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Tag:Kendall Hunter
Posted on: September 3, 2011 11:12 pm
 

QUICK HITS: Ok State 61 Louisiana-Lafayette 34

Posted by Tom Fornelli

OKLAHOMA STATE WON. And it won rather easily. Things got off to a slow start but the Cowboys offense picked things up in the second quarter and went into the half with a 34-10 lead and never really looked bad. The Oklahoma State offense finished with 666 total yards in the game, with Brandon Weeden throwing for 388 yards and 3 touchdowns. Weeden threw 3 interceptions as well -- two of them were pick sixes -- which kept the Cajuns from getting completely destroyed. Justin Blackmon had one of his typical 8 receptions for 144 yards performances, though he never saw the end zone. Tracy Moore had 7 catches for 112 yards and a score, while Joseph Randle stepped into Kendall Hunter's old role, finishing with 129 yards rushing and two touchdowns.

WHY OKLAHOMA STATE WON. Just too much firepower on offense for Louisiana-Lafayette to handle. When a team has so many weapons on offense it's near impossible to stop them, and the Cajuns just couldn't. The defense played a lot better than the score suggests as well, as 14 of Louisiana's points came on interception returns. 

WHEN OKLAHOMA STATE WON. Louisiana-Lafayette hung tough for a quarter, but once Josh Cooper caught a 15-yard touchdown pass to make it 24-3 halfway through the second quarter, you knew this one was done.

WHAT OKLAHOMA STATE WON. A game it was supposed to, and nothing much more really. Though I suppose you can argue that the offensive performance by the Cowboys justifies the team being ranked in the top ten to start the season.

THAT WAS CRAZY. Last season Brandon Weeden threw 1 interception for every 39 pass attempts. On Saturday night he threw 3 in 39 pass attempts. 
Posted on: April 19, 2011 11:53 am
Edited on: April 19, 2011 11:57 am
 

WV RB Alston finding his place in a new offense

Posted by Chip Patterson

When West Virginia athletic director Oliver Luck arranged to bring in offensive coordinator Dana Holgorsen from Oklahoma State, he was investing in an offensive system that ranked in the top three nationally in both scoring and total offense.  The system helped engineer the breakout of star wide receiver Justin Blackmon, as well as delivering a career changing year for Kendall Hunter.  The high-octane scheme allows for talented skill players to show their stuff all over the field, with plenty of touches to go around.  But there has been some concern as to where a "big back" like junior running back Shawne Alston might fit into the system.    

"I think people have the misconception it's meant for a small back," Alston told the Charleston Daily Mail, "because they've only seen small backs play in it."

At 6-feet, 220 pounds; Alston immediately looks different from the 5-8, 200 pound Hunter, who picked up 1,548 yards rushing and 16 touchdowns in Holgorsen's system last year.  But on the field his style differs from the "scat back" type as well.  Alston is signifcantly more dangerous operating between the tackles than out on the edge, but where the backs best operate on the field does not matter to their new offensive coordinator. 

"The only thing that would keep us from not playing Shawne or a body type like Shawne is if he doesn't catch the ball or doesn't block or doesn't get yards when he runs the ball," Holgorsen explained. "Whether he's 240 pounds or you're talking about a guy that weighs 140, it's the same thing."

Alston saw his workload increase late in the 2010 season, and is the second-leading returning rusher behind Ryan Clarke. Clarke has struggled with ball security last fall, and his woes have continued during spring workouts. Neither Holgorsen nor head coach Bill Stewart has named an official frontrunner at the running back position, but both backs know that sophomores Trey Johnson, Daquan Hargrett, and freshman Vernard Roberts are all hungry to earn their spot on the field as well.

The big winners in the situation are Holgorsen and Stewart.  They are instituting a offensive system that specializes in showing multiple looks and adjusting to what the defense gives you, and they have a handful of able backs competing against each other for those touches.  


