Oklahoma State fans have been looking forward to this game since the second week of the 2016 season when the Chippewas infamously shocked the Pokes as time expired. Both teams have moved on from that controversial moment and while this play is sure to be shown multiple times leading up to Thursday night, the truth is these are two very different teams in 2022. CMU was ravaged by the transfer portal and NFL Draft but still maintains enough firepower on offense to be dangerous and while they may take a step backwards defensively it won’t be too far off from the squad that led the nation in tackles for loss last season.
For Oklahoma State it’s a time of reloading and restructuring a bit. The Cowboys a breaking in a new starting running back, refilling holes on the offensive line, and introducing a new defensive coordinator. Based on that, here are three questions about the Cowboys as Game 1 approaches.
Can Derek Mason Maintain Consistency With The Defense?
Defense is what led Oklahoma State to the Big 12 title game in 2021 and while the offense can be flashy at times, it was the relentless and aggressive approach from the Cowboy defense that led them to Arlington. As the 2022 season gets underway the Pokes are without six of the top eight tacklers that paved the way for OSU to have the No. 5 defense in the nation last fall. It’s not just the player personnel though, defensive coordinator Jim Knowles took his schemes and play-calling to Ohio State to perform the same duties for the Buckeyes.
Mike Gundy made a homerun hire in Derek Mason to replace Knowles. The former Vanderbilt head coach has been coaching at the collegiate level since 1994 and certainly knows the tricks of the trade. The fact that Gundy was able to hire him away from Auburn is an added bonus as well. Mason won’t have to change much in terms of the schematics and play-calling, but selecting the personnel to be on the field at any given time is going to be his biggest responsibility, especially early on in the season, and the key to consistency.
Can Dominic Richardson Thrive As The Feature Back?
Jaylen Warren’s departure to the NFL left a void at running back. Junior Dominic Richardson will be first up to try and fill that gap and he seems to have all of the tools. The 6-0/210 junior from Oklahoma City has been used in a reserve capacity through his first two seasons in Stillwater, logging 596 yards and 7 touchdowns. Last fall was Richardson’s most productive as he averaged 4.7 yards per carry on his way to 373 rushing yards and four scores.
Should Richardson show signs of struggling then look for true freshman Ollie Gordon to get some looks. The Euless, TX product was a composite 4-star prospect, ranked by 247Sports, and the No. 19 running back prospect in the 2022 recruiting class.
Can Brennan Presley Get Loose?
The talent gap between Oklahoma State and Central Michigan won’t be a large as some may assume. That said, the Cowboys will have the mist dynamic playmaker on the field at their disposal. Lightening fast, with great hands, and superb field vision, Presley is the perfect weapon for both the offense and the special teams. Last fall he racked up over a thousand yards of offense, averaging 12.4 yards per reception, 7.2 yards per carry, and 30 yards per kickoff return. He could be the key to this being either a close game near the end or a blowout.
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2 Replies to “Central Michigan At #12 Oklahoma State | Three Questions About The Cowboys”
1. Derek Mason has to find his “normal” for this defense early, and that needs to be comparable to last season. I get that it’s highly unlikely that the Cowboys can find the defensive success that they had in 2021, but they have to find a way to keep moving in that positive direction so that last season doesn’t become an outlier but more of a new beginning of sorts.
2. I think Dominic Richardson absolutely can turn into one of the best backs in the conference. He’s not had a lot of time to shine, and that’s primarily because of who he has had ahead of him, but now that he’s the guy, I think he’s going to surprise a lot of people.
3. Brennan Presley is the man! He needs high volume touches, and they don’t have to be home run plays. He just needs a little bit of space to turn a small gain into a huge one. Get the guy the ball as often as possible, and the offense (and special teams) should find success.