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Spring Position Previews: Chuba Hubbard Is Back, But He’ll Need Help

OSU needs RB to be more than a one-man show.

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Believe it or not, spring practice is just around the corner. And even though the Cowboys received a huge boon when Chuba Hubbard decided to come back, there are still some legitimate questions to be answered at the running back position.

So let’s start there as we kick off our look at the Cowboys’ spring position groups.

RB1: Chuba Hubbard

We aren’t exactly sure what wrinkles Kasey Dunn might add to Oklahoma State’s offense during his first year as its OC, but I know there will be no shortage of Chuba Hubbard.

Chuba announced the return for his junior season to plenty of fanfare and he ratcheted up the 2020 expectations when he predicted another national champs banner in the opposite end zone of BPS.

Whether or not the Cowboys get a puncher’s chance to fulfill that promise will have a lot to do with Chuba, but it will also depend on them answering this next question.

Who Else?

You can look back at some of the better offenses that Mike Gundy has fielded during his tenure and you’ll notice that most of them — if not all — had a good backup RB. Think a young Kendall Hunter and Joseph Randle. Jeremy Smith, Chris Carson, even Chuba played that role in 2018. Who is going to be the thunder to No. 30’s lightning in 2020?

OSU came into last season with a handful of potential playmakers coaches hoped to groom for the future, but either in large part due to necessity, that never happend. LD Brown chipped in 40 carries for 221 yards but Deondrick Glass and Dezmon Jackson were nonfactors and are unproven heading into 2020. Mike Gundy sang Micah Cooper’s praises early on but he didn’t take a handoff after Week 2.

It worked last year because Chuba was able to be the first Cowboy to tote the rock over 300 times since Barry Sanders. Fortunately he didn’t show any real wear in 13 games but there’s no guarantee that they can ride him like that for 13 more.

Spencer Sanders was the Cowboys’ No. 2 rusher, but do you really want to expose your QB1 more than need be, especially after he went down with injury last year? We’ve seen what this offense looks like without two of its Big 3 for a decent chunk of time and that’s not conducive to hanging banners over Lewis Field.

OSU needs to find a couple more backs that can at least be serviceable. Even if LD Brown takes a leap in his final season, you’d like to find someone else you can depend on. That starts in the spring, and it will likely fall to one of the handful of Jackson, Glass and even Cooper mentioned above since OSU has yet to sign a tailback for 2020. Even if they pull off a coup before Signing Day on Feb. 5, rarely are true freshmen ready to contribute anyway.

Fall Outlook

Barring any injuries, this is still the Chuba Show, but it will be interesting to see which names gather all the buzz this spring and into the spring game. It will be even more interesting if one of them can turn offseason hype into on-field production.

It’s hard to complain much about a group that, somewhat unexpectedly, returns the best rusher in the nation, but there’s plenty of work to be done this spring.

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