PFB - Spring Position Previews: It’s Time for Spencer Sanders to be Great

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OP News

Feb 17, 2018
Oklahoma State fans got a shot in the arm when their two favorite playmakers, Tylan Wallace and Chuba Hubbard, announced a return for next fall. But for Spencer Sanders it was more than that. It was a chance to be great.

Before that student union rally and national championship proclamation, expectations for OSU in 2020 ranged from uncertain to bleak — depending on your base level of optimism. Now the Big 3 is back for one final ride, and the levels of optimism couldn’t be higher.

QB1: Spencer Sanders

In 2019, Spencer Sanders was the all of the things we hoped he’d be and all of the things we didn’t want to think about.

He was a dynamic pass and run threat capable at any moment to leap over, run around (and away from) Big 12 defenders. He was that deep-ball threat passer able to launch a missiles on a rope.

He was also a freshman, void of experience at the Div. I level and as green as his practice jersey.

He was — and is — a gunslinger with a matching mentality. Sometimes that’s going to result in ill-advised throws and turnovers, especially during your first few starts. Sanders had his fair share of those early but seemed to settle into his role just before injury ended his season. And sometimes, if you have the pieces around you and things fall just right, it’s going to result in greatness.

Who Else?

With departed senior Dru Brown serving backup to Sanders last year, those on the list below accounted for just four pass attempts and those were all by Taylor.

Shaun Taylor — R. So.
Brendan Costello — R.Fr.
Peyton Thompson — R. Fr.

With another exciting four-star prospect and another junior college transfer onboarding, it will be interesting to see who ends up with QB2 duties.

Who’s Coming

As I mentioned, the next could-be great passer is on campus now. If you could design a prototypical pocket passer, it would look something like Shane Illingworth (tattoos optional).

At 6-foot-6 and with a rocket for an arm, Illingworth can see the field well and put the ball in the hands of whichever speedy receiver he wants to. For a look at what he brings, our own Dustin Ragusa took a deep dive into his high school film.

Illingworth enrolled early and, unlike Sanders and Brown when they arrived, will take part in spring practice. That’s a boon for his chances of contributing early and his development moving forward.

If Illingworth isn’t yet ready to be QB2, though, OSU is bringing in junior college transfer Ethan Bullock. As a redshirt sophomore from City College of San Francisco last season, Bullock threw for 1,468 yards and 15 touchdowns.

Stat to Know: <300

Last season was the first time since 2009 that Oklahoma State did not reach the 300-yard passing mark in a single game. That’s shocking on first look, but it makes a lot of sense when you think about the injury to Tylan, the greatness of Chuba and growing pains of bringing in a young, sometimes turnover-prone QB.

Here’s to OSU going another 10 years without falling short of 300. With Tylan back and Sanders, hopefully, given free rein, I think that streak ends early this fall.

Fall Outlook: The Roof is the Ceiling

Fortunately, there is no roof on Boone Pickens Stadium (and I apologize for drudging up three-year old internet catchphrases). With everything the Cowboys have returning, Mike Gundy and Co. have just a few concerns on offense. How quickly can the Cowboys can replace a couple of longtime starters up front? How seamless it the transition to Kasey Dunn as playcaller? Can everyone stay healthy?

But the biggest question of all is how big of a leap Spencer Sanders can take in Year 2?

If he can continue the marked improvement we saw heading into mid-November, the Cowboys should find themselves in the thick of the Big 12 race come crunch time in November. If he can take a step further, the sky’s the limit for Oklahoma State.

The post Spring Position Previews: It’s Time for Spencer Sanders to be Great appeared first on Pistols Firing.

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