Spring Glances Part I – The Northwest Schools

With recruiting wrapped up, the march toward the 2005 season has officially begun. Tonight, we begin our Spring Glances article series. In each part of this series, we'll give you the rundowns of certain Pac-10 schools, list their noteworthy staff changes, storylines heading into spring ball, and key personnel departures and returners from 2004. Part one of the Spring Glance series takes a look at the Northwest schools in the Pac-10.

Oregon Ducks

2004 Record: 5-6

Offensive Coordinator Andy Ludwig is now with Utah and the Ducks have a new offensive coordinator in former BYU skipper, Gary Crowton. Head Coach Mike Bellotti is also doing a bit of reshuffling from within and expected to announce a new defensive assistant in the near future. DL assistant Steve Greatwood is being moved to the offense as the new Offensive Line coach, a position he has previously held with the Ducks. Bellotti has already named Terrence Whitehead the starter at RB to temporarily cool any Jonathan Stewart speculation.

OFFENSE

Key Losses: OT Adam Snyder, OT Robin Knebel, OG Nick Steitz, OT Mike DeLaGrange, WR Keith Allen, K Jared Siegel
Key Returners: QB Kellen Clemens, TE Tim Day, FB Dante Rosario, OG Ian Reynoso, RB Terrence Whitehead, WR Demetrius Williams, WR Cameron Colvin

Storyline(s) of Interest: OL and K. With formidable weapons at the skill positions, the Ducks looked poised to have one of the better offenses in the conference. The Offensive Line is in limbo a bit, however, after some veterans like Adam Snyder and Nick Steitz have graduated. Kellen Clemens must get some help up front this fall. Jared Siegel will be missed in the kicking department and the Ducks will be looking for a capable replacement.

DEFENSE

Key Losses: DT Robby Valenzuela, DE Chris Solomona, LB Jerry Matson, LB Ramone Reed, DB Marley Tucker
Key Returners: DE Devan Long, DT Haloti Ngata, CB Justin Phinisee, DB Aaron Gipson, CB Marques Binns, LB Anthony Trucks

Storyline(s) of Interest: LB and Secondary. Linebacker depth was thin in 2004 for DC Nick Aliotti due to various reasons and the Ducks set out to shore up the position by bringing in some JC help. The secondary didn't give up quite as many big plays last season but there is still a ton of room for improvement here and it has weakened the punch the DL can pack up front.

Oregon State Beavers

2004 Record: 7-5, Bowl win over Notre Dame

Head Coach Mike Riley is searching for a new Offensive Coordinator after Paul Chryst took an offer from Barry Alvarez to join the Wisconsin Badgers. Last season, the proverbial carrot dangling for the Beavers was a trip to Baton Rouge to play the LSU Tigers. This year, Oregon State has again lined up an ambitious road trip against a quality team in Louisville, a pre-season Top 10 team.

OFFENSE


Key Losses: QB Derek Anderson, WR George Gillett, OT Doug Nienhuis, RB Dwight Wright
Key Returners: WR Mike Hass, WR Anthony Wheat-Brown, TE Joe Newton

Storyline(s) of Interest: QB and RB. Derek Anderson and his 4 years of experience are gone and Ryan Gunderson is the heir apparent under Center. Gunderson appears to have talent but will obviously be short on experience. The Beavers must establish a better run game in 2005 after a rather unforgettable year on the ground this last season.

DEFENSE

Key Losses: DE Bill Swancutt, CB Brandon Browner, LB Jonathan Pollard, CB Aric Williams, S Mitch Meeuwsen
Key Returners: LB Trent Bray, DT Ben Siegert, S Sabby Piscatelli, LB Chaz Scott

Storyline(s) of Interest: DL and Secondary. The Beavers lose Co-Pac 10 Defensive POY, Bill Swancutt, up front. The DL will be looking to find a pass rush without him. If not, that could spell trouble for a young secondary. CB Brandon Browner was on his way to becoming the next great Beaver cover man in recent years but declared early for the NFL Draft. Sabby Piscatelli will be asked to anchor the secondary at Safety.

