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Young Cowboys may be tested: Likely loss of Artrell Woods could place more inexperienced players into bigger roles for OSU's offense next season

Mike Baldwin Modified: July 16, 2007 at 11:27 am •  Published: July 16, 2007
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Artrell Woods' injury was a reminder there are more important things than wins and losses.

It's uncertain whether Woods will play football again after a freak accident in the weight room. But it's encouraging the sophomore wide receiver has had feeling in his legs and was released from intensive care on Sunday.

But because it's highly unlikely Woods will play this year, OSU coaches must now determine which candidates will be considered for key roles opposite all-Big 12 receiver Adarius Bowman.

"Monday morning will be the first time we all have met as a staff in a month, and this is the first subject we'll address,” offensive coordinator Larry Fedora said. "Somebody will step up.”

OSU has good depth at receiver. Fedora plans to get junior tight end Brandon Pettigrew more involved, which should help freshman receivers who will be asked to mature quickly.

Missouri's two standout tight ends (Martin Rucker and Chase Coffman) and Texas A&M's Martellus Bennett have been listed on most preseason all-Big 12 teams. Pettigrew has been overlooked.

Big 12 defensive coordinators won't overlook Pettigrew, who has good size and speed and creates matchup problems over the middle.

Bowman, who averaged 19.5 yards a catch last year, also will draw attention from young receivers.

Depth isn't a concern. But Woods' injury, combined with Anthony Parks transferring, could force several talented freshman wideouts to play prominent roles.

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