Staying in the secondary, the cornerback battle takes center stage now. This isn't necessarily a competition for the starting spot -- though the ones and twos have been duking it out with each other since spring -- but more an effort to find depth and the 5th and 6th defensive backs in nickel and dime packages.
The left cornerback spot features the most experience, while the right is filled with newcomers chomping at the bit. Let's take a look at the depth chart.
|Left Cornerback||Right Cornerback|
|1st String||Aire Justin (5'11 163 RS Jr.)||Daniel Simmons (5'10 187 RS So.)|
|2nd String||Nolan Washington (5'11 180 RS Fr.)||Anthony Carpenter (6'0 190 RS Fr.)|
|3rd String||Anthony Martinez (5'9 177 RS Jr.)||Terrance Hayward (6'1 190 RS So.)|
Again, the secondary is young but talented. Justin and Martinez are the lone upperclassmen, with the rest of the newcomers stepping up nicely. Even Damante Horton and Tracy Clark are getting reps and looking strong in early drills.
How The Battle Is Shaping Up
Justin and Simmons are pretty much locked in as the starters right now after a nice battle during spring practices. Simmons is coming off a broken leg last year but has recovered nicely and is at full speed. Justin really took a big step up this spring and so far in the fall practices. He should be much improved.
The rest of the depth chart, and the incoming freshman, are working to find a way into the rotation and should contribute on special teams at the very least.
Who Starts In Stillwater
Aire Justin and Daniel Simmons will start against Oklahoma State, barring a huge collapse or injuries. They've proven themselves over the last six months and look prepared to play at a high level.
Thankfully, there's depth this year. Hayward saw time last season and the two redshirt freshman -- Washington and Carpenter -- have lived up to their billing in practice. Both should see time in the nickel and dime packages. If there is an injury on the outside (knock on wood), I'm confident that any of the backs on the depth chart can step in without much drop-off.
While we watched our corners get torched many times last year, this year should be different. The secondary is starting to look like they're Pac-10 caliber and should be much improved in the 2010 campaign. Hopefully, the competition proves valuable for the young corners.