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Oklahoma State football: Running back Joe Randle might lead Cowboys in receiving yards

A running back capable of catching passes is valuable, especially when breaking in a freshman quarterback.
By Gina Mizell Modified: August 26, 2012 at 10:27 pm •  Published: August 26, 2012
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photo - CELEBRATION: Oklahoma State's Joseph Randle (1) celebrates a touchdown during a college football game between the Oklahoma State University Cowboys (OSU) and the Kansas State University Wildcats (KSU) at Boone Pickens Stadium in Stillwater, Okla., Saturday, Nov. 5, 2011.  Photo by Sarah Phipps, The Oklahoman ORG XMIT: KOD
CELEBRATION: Oklahoma State's Joseph Randle (1) celebrates a touchdown during a college football game between the Oklahoma State University Cowboys (OSU) and the Kansas State University Wildcats (KSU) at Boone Pickens Stadium in Stillwater, Okla., Saturday, Nov. 5, 2011. Photo by Sarah Phipps, The Oklahoman ORG XMIT: KOD

Granted, Randle's role dramatically changed in 2011, going from Kendall Hunter's backup to the featured back. And the Cowboys still had plenty of reliable receiving options, led by two-time Biletnikoff winner Justin Blackmon and Josh Cooper.

Still, Randle has shown he has the ability to play a significant role in the passing game.

What could also benefit Lunt and the Cowboys is Smith's apparent improvement as a receiver during the offseason. That was needed at times last season, most notably in the Iowa State game, when Smith dropped two passes on a key fourth-quarter drive.

“We'll see how that translates over,” offensive coordinator Todd Monken said of Smith. “I think he's really worked at it and gotten a lot better at understanding catching the ball in space where the quarterback can find him.”

Yes, there will be a lot of new faces catching the football for the Cowboys this season. Yes, right now it's hard to pin down which one will be the leading receiver.

But the result will probably be positive for Lunt when a running back, especially Randle, is the intended target.