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John Rohde: Orange-White game shows Cowboys aren’t spread too thin

By John Rohde Modified: April 18, 2010 at 10:03 am •  Published: April 18, 2010

STILLWATER — It’s awfully difficult to install the spread offense when you don’t have anyone who can throw the football or catch it.

Such supposedly would be the case for Oklahoma State next season thanks to the notable departures of quarterback Zac Robinson and wide receiver Dez Bryant.

Based on Saturday night’s spring scrimmage, however, such anticipation of the Cowboys’ offensive demise appears to be greatly exaggerated.

The Orange beat the White in front of roughly 7,000 soaked fans at Boone Pickens Stadium, which definitely is a good thing since the Orange played offense. A funky scoring system was used and somebody said the score was 55-39, but that really didn’t matter.

What mattered was 26-year-old junior Brandon Weeden looked comfortable at quarterback and performed well, completing 22 of 34 passes for 257 yards and four touchdowns. What also mattered was 17 different players caught a pass.

Now, that doesn’t mean the Cowboys have 17 qualified receivers. It simply means 17 guys caught at least one ball, which is roughly 13 more candidates than critics envisioned for the 2010 season.

"Everybody questioned our receiver corps, but inside our program we always knew those guys would step up,” Weeden said. "It’s nice to have four guys to throw to. You don’t have to rely on one or two. You can look out there and see four good players. I feel comfortable with all of them.”

With the tight end position now extinct at OSU, four is the minimum requirement of quality receivers to give the spread a chance of succeeding.

Holgorsen said his top four receivers are Hubert Anyiam, Josh Cooper, Justin Blackmon and Tracy Moore.

"We need those four guys to develop a tremendous amount of continuity with Weeden, and then we need to find four more guys that have a burning desire to beat those four out,” Holgorsen said. "Right now, we don’t have guys with a burning desire to beat those four guys out.”

Coach Mike Gundy said he wants at least six receivers to be able to rotate.