QB Josh Fields (PHOTO CREDIT: Oklahoma State Media Relations)

2002 Statistics

Coach: Les Miles
12-12, 2 years
2002 Record: 8-5
at Louisiana Tech LOST 36-39
SMU WON 52-16
at Texas LOST 15-17
at Kansas State LOST 9-44
at Texas Tech LOST 24-49
at Kansas WON 55-20
Southern Miss WON 33-23

2002 Final Rankings
AP-UR, Coaches-UR, BCS-UR

2003 Outlook

Lets be frank- this squad is going to be very good! Eight starters back on offense, six on defense, plus both kickers and one of the hottest coaches in the Big XII means these Cowboys will be riding high in '03. There still looms the BIG question at the other receiver spot. Even with Woods, this group having dimension(s) is imperative to the success of OSU in '03. Josh Fields needs to stay healthy and not get frustrated early when the kinks are still being worked out and latticed. Two-TE sets should help this offense segue seamlessly between running and/or passing downs.

Tatum Bell will have a monster year if he gets the blocking necessary and Burroughs stays healthy. Offensively, this is potentially one of the strongest groups in all of college football. Keeping the TO-margin in their favor is a great start to elevated accomplishment. The 'Pokes had a (-2) TO-margin, which kept them just out of games that could have handed them the Big 12 South division championship. Along those lines, they need to finish ballgames as well. They had a few close games slip away which could have meant a bigger bowl, possibly the BCS.

Defensively, Paul Duren needs help, specifically the secondary. Giving up 398 yards of total offense per game - much as YAC - will not get them any further this season. They need to take advantage of given opportunities and get a little hungrier. The talent is there, it is these psychological intangibles that are their proverbial hump to overcome. An opportunistic defense seems to be the most feared, and the Cowboys are not that way, yet. Sure, you can score 35 points a game, but if you can't stop anybody, then it don't mean nuthin'!

The Pokes get tested right off the bat by traveling to Lincoln to play the hated Cornhuskers- a team they beat in 2002 for the first time since 1961. They can coast in following games against four weak non-conference teams, and then to the heart of the Big 12 schedule. OSU hosts Kansas State, Texas Tech and Texas in Stillwater, but must play at Oklahoma and resurgent Texas A&M in back-to-back games. This easy early slate could be a formula for disaster with the buzz-saw they then hit. It seems like an annual shame when we see a three-loss State team beat the second half of their Big XII opponents, often Top 10ers to boot, to finish disappointingly low when you know they are better. 2004's non-cons need to be plucked from higher up on the rankings tree.

The Cowboys are striding in just the right direction, though, and landed a top-class group of recruits this season to show for it. However, the heights they seek will not be attained this year, as we see them (again, aargh!) reaching a 9-3 or 8-4 season but a valid bowl game. They'll be close, but no Big 12 cigar just yet. Still, the (off-the-charts high) overall competition level of this conference will mean three or four losses gets you up to five spots higher in the 2003 polls.

Projected 2003 record: 8-4
WR Rashaun Woods
LB Paul Duren
CB Robert Jones
QB - 4 DL - 3
RB - 3.5 LB - 3.5
WR - 4 DB - 2.5
OL - 3.5 ..

Passing: Josh Fields, 408-226-10, 3145 yds., 31 TD's

Rushing: Tatum Bell, 175 att., 1096 yds., 11 TD's

Receiving: Rashaun Woods, 107 rec., 1695 yds., 17 TD's

Scoring: Rashaun Woods, 17 TD's, 102 pts.

Punting: Cole Farden, 57 punts, 41.4 avg.

Kicking: Luke Phillips, 11-16 FG, 55-56 PAT, 88 pts.

Tackles: Paul Duren, 84 tot., 56 solo

Sacks: Greg Richmond, 7 sacks

Interceptions: Darrent Williams, 3 for 47 yds.

Kickoff returns: Daniel McLemore, 4 ret., 10.8 avg.

Punt returns: Fath' Carter, 1 ret., 10.0 avg.


OG Sam Mayes (PHOTO CREDIT: Oklahoma State Media Relations)


OFFENSE: Tim Burrough-FB, Mike Denard-FB, Terrance Davis-Bryant-WR, John Lewis-WR, Willie Young-WR, Kyle Eaton-OT, Jason Russell-OT
DEFENSE: Kevin Williams-DT, LaWaylon Brown-NG, Terrence Robinson-LB, Ricklan Holmes-Miller-CB, Kirk Milligan-SS, Chris Massey-WS, Kobina Amoo-CB

written by Tim Chapman

The Oklahoma State offense cut through the Big XII in 2002, averaging 411 yards per game in total offense to rank 3rd in Big 12, 21st in NCAA. What makes them more dangerous is the fact that eight players return for the '03 campaign.

