STILLWATER — All the recent attrition at wide receiver has drawn Oklahoma State fans’ attention away from what should be the position of most concern for the Cowboys this spring.
At wide receiver, a football team can survive with one great player — and OSU has one of the best around in Dez Bryant — surrounded by a bunch of role players. That’s not the case, however, in the secondary, where a good offense will identify and exploit weaknesses. And the Cowboys have a load of spots to fill in the defensive backfield entering spring practice, which begins a week from today. Counting the nickelback position, OSU has four vacancies in the defensive backfield. The good news is that there’s plenty of talent ready to fight for starting jobs. The bad news is that there’s not a lot of experience in the bunch. Only one starter returns in cornerback Perrish Cox, but everything else is up for grabs. The most intriguing player to watch this spring will be senior safety Lucien Antoine. It was a year ago in spring practice that the junior-college transfer earned his nickname, "The Punisher,” for his crushing hits. But his junior season ended with a torn ACL on the opening kickoff of the season’s second game. Coaches said the training staff was impressed by Antoine’s quick recovery from the injury, and he’ll be the favorite to win one of the safety jobs. The other spot could go to one of a trio of sophomores — Victor Johnson, Johnny Thomas and Markelle Martin — each of whom found a way to contribute last season as true freshmen.