Spring football is here, and with it comes many questions. Oklahoma State will start a new quarterback, replace their best running back in recent memory, and try out a new offensive coordinator next season. This is our first chance to see them all in action.
While there will be plenty of players battling for starting roles, back-up spots, and playing time, there are a few battles in particular that coaches and fans will be focused on.
Chuba Hubbard is clearly RB1. The Canadian speedster had an impressive end to his freshman season after Justice Hill went down with an injury. The question is, who follows him on the depth chart? We talked about this in our spring football roundtable, but I thought I would break it down here as well.
For spring football purposes, we have to rule out Deondrick Glass, who won’t arrive on campus until this summer. That leaves L.D. Brown and Dezmon Jackson as the primary candidates. Jackson is a transfer from Hutchinson C.C. where he rushed for over 1,000 yards last season. Brown figures to have the upper hand in this one, as he has been in the program for a few years now. This race will heat up over the summer when Glass is added to the mix, but we will keep a close eye on Brown and Jackson’s performances because spring ball can play a big role in deciding the opening week depth chart.
This is the one that everyone will be paying close attention to. Dru Brown is a seasoned veteran that has experience playing at the collegiate level. Spencer Sanders is a heralded recruit with four years of eligibility left. Sean Gleeson is the offensive coordinator that might be crazy enough to play them on the field at the same time? Both are good athletes, but that’s a question that remains to be seen.
For now all these guys have to worry about it competing against each other. Last spring this is the battle we all looked forward to. Little did we know that Taylor Cornelius would end up starting every game for the Cowboys. A redshirt year later, it’s the position battle we have all been waiting for.
OSU returns Tylan Wallace, but lost Tyron Johnson to the NFL Draft. Johnson was the clear-cut number two receiver last year. There are a number of guys who could step up to fill this role. Patrick McKaufman impressed the coaches before getting injured last summer. CJ Moore took a redshirt year last season, but the highly rated recruit will have a chance to fill Johnson’s role. LC Greenwood and Braydon Johnson also saw the field last year, and they will have their chances to step up and fill the role. Much like running back position, everyone will fall in line behind Tylan Wallace and Dillon Stoner.
Now we flip over to the defensive side of the ball. The defensive line lost a lot of production from last season to graduation. There are a number of names, including transfers Sione Asi and Israel Antwine, that will compete for spots. Those two guys are the only two that will almost certainly get a starting spot. Everything else is up for grabs on the defensive line, making spring ball a crucial time for players on the defensive line. The names to keep an eye on include Mike Scott, Tyler Lacy, Brock Martin and Braden Cassity. Not all of these guys will earn starting spots, but they should all see a considerable amount of snaps next fall, especially early in the season.
We know that Rodarius Williams and AJ Green will be starting next year. The depth chart after that remains to be seen. JayVeon Cardwell and Lamarcus Morton figure to be two likely candidates to see time, and I wouldn’t rule out Thomas Harper either. In any case, there are reps to fill behind Williams and Green, and these guys will be competing for those reps. Jim Knowles needs someone to step up and be consistent behind these two guys next season.