Posted on: January 14, 2011 12:29 pm
 

5 Down: Potential 2011 disappointments

Posted by Jerry Hinnen

Earlier today, our own Dennis Dodd posted his pre-preseason top 25 for the 2011 college football season. We here at the College Football Blog wouldn't dare disagree with our esteemed colleague's opinions ... but every year there's teams that vastly exceed the expectations of even the wisest prognosticators (like, say, Auburn in 2010) and some that disappoint despite some seemingly major advantages (like, say, Iowa in 2010).

So later today we'll name five more teams we think can crack Dodd's top 25 next season, and right now we'll name five that are in his top 25 that might slip out ... or, at least, fail to live up to where they're currently placed. Without further ado (and in no particular order):

1. Auburn (15). Slipping from first to 15th already seems like quite a slide, but the Tigers' losses are so major they could easily fall even further. The offensive line loses four starters representing approximately 200 collective career starts; Nick Fairley's departure is only the capper for an entire defensive tackle rotation that must be replaced; Auburn's two best linebackers are graduated, along with the best corner and best safety; and, oh yeah, that Cam Newton guy will be replaced by either a redshirt junior who's never started a game (Barrett Trotter) or a true freshman (Kiehl Frazier). The schedule also turns nasty, with this year's home dates against South Carolina, LSU, Arkansas, and Georgia all on the road. Gus Malzahn's continued presence means Auburn will have a fighting chance of getting back to eight or nine wins, but a bad break here or there could leave Gene Chizik's bunch outside the top 25 entirely.

2. Michigan State (9). The Spartans lived on the margins somewhat in 2010, needing big late comebacks to beat teams like Northwestern and Purdue while stumbling badly against more talented teams like Iowa and Alabama. And now Mark Dantonio loses three senior offensive linemen, soul-of-the-defense All-American linebacker Greg Jones, and offensive coordinator Don Treadwell, who took the vacant Miami (Ohio) head coaching position. For a team that may have already been not-quite-as-good as their record, those are big blows.

3. South Carolina (17). Their appearance on this list isn't necessarily about the Gamecocks themselves, though the losses of end Cliff Matthews on defense and guard Garrett Chisolm on offense will be larger than people think. It's about their SEC divisional rivals at Florida and Georgia bouncing back from subpar seasons, and a schedule that hands them tough road trips to Athens, Knoxville, Starkville, and Fayetteville. It's the sort of slate that likely has four losses on it lurking somewhere.

4. Northwestern (24). We love the plucky Wildcats as much as anyone, but the way the 'Cats were memorably run over at Wrigley by Illinois, it's hard to see them being physical enough to make that much headway in the new-and-improved Big Ten. Five of their seven 2010 wins came by a total of just 15 points, and for a quarterback whose underrated running skills are as much a part of his success as his throwing accuracy, Dan Persa's Achilles injury is a killer.

5. Oklahoma State (7). OK, so with Brandon Weeden and Justin Blackmon back and the Big 12 South not yet back to its 2008 glory days, it's not likely for the Cowboys to slip all the way out of the top 25. But the Cowboys haven't always done well with the kind of expectations they'll be dealing with in 2011, the defense still needs major work, and without Kendall Hunter the Pokes will have to work to ensure the running game can keep opponents from simply blanketing the Weeden-to-Blackmon connection. But the biggest loss by far is Dana Holgorsen, without whom the 2009 Cowboy offense was shut out by Oklahoma even with weapons like Hunter and Zac Robinson around. If Mike Gundy doesn't find a quailty replacement, the Cowboys may wind up as 2011's most overrated team.

Posted on: December 30, 2010 1:55 am
 

Bowl Grades: Alamo Bowl

OKLAHOMA STATE

Offense: The Cowboys weren't actually quite as dominant as the scoreboard (or their reputation) would suggest in the first half, punting four times and getting 14 of their 17 points via a 61-yard thunderbolt to Justin Blackmon and a short-field score following a muffed punt. After three quarters, they still hadn't even cracked 260 total yards, and their final total of 313 fell well below their nation-leading 537-yard average.

