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Oklahoma State football: Cowboys will rely on true freshmen in several spots

Examining Oklahoma State's depth chart for next week's season opener against Savannah State, there's a heavy influence of true freshmen. Overall, six rookies hold starting or backup roles.
by John Helsley Published: August 23, 2012

Mike Gundy's early take on his latest cast of freshmen: special.

“We really like this class,” Gundy said Thursday. “I think this is the best class we've had in eight years, from top to bottom, for a variety of reasons.”

Well, it better be.

Examining Oklahoma State's depth chart for next week's season opener against Savannah State, there's a heavy influence of true freshmen. Overall, six rookies hold starting or backup roles.

Clearly, the Cowboys are significantly reliant on several in this group of freshmen to produce.

Of course, Wes Lunt is the headliner as the No. 1 quarterback. The others, all in backup roles: receivers C.J. Curry, Blake Webb and Austin Hays; cornerbacks Kevin Peterson and Ashton Lampkin. And more are pressing.

Gundy has boasted of previously unseen depth that ranges top to bottom on the roster. And it appears to be evident.

Still, attrition in the sophomore and junior classes have forced the freshmen to get ready in a hurry. And youth rules overall, with redshirt freshmen and sophomores filling 19 more spots on the two- (and in some instances three-) deep.

So while the Cowboys might be talented and it might bode well for the future, there are immediate concerns that come with so much inexperience at key spots. Patience might be in order.

“I have got to be better in understanding that guys are going to develop,” said offensive coordinator Todd Monken. “It happens at different stages for different guys. Justin Blackmon redshirted — enough said.

“You have to keep reminding yourself of that in a business where nobody wants to wait. That's the hardest part about what we do. It has all got to be now. We want it now. We need them to be good now.

“It annoys me when they aren't good now. So now I am going to move on, and I have to fight that.”

A look at OSU's areas of confidence and concern along the depth chart:

Linebacker: Cowboys coaches feel like they're legitimately three deep at all three spots, with starters returning across the board: Shaun Lewis, Caleb Lavey and Alex Elkins. Co-defensive coordinator and linebackers coach Glenn Spencer said he even considers Lavey and Ryan Simmons — one of the redshirt freshmen — as co-starters. And Lavey finished third on the team in tackles a year ago.

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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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