Leading the way will be junior QB Josh Fields. Fields, a hometown hero, has etched his way into the hearts of Cowboy fans with his astounding numbers but probably more important has been two straight victories over Oklahoma and a 2002 bowl win. His greatest asset is those unteachables - he makes the right choices in crunch-time when needed. He ranked 15th in the nation with a 140.3 efficiency rating and only threw ten INTs all season. He has two good seasons under his belt and is reminiscent of what Jonathan Smith brought to Oregon State - not flashy, but gets the job done and then some. His teammates love to follow him too, which is always a plus. He is the team's shortcut to the next level.

What makes the 'Pokes extra dangerous is a really explosive group of running backs. Returning are their top four rushers, headlined by nationally recognized senior RB Tatum Bell. Bell (11 TDs, 6.3 per carry) brings one of the quickest first steps there is. Behind him are junior Seymore Shaw (5.6 per carry) and soph Vernand Morency- OSU won't miss a step when Bell needs a breather.

Another key part of that backfield is senior FB Tim Burrough, whose job is mainly to isolate on a linebacker. Not only doing his part as a blocker, he provides a great leak outlet when Fields needs to dump off. He is big at 255lbs.and extremely strong, but the concern lies in the fact that, due to injury, he only played seven games. His health is necessary to the success of the running game.

The offensive line brings back three starters from a group who held their own in '02. Headlined by junior guards Sam Mayes (also plays tackle) and Chris Akin, along with steady center junior Ben Buie, this squad is vital. Filling the two open gaps look to be a pair of redshirt sophomores who have three years of playbooks, but little game experience. It all starts up front. All the talent positions don't mean squat without a cohesive line. A 4.4 yards-per-rush average and 19 sack total make this line's promise easily kept.

With a receiver like All-American senior Rashaun Woods, it is hard to see how the receivers could be the main concern on offense. Take a look behind him. Keep looking… see anybody? Neither do we. The Cowboys graduated four of their next five top 2002 yankers, and duly have gaps in the depth chart. Looking to team with Woods will be either junior WR John Wohlgemuth, or Woods' brother, soph WR D'Juan Woods. Don't be surprised to see true frosh Phillip Jones or Chijuan Mack thrust into the scene to see whose real-game performances merit the most play. This unit has the comfort of a steady running game to help break them in. But there is no way Rashaun Woods can do this alone. He will draw double teams and robber coverage in the secondary to force Fields to check down to these younger pass-catchers.

Making things a little easier for the Cowboys are possibly the best group of tight ends in the nation. Junior Billy Bajema (16.9 per catch) is a nimble guy who has a good set of hands to take to the middle of the field or leak out into the flats. Behind him is soph Charlie Johnson who might be even better, something we are sure to see. Look for two-TE sets and a clock-chewing approach until the passing game learns to apply its dimensions.


WR Rashaun Woods (PHOTO CREDIT: Oklahoma State Media Relations)


Returning Starters in bold
QB Josh Fields-Jr Jamie Beeghley-So
FB Tim Burrough-Sr Chet Ackerman-So
TB Tatum Bell-Sr Seymore Shaw-Jr / Vernand Morency-So
WR Rashaun Woods-Sr John Wohlgemuth-Jr
WR D'Juan Woods-So Kenneth Williams-So
TE Billy Bajema-Jr Charlie Johnson-So
OT Kellen Davis-So Jonathan Cruz-Fr
OG Corey Curtis-So Chris Akin-Jr
C Ben Buie-Jr Bryon Machado-So
OG Sam Mayes-Jr Doug Bond-Fr
OT Matt Wakefield-So Jon Hayhurst-Sr
K Luke Phillips-Sr ..



written by Tim Chapman

The defense loses two of their front four linemen, but the two they return can still bring the required heat. Senior Greg Richmond and junior Antonio Smith, the 2002 DEs, get a good rush to the outside, which will help the interior have similar success. Richmond is the playmaker coming and a very strong, sure tackler. Joining them up the middle are junior DT Clay Coe and most likely soph Kyle Hix. This unit was responsible for 20 (of 28) sacks and mass chaos among the offensive line with various looks to go with great speed and strength. This will have to be the group that dictates success for this defense.