But with the Poke defense playing the way it was (and the Arizona offense helping OSU out the way it was), the most important thing for the Cowboy attack was simply to take advantage of its opportunities and not make mistakes, and that they did. Both red zone opportunities were converted into touchdowns, Brandon Weeden (who punctuated a pedestrian-looking stat line with several NFL-quality throws) didn't throw an interception, the Poke ballcarriers never fumbled, and Lou Groza Award finalist Dan Bailey went 3-of-3 with makes from 40, 50, and 44 yards. Combine that with the usual smattering of brilliance from Blackmon -- who finished his sophomore season with 100 yards and at least one touchdown receiving in all 12 games he played, not to mention two more highlight-reel scores in this one -- and it was more than enough to cruise past the bumbling Wildcats. GRADE: A-

Defense:
The book on the Cowboy defense was that it could slow down most running games, but would really struggle against a competent passing game, and between quarterback Nick Foles and All-American receiver Juron Criner that's what Arizona appeared to have.

But that wasn't the way the game played out at all. In the secondary, the much-maligned Poke defensive backs picked off Foles three times, held him to a mediocre 5.6 yards per attempt (that still flatters his performance), and scored as many touchdowns from his passes -- thanks to a Markelle Martin pick-six -- as Arizona did. Criner grabbed nine receptions, but none for longer than 12 yards. Meanwhile, up front, Foles was sacked five times and hurried twice that many times at least. The end result was that a pass defense that appeared to be the most vulnerable part of the Cowboy team was its most vital part in San Antonio.

That's not to say the Cowboys didn't allow their fair share of yards; over a span of six drives in the second and third quarters, Arizona racked up 194 yards and crossed midfield five times. But thanks to the stiffening OSU defense, they scored fewer points on those drives (three) than the Cowboys did (six, thanks to Martin). As defensive performances go, it was just this side of dominating. GRADE: A-

Coaching: The Cowboy staff of head man Mike Gundy, now ex-offensive coordinator Dana Holgorsen, and defensive coordinator Bill Young have a collective reputation for aggressiveness, and they more than lived up to it Wednesday night. Holgorsen tested the 'Cat defense deep and with various misdirection plays, Young dialed up a number of successful blitzes, and Gundy's willingness to go for a 4th-and-2 near midfield up big in the fourth quarter paid off with an Arizona penalty and, eventually, the icing touchdown. The Oklahoma State staff showed by far the more aggressive coaching philosophy, and were rewarded with a far, far more aggressive performance from their team. GRADE: A-

ARIZONA

Offense:
Give the Wildcats some credit: with 369 yards and all the aforementioned forays into OSU territory, it's not like they didn't at least give themselves opportunities. But don't give them much -- or any, if you like -- since they squandered virtually all of them via a variety of mistakes. There was Foles, ruining Arizona's first threatening drive with a one-hopper to an open receiver on 4th-and-5 and throwing all three of his interceptions across midfield. There was the timidity in the running game, with the three Wildcat backs averaging just 3.5 yards on their 28 carries. There were the drops from the receivers, with even Criner joining in. There were the seven penalties, the five sacks, the four total turnovers. There was embattled kicker Alex Zendejas missing from 47 and 34 yards.

In short, there were far more shots aimed at the Wildcats' own feet than at their opponents in the Alamo Dome. When one final consolation touchdown with under five minutes to play -- on Foles' best pass of the night, a long arcing bomb to Richard Morrison -- was called back for a hold along the offensive line, you couldn't have asked for a better single-play summation of the Wildcat offense's night. That kind of sloppiness was simply never going to fly opposite a unit as explosive as Oklahoma State's. GRADE: D+

Defense: Frankly, given the quality of the opposition they were facing, you can't hang the outcome on the Arizona defense. With Weeden playing as well as he was and Blackmon being Blackmon (to say nothing of the likes of Kendall Hunter), to hold the Cowboys to 313 yards and three offensive touchdowns -- one of those coming on a turnover-aided short field -- is quite the accomplishment. A forced turnover somewhere would have been nice, but these Wildcats (active cornerback Joseph Perkins in particular) have nothing to hang their heads about. GRADE: B+

