Friday, March 19, 2010
Weak & Strong: Oklahoma State
By ESPN.com staff
Here, we’ll take a look at one area where each team in the Big 12 can expect to succeed, and another that needs improvement.
Weak: Offensive line
Oklahoma State must replace four starters on the offensive line, including likely top 10 pick LT Russell Okung and SI cover boy C Andrew Lewis. (Yes, that counts.) Left guard Noah Franklin and right tackle Brady Bond also don't return.
For Oklahoma State to be successful, they'll need the new line to gel with a first-year starter at quarterback. Kendall Hunter returns with hopes of a big year, but if the line plays poorly, he'll have to do it with plenty of shovel passes.
Juniors Nick Martinez, Levy Adcock and Jonathan Rush join senior Anthony Morgan as new starters this spring, and last year's lone returning starter, Lane Taylor, moves over to center to begin spring practice. Taylor began 2009 near the bottom of the depth chart, but took over at right guard during his freshman season.
Runner-up: Linebacker, where Oklahoma State loses quality linebackers in Andre Sexton, Donald Booker and Patrick Lavine.
Strong: Kicking game
Punter Quinn Sharp and kicker Dan Bailey could both be in for big years. Sharp was named All-Big 12 honorable mention as a freshman, when he averaged 45.1 yards on 67 punts, the second-best average ever for an Oklahoma State punter and fifth in the nation. He also had 35 touchbacks as a kickoff specialist.
Bailey will be a four-year starter at kicker and has not missed any of his 131 extra-point attempts in over almost three seasons since becoming starter as a freshman. Perhaps most importantly, he's 24-of-26 on kicks inside 40 yards. He also has a career-long of 51 yards.
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