Orange-White Game Prediction

STILLWATER - It seems a little silly to devote too much space to an Orange-White Game preview as the outcome will mean little when Oklahoma State opens the 2007 season against Georgia. However, head coach Mike Gundy has gone to the effort to provide fans with an entertaining opportunity not seen in a Cowboys spring fling in over a decade, so we might as well dissect it like we would a real game.

The coaching staff did a fantastic job of splitting up the units for the sake of equality between the two teams. The only Cowboy player that knows he is a winner going in is third quarterback Alex Cate because he will see action with both teams.

There are reasons to back both teams, as curiosity glance shows the Orange with quarterback Bobby Reid and ultra-talented wide receiver Adarius Bowman. The Orange also has the two starting tackles on offense in David Koenig and Russell Okung. On defense they have the bulk of the linebackers, a solid three when you take starters Donovan Woods and Patrick Lavine and add talented backup Justin Gent.

The White team has both Dantrell Savage and Julius Crosslin to go with talented runner Zac Robinson at quarterback, and the White can easily go double tight with the top two tight ends in Brandon Pettigrew and Justin Waller. Spring sensation Artrell Woods with his speed can stretch the defense vertically. On defense, end Marque Fountain, linebacker Jeremy Nethon, safety Andre Sexton, and boundary corner Martel Van Zant give the White four of the top tacklers from a year ago.

Special teams give the Orange the advantage if a field goal is needed to win as they have kicker Jason Ricks, while the White has the edge in turning the field over in punter Matt Fodge. One of the rules is no blocks on PAT/field goals and punts, but watch that go out the window quickly. Returns are live and that favors the White slightly as they have Perrish Cox and Artrell Woods, while the Orange has Tommy Devereaux.

As far as match ups and keys, here is our list of what to watch for:
Offensive Line Play
Which offensive line plays better? The Orange has Koenig and Okung. Andrew Lewis, at center, may be a starter next season at guard. The players that have to come through are Michael Booker and Trent Perkins at the guard positions. The White has David Washington at center and Brady Bond at LT with starting experience. The ability of Jacob Secrest, Steve Denning and Andrew Lawrence to hold up will be a deciding factor to how well they do since they need to run the ball with the two tight end opportunity and the running of Savage and Crosslin.

Advantage Bowman or Neutralize Bowman?
It's no secret Bobby Reid is going to be looking for Adarius Bowman. I'm not sure there is a defensive back in college football that can single-handedly shut down AD. He's that good, maybe the best wideout in college football next season. When he is open, Reid needs to hit him, hit him fast, and let him go wild. White defensive play-caller Todd Bradford must account for Bowman with double coverage, bracket coverage when possible and find ways to still attack and blitz.

Big Plays and Turnovers
I will predict right now that on one of the two live kickoffs (start of each half) or one of the punts (all returns are live) there will be a return for a touchdown, and I am betting with Matt Fodge on the White that it will be Perrish Cox with the scoring version of "Return to Sender." That is one example of a big play, and with the sides appearing to be so even, big plays and turnovers will decide the outcome. It's spring and all skill players -- from quarterbacks to runners to receivers -- are geared more toward making plays than ball security. Strange, but in the end, ball security may win the game.


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