March 5, 2013

Spring keys - Overview of OSU's spring drills

In less than a week, Oklahoma State football will open their spring drills. The format will remain nearly identical to previous years of spring under Mike Gundy, with 15 practices drawn out over a six week period. Gundy employs a fairly unique schedule, where OSU starts next week and then immediately takes a full week off for spring break.

Over the next six days, we'll take a deeper look at OSU's spring prospects via position group breakdowns. Here are some of the top storylines and personnel changes affecting the Cowboys' spring drills:

Top Storyline - This could easily be the same as last spring, where the quarterback position battle was unquestionably at the top. That is again a major story, but it's superseded by new offensive coordinator Mike Yurcich's debut in Stillwater. Naturally, Yurcich will have a major say in determining OSU's starting QB. How he adapts his philosophy to what the Cowboys have done over the last three seasons is a bigger story. On the other side of the football, long-time assistant Glenn Spencer's debut as defensive coordinator is another major item this spring.

Key offensive losses - RB Joseph Randle, OL Lane Taylor, C Evan Epstein

Randle is the obvious choice for biggest offensive loss after he declared as an early-entry to the NFL Draft, though Jeremy Smith will step into the starting role without a hitch. Don't sleep on the offensive line losses. Taylor had 47 career starts and anchored multiple lines for OSU. Center was a big question mark last spring as well, and Epstein answered the call.

Key defensive losses - DE Nigel Nicholas, DE Ryan Robinson, DL Cooper Bassett, WLB Alex Elkins, CB Brodrick Brown

Though none were superstars, OSU has to replace three of the ends in the four-man 2012 depth chart. Elkins was one of OSU's top tacklers the last two seasons, but Spencer has good depth to work with at the position. Sophomore Kevin Peterson was very solid at corner in spot duty and should move directly into Brown's role.

Key special teams losses - K/PK/P Quinn Sharp

One could make the argument that Sharp is OSU's biggest loss after he handled all of the kicking duties the last two seasons and had a major impact in numerous games.

Key offensive returnees

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