Coaching: Already down 23-7 with less than 10 minutes to play in the third quarter, Mike Stoops faced a decision: go for it on a 4th-and-5 from the Oklahoma State 30, knowing that his team would need all the points they could get given the potency of the OSU offense and the deficit his team faced, or try a 47-yard field goal with a kicker whose confidence had to have been badly shaken from the botched extra points that cost the Wildcats their rivalry game with Arizona State. That Stoops chose the "safe" route of kicking the highly-unlikely field goal (whcih badly missed, of course) tells you all you need to know about the halfhearted, play-not-to-lose, roll-over-and-get-crushed attitude Arizona approached this game with. For all his sideline bluster, Stoops didn't show the kind of actual fieriness and conviction his team needed. (And hey, that's not even mentioning leaving two timeouts on the board at the end of the first half while Stoops raged about a pass interference call.) GRADE: D

FINAL GRADE:
Like so many other bowls this season, the game was firmly in one team's grasp by the end of the first half and entirely out of reach by the time the fourth quarter rolled around. Yawn. Again. At least Weeden-to-Blackmon was worth a look. Grade: C-

Posted on: December 23, 2010 3:47 pm
 

CBS Bowl Bonanza: Alamo Bowl

Posted by Jerry Hinnen as part of the blog's Bowl Bonanza series. For tonight's Poinsettia Bowl preview, click here .

The Basics: Oklahoma State (10-2) vs. Arizona (7-5), Dec. 29, 9:15 EST

Why You Should Watch: Because it's the Alamo Bowl, silly, the same game that gave us Texas Tech's stirring comeback against Michigan State last year, that saw Northwestern just miss out on their first bowl win since 19-dickety-two against Missouri in overtime, that unleashed this madness on us at the end of Michigan-Nebraska ... all in the past five years. And this year, we've got maybe the bowl season's best matchup of wide receivers in Justin Blackmon vs. Juron Criner, the carnival-worthy facial calisthenics of Mike Stoops, and one final chance to see Dana Holgorsen's flying circus at Oklahoma State before he takes his act to Morgantown. That ought to be enough.

Keys to Victory for Oklahoma State: More than maybe any school in the country other than Michigan, the Cowboys win by simply outscoring their opposition. With Holgorsen's unit ranked No. 1-with-a-bullet in the FBS total offense (and a robust third in scoring) but the Poke defense coming in 90th (and yielding a combined 98 points in their two losses), the pressure is permanently on the Cowboy attack to put points on the board. Anything less than 30-35 points, and the Cowboys will be cutting it awfully close.

The good news is that with arguably the best running back-wide receiver combo in the country in All-Americans Kendall Hunter and Blackmon (not to mention revelatory quarterback Brandon Weeden and his 32-to-13 touchdown-to-interception ratio), even the well-coached Wildcats may not be able to stop from Oklahoma State from hitting that mark. The bad news is that with as much time to prepare as Stoops and his staff will have, it seems unlikely the Cowboys will manage a 40- or 50-point explosion, either. That means the Cowboys will have to come up with at least a few stops, and that starts up front with a run defense that actually finished an impressive 27th in the country in yards-per-carry allowed at 3.57. Leading that charge was first team All-Big 12 senior linebacker Orie Lemon, who led the team in tackles and tackles-for-loss, but he was helped by an experienced (three senior starters) and deep defensive line that had four different members record at least 4 tackles-for-loss.

The front seven will have to be at its best to keep the pressure off of a secondary that ranked 115th in the country in defending the pass, but if the Cowboys can force just a handful of third-and-longs,even their defensive backs (particularly senior corner Andrew McGee)   should be able to make enough plays to let Weeden, Hunter, and Blackmon win the game.

