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OSU football: What we learned -- and didn't learn -- this spring

The Cowboys have shown they have depth and talent at the offensive skill positions, but there are still some questions to be answered.
BY GINA MIZELL Published: April 22, 2012

— Oklahoma State's 15 spring practices did not answer the question of who will be the Cowboys' starting quarterback in 2012. At least not yet. Coach Mike Gundy will meet with the offensive staff on Wednesday and plans to announce OSU's No. 1 quarterback heading into the summer shortly after that.

But the spring did provide some clarity on what to expect from the Cowboys in several other areas.

Here are three things I took away from spring ball, as well as three non-quarterback questions I still have going into fall camp.

What we learned

1. The Cowboys have enough depth, talent at offensive skill positions

Much like the way Joseph Randle and Jeremy Smith were asked to collectively make up for the loss of Kendall Hunter in 2011, the Cowboys have a group of receivers who can produce enough together to account for the losses of Justin Blackmon, Josh Cooper, Hubert Anyiam, Colton Chelf and Michael Harrison.

Was I expecting to see Charlie Moore break out with nine catches for 243 yards and three touchdowns? No way. But was I shocked to see him emerge as a prominent target? No way.

Moore had a great spring, often using his athleticism and ability to time his jump that was on display Saturday to haul in big catches during practices. He should challenge Isaiah Anderson for the starting outside receiver spot opposite Tracy Moore.

Speaking of Tracy Moore, his transition from the inside to the outside has been a huge success thus far. Josh Stewart was often the best receiver on the field for the Cowboys during the spring, and Blake Jackson is a big, athletic target that will continue to develop. Youngster Torrance Carr did not perform as well in the spring finale as I had anticipated, but Kevin Johnson was better than I expected.

And we already know Randle and Smith will be huge weapons for the OSU offense.

“We have some versatility in our offense,” Gundy said. “Our coaches will find a way to get the ball in the hands of the guys that can make plays. We have enough of those guys.”

2. The defense will be better in 2012 because of one thing: speed

I asked Gundy about the biggest question he felt was answered this spring, and he said that the defense, particularly the speed at linebacker and in the secondary, lived up to his high expectations.

The Cowboys are stacked at linebacker, with players who can run well from sideline-to-sideline and straight ahead. Gundy said the defense blitzed more Saturday than in any previous spring game because of that speed. We saw glimpses of that aggressive defensive scheme late last season, as well, particularly against Oklahoma.

Gundy also praised the speed and athletic ability of the cornerbacks to play tight coverage on the receivers, which led to a fair amount of coverage sacks on Saturday.

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