Tomorrow marks the end of spring practice for OSU football. The spring game will be held at Boone Pickens Stadium tomorrow, April 16, at 1:00 P.M. The format of the scrimmage has not yet been announced. The roster, however, was released just a short while ago. You can find it here.
There are a few notable names that you won't see take the field on Saturday. Those include Ashton Lampkin, Jordan Burton, Chad Whitener, Vili Levini and Ben Grogan.
There is always intrigue with the spring game, and this years edition comes with plenty of storylines. Here are the three things that I will be watching for on Saturday:
1. How does the offensive line look?
This one seems pretty obvious to me. Oklahoma State had virtually no running game last season, and that has to change this season if the Cowboys want to contend for a Big 12 championship this season.
With the addition of Larry Williams, a JUCO transfer, the offensive line should see a quick improvement. Coaches seem pretty high on Williams. Offensive line coach Joe Adkins said at the beginning of spring ball, Williams had a "gifted skill set," and is ahead of where they thought he would be. If Williams can contribute this season, the Pokes should see improved play on the offensive line.
The offensive line could also see a shift in personnel with the addition of Shane Richards and Tramonda Moore. Richards is another JUCO transfer who could potentially contribute early. There is still some uncertainty around Moore, as reports say he could take the JUCO route. If Moore qualifies, I expect him to get quality playing time early in his career.
Tomorrow's scrimmage will be a good sample for how the line has improved over the spring.
2. How does the defensive line hold up?
This is predicated on how well the offensive line plays, but regardless, this is an area of interest going into next season.
Jarrell Owens and Jordan Brailford are expected to take over the defensive ends with the departure of Emmanuel Ogbah and Jimmy Bean. Both of these guys are quality players with plenty of talent. However, there is a lack of experience with the two. Both are redshirt sophomores, and played quality minutes last season after Jimmy Bean was lost for the season.
Much like the offensive line, the defensive line will need solid play on the edge next season if OSU hopes to contend for a Big 12 championship.
3. How do the running backs look?
The weaknesses of this team are not difficult to spot. The running backs didn't have much to work with last season due to shoddy offensive line play, but that should improve. However, I don't think last seasons inability to run the ball was entirely the offensive line's fault. Chris Carson and Rennie Childs shared most of the reps, and both of them looked timid at times. Compounded with generally poor offensive line play, the running game was non-existent. I expect Carson to be the starter when the season rolls around, but don't be surprised if we see a platoon system at RB with four senior backs returning in the fall.
Tomorrow, look for effort from the running backs. If they are running hard and playing determined, then that's a good sign for the upcoming season.
Those are the three things I will be watching for tomorrow. What do you hope to see in tomorrow's spring game?