They heard from Head men’s Golf Coach Mike McGraw, Assistant Girls Basketball Coach Bill Annan and Assistant Football Coach in charge of running backs Jemal Singleton.
A streak of 65 consecutive appearances in the NCAA Golf Tournament came to an end this year for the OSU Cowboys. When you talk to McGraw you can tell it bothers him to no end.
McGraw was hit hard to graduation and golfers turning pro which left him a very young team.
But the streak had to end at sometime didn’t it coach? “No, it didn’t McGraw quickly responded. “I basically let the kids know that it’s like the world ending. You had to think the world was ending.”
And McGraw refused to use the youth of his team as an excuse.
“I did (have a young) but we underachieved this year,” McGraw said. “We underachieved as a coaching staff. We underachieved as players. Nobody within the OSU golf program coaches, players, nobody performed well this year and that’s a fact. We should have performed better than we did. So even though we were, we had all of those players leave, I still felt like we were going to have a good season. I couldn’t believe it until they told me we couldn’t play anymore.”
More help is coming in the form of Wyndham Clark, Colorado Player of the Year in 2011 and the Class 4A state champion. Clark won his second state title by firing a pair of 64s for 16-under par total of 128.
“Clark has the ability to be a great player,” McGraw said.
But one thing that McGraw pointed out that college golf is getting better and the competition has gotten much tougher.
“It’s better than ever. Better competition, better coaches, McGraw said. “Long story short, we didn’t perform well and it was extremely disappointing. My assistant coach and I spent the last month questioning all the things we do. Are we saying the right thing, are we doing the right thing. We weren’t getting results so we thought we need to change something. Disappointed absolutely. Does it discourage me from going forward. No, I think we’re going to be great next year.”
The Cowgirls made a big turnaround by winning the WNIT tournament.
“After the first couple of games (in the tournament) I think the team thought they had a legitimate chance to win it,” Annan said.
But maybe the thing that turned the team around in a short amount of time came right after the Big 12 Tournament. The Cowgirls didn’t play well in that tournament so Head Coach Jim Littell gave the team three days off.
After the time off, the Cowgirls knew they were playing somewhere but they weren’t for sure where. As it turned out the Cowgirls were the last team not to get into the get into the NCAA.
The team was told “our new season starts today. He (Littell) told them they weren’t going to get a free pass. He told them we’re going to win it.”
Obviously we played really well, Annan said.
But now the sights of the program turns to next season
“He (Littel) wants to see a much more mature team at the start 2012-13 season,” Annan said. “The turnovers need to go away. Defensively I though we played better in the NIT and that will be a key for us.”
Singleton has the luxury of working with two quality running backs in Joseph Randle and Jeremy Smith.
“We’re in unique situation and to be honest, I have two starters,” Singleton said. “Either one of them that is in the game has a chance to do something explosive. Those guys can start pretty much at any school in the Big 12. We’re lucky to have both of them at Oklahoma State.”
The two backs bring different things to the table.
“Joseph Randle is a guy I call more of a slasher,” Singleton said. “He’s a longer guy, a little taller. He could be a receiver. Jeremy Smith is a little bit more pop and explosion. Not that Joseph is not explosive, they are just a little bit different.”
Hershal Sims and Desmond Roland are two younger guys that should keep the stream of quality running backs rolling in Stillwater.
“Both of those guys just got by their first spring and first fall as freshmen, Singleton said. ” They did a good job. Hershal Sims showed during the season he’s got some explosion to. He’s a a thick, strong kid.
Singleton wasn’t ready to say that just because Brandon Weeden is gone, the number of pass attempts will drop and the number of running plays will rise.
“We’re still going to do what we do, Singleton said.”The guy we ended up naming as the starter can throw it well. Don’t get me wrong, you never replace Brandon Weeden, You never will replace Justin Blackmon. Nobody thought we could replace Dez Bryant, nobody though we could replace Zac Robinson, Brandon came along. We have guys that we can still be productive offensively. How we do it like you said, may be a little bit different.”