With a lot of uncertainty surrounding the quarterback position for the Oklahoma State Cowboys there is a desperate need for other skill position players to step-up and take some pressure off of the QBs in Stillwater. OSU’s best bet to do that will be with their running backs.
Despite the loss of their top rusher with Joseph Randle heading for the NFL, Oklahoma State is still sitting pretty at the running back position as they will be bringing back their second and third most productive RBs.
Jeremy Smith will be a senior in the upcoming season and though he didn’t have as many touches in 2012 as in 2011 he was still fairly productive. Smith racked up 371 yard on 70 attempts and accounted for eight touchdowns. At 5 foot 10 inches and 208 pounds Smith is a bowling ball and should be able to break initial contact fairly easily for the Pokes in 2013.
Smith’s counterpart in the backfield will be Desmond Roland. Roland is a 6 foot 2 inch 203 pounder from Dallas who tallied 301 yards on 46 touches and four TDs last season, and should do well with an increased role in 2013.
The Cowboys were known for producing crazy good running backs in the 1980s and with Randle looking like a solid professional prospect it is possible to see OSU going back in that direction, though neither Randle nor either of the returning backs should be mentioned in the same breath as Barry Sanders.
Oklahoma State has a chance to take advantage of the transitional feel that the Big 12 has to it this coming season. They have been living in the shadow of the Oklahoma Sooners for quite a while. Hell even the official nickname of the state of Oklahoma is the Sooner State, but with OU looking at the possibility of having to shift to an offensive strategy centered around a running QB the Pokes could surpass the Sooners. Having a strong running attack that could ease the pressure off of their QB could go a long way in helping OSU tip the scales of college football in their home state.
This is a little off topic as far as running backs go, but if Oklahoma State gives J.W. Walsh the nod at QB they could have an even more dangerous run game. Walsh was the fourth best rusher for the Cowboys in 2012 with 290 yards on 50 carries and seven touchdowns.
Smith and Roland could be an excellent combo for the Pokes in 2013, which would help shallow up the learning curve for whoever wins the starting QB job. Still, if they want to be effective in helping reshape the OSU offense, both players will have to majorly step-up their game.
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