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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

Verdict: Confidence.

Running back: In Joseph Randle and Jeremy Smith, the Cowboys have one of the top tandems in the Big 12, if not the country. Sophomore Desmond Roland appears ready to contribute, too. There's not much behind that trio. Still, three's enough.

Verdict: Confidence.

Offensive line: The pre-camp loss of left tackle Michael Bowie was a hit, no doubt. Still, it came at a position somewhat capable of absorbing such a loss. Line coach Joe Wickline feels good about his top three tackles — Parker Graham, Daniel Koenig and Devin Davis. The guards, Lane Taylor and Jonathan Rush, are vets. And there are youngsters pushing.

Verdict: Confidence.

Defensive line: OSU has produced some stars along the line — Leslie O'Neal, Kevin Williams, Jamal Williams — but might have never enjoyed better depth at all four spots. Calvin Barnett appears to be a great addition at tackle, and sophomore James Castleman pushed himself to the top of the depth chart opposite him. Defensive coordinator Bill Young can feel comfortable rotating as many as 10 guys into the four spots.

Verdict: Confidence.

Quarterback: While belief in Lunt bubbles over inside the Cowboys camp, he's still yet to do anything under the game lights, with defenders free to tee off. Backup J.W. Walsh is a redshirt freshman yet to throw a college pass, while junior Clint Chelf was passed by the youngsters in a spring competition.

Verdict: Concern.

Receiver: Blackmon is gone, putting the go-to guy role up for grabs. There's faith that Tracy Moore, Josh Stewart, Isaiah Anderson and Charlie Moore will produce. But in this offense, seven or eight receivers are mandatory. And the backups are raw rookies. Talented raw rookies, we hear, yet totally unproven in vital roles.

Verdict: Concern.

Secondary: The starters are outstanding, with corners Justin Gilbert and Brodrick Brown capable of shutting down receivers and free safety Daytawion Lowe the team's returning leading tackler. The lingering position battle remains at strong safety, and the backup corners are true freshmen in a league where teams chuck the ball all over the place.

Verdict: Concern (beyond the starters)

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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