The 2020 football offseason is in full swing, with teams in the Big 12 and across the country commencing spring practices. Oklahoma State kicked things off today, and they will continue to practice for the next few weeks before their spring game in mid-April.
After a disappointing 7-6 finish in 2018, Oklahoma State took definitive steps forward in 2019. They won eight regular season games and finished fourth in the Big 12 standings, giving the impression that Mike Gundy’s team was on the uptick. Now, with a wealth of experience and some of the most dynamic playmakers in the conference returning to Stillwater in 2020, the Cowboys appear to be on track for a run at the Big 12 title this fall.
There are a few questions, though, that the Pokes might answer over the course of their 15 spring workouts this month. Developing depth will be a key a concern, but the most pressing question for Oklahoma State is a simple one: is this team actually going to be championship-ready by September? A clear-cut answer won’t be possible for a few months, but today the Pokes begin preparations for what could be a banner year.
PRACTICE BEGINS: MON, March 9
SPRING GAME: SAT, April 18
LOCATION: Boone Pickens Stadium (Stillwater, OK)
Offensive Questions For The Cowboys
Optimism for what the Pokes can do on offensive is justifiably high headed into spring. They return one of the best trios in the country in quarterback Spencer Sanders, running back Chuba Hubbard, and wide receiver Tylan Wallace. Still, with all of those returners, Gundy will also have to find a way to keep everyone healthy and improve on last year’s 28.1 points per game in conference play. Part of that effort begins with offensive coordinator Kasey Dunn, who was promoted from receivers coach in the offseason.
Building depth behind Hubbard and Sanders will be a concern for Gundy this spring, especially because of exiting seniors. There’s depth around Wallace, especially with senior wideout Dillon Stoner. Expanding on that depth will be the priority, therefore, for the entire staff.
Along the offensive line is where most of the questions exist for Oklahoma State. A couple of exiting seniors at center at guard means that new spots will have to be solidified there. Look for sophomore Ry Schneider as a likely name to take over at center, and Josh Sills, a transfer from West Virginia, is a probable candidate to fill another starting spot.
Defensive Questions For The Cowboys
Good news awaits Jim Knowles in his third year at Oklahoma State. The Cowboys have experience in spades, with all but one starter returning this season. The only spot up for grabs is cornerback, and sophomore Thomas Harper likely has the inside track at that position. If it’s not Harper, there could be some shuffling at other places in the Cowboys secondary.
Other than that, the only real question for this defense will be whether they can take a championship-sized step forward in 2020. After giving up 412.3 yards per game last year, room for improvement undoubtedly exists. Because this upcoming season could definitely be a special one for the Pokes, Gundy needs his investment in Knowles to pay off come September.