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Oklahoma State Quick Preview: Offense

Drew takes a look at the embattled Cowboy offense.

Syndication: Arizona Republic Rob Schumacher/The Republic / USA TODAY NETWORK

Mike Gundy made his reputation as a coach with a good offense and bad hair. Now all he has left is the bad hair. This Oklahoma State offense is bad. It showed some fight against Iowa State in a 27-34 loss their last time out, but K-State’s defense should pose a bit more of a challenge for the Pokes.

Basic Formation

Condensed Spread - Spread formation with narrow splits.

Personnel Groupings

11 (1 TE, 1 RB, 3 WRs) on early downs.

10 (1 RB, 4 WRs) on passing downs

Players to Watch

Orange Square - #7 Alan Bowman - #13 Garret Rangel - #12 Gunnar Gundy - Quarterback

A common saying in football is “if you have two quarterbacks, you don’t have one.” I’m not sure how that works with the three headed monster Gundy has deployed at quarterback this season. Consistency at the quarterback position is one of the hallmarks of a good team. What the Pokes have working is the opposite of that.

Texas Tech and Michigan transfer Alan Bowman appears to be Gundy’s choice as the starter. He leads the triumvirate of quarterbacks in attempts (100), yards (513) and...interceptions (3). The 6th year signal callers “best” game was his previous game against Iowa State, where he attempted 48 passes, completing 23, for 278 yards, 2 touchdowns and 2 interceptions. Overall, he’s a generic pocket passer without an elite skill set. He’ll take what you give him most of the time, but he’s not making anything happen on his own. If he has to improvise he’s going to make a mistake.

Next in line is none other than Gunnar Gundy. Mike’s progeny has attempted 34 passes and completed 21 of them for 202 yards and a touchdown. His best performance this season came against Arizona State where he entered the game for a drive and went 5-7 for 31 yards and a touchdown. More of a running threat than Bowman, Gundy ran the ball 10 times for 27 yards against South Alabama, including a long of 21 yards. I could see the elder Gundy turning this team over to his redshirt sophomore son at some point, but I don’t think we’ve reached that point yet.

The third contest in the episode of the quarterback playing game is redshirt freshman Garrett Rangel. After starting three games last season as a freshman (all losses), he has attempted 29 passes and completed 17 of them for 172 yards, 2 touchdowns and an interception. His best game came also came against Arizona State, where he was 6-9 for 46 yards and a touchdown on his only drive of the game.

Bowman played the entire game in Oklahoma State’s loss at Iowa State and according to Coach Gundy, that’s the plan tonight.

Color me skeptical.

Yellow Square - #0 - Ollie Gordon - Running Back

Much like the quarterback hydra Oklahoma State features, the running back position is by committee as well. My favorite head on their running back beast is sophomore Ollie Gordon. The 6’1, 210 sophomore was a consensus 4* recruit coming out of high school and has flashed his potential this season. Against Iowa State, he led the charge with 18 carries for 121 yards and pulled down 4 receptions for 14 yards.

If Oklahoma State stays in this game, it’s because Gordon keeps the chains moving and busts a couple of big plays along the way. His running style is similar to DJ Giddens. He’s a tall, upright runner, but knows how to lower his pads when needed. He’s a long strider in the open field capable of eating up ground. I expect the Kansas State defense to sell out to stop Gordon and challenge Bowman to beat them throwing the ball.

Blue Circle - #5 - Jaden Bray

In theory the Cowboys have decent receivers. Out of the bunch, Jaden Bray could give the ‘Cats the most trouble. He leads OSU in receptions (18) and yards (215). At 6’2”, 200 he’ll be a tough matchup, especially considering he’s paired with De’Zhaun Stribling, another 6’2” receiver. Will Lee III can only take one of them, leaving the other to 5’10”, 180 pound Jacob Parrish to take the other. I like Parrish, but it’s going to be tough consistently giving up 3 inches and 20+ pounds.

I anticipate a few deep 50/50 balls thrown Bray’s way. I don’t think Oklahoma State can consistently drive on the K-State defense, but their big outside receivers could pull down a few deep contested catches.


The only thing that concerns me about this offense is Ollie Gordon. If he gets going, it gives the rest of the offense a platform to work from. If I’m Mike Gundy, I’m trying to get the safeties interested in shallow stuff and run stops early in the game, and then attack them with play action and double moves later in the game.

If the ‘Cats control the rushing attack, I don’t think they have enough in the passing game to keep it close. If the quarterback position attempts more than 30 passes, I’ve got K-State by 3 touchdowns. The only way forward for OSU is the run game, and I expect the defense to be geared up to stop it.