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Oklahoma State 2019 Grades: Inexperience Didn’t Show at Linebacker

OSU’s backers exceeded expectations in 2019.



As we continue to button up the 2019 season, let’s turn our eyes to a linebacker group that entered 2019 low on experience and even lower on expectations.

140-Character Summary: A group with a lot of questions marks in the preseason turned out to be a strength for OSU’s defense.

Best Performance: Iowa State. The group was solid all year, but when OSU’s two starting linebackers each grab an interception, you have to put this game at the top of the list. Malcolm Rodriguez and Amen Ogbongbemiga were responsible for Nos. 1 and 2 of Brock Purdy’s career-high three picks on the day and the Cowboys earned a much-needed win on the road.

No. 1 knocked the wind out of the Cyclones. Iowa State faced a third-and-4, but the game was tied with tons of time left. There’s nothing like a pick-six to quiet a home crowd.

And here’s No. 2, when Amen brought Cyclones fans to their knees.

Worst Performance: Oklahoma. It seems like a low-hanging fruit, I know. The duo of Rodriguez and Ogbongbemiga made their fair share of plays in Bedlam, but when your defense gives up a season-high in rushing yards (283) and yards per carry (6.4), that game has to be in the conversation.

Best Play: The first one that comes to mind is just one of many hits MRod laid that would have got him arrested had it occurred any where else but on a football field.

Stat that matters: Zero. That’s the number of starts Oklahoma State boasted at the linebacker position coming into 2019, which makes the solid play from the group all the more impressive.

Malcolm Rodriguez did come in with 10 starts at safety, but this was a step up physicality and he showed to be more than equal to that challenge.

Bullet Stickers (out of 10): 7

The linebacker group played up to, if not exceeded, expectations and probably its talent level. And we haven’t even mentioned Calvin Bundage, the Especially with the absence of Calvin Bundage, the two-year starter who never saw the field due to injury.

The Future: In 2020 OSU is set to have Obongbemiga, Rodriguez and Bundage (assuming he’s back and healthy), as well as Devin Harper who made his fair share of plays this year. That’s two-deep in senior linebackers with starting experience.

OSU will also return all three starters at safety and one at cornerback and as well as its entire defensive line except for Mike Scott. That’s a lot of experienced talent returning and should give Jim Knowles’ group a chance to continue where it left off after a midseason turnaround.

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