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September 15, 2013The Stillwater Stock Market has already been an interesting one to watch this season.
Oklahoma State has had several players and units go up and down since the beginning of the season, with none of them shooting up quite as fast as J.W. Walsh's.
What players have played well? What players have slipped a bit?
After three, this is how they fall.
QB J.W. Walsh: Up
I've sat here watching film and looking at box scores trying to figure out how he's doing it, and yet I still can't come up with a conclusion. Walsh came in late and had to correct an out-of-sync offense against Mississippi State with his feet, then torched UTSA with his arm. This week, he was a bit off with his arm, and wasn't spectacular on the ground either, yet they won. The dude is a winner, and I still haven't figured out why, but if I'm looking at stock, this might be the safest buy on the market.
DT Ofa Hautau: Up
Hautau was a nice steal in the offseason this year. He's a JUCO player from Utah, and of Tongan descent, a nationality that's known for being some football-playing dudes. I was thinking it last night, and someone said it on the board earlier today, but Hautau looks like he's really solidified himself as the third defensive tackle in the rotation behind Calvin Barnett and James Castleman.
WR Blake Jackson and Austin Hays: Down
Where has the Blake Jackson of last year gone? Jackson snared a dirty one-handed catch for a touchdown last night, but other than that has been all but completely M.I.A.. He has 6 receptions for 98 yards and 2 TD's, which keeps up his high average from last season (16.3 yards per catch this year), but almost all of that has come with the backups. As far as Hays goes, he missed the first two games with a hamstring injury, and Jhajuan Seales took advantage of his absence by catching just about everything that came his way. Hays is now listed as Seales backup on the depth chart, something that was the other way around in fall camp.
Special teams: Up
Other than a mis-striked punt last night, Kip Smith has been dominant at punter. He's averaging 40.2 yards per punt on 13 attempts, with 8 of those attempts pinning the opponent inside the 20-yard line. He also kicked four touchbacks last night after having none in the first two games.Ben Grogan has only had two field goal attempts, one of which was blocked against Mississippi State, but he stepped up and knocked down 39 yarder yesterday, and is 19/19 on extra point attempts.
LT Parker Graham: Up
When Devin Davis went down at the end of fall camp, a lot of people were worried about Oklahoma State's offensive line. Graham moved over and filled the void, while some shuffling went on at the opposite side before things finally started to settle in this week. Graham is the unquestioned leader of the offensive line both on and off the field, and he and Joe Wickline have figured out a formula for success (they're averaging 176.0 rushing yards per game).
Passing offense: Watching closely
It was down, then up, then back down. Walsh has been somewhat inaccurate against Mississippi State, then again against Lamar, but he's still posting numbers. Overall, they've posted 935 passing yards through three games this season. At this point last year, they had 1,132. That doesn't seem like much of a difference, but if you project it over the course of the season they'd finish 843.67 passing yards short of last year's total. That's a big, big difference. Watch this one closely, because I feel like Yurcich is still building his offense, but it's definitely a cause for concern at the moment.
Scoring defense: Up
Mike Gundy said this defense is going to have it turned around this year, and they've proven it. They're currently ranked 18th in the nation in scoring defense (13.7 points per game). That's good as it is, but when you look at the starters being rotated after halftime against UTSA, the actual starting unit has only given up 13 points this whole season (A touchdown and two field goals). That's 4.0 points per game against, which would be the least in the nation, ahead of the current leader Georgia Tech, who's allowing 7.0 points per game. One of the biggest reasons for this change? The improved play of safety Shamiel Gary, who looks like a completely different player. Gary, along with Daytawion Lowe have turned it around this year, and it'll be fun to see what they can do against the high-scoring Big 12 offenses in a few weeks.
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