Oklahoma State always finds a way to get the ball to its playmakers and score points.
This season should be no different, with Denton Guyer grad J.W. Walsh at quarterback.
Defensively, though, there are a lot of questions after the departures of several key players, including cornerback Justin Gilbert, who had seven interceptions and was drafted eighth overall by the Cleveland Browns in the NFL draft. The unit allowed a Big 12-best 21.6 points per game in 2013.
The Cowboys open the season Saturday at 7 p.m. against No. 1 Florida State at AT&T Stadium.
“Our players are excited to get started,” coach Mike Gundy said. “We’ve had a good summer and there have been a lot of young players that developed leadership. It’s a big challenge for the team”
The Cowboys are picked to finish fifth in the Big 12. A year ago, they were the preseason favorites to win the conference but finished third.
The Cowboys averaged 39.1 points per game in 2013, good for second in the Big 12 and 14th in the nation.
“We’ve taken pride in trying to develop an offense each year that fits what the strength would be of our quarterback play and also the ability we have to get the ball to players to make a play on the perimeter,” Gundy said.
Walsh started five games in 2013 and played in eight. He passed for 1,333 yards and nine touchdowns and racked up 294 yards on the ground.
“J.W. puts in the work for sure,” junior linebacker Ryan Simmons said. “He does everything he can to give us the best chance at winning. He’s a competitor and everyone is confident in him.”
The Cowboys are 0-2 at AT&T Stadium, with both losses coming in the Cotton Bowl (41-31 to Missouri in January and 21-7 to Ole Miss in 2010).
“It’s a great deal to experience that atmosphere and be on the same stage,” sophomore receiver Jhajuan Seales said. “There’s going to be a lot of hype, and it’s going to be a big deal.”
Said junior cornerback Kevin Peterson: “They’re going to have athletes all over the field, and there’s no better stage to be able to show what we can and what the young guys can do and make a name for ourselves.”
Oklahoma State Cowboys
Coach: Mike Gundy (10th season, 77-38)
2013 record: 10-3
Season opener: Saturday vs. Florida State (AT&T Stadium, Arlington)
Notable• Oklahoma State is 1-3 against Florida State, but the two haven’t played since 1985 when the Cowboys lost 34-23.
• The Cowboys play four straight at home after Saturday’s game.
• The Cowboys play Missouri State and UT San Antonio in their other nonconference games. They’re 7-0 against the two.
Big 12 Countdown
Aug 18: TCU
Aug. 19: Kansas
Aug. 20: Kansas State
Thursday: Texas Tech
Friday: West Virginia
Sunday: Iowa State
Today: Oklahoma State