The running back duo of Joseph Randle and Jeremy Smith is Oklahoma State’s prime example of a 1A and 1B combo. But that’s not the only position where the Cowboys are likely to, essentially, have co-starters in 2012.
Sure, one guy will technically top the depth chart and the other will be the backup. Both will see an almost equal amount of playing time, however, and who starts could depend on who had the better week of practice, the specific offensive play called or one player’s strengths in a certain defensive package.
Things can change during a long season, of course. But here’s a breakdown of the Cowboys’ other 1A/1B tandems heading into the season.
Defensive end: Cooper Bassett and Nigel Nicholas
This is the only starting position that has the infamous “or” on the preseason depth chart. Call these guys the Cowboys’ utility players. Bassett has played tight end, defensive tackle and defensive end at OSU, while Nicholas began his career as an undersized tackle before moving back out to his natural position of end this spring.
Strong safety: Lavocheya Cooper and Shamiel Gary
This position battle was detailed in my story for Monday’s paper. Not only will Cooper and Gary both play about 60 snaps per game, they’ll often be on the field at the same time.
Wide receiver: Isaiah Anderson and Charlie Moore
Perhaps Moore, who has followed up his breakout spring performance with a strong fall camp, has pushed Anderson to elevate his game in his senior season. Rave reports from teammates and coaches have come out about Anderson in recent days, noting that the he’s using his speed to find open space and is catching the ball with his hands, rather than his body, better than ever.
Middle linebacker: Caleb Lavey and Ryan Simmons
Lavey was a dependable force in the middle for the Cowboys last season, ranking third on the team with 74 tackles. But Simmons is perhaps the most talented of a stout group of second-team linebackers, which will automatically demand playing time.