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OSU’s receiver dilemma: For better and worse

by John Helsley Published: February 17, 2009

By Scott Wright

As you saw in Sports Monday, I wrote about Oklahoma State’s suddenly depleted group of receivers.

But here’s a little deeper look inside the situation as spring practice creeps closer. The Cowboys are better off than it appears on the surface. And worse off, too.

The Better

* Damian Davis caught 19 passes in 13 games last season. Yes, he had two big touchdown catches at Missouri and made a couple other crucial plays during the season, but it’s not like losing someone who accounted for 45 catches and 500 yards.

* Right now, OSU will have 19 receivers and tight ends on the roster this fall, assuming there’s no more attrition or additions. So depth isn’t necessarily an issue.

* One intriguing addition could come from the running back spot, where it has been speculated that redshirt freshman Travis Miller could be tested as a slot receiver. He played some receiver in high school and impressed coaches last August as a running back, leading them to toy with the idea of playing him as a true freshman despite strong depth at the position.

* OSU coaches didn’t know who their No. 2 wideout would be last September, either. They knew who they hoped it would be, but there wasn’t much on-field proof to fall back on. Yet they turned out fine.

* Dez Bryant isn’t expected to take part in spring practice, which opens up a good chunk of reps for other receivers to get extra work.

The Worse

* Davis developed into the most reliable wide receiver opposite Dez Bryant. His numbers weren’t huge, but he’ll be missed. And his absence might be more significant on the plays other than the 19 when he caught the ball. He was perhaps the best downfield blocker among the receivers.

* Among the 19 receivers and tight ends on the roster, there’s very little experience. There’s a difference between having depth and having viable depth. Right now, OSU has depth. We probably won’t know until August or later if it has depth it can trust in games.

* In most of their big games, the Cowboys had tight end Brandon Pettigrew to rely on as a secondary receiving option, like the Texas game. While he wasn’t a home run threat, he could catch the ball well and move the chains. Most importantly, he was a reliable and known commodity entering the season. There isn’t one of those on the roster right now to complement Bryant and it’s unlikely the coaches identify one before Georgia arrives at Boone Pickens Stadium Sept. 5.

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by John Helsley
OSU Reporter Sr.
John Helsley grew up in Del City, reading all the newspapers and sports magazines he could get his hands on. And Saturday afternoons, when the Major League Game of the Week was on, he'd keep a scorecard for the game. So the sports appeal was was...
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