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Top Three Questions for Oklahoma State Heading into Big 12 Media Days

As spring turns into summer and we see the temperatures start to rise around the country, there is one thing on college football fans’ minds: there are “X” days left until college football returns. 

With Big 12 media days just right around the corner on July 13-14, preview season is in full swing and every fanbase across the nation has hope that their team will live up to the hype, or prove the talking heads wrong. 

With that spirit in mind, here are three questions about Mike Gundy and the Oklahoma State Cowboys ahead of Big 12 Media Days.

 

Can Derek Mason Replace Jim Knowles?

This question is no slight to Cowboys defensive coordinator Derek Mason, but more of a testament to the level of coach that Jim Knowles was, and is. Knowles left Oklahoma State for Ohio State and will now attempt to turn the Buckeyes’ defense into what the Cowboys built in 2021. His departure, along with several key defenders in the back end of the defense gives Mason some questions to answer.

There’s no doubt that Mason is capable, as the former Vanderbilt head coach and Auburn DC has been around that side of the ball for a long time. The question is, does he have the pieces on the roster to implement his system right away?

 

Who is RB1 for the Cowboys?

Senior quarterback Spencer Sanders is the top returning rusher for Oklahoma State, picking up 668 yards and six touchdowns on on 146 carries last year. Jaylen Warren is gone to the NFL. Dezmon Jackson and LD Brown are gone as well. That leaves one experienced back in junior Dominic Richardson, and two relatively unknown players in Zach Middleton and Jaden Nixon. The Cowboys also added Nebraska Texas A&M transfer Deondre Jackson back in May, but it is uncertain how much of a role he will play this season. Richardson is likely the safe bet, but we all thought LD Brown would lead the Cowboys backfield in carries last year before the Jaylen Warren party got started. Richardson is a strong runner and should get going in 2022, but if he struggles the Cowboys will have to scramble for an answer.

What Spencer Sanders Will We Get in 2022?

At this point, it feels as if we have seen what Spencer Sanders is capable of. He is an average passer with the tendency to make mistakes, but has the ability to extend plays with his feet and go off in random spurts (i.e. Fiesta Bowl vs. Notre Dame). However, what quarterback are we going to see in 2022? Sure, there have been players that blossom in their senior years, just like Kenny Pickett did last year, but we haven’t seen that kind of gradual increase from year-to-year with Sanders. His offensive line loses some pieces and he is the leads all returning players in rushing yards last season. With a defense that is statistically guarateed to see regression, an unproven running game, and a retooled offensive line, do we trust Sanders to put this team on his back and get them back to the Big 12 Championship?

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