Keys to Victory for Arizona: On paper, the Wildcats don't have a whole lot going for them in this game. They come in riding a four-game losing streak that dropped them to 7-5, with the Cowboys at a stout 10-2; they have further to travel and will do so with dramatically less fan support; their last bowl "effort" was the 33-0 debacle against Nebraska in last year's Holiday Bowl.

But they do have Criner, a 6'4", 210-pound beast who quietly racked up 1,197 yards to finish as the nation's seventh-leading receiver. They also have Nick Foles, who equally quietly led the Pac-10 in passing yardage at 291 yards per-game, completed 67 percent of his passes, and finished in the national top 30 in both yards per-attempt and QB rating. And there's plenty more targets where Criner came from; eight different Wildcats finished with 20 or more receptions. Given the weakness of the Cowboy secondary, a huge night from Foles, Criner, and the rest of the 'Cat passing game could allow Arizona to keep up with an offense even as explosive as the Pokes.

And defying the West Coast stereotype, the Wildcats are also perfectly competent on defense, finishing as one of only 27 teams to allow fewer than 5 yards per-play. The triumvirate of Ricky Elmore, Brooks Reed, and Justin Washington (23.5 combined sacks, 33 tackles-for-loss) give them a dynamic defensive line that should be capable of slowing Hunter's interior running. If they can do that, a well-prepared back seven plays over their heads against Blackmon and Weeden, and Foles goes off, the Wildcats could very well pull off the upset.

The Alamo Bowl is like: the onslaught at the Alamo itself, at least when either offense is on the field; the overmatched and outmanned secondaries are going to come under a hail of football fire from their better-armed opponents, and will hope to simply survive until their compatriots on the offensive side of the ball can come to their rescue. If the quarterbacks and receivers play up to their capabilities, this year's Alamo Bowl will -- like its namesake -- definitely be something to remember.


Posted on: December 13, 2010 4:11 pm
Edited on: August 20, 2011 9:00 pm
 

Report: Oklahoma State OC interviews with Pitt

Posted by Chip Patterson

UPDATE: In a blog from the Post-Gazette late Monday afternoon, Paul Zeise writes that "Dana Holgorsen will not be the next head coach of Pitt." He cites a source close to the situation, but does not elaborate. Though he does suggest that Holgorsen might still end up in the Big East, which could hint at possible openings at Connecticut (Edsall leaves) or West Virginia (Stewart leaves/retires).  Regardless, something seems to have developed today to change the coaching search at Pitt.  Stay tuned to CBSSports.com for more as this story develops.

------------------------------

Dave Wannstedt's "resignation" will go down as one of the more awkward departures of the 2010 postseason.  Pittsburgh Athletic director Steve Pederson now must find a new face for the program.  Facial hair or not, Pederson knows that he needs to take action finding his next coach.  The coaching carousel has been spinning as fast as ever, and many of the names at the top of the national wish-list are quickly being employed.  

Near the end of last week, it was believed the two top candidates for the job were Temple's Al Golden and Oklahoma State offensive coordinator Dana Holgorsen.  With Golden heading to Miami to lead the Hurricanes, Holgerson appears to be the new favorite for the job in Pittsburgh.  Of course, there are no promises that Holgerson would be interested in leaving Oklahoma State right now.  He has put together an incredibly potent offense with Brandon Weeden, Justin Blackmon, and Kendall Hunter as the cornerstones in 2010.  With Weeden and Blackmon possibly returning for 2011, there is a chance that Holgerson could stay for one more successful year and boost his stock significantly.