The linebackers are sitting nice with the emergence of soph Paul Duren. Duren gave offenses problems in blocking with his sideline-to-sideline speed while keenly defending the pass. The Pokes will rely on his intelligence and toughness for the leadership to carry the bulk of the defense. Lining up beside him, sophomore LB Lawrence Pinson gives Duren a solid partner in halting opposing offenses.

The Cowboys like to play regularly with five DBs. They'll line up two corners, a weak and strong safety, and then a middle (free) safety. They achieved minimal success with this scheme, finishing 100th in the country against the pass in allowing 252 yards-per-game through the air. The good part is that 3/5 of that unit returns. Lead by senior FS Elbert Craig, this unit's maturation needs to be evident early and often. Craig was a busy man last season, accounting for too much of OSU's defense. He is flanked down on the corners by junior Darrent Williams and soph Vernon Grant. The Pokes do have a good amount of experience coming back. But be on the look for some talented freshmen to step in - getting ready for 2004 is a hedge of 2003's gamblings.


S Elbert Craig (PHOTO CREDIT: Oklahoma State Media Relations)


Returning Starters in bold
DE Greg Richmond-Sr Brad Girtman-Fr
DT Clay Coe-Jr Effe Mowarin-Jr
NG Xavier Lawson-Kennedy-Fr Kyle Hix-So
DE Antonio Smith-Jr Trumain Carroll-So
LB Paul Duren-So Glenn Jackson-Fr
LB Lawrence Pinson-So Padgett McGee-So
CB Darrent Williams-Jr Daniel McLemore-So
CB Robert Jones-Jr Ricky Coxeff-Fr
SS Vernon Grant-So Fath' Carter-Sr
WS Charlie Ward-So Thomas Wright-So
S Elbert Craig-Sr Jamar Ransom-So / Chase Holland-So
P Cole Farden-Jr Sky Rylant-Sr




The Cowboys will return a stable body of kickers to help provide some insurance points, both between the goal posts and in the field position game. Senior Luke Phillips hit on 11-of -16 FGs, including four in the Houston Bowl. Punting is handy junior Cole Farden, who also boots kickoffs. The return game takes a hit as their top kick and punt return men left, opening the job to the fastest, most secure applicant. We will update this area when developments warrant. Their net punting average of 34.8 yards when Farden averaged nearly 42 yards-per-attempt has to be improved. Field-position battles, if lost, could cost dearly in the defensive chess matches Big XII games so often become.


The Woods brothers lit up the spring game, catching a combined 9 passes for 236 yards. These two can play, and will, starting together for the Cowboys' offense this fall. By the way, Rashaun's injury should be fine- he'll be ready for Nebraska… Josh Fields' absence to baseball this spring may have been a hidden blessing. Soph backup Jamie Beeghley was able to take most of the snaps against the top defensive unit and, though he struggled at times, his skills were certainly sharpened, giving the Pokes that all-important depth at QB… RB Tatum Bell had some problems hanging on to the football this spring, causing some leaks of doubt to infiltrate his starting position. With so much depth at that position, his job is anything but safe. A player most people have been overlooking is redshirt frosh Greg Gold. He may be a small back, but he has great vision and runs north and south. He'll certainly contribute… Les Miles feels a little more comfortable about his O-line now, but still feels they need to develop chemistry and cohesion to be a solid group.

CB Vernon Grant's abilities were stroked, going against Rashaun Woods all spring. Coaches also recognized Grant's maturity and ability to handle greater responsibility this season, accentuated by his emergence as a vocal leader. With the arrival of talent in CB Robert Jones, Grant will likely move to SS. Miles spoke highly of the efforts displayed by the secondary this spring. With a group already good enough to start Big 12 play, the addition of some key JUCO transfers (namely Paul Francis, Jon Holland and Jamie Thompson) only makes this group better… Two youngsters who will get an early shot at Cowboys' stardom are Brad Girtman and Xavier Lawson-Kennedy. Lawson-Kennedy (XLK as he is labeled in Stillwater) is the one to speak of, standing 6'3", 320 lbs. with a 400-plus bench press- he is a specimen. He should win the starting NG spot by early to midseason and you will find his name on freshman AA teams this year.

Robert Jones and Daniel McLemore had some outstanding kick returns throughout spring practice and look to have headway at those spots. The punt returns should go to D'Juan Woods, Errick McCown, or Gabe Lindsay.