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April 14, 2007
The choice is yours: Orange or White?
It might be more than four months until Oklahoma State opens its season against Georgia, but Cowboy fans needing a pigskin fix can get one today during OSU's annual Orange and White Game.
The scrimmage marks the end of coach Mike Gundy's spring camp, and it should give both coaches and fans an idea of where the team stands before summer break begins.
Here, OState.com examines the teams you'll see Saturday:
THE ORANGE TEAM
Junior Bobby Reid made a bold statement after Wednesday's practice:
"I'm putting it out there right now that the Orange team will win," Reid said. "I'm starting it up. The Orange team will win."
With an offense featuring Keith Toston, Anthony Parks and Adarius Bowman, Reid certainly has the weapons to back up his prediction.
Toston, who added several pounds of muscle over the off-season, has impressed coaches all spring with his ability to bull over defenders and break away in the open field.
Parks was the offensive star in last year's Orange and White Game, though his statistics through the season weren't as impressive. Still, Parks is a receiver coaches are expecting to complement Bowman in the Cowboys' passing game.
Speaking of Bowman, he's, well, Bowman. Defensive players call him "Big Freaky," and given the way he hauls in long passes, it's a name he deserves. Bowman joined spring camp late after moonlighting with the Cowboy basketball team, but since returning, he's picked up exactly where he left off in December's Independence Bowl.
Reid will run the offense, and given his performance thus far, it appears his decision-making skills seem to have finally caught up to his physical gifts. Throughout camp, he's impressed coaches with his running ability, better passing accuracy, and an improved knowledge of coordinator Larry Fedora's scheme.
With just six offensive linemen, the Orange team will be thin - and young - up front, but at least the unit will be anchored by senior David Koenig.
Defensively, the Orange team is headlined by Rodrick Johnson, Donovan Woods, Patrick Lavine, Chris Collins and Ricky Price.
Both Johnson and Woods have used the spring to learn new defensive alignments after rookie coordinator Tim Beckman moved them to the defensive line and outside linebacker, respectively, but Beckman said he's been pleased with their transitions.
Woods will receive help from Collins and Lavine - both players the media have pegged for potential All-Big 12 honors.
And though Price might be a face new to the defense, he's made his presence felt this spring. The receiver-turned-safety had three interceptions in OSU's scrimmage this past Friday, and Gundy said his consistency has been a key factor to the defense's improvement this spring.
Like the o-line, the defensive line will be shallow. Nathan Peterson will anchor the line from the end position, but he's still recovering from a foot sprain. Peterson will be assisted by Ugo Chinasa, Derek Burton, and Junior Tea - a player Cowboy fans have been eager to see since he signed with Oklahoma State this past fall.
THE WHITE TEAM
If the White team wants to make Bobby Reid eat his words, it's going to have to start with the play of quarterback Zac Robinson. This spring, Robinson has proven he can effectively run the offense, and his running and passing abilities make him a dangerous player.
Robinson is joined by Dantrell Savage, Julius Crosslin, Artrell Woods and Brandon Pettigrew on the offensive side of the ball.
Savage surprised fans last year with his repertoire of moves and breakaway speed, and he had arguably his best practice of the spring on Wednesday.
Meanwhile, Gundy said Crosslin will likely have a more active role in the Cowboys' running game after becoming a tailback instead of a fullback. With Mike Hamilton gone, Crosslin might be expected to carry the ball more in longer-yardage situations.
Highlighting the receiving corps are Woods and Pettigrew. Woods' speed makes him a deep-threat for the White team, and he's consistently made tough catches for long gains in practice.
Pettigrew is dangerous not only because of his ability to block at the line of scrimmage, but also for his ability to make catches and bowl over secondaries.
With six offensive linemen - three of whom are juniors - the White team's line features David Washington, Steve Denning, and Jacob Secrest.
Defensively, the White team will be led by Martel Van Zant, Jeremy Nethon, Andre Sexton, Jeray Chatham and Marque Fountain.
Van Zant and Sexton have emerged as two of the defensive secondary's leaders through the past two weeks, and Nethon is arguably OSU's best linebacker. Both Chatham and Fountain have drawn praise from Gundy for their improvements this spring.
So there you have it. It looks to be an interesting setup for the game, one that should be pretty competitive on both sides.
One thing's for sure - OSU will win today, so fans shouldn't be disappointed.