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OSU football: Cowboys have viable options to fill Dylan Galloway's void

Oklahoma State must replace offensive tackle Dylan Galloway, who earned his degree and chose to retire from football. [AP Photo/Brody Schmidt]
Oklahoma State must replace offensive tackle Dylan Galloway, who earned his degree and chose to retire from football. [AP Photo/Brody Schmidt]

STILLWATER — There was a time in the not-so-distant past when the unexpected retirement of a multi-year starting offensive tackle would have crippled the Oklahoma State line.

Those days still existed when Dylan Galloway was a young pup coming in from Coppell High School on the outskirts of Dallas.

Five years later, the Cowboys have built a cushion to absorb the blow of Galloway’s decision to take his degree and walk away, a choice he made earlier this summer. His teammates can celebrate his life decision with him yet not have to dread football without him.

That leaves two questions: How did the Cowboys save themselves from the pit their offensive line had fallen into, and what does the starting five look like without Galloway if the coronavirus pandemic allows for football this fall?

To answer the first question, let’s go back to the fall of 2015, when the Cowboys were lacking talent and depth under then-offensive line coach Greg Adkins. An enormous effort was being made to refill both in the 2016 recruiting class.

That’s where Adkins — who was fired a week after the recruiting class was signed — gets at least a little bit of credit. He signed seven offensive linemen in February of 2016. While a couple of them never made it to campus, including the gem of the class, four-star tackle Tramonda Moore of John Marshall High School, four of them became starters.

Two were junior-college transfers, Shane Richardson and Larry Williams, who were valuable in bridging the gap over the next couple years. The class also included Galloway and Teven Jenkins, who both became starters by their redshirt sophomore seasons.

Enter Josh Henson.

The former Cowboy player and assistant had been on staff as an analyst in 2015 and replaced Adkins when he was let go. Henson brought an immediate boost to the on-field player development, and the level of athlete being recruited.

Henson mostly worked with what he inherited, signing only one recruit — junior-college transfer Arlington Hambright — in his first class. But he signed nine players in the next two recruiting classes, all of whom are still on campus and contributing either as starters or depth-chart builders.

When Henson left for Texas A&M after the 2018 season, OSU coach Mike Gundy landed Charlie Dickey, who immediately began building on what Henson had done. Dickey secured four signings in his first recruiting class, and helped lure graduate transfer Josh Sills from West Virginia.

And now, facing a situation that would have been disastrous five years ago, Dickey is playing with a full arsenal to attack the pending changes to his offensive line.

But what might that look like?

Through three practices of spring, before the shutdown, Jenkins was already getting a look at left tackle, where Galloway had started most of the last two seasons. And Jenkins is the team’s best offensive lineman, with an NFL future, so slotting him in at left tackle seems obvious.

Sills is a left guard and fits perfectly there. Former walk-on Ry Schneider has been a fill-in at center the last couple years, so he’ll get the first look there, though Tyrese Williams might push for playing time.

Bryce Bray won the right guard spot to begin last year before injuries hit, and he appeared to be set there for the coming season. But he’s the best option to right tackle, where Galloway was working in spring.

Now it gets hairy.

Schneider and Hunter Anthony spent time at right guard last season, and younger players like Jacob Farrell, Hunter Woodard or Cole Birmingham could be ready for action somewhere on the right side.

Is Bray best suited for guard or tackle? Is Schneider more valuable at center or guard? Has someone else made the move to earn a spot in the reshuffling of the lineup?

The good news is that the work of the past five years has given Dickey viable answers to those questions rather than worst-case scenarios.

Scott Wright

A lifelong resident of the Oklahoma City metro area, Scott Wright has been on The Oklahoman staff since 2005, covering a little bit of everything on the state's sports scene. He has been a beat writer for football and basketball at Oklahoma and... Read more ›