O-line, Beavs should be ready to run

AGAINST UCLA THIS Saturday, Oregon State's o-line could be the game's big story. And if the Beavers are to win, one particular area of the offense might stand out above all others.

The running game.

Against Cal, the bigger story was how the Oregon State d-line performed. And the Beaver o-line, which turned in arguably their best effort of the season, didn't get nearly enough credit. What was so good about the offensive line?

For starters, the starting tackles against Cal, Michael Philipp and Mike Remmers, along with the Beaver tight ends, did a fantastic job of sealing the edge.

If they hadn't, those fly sweeps of Markus Wheaton would have had a far different outcome.

Jacquizz Rodgers also ran outside a bit against Cal, and he found space to operate when he got there. And when Quizz has space to operate in, he turns that space into extra yards.

BETWEEN THE TACKLES, Quizz had lanes to run through this past Saturday – something that hasn't always been the case this season.

Center Alex Linnenkohl, guards Ellis Burke, Grant Johnson, (along with Ryan Pohl who replaced an injured Johnson (stinger) at halftime), were among those doing yeoman's work blasting away at the Cal front.

When Quizz is able to hit those lanes with a good deal of speed already built up, that's when the Beaver offense becomes truly dangerous. When he has to dance early on to try and find a seam, not so much.

Against Cal this past Saturday, it looked like the 2008 season at times – with runs by Quizz of 9, 14, 11, 32, 9, 8, 10, 10 yards against a Golden Bears rushing defense that is still rated No. 32 in the nation even after absorbing the Quizz show.

AND THE STATISTICAL RANKINGS are where Beaver fans should go if they want to feel good about the UCLA matchup heading in. Yes, "on paper" certainly doesn't always play out that way on Saturdays. But the number is striking.

UCLA ranks close to the bottom among all FBS teams – No. 108 out of 120 – in rushing defense.

Think the Beavs might try the ground game a little bit on Saturday?

STILL, ONE GAME does not a corner-turn make. The Beavs are certainly still a work in progress up front on offense, and they have a lot more work to do.

Such was the first half of the season that Oregon State's offensive line needs to continue to create lanes and run effectively -- for each and every game that's remaining on the regular season schedule -- before hard and fast conclusions can even start to be bandied about.

But given how UCLA has done this year against the run, and given the running performance Oregon State is coming off of this past week, this one in Pasadena could be a sight to see. Get ready to run.

Johnson has been limited this week in practice, but signs would seem to indicate he'll be ready to play by the time Saturday rolls around.

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