Four Storylines: OSU Caps Non-Conference Play vs. McNeese State and TU

first_imgAs we continue our look at this fall’s football schedule, let’s finish up Oklahoma State’s nonconference slate with a first-time opponent and a long-time in-state “rival.”First off, Mike Gundy’s crew will follow up a game against the other OSU by hosting the other Cowboys.When: Saturday, September 7 at 6 p.m.Where: Boone Pickens Stadium, Stillwater, Okla.Watch: ESPN+1. A New Sheriff in TownMcNeese State will be one game into the Sterlin Gilbert era when it arrives in Stillwater. After going 9-2 in 2017, it appeared set on a similar course after a 5-1 start in 2018. But the FCS Cowboys finished the season 1-4, landing T-4th in the Southland Conference. Lance Guidry was shown the door and Gilbert was handed the reins..If the name sounds familiar it’s because Gilbert spent time as Philip Montgomery’s co-offense coordinator at Tulsa (OSU’s next opponent) before Charlie Strong hired him to Texas as one of a half dozen different OCs he employed in Austin. Gilbert followed Strong to South Florida, where he ran the Bulls offense for two years before earning his first head coaching gig.2. Another Cowboy QB ChangeThe visiting Cowboys are also in the midst of a transition at quarterback. Record-setting passer James Tabary exhausted his eligibility and his successor is junior Cody Orgeron. Yes, that name should sound familiar, as well. He’s the son of LSU head coach Ed Orgeron, who was a graduate assistant at McNeese State briefly in the 1980s. (There’s your bit of Louisiana football trivia for the day.)As QB2 for most of last year, Orgeron threw for 406 yards and three two scores to three INTs. Those aren’t eye-popping numbers but Orgeron is a dual-threat guy who apparently looked good in the spring and took No. 1 reps throughout.Final thought: Not too much to get excited about as far as the matchup goes — Oklahoma State shouldn’t be in any real danger against an FCS opponent at home — but it will be the home crowd’s first chance to lay eyes on their new QB in live action. While you’re here, we’d like you to consider subscribing to Pistols Firing and becoming a PFB+ member. It’s a big ask from us to you, but it also comes with a load of benefits like ad-free browsing (ads stink!), access to our premium room in The Chamber and monthly giveaways.The other thing it does is help stabilize our business into the future. As it turns out, sending folks on the road to cover games and provide 24/7 Pokes coverage like the excellent article you just read costs money. Because of our subscribers, we’ve been able to improve our work and provide the best OSU news and community anywhere online. Help us keep that up. Now, on to Week 3 and a matchup with the a Golden Hurricane program in desperate need of a bounceback year.When: Saturday, September 14 at 2:30 p.m.Where: H.A. Chapman Stadium, Tulsa, Okla.Watch: ABC/ESPN/ESPN23. Can Philip Montgomery Stay Out of the Hot Seat?Answer: It would take quite the turnaround to avoid it.After winning 10 games in his second season with the Golden Hurricane, Montgomery has produced two- and three-win years. Recent history tells us that that just won’t do in Tulsa.Bill Blankenship was let go after a two-win season that followed three wins, and he had more collateral built up at time of his slump.Blankenship — started 8-5, 11-3 followed by 3-9, 2-10, fired.Montgomery — started 6-7, 10-3 followed by 2-10, 3-9, ?Inconsistent quarterback play has been just one of the issues that’s plagued Tulsa these last couple of years, but help could be on the way. Former Baylor starter Zach Smith is in the mix with Luke Skipper, who went down with injury last year, and Seth Boomer, the freshman who spelled him. Not helping things will be an offensive line sans three starters from a year ago.Tulsa is also in the midst of some turnover on the defensive side of the ball.4. Bill Young RetiresBill Young’s long coaching career has finally come to an end. A run that lasted 50 years following his playing days in Stillwater — and included two separate stints at Oklahoma State — was capped with a four-year tenure at Tulsa.Young’s last couple of years didn’t go so well as far as on-field production is concerned but he was working with a lot of youth. The group did improve in points per drive allowed, finishing 72nd (2.31 points per drive) in 2018 from 118th (3.1) the year before. Last season, Tulsa also finished seventh in passing defense.Linebackers coach Joseph Gillespie was promoted to DC after transitioning the Hurricane from a four-man front to a 3-3-5 scheme. We’ll see how successful that will be at slowing down Sean Gleeson’s offense.Final thought: None of the first three opponents are going to provide a huge test for the Cowboys before they enter Big 12 play, but it will be interesting to see how quickly OSU’s offense hits the ground running under Gleeson and his new QB. Hopefully, pretty quickly because next up is a tough road test in Austin.last_img