Spring football is in the air, and with our Spring Practice Primers the Eye On College Football Blog gets you up to speed on what to look for on campuses around the country this spring. Today we look at Oklahoma State.
Spring Practice begins: Monday, March 12
Spring game: Saturday, April 21
Returning starters: Six on offense, eight on defense and both specialists
Three Things To Watch For:
1. The quarterback competition. The Cowboys lose five starters from last season's offense, but none of them may be as important as quarterback Brandon Weeden. It's not easy replacing the guy that led Oklahoma State to its first Big 12 title and BCS game, but that's exactly what Clint Chelf, J.W. Welsh and Wes Lunt will begin doing this spring. Of the three, Chelf has the most experience, throwing 49 passes in his career, but incoming freshman Wes Lunt probably has the most upside as a quarterback. This will be the most important quarterback competition in the Big 12 this spring.
2. And what about wide receiver? Brandon Weeden is tough to replace, but so is the man he threw to most of the time: Justin Blackmon. Blackmon's production is seemingly impossible to replicate, but the Cowboys also lose Josh Cooper and Hubert Anyiam. Which means there are going to be a lot of passes looking for a target this spring, and it will be Tracy Moore, Josh Stewart and Isaiah Anderson looking to get on the other end of them this spring. The good news here is that the Cowboys have a lot of receivers on the roster to choose from, even with the losses.
3. New leader on defense. Oklahoma State's defense wasn't as bad as the statistics made it look last season, but it wasn't exactly good either. For all the debate between Oklahoma State and Alabama last December, none of it happens if the Cowboys defense doesn't allow Iowa State nearly 600 yards of offense, and Jared Barnett to have the game of his life. There are eight starters back on defense, which is good, but Markelle Martin isn't one of them. Somebody will have to assume Martin's role in 2012 if the Cowboys want to be nearly as good. The offense was able to cover for the defense in 2011, but with a new quarterback on offense this year, that won't be the case in 2012.