STILLWATER — Plenty of eyes will be on the three Oklahoma State starting quarterback contenders — junior Clint Chelf, redshirt freshman J.W. Walsh and true freshman Wes Lunt — when the Cowboys take the field Saturday for their spring finale at Boone Pickens Stadium.
That's to be expected when it's still unknown after 14 practices which guy will replace Brandon Weeden when the Cowboys open the season in September.
But here are five non-quarterback areas to watch in OSU's spring finale.
Defensive tackle Calvin Barnett began the spring third on the depth chart but has, as expected, shot up to one of the starting spots.
The former star at Tulsa Washington and Under Armour All-American out of high school is nearly 300 pounds but also possesses the athletic ability to rush the passer. It should be a physical matchup between him and the Cowboy offensive line Saturday.
It's been more of an up-and-down road for tight end/inside receiver Blake Jackson so far this spring.
His build and athleticism — most notably his leaping ability — allows him to be a unique weapon in the passing game. But he's also had his fair share of drops and is still working on picking up the OSU offense.
Still, Jackson is an expected starter for the season-opener and will provide a big target to whoever wins the starting quarterback job.
Reshuffled wide receiving corps
It will be a lot of the same players on the field for the Cowboys — but many of them in new or increased roles as OSU tries to make up for the loss of Justin Blackmon, Josh Cooper, Anyiam, Colton Chelf and Michael Harrison.
Tracy Moore has moved from inside receiver to the outside. Josh Stewart is now a starter on the inside and expected to become a major playmaker in 2012.
Isaiah Anderson, who took over as a starter on the outside when Hubert Anyiam broke his foot last season, is really the only guy in the same exact position as last season.
Two under-the-radar receivers who made a noticeable impact this spring are redshirt freshman Torrance Carr on the inside and junior Charlie Moore on the outside.
The Cowboys feature one of the best cornerback tandems in the Big 12 in Brodrick Brown and Justin Gilbert, who combined for 10 interceptions and 25 pass break-ups in 2011.
But because of the knee injury to Andrae May, the three backups behind Brown and Gilbert are guys who have plenty of athletic ability but little-to-no experience in junior Larry Stephens and redshirt freshmen Miketavius Jones and Jonovan Griffin.
Those players should be rotated in plenty during the spring, and their development will be critical for the Cowboy secondary this fall. Stephens in particular has performed well during practice.
Defensive line rotation
After wondering if they had enough quality defensive tackles before 2011 began, the Cowboys are suddenly three deep at the position in 2012 with a mix of veterans in Barnett, Anthony Rogers and Davidell Collins and youngsters in James Castleman and Mike Mustafa. They should all get a fair amount of snaps.
It's different on the edge, where the Cowboys only go two deep and have two players — Nigel Nicholas and Tyler Johnson — who have switched to end this spring. Johnson is a converted linebacker, while Nicholas is going back to the position he played in high school.
Also keep an eye out for the times the defensive ends drop into coverage, an important part of playing that position in OSU's defensive scheme.
Backup running backs
There should be plenty of Joseph Randle and Jeremy Smith on display, of course, but running backs coach Jemal Singleton said he will need four backs he can trust to get through the 2012 season.
Singleton recently praised Herschel Sims, a sophomore and former highly touted recruit, for his development and rising maturity. He tallied 244 yards on 31 carries in blowouts last season, but his role should increase in 2012. He has shown an ability to bounce to the outside and streak up the sideline in recent practices.
Desmond Roland, another sophomore, is a more physical back that should play some but needs to continue to progress, Singleton said.
Oklahoma State Spring Football Finale
12:30 p.m. Saturday
Boone Pickens Stadium
Cost: $5 (includes ticket to OSU-Texas Tech baseball game at Reynolds Stadium at 2 p.m. Saturday); tickets available for purchase at south ticket window of Boone Pickens Stadium starting at 10:30 a.m. Saturday (cash only)
Parking: All campus lots near Boone Pickens Stadium, except for the lot just west of the stadium and the lot just north of Gallagher-Iba Arena, will be open to the public free of charge.
Radio: Game will be broadcast live on the Cowboy Radio Network starting at 12:15 p.m.
Noteworthy: There will be a 30-minute meet and greet with players following the game.