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Joseph Randle, Jeremy Smith give OSU two good running back options

BY BRANDON CHATMON, Staff Writer, Modified: May 22, 2011 at 8:10 pm •  Published: May 22, 2011

STILLWATER — Replacing two-time All-American running back Kendall Hunter in the Oklahoma State backfield won't be easy.

Yet, sophomore running backs Joseph Randle and Jeremy Smith want to become one of the best 1-2 punches in the nation.

“We talk about it all the time,” Smith said. “When it happens, you'll see. And it will happen.”

Make no mistake, both players are competing to be “the guy” at running back, but they complement each other well. Smith and Randle could get plenty of touches — 10-plus per game each — this season.

Both players have already shown they can be productive in specific roles: Smith as a short-yardage specialist and Randle as a pass catching specialist. This spring, both players impressed while showing their skills go beyond their specialist roles of 2010.

Smith is a physical, decisive runner with good vision. After an injury forced a redshirt season in 2009, Smith carved a role for himself in OSU's offense last season after climbing the depth chart. The former Oklahoman All-State running back from Tulsa Union finished the season with 57 carries for 261 yards and seven touchdowns.

“Jeremy Smith scored touchdowns against good teams. He didn't just run it in when we were ahead 50 points,” coach Mike Gundy said. “He's come a long ways, he has a good future.”

Smith scored short-yardage touchdowns against Oklahoma, Texas, Nebraska, Arizona and Texas Tech in 2010. He is aiming to become more than a short yardage runner this fall. He wants to prove he can be an every-down back.

“That was last year,” Smith said of his short-yardage exploits in 2010. “And last year is last year.”

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