July 29, 2013

Top 5 position battles this fall

Oklahoma State kicks off fall camp this Friday with their first workout. Returning 10 starters on offense and eight on defense, the Cowboys appear relatively settled in the depth chart. The word "appear" is key there, as there are several position battles shaping up that could take most of August to resolve. We take a look at the top five OSU fanatics will want to keep an eye on as fall camp kicks off.

Running back - No, there is no battle for the starting job. That belongs to senior Jeremy Smith. There may not be much of a battle for the backup job, which belongs to junior Desmond Roland after spring football.

What is certain is that the Cowboys need proof of viable depth at the position. Sophomore Caleb Muncrief is the other returnee here. He'll be joined by freshmen Rennie Childs and Corion Webster. Ideally, one of those three would not only prove to be a viable third option on the depth chart, but also push Roland for the backup duties. Competition and depth breeds success - just ask Smith and Dallas Cowboys running back Joseph Randle.

Right guard - Senior Parker Graham was listed on the post-spring depth chart as the starter, but we have it on good authority that he's almost certain to return to a tackle spot. That's where he has nearly three seasons of starting experience. Junior Chris Grishby was listed second on the depth chart and thus would immediately become the favorite.

Offensive line coach Joe Wickline has no qualms in moving his guys from left to right or outside to inside. Therefore, whoever the odd man out at tackle is among Graham, junior Daniel Koenig and sophomore Devin Davis could get a look at guard. Junior college transfer Brandon Garrett worked primarily at tackle in the spring as a mid-term transfer, but guard is not out of the question.

If there is one thing fans can rely on every fall camp, it's that Wickline will do some experimenting with his unit until he finds the mix he likes the best. This fall, it's a solid bet that it will revolve around the left guard spot.

Defensive end - One of a handful of "or" designations in the starting position on the post-spring depth chart. Sophomores Jimmy Bean and Trace Clark exited spring football with one hand each on the starting job. The experience factor is negligible, as both saw limited action as true freshmen. That was last season for Clark, while Bean sat out with a redshirt that was spurred by a knee injury last fall camp.

At first blush, Clark would seem to have a size advantage. However, Bean's redshirt year allowed him to finally add the size he had struggled to put on and there is just a five pound difference between the two now. And Bean is an inch taller at 6-5.

Bean was one of the breakout performers in spring. He wasn't able to lock down the starting job, so...

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