Oklahoma State: What we learned
BY BILL HAISTEN World Sports Writer
Tuesday, August 23, 2011
8/23/11 at 6:10 AM
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Defensive tackles: For the first time in years, the Cowboys seem to have four viable defensive tackles. Junior Nigel Nicholas is backed up by first-year freshman James Castleman and sophomore Davidell Collins at one tackle spot, while redshirt freshman Christian Littlehead - among the biggest surprises in the program this year - seems to have edged junior Anthony Rogers for the starting role at nose tackle.
Todd Monken: As the new coordinator, Monken inherits Brandon Weeden, Justin Blackmon and a Cowboy offense that last season averaged 44 points and 520 yards per game. During two preseason scrimmages, the Cowboys didn't always function at the tempo that was common last season. But Monken seems comfortable with the schemes, and the players seem comfortable with him.
What we didn't
Linebackers: The Cowboys will have new starters in the middle and on the weakside. The coaches like middle linebacker Caleb Lavey's ability to read plays. Alex Elkins and Joe Mitchell continue to compete at weakside linebacker. New personnel could mean costly mistakes in September.
Physical football: In an effort to reduce injuries, coach Mike Gundy limited his players to "thud" contact during the preseason - hitting occurred, but ball-carriers usually weren't taken to the turf. Gundy's strategy worked in that the Cowboys emerged healthy from preseason camp, but are they ready for the stress of game contact?
New OSU offensive coordinator Todd Monken seems comfortable with his players and offensive schemes. CORY YOUNG / Tulsa World