Carson vs. Sanders Talk Has Begun

Oklahoma State is going to have to improve its run game in 2016, and all eyes will be on returning senior Chris Carson and transfer Barry J. Sanders when the Cowboys begin practice next week.

Oklahoma State running backs coach Marcus Arroyo and Cowboys offensive coordinator Mike Yurcich don't have a preference, they just want to see results on the field.

They want to see a running attack that flows behind the returning offensive line.

They want to see a rushing offense that balances and blends with quarterback Mason Rudolph and the receivers and puts Oklahoma State in the upper echelon of college football this fall.

It doesn't matter if it is Barry J. Sanders or Chris Carson. Heck, it could be Rennie Childs, Jeff Carr or one of the two talented freshmen, Justice Hill or L.D. Brown. 

Arroyo has seen enough video of Barry J. Sanders and he knows the Stanford offense and the ways of head coach David Shaw from his days coaching in the Pac-12 at Cal-Berkeley. He knows that Sanders is intelligent, fast, and hungry.

Yurcich knows that Carson is hungry and that he has been a workaholic in the weight room and on the practice field since having a first season in Stillwater that did not live up to his expectations or those of many others.

Hey, it just so happened that those two coaches had seemingly more compelling comments about the other back, especially Arroyo on Carson.

"He's playing with a little chip on his shoulder," Arroyo said of Carson, who finished last season with 517 yards on 131 carries with an average of 3.9 yards per carry and just four touchdowns. "He got beat up, beat up a little during the season. He got beat up by the media and he got beat up by our fans. That's the reality of it. It's the world we live in. I like that he is playing with a chip on his shoulder."

Barry J. Sanders may not have a chip, but he has a hole that he is trying to fill. It was Christian McCaffery, who was the Heisman Trophy candidate at Stanford. It was Sanders that played when games were decided. That's hard to take for a high school All-American and the son of one of the greatest running backs in the history of football. Sanders wants to have that college season that he knows he is capable of and now he wants to have it at the school that he grew up rooting for.

"He brings experience and he's a very intelligent young man, so those things we know about him," Yurcich said. "Having not seen him practice live, it would be hard to project anything further. We're hoping he brings a nasty attitude, can run the ball like no other, is hard to tackle, is dependable and can come out of the backfield and catch passes like all of our tailbacks do. Time will tell on Barry, so let us have a chance to evaluate him in practice."

The evaluation begins next Tuesday. Carson was the top back coming out of spring football. Sanders is the celebrated transfer. Let the competition begin.

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