they are not planned for as heavily in a defensive gameplan. That brings Josh Cooper to the table as the perfect complimentary receiver to Blackmon. Cooper had a big season in his own right, and would have been the best receiver on many other teams in the conference and around the country. Cooper put together a very nice line of 68-736-5. 9 different Cowboys caught TD passes on the year.
     OSU did have an achilles in 2010, and it was a very pourous defense, specifically against the pass. Thanks to the insanley effective offense, the defensive shortcoming was mostly hidden. In 7 of 13 games, the Cowboys gave up 28 or more points, a total that would usually leave a team rendered to a losing season. Luckily, the offense scored 33 points or more in 12 of 13 games, with the only exception being a huge effort by the defense in the 24-14 win over Kansas State, who was hardly an offensive juggernaught most days.
     The Cowboys did boast one major star on defense in LB Orie Lemon, one of the best LBs in the conference, if not the best. Lemon was a beast, as he locked down 133 tackles on the season, with 101 of them coming as solo jobs. Who does that? Nobody else on the team came within 56 tackles of matching his production. Lemon also led the team in TFLs with 9.5, and freshman LB Shaun Lewis did some learning from Lemon, and racked up 8 of his own TFLs. Lewis will try to be the relacement star on defense with Lemon moving on to play on Sundays. The Cowboys were sorely lacking i the sack department, with Jamie Blatnick leading the team with only 5.5 on the year.
     Markell Martin was busy in the secondary, breaking up 10 passes on the season, but nobody else registered double digits in that area, hence the passing success against the Cowboys by the opposition. Andrew McGee led the Cowboys with 5 picks on the season. 3 different Cowboys returned picks for scores in Shaun Lewis, Martin, and Johnny Thomas. All of them return in 2011.
     Dan Bailey was incredible as the PK in 2010, having destroyed the opposition by hitting 27 of his 31 FG attempts on the season. The bad news is that the Cowboys now have to find a replacement, as Bailey will be taking a shot at kicking on Sundays after having graduated.
    Quinn Sharp certainly lived up to his name as a punter on the season. He actually outpunted Way of Oklahoma, by averaging an astonishing 46.24 yards per punt. Sharp, like Way, was just a sophomore, so he too could still get better. Amazing.
     Cooper was very solid on punt returns, having averaged 9.6 yards per punt return. He also returned one punt for a score on the season, and will be back returning punts one more time in 2011. Justin Gilbert was amazing on kick returns as he averaged 26.85 yards per return, racked up 698 yards, and took two back for TDs. One problem area for the Cowboys was that they allowed 3 kickoff returns for scores on the season, another area that must be shored up.

This was obviously one of the most entertaining OSU teams since the Barry Sanders days, and that's saying a lot. OSU has finally reached a level that we've been waiting for, but they still have work to do despite all of the success. The only thing that separates the Cowboys from Oklahoma at this point is the defense. If OSU wants to steal a title and be on top of the hill holding the flag, they will have to clean up the messy defense, as it was the glaring factor in their losses to Oklahoma and Nebraska. The offense cannot keep you on top every week. That being said, the Cowboys still deserved a better destination than the Alamo Bowl, and with any luck, will get to a better spot in 2011. The talent is there, and even with Holgorson having departed for West Virginia, the offense should be insane once again.

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