comes courtesy of Mark Schlabach at ESPN.com.
Here’s his list of fall questions for T. Boone Pickens’ team:
Fall questions: 1. Second receiver: Bowman is back after catching 60 passes for 1,187 yards and 12 touchdowns last season. But the Cowboys must replace Woods, who had 647 receiving yards and five touchdowns. Sophomore Artrell Woods made quite an impression during the spring, catching four passes for 111 yards and two touchdowns during the spring game. Sophomore Jeremy Broadway, who missed last season with a wrist injury, had four catches for 73 yards and one touchdown in the spring game. Depth is a concern, especially after senior Anthony Parks transferred to a Division I-AA school. Four highly regarded freshmen might help in the fall.
2. Offensive line: Three starters are back — center David Washington, left guard David Koenig and left tackle Russell Okung — and each should be better after starting for the first time last season. Right tackle Brady Bond started the first five games until he was hurt last season, but the starting right guard spot remains up for grabs going into preseason camp.
3. Defensive line: The Cowboys lost each of their four starters from last season, but what other team had two reserve defensive ends with a combined 25 tackles for loss and 12½ sacks in 2006? Seniors Marque Fountain and Nate Peterson were spectacular a year ago and are solid replacements for ends Darnell Smith and Victor DeGrate. However, replacing tackles Larry Brown and Ryan McBean might be more arduous. Junior college transfer Tonga Tea Jr., Maurice Cummings, Jeray Chatham and Jonathan Lewis are all battling for playing time.
4. Chris Collins’ future: Not only is the star freshman linebacker recovering from reconstructive knee surgery, but his future at the school might be in jeopardy because of criminal charges he faces in his native Texarkana, Texas. Collins, who led the team in tackles until he was hurt against Kansas, is one of four men charged with sexually assaulting a 12-year-old girl during a post-prom party in a hotel room in 2004. Collins has pleaded not guilty and his final preliminary hearing is scheduled for June. If convicted, Collins faces a sentence of five to 99 years or life in prison.
5. New direction on defense: The Cowboys allowed 25.6 points per game last season, which ranked 82nd in the country, and surrendered more than 30 points in seven games. Defensive coordinator Vance Bedford left for Michigan, and Gundy hired Ohio State secondary coach Tim Beckman to lead his defense. Beckman hopes to be more aggressive on defense, with more blitzing and stunts. But he also needs faster players to make it work. Beckman installed about 50 percent of his defense during the spring, so there’s still plenty of work to do this fall.
I could make a snarky comment here about how it’s a good thing that Chris Collins wasn’t caught drinking alcohol, or he’d really be in trouble… but I won’t.
Seriously, there isn’t much here that comes as a surprise. Okie State sounds loaded on offense and questionable on defense. It’s hard to see how all of those questions get answered by the first game of the season.