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OSU football: Plenty of questions still surround the Cowboys

OSU will be the slight favorite in the preseason, but there are still holes to fill.
BY GINA MIZELL Published: July 21, 2013

DALLAS — Big 12 coaches and select players will be hit with a variety of questions at Big 12 Media Days, which begin Monday in Dallas.

Some of these questions will be insightful. Some will be downright silly. Many won't even be applicable by the time fall camp or the opening week of the season roll around.

Oklahoma State will arrive at the festivities as the slight Big 12 favorite, coming in at No. 1 in a preseason media poll that saw six teams get a first-place vote.

The Cowboys return two capable starting quarterbacks, plenty of dynamic skill players and an SEC-caliber defensive tackle. But they also have two new coordinators, a change in defensive philosophy that has not yet been tested on the field and a gigantic hole to fill at kicker/punter.

Here are five of the biggest questions facing OSU as it enters the 2013 season.

5. Which newcomers make an immediate impact?

This is always an interesting development to monitor throughout the season.

In 2012, Calvin Barnett was an immediate difference-maker and the Big 12's Defensive Newcomer of the Year, while cornerbacks Kevin Peterson and Ashton Lampkin got a considerable amount of playing time as true freshmen. The offensive side of the ball got help from new receivers like Blake Jackson, Austin Hays and Blake Webb. Now-departed quarterback Wes Lunt, of course, was a crucial contributor when healthy.

Cornerback transfer Tyler Patmon, who was a three-year starter at Kansas, has shot up the list of newcomers to watch in 2013 because of his Big 12 experience and a lack of depth at that position. Also keep an eye on defensive end Sam Wren, running backs Rennie Childs and Corion Webster, receivers Marcell Ateman and Ra'Shaad Samples, offensive linemen Brandon Garrett and Colby Hegwood and kicker/punter Ben Grogan.

4. Is there enough quality depth along the offensive line?

Coach Mike Gundy said following the spring finale that one of the reasons the offense was so vanilla during that scrimmage is because it, really, did not have enough legitimate offensive linemen to fill both teams.

The Cowboys lost three players that started last season in Lane Taylor (an All-Big 12 selection), Evan Epstein and Jonathan Rush. They do return a versatile piece in Parker Graham, plus two steady forces in Daniel Koenig and Brandon Webb and a young stud in Devin Davis.

But every backup on the post-spring depth chart — Michael Wilson, Paul Lewis, Zac Veatch, Garrett and Chris Grisbhy — is in their first or second year in the program, and only Grisbhy has game experience at this level. Five more linemen — Zachary Crabtree, Jack Kurzu, Jesse Robinson, Jaxon Salinas and Hegwood — will be in fall camp.

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