Washington Huskies

2004 Record: 1-10

Keith Gilbertson is replaced by former Stanford and Notre Dame Head Coach, Ty Willingham. Notable assistant hires include Offensive Coordinator Tim Lappano and long-time Willingham aide, Defensive Coordinator Kent Baer. DT Manase Hopoi is on two years probation following a fight but was granted another year of eligibility and will be suiting up this fall. That's good news for the Huskies as he will be one of the Pac-10's top returning defensive players.

OFFENSE

Key Losses: OT Khalif Barnes, WR Charles Frederick
Key Returners: RB Kenny James, RB Shelton Sampson, OG Clay Walker, QB Isaiah Stanback, QB Carl Bonnell

Storyline(s) of Interest: Tim Lappano and QB. Former ASU aide, John Pettas, seemed lost at the controls of the Husky offense under Gilbertson. Lappano has had success at most every stop on his resume and one would think he'd have the offense in a little better shape with the pieces the Huskies have returning. His first order of duty will be to regain consistency from the QB position.

DEFENSE

Key Losses: CB Derrick Johnson, FS Jimmy Newell, LB Tim Galloway, CB Sam Cunningham
Key Returners: DT Manase Hopoi, LB Joe Lobendahn, LB Evan Benjamin, DE Donny Mateaki

Storyline(s) of Interest: Secondary. With Hopoia's return, the front seven appears to have enough depth and, finally, some decent experience returning. The attention will be turned toward the secondary since they will be short on experience after losing one of the better Corners in the league in Derrick Johnson and a decent Safety, Jimmy Newell. The Huskies do like a few of the candidates waiting in the wings like Dashon Gordon, Keauntea Bankhead, and Dre Simpson.

Washington State Cougars

2004 Record: 5-6

Bill Doba's staff has remained intact despite Defensive Coordinator Robb Akey's flirtation with the Weber State job. Linebacker Will Derting and Wide Receiver Chris Jordan will sit out most of the spring due to off-season surgeries. Jordan most likely won't be fully recovered from his knee surgery until the beginning of fall camp. Doba has named Josh Swogger as the starter at Quarterback to squelch any quarterback controversy and mentioned that Swogger should not lose the starting role due to injury alone. Alex Brink is the #2 at this time.

OFFENSE

Key Losses: OT Calvin Armstrong, OT Sam Lightbody, WR Trandon Harvey
Key Returners: QB Josh Swogger, RB Jerome Harrison, WR Chris Jordan, WR Jason Hill, WR Michael Bumpus, TE Troy Bienemann, C Nick Mihlhauser

Storyline(s) of Interest: OL. Josh Swogger is a bright young Quarterback and if he returns in full-health, the Cougars have a nice shot at fielding an offense capable of putting a lot of points on the board. Injuries hit this team the hardest last season so the experience several of the younger players got will only help. This was especially true up front on the OL. The Line play last season was very inconsistent and it must be shored up this season to avoid turnovers. The best two Linemen, Lightbody and Armstrong, are gone at the tackle spots so George Yarno will have his work cut out for him. Pass blocking will be the first order of business to improve upon in 2005.

DEFENSE

Key Losses: DT Steve Cook, CB Karl Paymah, S Jeremy Bohannon, S Hamza Abdullah, LB Pat Bennett
Key Returners: LB Will Derting, DE Mkristo Bruce, DT Odell Howard, DE Adam Braidwood, LB Scott Davis, LB Steve Dildine, CB Alex Teems

Storyline(s) of Interest: Secondary. Alex Teems is the lone starter returning in the Secondary for the Cougars. Husain Abdullah and Eric Frampton have some experience and will be counted on to step up this season.

Part two of Spring Glance will examine the California schools. Finally, part three will cover the Arizona schools.

Following the culmination of spring ball around the league, We'll have another Summer Glances series with information on the position battles that took place in the spring, 2005 schedules and analysis, and other story lines from around the Pac-10.

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