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Oklahoma State spring wrap

5/14/2009

Posted by ESPN.com's Tim Griffin

1. Wide receiver depth: OSU coaches were concerned about developing additional players with Dez Bryant missing spring practice as he recovered from knee surgery. Redshirt freshman Juston Blackmon was a pleasant surprise -- he was one of the Cowboys' most consistent players in the spring. And sophomore Hubert Anyiam finally started showing the promise that made him one of the top recruits of the 2007 class.

2. Development at linebacker: No player has soaked in the defensive philosophy of new coordinator Bill Young more than Donald Booker. The former junior college transfer was a hitting machine throughout spring practice and appears to have won a starting job at middle linebacker.

3. Chris Donaldson: The Cowboys lost both starters at defensive tackle with the departure of Tonga Tea and Jeray Chatham. Donaldson, a massive 286-pound run-stuffer, struggled with injuries in his first season in the OSU program after transferring from Coffeyville Community College last season. After his strong spring, he could be in line for a starting position.

Fall questions

1. Backup quarterback: Late in spring practice, coach Mike Gundy appeared ready to install third-year sophomore Brandon Weeden as his No. 2 quarterback behind Zac Robinson. But Weeden struggled in the spring game and Alex Cade is back in the mix in the battle for playing time behind Robinson. Weeden, a former minor league baseball player, has the edge in maturity. But Cade has a knack for making plays that OSU coaches love.

2. Pass rush: Young's first task is to try to juice production for the defensive front that ranked last in the conference with 15 sacks last season. Richetti Jones, one of the nation's top recruits before breaking his hip as a high school senior in 2006, appears to have regained his form after a long comeback. The productive return of the 6-foot-3, 253-pound Jones would be important in the Cowboys' defensive growth.
3. Punter: The Cowboys have to find a replacement for Matt Fodge, who won the Ray Guy award last season but graduated. Redshirt freshman Quinn Sharp appeared to have claimed the top position, but he struggled with inconsistency during the spring and had two poor punts in the spring game.