Mike Gundy’s run of 17 consecutive winning seasons as Oklahoma State coach could end this year if he doesn’t find a strong replacement for Spencer Sanders at quarterback.Sanders transferred to Ole Miss after amassing 11,509 yards of total offense in his career at Oklahoma State.Former Texas Tech and Michigan quarterback Alan Bowman has the most experience. He has passed for 5,329 yards and 34 touchdowns in his career. He had two of his best college games in Stillwater against the Cowboys while he was at Texas Tech, passing for 397 yards and two touchdowns in 2018 and 384 yards and three touchdowns in 2020.
Redshirt freshman Garret Rangel, redshirt sophomore Gunnar Gundy and true freshman Zane Flores also could play. Rangel passed for 229 yards in last year’s Guaranteed Rate Bowl loss to Wisconsin. Gundy, the coach’s son, played in four games last year. Flores passed for more than 9,000 yards at Gretna (Nebraska) High School.
“The younger quarterbacks are improving and they’re making plays,” said Gundy, a former QB himself. “We might play multiple quarterbacks. If there’s two guys that deserve to play, we’ll play multiple guys.”
There is a fair amount of experience for whoever gets the job to work with as the Cowboys try to bounce back from last year’s disappointing 7-6 campaign. The Cowboys return 10 players on offense who started at least four games last year. The offensive line has the most experience — Jake Springfield has 29 starts, Preston Wilson has 22 and Taylor Miterko has 13.“A lot of guys are healthy,” said Wilson, a senior. “Right now, we got about five deep at every position. Depth has been an issue in the past, but this is the most depth we’ve had since I was a true freshman, so it’s great.” Bryan Nardo is stepping in as the new defensive coordinator. He held the same position at Division II Gannon University last season and the team allowed its lowest per-game yardage total in 20 seasons. He will try to improve a unit that ranked eighth out of 10 Big 12 teams in total defense, eighth against the run and seventh against the pass.
Linebacker Collin Oliver likes what he’s seen so far.“I’m really excited about what he brings to the table for our team,” Oliver said. “He’s fiery, young. I wouldn’t say too young. I call him old school. He’s been a joy to play with and to be coached by. I feel like we’re going to have a big year with him this year.”POSITION SWITCHOliver, a preseason All-Big 12 pick, has switched from defensive end to linebacker in Nardo’s 3-3-5 scheme. He had 16.5 sacks, 23.0 tackles for loss and 17 quarterback hurries in his first two years.RB SHUFFLE
There are carries available now that Dominic Richardson has transferred to Baylor. Ollie Gordon II posted 384 yards from scrimmage last season while Jaden Nixon produced 370. Elijah Collins rushed for more than 1,500 yards at Michigan State.RECEIVING TARGETSBrennan Presley, one of the team’s top playmakers last season, returns after posting team highs of 67 catches for 813 yards and 1,203 all-purpose yards. He will get support from some newcomers. De’Zhaun Stribling has come in from Washington State, where he led the team with 51 catches for 602 yards and five touchdowns. Leon Johnson III, a Division III all-American from George Fox (Oregon), had 1,146 yards and 14 touchdowns receiving last season.SUPER SOPHOMORESafety Kendal Daniels is a preseason All-Big 12 selection after being one of the nation’s top freshmen last season. The coaches chose him as the league’s defensive Freshman of the Year after he had 45 tackles last season, including 6.5 for loss.
THE SCHEDULEOklahoma State opens at home Sept. 2 against Central Arkansas and then visits soon-to-be Big 12 member Arizona State on Sept. 9. The Cowboys will play Oklahoma for the last time as conference members at home on Nov. 4.___AP college football: and