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PFB Roundtable: Five Storylines for the 2017 Football Season



Since fall camp is less than a week away, the PFB team got together to discuss five storylines that will make a big impact on the Cowboys’ 2017 season and their Big 12 title hopes.

Kyle Cox: How much of a difference do the key transfers (Aaron Cochran and Adrian Baker) make on your projection for OSU? And do you see the Cowboys getting to the point where they don’t have to rely so heavily on transfers?

Kyle Porter: They’re massive (literally). Those were the two biggest question marks coming into the season. OSU doesn’t necessarily have to be elite at those positions, but they have to be average or above average, and those two more than meet that status. For the long term, I don’t think OSU will get to the point where it doesn’t rely on transfers because I don’t think it will ever be a Tier 1 recruiting school which is sort of a prerequisite to not having to collect those guys.

Cox: I think they shore up the two biggest holes heading into the season. They may prove to be the difference in a win or two. And I’m not sold that they ever get away from relying on transfers. The OL could be on the right track depth-wise if Henson pans out which would be huge moving forward.

Kyle Boone: I think both Cochran and Baker will start, so landing them was critical. I think projecting if they will continue to rely on transfers moving forward is difficult, because that depends on transfers, NFL, injuries, etc., but the fact that they’ve been successful landing grad transfers is huge. OSU’s reputation as a career rehab facility is invaluable.

Phillip Slavin: I think combined, they’re the two most important grad transfers OSU has ever added and could be worth a victory. You can’t downplay how important having two guys with experience is, especially at two of the most important positions on the field. I think OSU always brings in graduate assistants, but they don’t always rely heavily on them. Last year’s guys, Pipkens and Sanders Jr. had roles to play, but weren’t vital to the season’s success.

Justin Southwell: At the absolute least, they add depth to the roster. Having those guys come in to make an immediate impact would be huge for the team. Expectations are already high for the Cowboys, even with some weaknesses at certain positions.

As far as relying on transfers, I don’t know if that’s even a concern for Gundy. He may really enjoy giving an opportunity to transfers to come finish their careers as Cowboys.

Caleb Deck

From a confidence standpoint, the transfers are great. I mean, Rudolph doesn’t need a bulletin board to feel good when he has this guarding his back…..

Cox: Backup running back is more important than Mason Rudolph wants to let on. Who’s your educated guess for No. 2 and No. 3 in carries for the season?

Slavin: I think a rookie ends up No. 2, either Hubbard or King, with Carr finishing third. I think Carr starts as the backup but one of the rookies overtakes him in the pecking order midway through the season.

Porter: I have to say J.D. King. He has the pedigree and the look. I could see him being Justice Lite this year as Justice Heavy does his All-Big 12 thing.

Deck: I think J.D. King will standout and be prominent by the end of the season as the number 2 back and go-to 3rd and short guy all year. Also think Carr will get some run out as a scat-back, play action screen guy.

Cox: I’m going J.D. King at No. 2 and Chuba at a slight third. King has the body to produce now and the Cowboys need someone else to take some abuse for Justice.

Southwell: That may be true from Mason’s point of view, but I’m sure Gundy knows the value of a solid backup RB.
King could be a solid backup this season, but I also want to see what Chuba can do with that speed. I wouldn’t be surprised if King has more carries but Chuba has more yards – which would make the backup conversation even more divisive.

Boone: I think it will be 1. Justice, 2. LD Brown, 3&4 split between Chuba and King, then 5. Carr to start the season. If I’m projecting midway through the season, I think Chuba is most likely to take over the No. 2 job and Brown falls into more of a scat back/speedster role that Carr served in 2016.

Cox: Your feeling about all the showmanship around the program (i.e. mullet, Media Days, snakes and Sinor). A. Take it. B. Leave it. C. Could care less as long as they win. (Explain.)

Boone: I’m going there: I’m over the Sinor Heisman campaign. It was good off-season content, but now I think it’s a distraction from the real Heisman campaign.

And I love the mullet and media tour. Gundy’s marketing it like a boss. If it earns him an extra four star recruit, the whole gig is worth it.

Thomas Fleming: A. Sorry I’m late to the party I had to get my phone replaced. The amount of national coverage the two have gotten is unbelievable, especially with the mullet. It gets old to us since we hear about it, but there aren’t many recruits in America who don’t know about gundy because of how much the mullet has exploded. It’s an ingenious marketing tool.

Cox: I think I’m with you, KB. They’ve spent twice the resources on their punter’s faux campaign than on their legit candidate. Last spring, it seemed like they were going to go all-in on Rudolph’s. We’ll see how it goes when football starts.

Porter: I am fine with it for what it was because Big 12 Media Days needs Serious Tom Herman about as much as I need another kid, but I hope it quiets down a bit as the season gets closer.

Cox: And I’ll add another option to my own question. D. As long as they win, I love it. If they drop a couple early CMUs, it needs to settle down.

Southwell: I love it. All of the “free publicity” is great. Gundy is becoming a national treasure.

Slavin: If it gets OSU national attention, then I’m all for it. With stuff like this, we may be sick of all the videos and images and what-not, but as far as the national media is concerned, most people didn’t get wind of it until Big 12 Media days. Plus, this kind of stuff works for Michigan. Why can’t OSU be the “Michigan of the South” when it comes to clever marketing.

Cox: Which position group (offense or defense) are you most confident in and why?

Fleming: I think offense is obvious (receivers). For defense I’d put the linebackers. They have a lot of experience with guys like Phillips, Edison-McGruder and Whitener, and I would give them the slight edge over the D-line.

Cox: The obvious answer is the wide receiving corps. They may be the best in the nation. I’ll go off the grid and pick the defensive line. It may not have the star power it had a couple years ago but it’s very deep and experienced with a nice mix of youth. In a four-man front (they’re going three-man most this year), the Cowboys are a legit three-deep. Joe Bob deserves another raise.

Southwell: Receivers because they are stacked like a created roster on Madden. No defense will be able to stop them as long as Mason has time to throw.

Slavin: I’ll avoid going with the obvious (WR) and actually say the offensive line. I think new coach Henson knows what he’s doing. The line returns more experience and depth than we’ve had in awhile. The only question mark was filled with a graduate transfer who played on a similar fast-paced offense at Cal. I think Rudolph is going to be the most comfortable of his career this season.

Porter: I’ll go to the defensive side and say I’m most confident in the safeties. Like, I think Ramon is going to absolutely rock back there and Flowers is a total stud. I’m so here for that defensive backfield.

Southwell: #BallHawk

Boone: Position group of confidence: QB. Even if Rudolph gets hurt, we’ll know real quick what we have in Jelani or Keondre or (God forbid) Cornelius.

Cox: Okay, last one. Which position group (offense or defense) do you think is the most overlooked and why?

Fleming: Both of the lines. On offense, they don’t have overwhelming depth but the ones there are really solid and I think Cochran will fit in well. Defensively, there aren’t a whole lot of big names like Cox said but there’s talent there, and they should be able to hold their own this year.

Cox: I will go with Thomas’ pick for “most confidence in” with the linebackers. We know they have some playmakers and I feel like they are at least three-deep but I don’t feel like anyone is talking about them. Bundage is gonna be a star. Whitener is underrated even with all of this accolades and I’m excited to see Macon on the field.

Porter: Don’t talk about the Oil Baron like that, @boone!

I think linebackers are the most overlooked. There are some potential stars in that group (no pun intended). From KEM to Patrick Macon to Calvin Bundage, real studs!


Porter: “Can spin it”

Boone: “Admire his jheri curl”

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