But according to a story in the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, Holgerson was contacted by Pitt late last week and interviewed with Pederson at an undisclosed location over the weekend.  Holgerson brings a high-energy offense that could energize the fanbase and immediately utilize some of the weapons already in place for the Panthers.  Similar to Blackmon, Panthers' wide receiver Jon Baldwin could return for another season and join Dion Lewis and Tito Sunseri as the playmakers of Pitts offense.  Sunseri and Lewis have both been inconsistent across their young careers, but have shown flashes of their potential (In Lewis' case, his entire freshman season).  There are no notions as to if this will develop into anything further, but it sounds like one of the best potential scenarios for Pittsburgh.
Posted on: November 29, 2010 5:58 pm
 

Broyles finalists have offensive flavor

Posted by Jerry Hinnen

The ancient saw about football is that offense sells tickets and defense wins championships. But based on this offense-dominated 2010 season, it may be time to admit that when it comes to college football, offense can just about handle the whole thing, thanks; likely BCS title game participants Auburn and Oregon both ride their record-breaking offenses first and their defenses second, and whether it's the Big Ten with Wisconsin , the Big 12 South with Oklahoma , or the SEC East with South Carolina (and their 100th-ranked pass defense ), defense-first teams are giving way to more explosive counterparts.

Which helps explain why of the five finalists announced today for the Broyles Award , given annually to the nation's top assistant coach, four of them are offensive coordinators at the helm of some of the nation's best attacks. They are:

Dick Bumpas, defensive coordinator/defensive line coach, TCU
Paul Chryst, offensive coordinator/quarterbacks coach, Wisconsin
Dana Holgorsen, offensive coordinator, Oklahoma State
Gus Malzahn, offensive coordinator/quarterbacks coach, Auburn
Greg Roman, offensive coordinator, Stanford

Of the five, Malzahn has become (almost without question) the biggest name in the group and with his unorthodox scheme producing not only an SEC West title but a probable Heisman Trophy for Cam Newton , he's your likely front-runner. But all five have done incredible work this season: Holgorsen took over a Cowboy offense missing its longtime quarterback and biggest receiving threats and helped make Justin Blackmon and Kendall Hunter All-Americans; Chryst has made Scott Tolzien  the most efficient quarterback in the Big Ten by a mile while maintaining the Badgers' bulldozing ground-based mentality; Roman, likely the most obscure name in the bunch, has coordinated an offense that lost Toby Gerhart and still averaged better than 40 points per game; and though a couple of off-games have denied TCU their run at being the best statistical defense of the decade , Bumpas's perenially excellent Frogs again lead the nation in both total and scoring defense.

But a vote for Bumpas in 2010 feels a bit like counterprogramming opposite the Super Bowl or something similar. This is the season of offense in college football, and the Broyles winner will likely reflect that.

Posted on: November 29, 2010 11:53 am
Edited on: November 29, 2010 11:54 am
 

James headlines 2010 Coaches' All-America Team

Posted by Chip Patterson

As many schools have wound down their regular season, the time has come for 2010's series of accolades and awards.  There will be predictable nods, deserving players snubbed, and a guarantee of AT LEAST one slightly irrational fan base being furious by the omission of their star player.  The first notable All-America team was released on Monday morning, the AFCA FBS Coaches' All-America Team.  

It is the only All-America team that is voted on exclusively by the coaches, and it was not surprising to see the team headlined by Oregon's LaMichael James and Clemson's Da'Quan Bowers.  Auburn fans, don't worry, your boy made the cut.

Check out all of the coaches' selections below:

  

A few notes on the list:

- Despite constant criticism for a "down year," the ACC has as much representation on the list (4) as the SEC and Big 12.  Only the Big Ten (6) produced more players on the 2010 team.  

- As Bryan Fischer pointed out, there were four Texas natives selected to the All-America team.  Outside of TCU's Tank Carder, none of them even play for a school in Texas.  How should that reflect on the in-state universities, particularly Texas head coach Mack Brown?  I know that the 2010 Longhorns would have benefited significantly from a Kendall Hunter or LaMichael James in the backfield.

- There was little turnover from last year's squad, with Michigan State linebacker Greg Jones being the only repeat selection from 2009.  However, the same could be true for next year's list.  Only ten players on the list could return for 2011, and there is no guarantee that they all will.  


 
 
 
 
The views expressed in this blog are solely those of the author and do not reflect the views of CBS Sports or CBSSports.com